Hemingway's first book, the story collection In Our Time, had been published by Boni Liveright the previous autumn,
under a contract that granted them an option on his next three books.
Hemingway was a rising star with the finished first draft of The Sun Also Rises in his pocket,
along with tempting offers from other publishers -- Scribners, Knopf and Harcourt, Brace.
His only way around Horace Liveright was to get him to reject his next manuscript.
Hemingway's solution was to submit The Torrents of Spring, a ninety-page satire which he knocked off in eleven days.
This aimed at a variety of targets, but chief among them was Sherwood Anderson and the writing style of the "Chicago School".
Anderson was a leading author for Boni & Liveright, and Hemingway knew that they wouldn't dare publish his slap at him.
That would have been cruel enough to do to a stranger, but it was worse.
Anderson had been a friend and mentor to Hemingway,
a guest at his wedding, and
writer of a generous dust-jacket blurb for In Our Time and
of letters of introduction allowing Hemingway entry to the Parisian literary scene.
John Dos Passos told him that the book was "heartless" and unfunny, and Gertrude Stein was outraged.
Eventually, Hemingway would trash all of them too, even Fitzgerald who urged him on.
Hemingway's wife, Hadley, thought the idea "detestable," but she too was being double-dealed at this stage, and by summer would also be dumped.
Honor, it seems, has been dying for a very long time.
How important is it for your writing to succeed?
Would you pay Hemingway's price?