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Twain has survived his celebrity, as will Hemingway, and for the same reason: They wrote wonderful books. But both writers have been admitted to the canon despite the off-putting aroma of publicity that surrounds them. So certain questions impose themselves. Why was Hemingway, like Twain, inclined to present himself - or some versions of himself - to public view? Knowing the risks, as he certainly did, why did he take the chance? Was there something in the water he drank or the air he breathed growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, which drove him to seek not only accomplishment but fame?

Actually the sentence in bold is somehow unclear to me.

Dose it mean that why did Hemingway want to show himself to public view? and Dose "some versions of himself" mean: not always just in some period?

  • I've corrected some of the spelling and punctuation in the quote. Please check that the quote matches the source. – James K Dec 18 '18 at 17:31
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The sentence is in the form of a rhetorical question. It asks the reader to think about something.

Removing the question and the "like Twain" we get

Hemmingway was inclined to present himself - or some versions of himself - to public view.

First consider the phrase "some versions of himself". We all change our personality according to the situation. Hemmingway had celebrity persona of the brave adventurer. Perhaps he was not like this in private. When we act differently in a different situation we are "presenting a version of ourselves".

Next, "to be inclined to do something" means you "often like to do it". For example, "He is inclined to smoke a cigar after a meal" means he often enjoys smoking a cigar after eating.

So Hemmingway, and also Twain, liked to appear in public and act in a particular way. This is in contrast to many authors who like to stay private and not be celebrities.

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