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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 09:21 GMT
Cuban invite for Hemingway author
Ernest Hemingway at his country home in San Francisco de Paula near Havana, Cuba, August 1950
Ernest Hemingway lived on the island for more than 30 years
A Swansea University lecturer is being given unrivalled access to research on Ernest Hemingway's life in Cuba.

Dr Philip Melling, who is researching his own book on the writer, will view 40 years' worth of research carried out by academics on the island.

Hemingway, regarded as one of the 20th Century's greatest writers, wrote The Old Man and the Sea while in Cuba, his base for more than 30 years.

Dr Melling said Cuba had a big influence on Hemingway and his writing.

Dr Melling, reader in the department of American studies, said the extent of work carried out by Cuban writers and academics was unknown in the west and had never been publicised outside of Cuba.

"Additionally, Hemingway was a big influence on the Cuban people, particularly on Fidel Castro, and he is revered throughout the island," he said.

Dr Philip Melling
There could be some groundbreaking findings in the understanding of Hemingway's life and work
Dr Philip Melling

Hemingway's former house on a hill east of Havana was left to Cuba after his suicide in 1961 and is now a museum, but with limited access.

"The fact is that we don't exactly know what is there," added Dr Melling.

"Much work has been done by Cuban academics but little is known about this outside of Cuba - primarily because there are limited opportunities to publish outside of the island."

Dr Melling was granted access to the archived research after the museum's director, Professor Gladys Rodriguez, heard about the book he was planning on Hemingway's interest in indigenous cultures.

Racial minorities

"Hemingway has always been known for his writings about war and Europe," he added.

"Little is known about his interest in racial minorities - he was particularly interested in Cuban-Africans - and he had a fascination with people he met on the streets.

"The research that we could find in Cuba could have a massive impact on how we view Hemingway."

If all goes to plan, Dr Melling heads for Cuba in the spring.

"Dealing with Cuba is sometimes very difficult. Things are never black and white.

"There are regular communication problems and domestic priorities in Cuba can take precedence over you own work.

"But as long as everything continues to move along there could be some groundbreaking findings in the understanding of Hemingway's life and work."

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