To Have and Have Not

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To Have and Have Not
File:To Have and Have Note (Hemmingway novel) 1st edition cover.jpg
First edition cover
Author Ernest Hemingway
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Charles Scribner's Sons
Publication date

To Have and Have Not is a novel by Ernest Hemingway (publ. 1937) about Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain out of Key West, Florida. The novel depicts Harry as an essentially good man, who is forced by dire economic forces beyond his control into the black-market activity of running contraband between Cuba and Florida. A wealthy fishing charter customer (one of the "Have's") tricks Harry by slipping away after a day's fishing without paying the money he owes him. Harry then makes a fateful decision to smuggle Chinese immigrants into Florida from Cuba to make ends meet in supporting his family. Harry begins to regularly ferry different types of illegal cargo between the two countries, including alcohol and Cuban revolutionaries. The Great Depression features prominently in the novel, forcing depravity and hunger on the poor residents of Key West (the "Have Not's") who are referred to locally as "Conchs."

To Have and Have Not is Hemingway's second novel to be set in the United States, the first being The Torrents of Spring. Written sporadically between 1935 and 1937, and revised as he traveled back and forth from Spain during the Spanish Civil War, To Have and Have Not portrays Key West and Cuba in the 1930s, and provides a social commentary on that time and place. Hemingway biographer, Jeffrey Meyers describes the novel as heavily influenced by the Marxist ideology Hemingway was exposed to by his support of the Republican faction in the Spanish Civil War while he was writing it. The work got a mixed critical reception.[1]

The novel had its origins in two short stories published earlier in periodicals by Hemingway ("One Trip Across" and "The Tradesman's Return") which make up the opening chapters, and a novella, written later, which makes up about two-thirds of the book. The narrative is told from multiple viewpoints, at different times, by different characters, and the characters' names are frequently supplied under the chapter headings to indicate who is narrating that chapter.

Background and publication history

To Have and Have Not began as a short story—published as "One Trip Across" in Cosmopolitan in 1934—introducing the character Harry Morgan. A second story was written and published in Esquire in 1936, at which point, Hemingway decided to write a novel about Harry Morgan. Unfortunately the writing of the novel coincided with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.[2]

To Have and Have Not was published by Scribner's on 15 October 1937 to a first edition print-run of approximately 10,000 copies.[3] Cosmopolitan Magazine published a section of the novel as "One Trip Across" in 1934; and Esquire Magazine published a section as "The Tradesman's Return" in 1936.[3]

Film adaptations

To Have and Have Not was adapted to film in 1944, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.[4] The film, directed by Howard Hawks, changed the story's setting from Key West to Martinique under the Vichy regime, and made significant alterations to the plot, including getting rid of Hemingway's Marxist overtones, and turning the story into a romantic thriller centering on the sparks going on between Harry Morgan and Marie Browning. It was one of the influences for Bold Venture, a 1951–1952 syndicated radio series starring Bogart and Bacall.

The second film version, titled The Breaking Point (1950), was directed by Michael Curtiz and stars John Garfield and Patricia Neal with Juano Hernandez as Morgan's partner. The movie shifted the action to southern California and made Garfield a former PT Boat captain but is otherwise the most faithful to the original book.

The third film version, titled The Gun Runners (1958), was directed by Don Siegel and stars Audie Murphy in the Bogart/Garfield role and Everett Sloane in Walter Brennan's part as the alcoholic sidekick, although Sloane's interpretation was less overtly comedic than Brennan's. The movie features a bravura performance by Eddie Albert as a charismatic villain. Pauline Kael and Bosley Crowther have claimed that the ending was used for John Huston's film Key Largo (1948); Kael also said that "One Trip Across" was made into The Gun Runners (1958).[5]

The 1977 film The Deep reused characters and plot elements, setting the tale in Bermuda with the villain a Haitian drug lord. The alcoholic sidekick to the boat skipper was played by Eli Wallach.

In 1987 the Iranian director Nasser Taghvai adopted the novel into a nationalized version called Captain Khorshid which took the events from Cuba to the shores of the Persian Gulf.


  1. Meyers 1985, pp. 292–296
  2. Baker 1972, pp. 203–204
  3. 3.0 3.1 Oliver, p. 327
  4. "To Have and Have Not". film. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Kael, Pauline (1991). "To Have and Have Not". 5001 Nights at the Movies. New York: Henry Holt. p. 776. ISBN 0-8050-1366-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links