I read -- a few months ago -- Hemingway's juvenilia poetry & short-story collection stoically entitled Three Stories & Ten Poems. It was published in the early 1920s -- I think 1923, but I've heard 1921 thrown around. Or, perhaps that was the date he wrote it. If you are interested you can access and download the Three Stories & Ten Poems collection for free from Project Gutenburg.

I really enjoyed the poetry. In my opinion, the best poem in the collection is:

The mills of the gods grind slowly;
But this mill
Chatters in mechanical staccato.
Ugly short infantry of the mind,
Advancing over difficult terrain,
Make this Corona
Their mitrailleuse.

(A "mitrailleuse" is a type of machine-gun: presumably a French one, used during W.W.I.)

I've read online that the poem is entitled "MITRAILLIATRICE". But, Project Guttenburg -- in their version of the collection -- calls the poem "MITRAIGLIATRICE". I have found the following information from here:

 "Mitraigiatrice" (July printing of TSTP) was spelled "Mitrailliatrice" (January printing, Poetry Magazine).

However, I do not know which title is "correct". Does anyone have any information about this?

EDIT: As far as I can tell, the quote above is incorrect. In the Project Guttenburg version of the poem, it is entitled MITRAIGLIATRICE. Presumably "Miltraigiatrice" is a misquote or misspelling of that. I'm amazed I didn't notice that.

Also, what is the meaning(s) of either of the titles? I assumed that it was supposed to be some sort of French play-on-words, but, not knowing French (I had to Google the word "mitrailleuse") I am ignorant. I feel I am missing an integral part of the poem.

  • mitrailleuse is French; mitraigliatrice is Italian, and mitrailliatrice seems like a French-influenced misspelling of the Italian. The two real words mean machine gun.
    – Peter Shor
    Dec 12 '19 at 1:53
  • What exactly is the question being asked here?
    – muru
    Dec 12 '19 at 2:09
  • 1
    @muru I've edited the question to focus it more. At its root it seems clear; just there was a lot of discussion around which obscured the actual query.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 12 '19 at 9:08
  • Thanks a lot @Rand al'Thor
    – G. Ward
    Dec 12 '19 at 11:00
  • Thanks @Peter Shor That's clearer. It's a reference -- presumably -- to the Italian front where Hemingway was wounded.
    – G. Ward
    Dec 12 '19 at 11:02

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