Barbara Probst Solomon, Who Wrote of Spain Under Franco, Dies at 90


Against all odds, the scheme worked. With Mr. Benet, the two young women, daintily dressed, drove Mailer’s car to Cuelgamuros and pulled alongside the local church where prisoners were brought for Sunday services. With the guards momentarily diverted, Mr. Benet bundled the escapees into the car and they sped off. After winding circuitously along mountain roads, they dropped the two men at an isolated spot in the Pyrenees, from which they made their way to freedom.

Back in Paris, the young Ms. Solomon and Mr. Benet, who were romantically involved for several years, published a resistance magazine, Península, that was smuggled into Spain.

After returning to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the Columbia University School of General Studies.

Ms. Solomon’s other books include two novels, “The Beat of Life” (1960), about unwanted pregnancy and its devastating consequences, and “Smart Hearts in the City” (1992), about an interracial love affair; a second memoir, “Short Flights,” (1983), about her time in Spain after Franco’s death in 1975; and the essay collection “Horse-Trading and Ecstasy” (1989).

One of Ms. Solomon’s most famous essays was a scathing critique of the handling of Hemingway’s posthumously published novel “The Garden of Eden,” which was published, to great fanfare, by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1986. The work — about the romantic and artistic anguish of a young American writer and his wife in 1920s France and Spain — had been unfinished at the time of Hemingway’s suicide in 1961.

Ms. Solomon’s critique, published in The New Republic in 1987, castigated Scribner’s for committing what she described as “a literary crime” and “the literary equivalent of ‘colorization.’ ”

Comparing the published novel with Hemingway’s several extant drafts, which Ms. Solomon pored over in manuscript at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, she concluded, she wrote, that “Scribner’s interfered imperiously with what Hemingway left us.”

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