This story’s just six words long (part deux)

From a few years back:

Ernest Hemingway, it is said, once came up with a short story — a good one, yet — that ran all of six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

The key phrase there is “it is said.” The Quote Investigator tracks this one down, and finds it to have been misattributed:

In 1917 William R. Kane did write an article that was thematically linked to these short-short tales. The story title Kane suggested was “Little Shoes, Never Worn”.

In April 1921 the newspaper columnist Roy K. Moulton credited “Jerry” with pointing out that the advertisement “Baby carriage for sale, never used” embodied the plot of a story. It is possible that this recognition may have been facilitated by a familiarity with Kane’s earlier article.

Further references follow. Hemingway died in 1961, so this was old news before he was.

(Originally from this tweet by Hari Kunzru; sent my way by Bill Peschel.)







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