It was too good to last, he thought. I wish it had been a dream now and that I had never hooked the fish and was alone in bed on the newspapers.
"But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." I am sorry that I killed the fish though. Now the bad time is coming and I do not even have the harpoon. The dentuso is cruel and able and strong and intelligent. But I was more intelligent than he was. Perhaps not, he thought. Perhaps I was only better armed.
"Don't think, old man," he said aloud. "Sail on this course and take it when it comes."
But I must think, he thought. Because it is all I have left. That and baseball. I wonder bow the great DiMaggio would have liked the way I hit him in the brain? It was no great thing, he thought. Any man could do it. But do you think my hands were as great a handicap as the bone spurs? I cannot know. I never had anything wrong with my heel except the time the stingray stung it when I stepped on him when swimming and paralyzed the lower leg and made the unbearable pain.
"Think about something cheerful, old man," he said. "Every minute now you are closer to home. You sail lighter for the loss of forty pounds."
He knew quite well the pattern of what could happen when he reached the inner part of the current. But there was nothing to be done now.
"Yes there is," he said aloud. "I can lash my knife to the butt of one of the oars."
So he did that with the tiller under his arm and the sheet of the sail under his foot.
"Now," he said. "I am still an old man. But I am not unarmed."
The breeze was fresh now and he sailed on well. He watched only the forward part of the fish and some of his hope returned.
It is silly not to hope, he thought. Besides I believe it is a sin. Do not think about sin, he thought. There are enough problems now without sin. Also I have no understanding of it.
I have no understanding of it and I am not sure that I believe in it. Perhaps it was a sin to kill the fish. I suppose it was even though I did it to keep me alive and feed many people. But then everything is a sin. Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it. Let them think about it. You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was born to be a fish. San Pedro was a fisherman as was the father of the great DiMaggio.
Er träumt von Joe DiMaggio. Und den Löwen: He no longer dreamt of storms, or of women, or of great occurrences, not of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, not of his wife. He only dreamt of places and the lions on the beach. Joe DiMaggio hat seine Karriere gerade beendet und Marilyn Monroe kennengelernt, als Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea schreibt. Er wird den Nobelpreis dafür kriegen. Seinen letzten Roman Across the River and into the Trees hatten die Kritiker verrissen. Jetzt will er es ihnen zeigen, A man can be destroyed but not defeated. Der Fischer Santiago kämpft einen langen Kampf. So wie Hemingway einen langen Kampf kämpft. Mit den Dämonen seiner Depressionen. Mit dem Alkohol. Gegen die Kritiker. It is silly not to hope.
Malcolm Cowleys Rezension ist noch das Netteste, was darüber gesagt wurde. Natürlich enthält er Stellen vom besten Hemingway wie (da ich nun schon mal bei der See, den Stränden und den Haifischen bin) diese:
Es ist das Klügste, was Hemingway gemacht hat, dass er das Manuskript aufgegeben hat und sich auf die kleine Erzählung von Santiago und dem Hai konzentriert hat, die übrigens (wie Island in the Stream) ein Teil eines großen Werkes über die See werden wollte. Vielleicht wollte er hundert Jahre nach dem Erscheinen von Moby-Dick Herman Melville Konkurrenz machen. Es hat Kritiker gegeben, die The Old Man and the Sea mit Melvilles Roman verglichen haben, aber das ist wohl doch ein wenig vermessen, Nobelpreis hin oder her. Er scheint diese Geschichte schon lange im Kopf gehabt zu haben, denn in On the Blue Water: a Gulf Stream Letter einem Artikel, den er für das Magazin Esquire seines Freund Arnold Gingrich im April 1936 geschrieben hatte, findet sich schon die ganze Story (natürlich ohne die biblische Überhöhung):
[An] old man fishing alone in a skiff out of Cabañas hooked a great marlin that, on the heavy sashcord handline, pulled the skiff far out to sea. Two days later the old man was picked up by fishermen sixty miles to the eastward, the head and forward part of the marlin lashed alongside. What was left of the fish, less than half, weighed eight hundred pounds. The old man had stayed with him a day, a night, a day and another night while fish swam deep and pulled the boat. When he had come up the old man had pulled the boat up on him and harpooned him. Lashed alongside, the sharks had hit him and the old man had fought them out alone in the Gulf Stream in a skiff, clubbing them, stabbing at them, lunging at them with an oar until he was exhausted and the sharks had eaten all that they could. He was crying in the boat when the fishermen picked him up, half crazy from his loss, and the sharks were still circling the boat.
Aufseeser wurde 1933 von den Nazis als Professor an der Düsseldorfer Akademie entlassen) den Nachnamen Tisdall zugelegt. Seit den dreißiger Jahren war er bei Jonathan Cape für die Gestaltung der Buchumschläge zuständig (wobei er auch eine Vielzahl von jungen Künstlern einwarb). Tisdall, der in England sehr bekannt war (in seinem Heimatland weniger), ist 1997 gestorben. Seine Ehefrau Isabel, eine bekannte Modedesignerin, hat ihn um zehn Jahre überlebt. Trotz des distinktiven Tisdall Stiles finde ich den Buchumschlag fürchterlich. Der Händler, der das Buch mit € 2.50 auspreiste vielleicht auch. Wahrscheinlich mochte er keine lachenden Haie.