Hemingway often derided fellow authors who wrote about what they had read, rather than what they had experienced. To him, such abstract writing was ornamental and stolid. Firsthand experience, firsthand understanding should provide the uncut marble for the writer’s chisel, he said.
For example, Hemingway thought Edgar Allan Poe drew his material from fancy—invented from rhetoric and literariness, rather than reality and truth. He characterized Poe’s writing as “skillful, marvelously constructed” but ultimately “dead”.