JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: another addition to our summer reading list. It is a look at the origins of one of American literature’s finest works by one of our most celebrated writers. Recently, Jeffrey Brown talked with journalist and cultural historian Lesley M.M. Blume about her new book, “Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises.”
JEFFREY BROWN: Lesley Blume, welcome to you.
LESLEY M.M. BLUME, Author, “Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises”: Thank you.
JEFFREY BROWN: This is interesting that the picture on the cover is a little unusual, but the picture on the cover is actually the starting point for you to this whole endeavor.
LESLEY M.M. BLUME: Yes.
So, I was researching another project, and I came across this very enticing photograph of Hemingway with a very attractive and mischievous-looking group of people around the cafe table in Pamplona in 1925. And there was a woman —
JEFFREY BROWN: Pamplona, Spain, right.
LESLEY M.M. BLUME: I’m sorry: Pamplona, Spain, where they were all gathered for the annual San Fermin bull-fighting festival. And the woman who was sitting next to Hemingway was this sort of, like, glamorous woman, and she had a sort of coquettish look on her face. And I was immediately intrigued by her.
JEFFREY BROWN: Who’s that and what’s her story?
LESLEY M.M. BLUME: Exactly. And it turned out that she — her name was Lady Duff Twysden, and she was the real-life inspiration behind Lady Brett Ashley in Hemingway’s debut novel, “The Sun Also Rises.” I have long been a Lost Generation obsessive, but I hadn’t realized that that she had been — that Lady Brett Ashley had been drawn from real life. And I wanted to learn more, so I looked for a compelling book that would tell me the real life backstory behind “The Sun Also Rises,” and I didn’t find one.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right. You couldn’t find one, so you decided to do it?
LESLEY M.M. BLUME: I wrote it.