Hello Hemingway Fans! I just finished and reviewed on Amazon a book called Galantiere about Lewis Gallantiere who is an unsung oberver and commentator on the arts scene especially in France in the twenties. Hemingway was in his circle and there are some great vignettes. However, the book itself even without Hemingway was wonderful. Well written, good scenes, just delightful. Please check it out if you are looking for your next fun book. Best Christine (Just click on this para and you’ll get a direct link to the book on Amazon.)
Happy Spring all! A few photos and background about Hemingway’s home in Cuba where he lived from 1940-1960.
It appeared that things were opening up in Cuba and that there might one day be actual access to Hemingway’s home Finca Vigia outside Havana. The name means Lookout Farm. Since the new election, it is unclear if this will happen.
Regardless, Hemingway had over 10 acres and a rundown house that was found by his then wife, Martha Gellhorn. It was his home from approximately 1940 to 1960. He had a staff usually of 3 people to help in the house, drive, work in the gardens. The vegetation was lush and he and Martha brought the pool and tennis court back to former glory.
Even after the divorce from Martha Gellhorn, he kept the farm as his residence and his new wife Mary Welsh moved in and became the mistress of the house.
When asked why he didn’t live in America, Hemingway noted that he could boat and fish year- round in Cuba, always had a breeze, fantastic food and drink, and a welcoming and warm people. He indicated that if he found a similar place in America, he would move there.
Ultimately he had to move. Although Castro did no
t force him out, the anti-Americanism was everywhere. Further, when he came to visit in the United States in 1960, the FBI told him he could not return. There then ensued great drama in trying to get his personal items and book manuscripts out; his animals re-settled; and to provide care for his staff left behind. It was a devastating blow to him although he did anticipate that he would have to leave Cuba at some point. He had a small apartment in New York but after not being able to return to Cuba lived much of the year in Idaho in the house in which he died.
Finca Vigia is presently in the midst of renovations. The goal is to keep it as it was when Hemingway was there but with preservation. In a humid climate, much deteriorates relatively quickly and the restoration project is afoot.
After Hemingway’s death, Mary donated the house to the Cuban government and the restoration began in 2005 by the Finca Vigia Foundation working with the Cuban government. The house itself is in San Francisco de Paula, a modest town 9 miles outside Havana. The Cuban people have always respected Hemingway’s choice to live among the people he fished with. The house was built in 1886 and was purchased by Hemingway in 1940 for $12,500.
He wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea primarily while living there. A Moveable Feast was also written there. After Hemingway’s death in 1961, the Cuban government took ownership of the property and Mary Hemingway agreed to that appropriation.
Please enjoy the photos of his home.
The story continues:
When Gary Cooper became embroiled in a torrid love affair with Patricia Neal—somewhat ironically—Hemingway was the one he talked to about it and the much married Hemingway encouraged him to return to his wife and family. Eventually Cooper did.
Hem and Gary fished and rode together; Hemingway was always pulling a cigarette away from Cooper telling him they were going to kill him; Cooper was very close to Hemingway’s son Jack; Hemingway and Cooper both went into eclipse at roughly the same time, i.e. from 1945 to perhaps 1950 and then came roaring back strong.
Hemingway came back with The Old Man and the Sea and Cooper came back with High Noon. Cooper was always surprised by Hemingway’s celebrity since it’s rare for a writer to be flocked by fans and Hemingway admired Cooper’s authenticity and the fact that he was far more intellectual than he would let on. It served his purpose to be thought to be the man of few words and “everyman” who rose to heroics on occasion. In fact, he was an intellectual of some depth. When Hemingway was depressed toward the end of the 50s, Cooper tried to find projects that would perk him up such as bringing Across the River and into the Trees and some of the short stories to life in movie or tv form.
When Cooper heard that Hemingway was in two plane crash, he was driving with his daughter Maria and almost swerved off the road, according to Maria. He was shaken to his core and immediately turned around to get to a phone to find out if there was any more news about his and Mary’s fate. When Jimmy Stewart accepted the academy award for career achievement on Gary Cooper’s behalf in January 1961, he was emotional.
Few knew that Cooper was extremely sick with pancreatic cancer. Gary hid it from all except family for a year. Hemingway was devastated. When Coop called for what both knew was their last call, neither acknowledged the sorrow or the extremis that both were in albeit in different ways. Coop closed by saying, “I bet I’ll beat you to the barn.” Hemingway sunk even lower into despair.
Gary Cooper died of cancer on May 13, 1961. Hemingway was in no condition to attend the funeral. Hadley, Hemingway’s first and most beloved wife, knew something was truly wrong with Hemingway when she read that he did not attend Coop’s funeral. She sent him a note that expressed fear for him and begged him to contact her. He didn’t. Hemingway died by his own hand six weeks later on July 2, 1961.
Condolences rolled in for both of them as if they were heads of state and the impact was felt worldwide. There aren’t many actors or writers who elicit that response today. See “The True Gen.” It’s beautiful.
Reprint from last year as there was some interest in the Coop/Hem friendship. Best, Christine
THE TRUE GEN: HEMINGWAY’S PHRASE FOR DISTINGUISHING THE REAL FROM THE FAKE, THE GENUINE ARTICLE FROM THE PHONY
I re-watched The True Gen, a documentary about Hemingway’s relationship with Gary Cooper. It’s narrated by the wonderful Sam Waterston and has fantastic footage of Idaho and of both men.
They seem like polar opposites: The cowboy from out West in Helena, Montana, and the suburbanite born in Oak Park, Illinois; the world’s greatest actor of his era and the world’s most imitated and celebrated writer perhaps of the 20th century; the conservative (Cooper) and the liberal (Hemingway); and yet they became the closest of friends. Cooper was one of the few close friends that Hemingway never had any lasting falling out with. Hem claims he wrote the character Robert Jordan (For Whom the Bell Tolls) with Cooper in mind. Cooper also starred in A Farewell to Arms.
They met on September 28, 1940 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Both men were at their peak. Hemingway, who had no use for Hollywood stars and did not seek out celebrity, had always wanted to meet Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper, the taciturn, very polite westerner, had always wanted to meet Hemingway. His friends were surprised to hear that he wanted to meet the allegedly boorish, womanizing, drunken Hemingway.
Nevertheless, he did want to meet him and he found Hemingway to be shy, self-effacing, fun, very different from what he had been led to believe. He could be boorish and he certainly could be drunk, but he often wasn’t. As Gary Cooper’s daughter Maria said, if Hemingway were the way he was portrayed in the press, i.e. a double-fisted drinking lout, her father would not have gotten along with him or liked him because her father was not that way. Hemingway was attracted to Cooper’s true devotion to a lack of artifice.
Gary Cooper was a genuine westerner who grew up on a ranch and on a horse. It’s no wonder that he looked good as The Virginian or in High Noon. He also had a real talent in art and began attending an art institute. He was sidetracked on his way through California to his next school, when he stopped in Hollywood and saw a few of his friends from ranches near home who had become stuntmen. He thought he could do that because he really could ride a horse and in short order, he became a stuntman. With his tall lanky good looks, he was given a small part in a film but he’d shone brightly even in that small role and shortly thereafter was cultivated into a star.
Hemingway never completed high school. He tried to enlist in the service in 1916 but his eyesight was so bad that he was rejected. He qualified however to be an ambulance driver, which he did in Italy. He was wounded and it forever shaped his view of war, courage, and concern about senseless violence.
Cooper and Hemingway met regularly over the years. At times, Cooper’s wife Rocky recoiled from Hemingway’s bad behavior. Coop just shook his head but rarely was affected by it. Further with just a look, he could make Hemingway behave in a best version of himself. One example given in The True Gen was when Cooper and Hemingway with their families were staying at a hotel, and a young employee at the hotel interrupted Hemingway when he was writing and HEm was peeved. When he saw the young man later in the day, Hem chewed him out. He was so harsh that Rocky, Cooper’s wife, said she wasn’t going to continue the trip with Hem. With very few words, Cooper took Hemingway aside. Hemingway then humbly apologized to the assistant and went so far as the next day to give him a large tip and apologize again. Hemingway came back to the car after the apology and said to Cooper, “Are you happy now you long-legged son of bitch?” It was said in good humor and Cooper just nodded. The trip continued.
To Be Continued
Gary Cooper was one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men. He starred in classic movies like High Noon (1952), Sergeant York (1941) and For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) just to name a few. But while Cooper was a conservative Republican, there was a brief moment when the FBI thought he might be a communist. Seriously.
Gary Cooper was the “man’s leading man” in classic films, playing sheriffs shooting down gunslingers of the wild west and freedom fighters battling the fascists in Spain. Tony Soprano repeatedly refers to Cooper with admiration in the HBO series The Sopranos, wondering what happened to that old school version of masculinity.
“Let me tell you something, nowadays everybody’s gotta go to shrinks, and go to counselors, and go on Sally Jessy Raphael and talk about their problems,” Tony Soprano says in the 1999 pilot episode. “Whatever happened to Gary Cooper, the strong silent type?”
“That was an American,” Tony continues, echoing the already anachronistic anti-PC angst of the 1990s. “He wasn’t in touch with his feelings, he just did what he had to do.”
Cooper was, in fact, loved by people of many political stripes, especially when he stood up for the “common man” in populist films like 1941’s Meet John Doe and 1936’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. But Cooper was also a controversial figure when he testified as a friendly witness to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in October of 1947.
Cooper didn’t exactly “name names” in 1947, but he said that he had turned down roles with scripts that were “tinged with communistic ideas.” The irony, of course, is that by today’s standards many of Cooper’s best films would be considered left of center politically. Maybe even downright socialist if Fox News were to tell it. In Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe, as just one example, Cooper plays an unemployed man in the depths of the Great Depression who accidentally starts a massive political movement built on simply spreading kindness to your neighbor. Sounds pretty commie to me.
Shortly before Cooper’s testimony, there was a period of genuine confusion for the FBI when the agency got reports that Cooper was speaking to a large crowd of communists. And it wasn’t just any crowd of communists either. It was a 90,000 strong group in the middle of Philadelphia. As it turned out, the entire thing was a propaganda effort for South American communists who were capitalizing on his role in For Whom The Bell Tolls, a film about an American fighting on the side of the Republicans and the Communists in the Spanish Civil War. Gary Cooper was never a soldier in the Spanish Civil War, fighting against the fascists. But he did play one in the movies.
For Whom The Bell Tolls was released in 1943 at the height of World War II. Based on the book by Ernest Hemingway, the film stars Cooper as the Robert Jordan, an American fighting against the fascists in Spain. Hemingway was a good friend of Cooper’s, despite their opposing political views, and the writer loved seeing the actor in his movies.
Cooper, according to the newspaper, had given a rousing speech about his admiration for communism. And rather than simply dismiss the idea, the FBI actually went to the trouble of contacting their people in Philadelphia to make sure that there wasn’t a communist rally there where Gary Cooper had given a speech. It all seems so silly now, but Cooper was even asked about it when he testified in front of the HUAC.
But that’s the power of the movies. Cooper became such a symbol of the average American on the screen that he was the natural choice for communists in South America to embody their message. It didn’t hurt that he was often depicted as the one willing to take up arms to defend freedom in other countries, most notably in movies like For Whom The Bell Tolls.
An article of unknown origin in the FBI file even made the explicit leap to Cooper’s portrayal in For Whom The Bell Tolls. The previous page in the file is heavily redacted, so it’s not clear where this article appeared, but it begins by stating as fact that the real life Gary Cooper had gone to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War.
Cooper died in 1961 at the age of 60, and despite the fact that he never named names he was still never fully forgiven by many in Hollywood for testifying as a friendly witness to Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt. But the fictional Tony Soprano and plenty of other very real people still love Gary Cooper’s films.
In fact, his 1952 western High Noon is the most popular movie in the White House. It was screened by presidents Eisenhower, Carter, Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Please enjoy this short clip of Hemingway’s Life. Best, Christine
Hello all Hemingway readers and scholars: this is a one woman show in which Hemingway is presented through the lens of willa cather, marjorie kinnan rawlings, and gertrude stein. I added some photos.
On Hemingway’: Show presents three female perspectives on legendary writer
“[Ernest] Hemingway presents a difficulty, because he was abusive to women, and to other men, and most of all, to himself, committing suicide in 1961,” said Betty Jean Steinshouer, a nationally-acclaimed Chautauqua performer explaining why she turned to three of the women she has regularly performed in one-woman shows all over the country since 1988. “Fortunately, three of the women I portray were his contemporaries.”
Steinshouer’s performance style is audience-interactive, rather than theatrical, although what she does has been called “tour-de-force theater.” She aims to have an in-depth conversation with the audience, rather than lecture or merely entertain.
“On Hemingway” consists of three parts, in three women’s voices. First will be Willa Cather, who addresses Hemingway as part of the Lost Generation, that group of writers and ex-patriots who exiled themselves to Europe after World War I.
What Cather says about Hemingway “gets the ball rolling,” Steinshouer says.
“Cather knew him through his contemporaries, especially F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also because Hemingway was particularly nasty to her when she won the Pulitzer Prize.”
Act II is devoted to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who shared an editor and publisher with Hemingway, and who adored him even as she realized his foibles. Steinshouer sees Rawlings’ as the most valuable perspective on this great macho-man writer.
“He who glorified bull-fighting, womanizing, and war can be seen from Marjorie’s view as a creative spirit, struggling to make himself understood, against the heavy odds that are placed on boys growing up in this society. Rawlings understood Hemingway as a man, which not many women do.”
In part three, the audience will have a rare opportunity to meet Gertrude Stein, who was Hemingway’s mentor in Paris, when he was working as a newspaper reporter for the Toronto Star and struggling to find his voice in fiction. Sorting out the love-hate relationship between Stein and Hemingway has been one of Steinshouer’s greatest challenges as a scholar.
“It had a great deal to do with Alice B. Toklas and Hemingway’s need to prove his masculinity to absolutely everyone he met,” she said. “In Miss Toklas he found someone who was unimpressed with his bravado, and who defended Gertrude Stein at all costs.”
One of the most compelling aspects of “On Hemingway” is that each of the three women who speak of him preceded him in death. Cather died in 1947, Rawlings in 1953, and Stein in 1946. For Betty Jean Steinshouer, it lends an emotional impact to what they said, especially Rawlings.
“She says something quite prophetic, although she could not know that he would shoot himself less than a decade later.”
Marco Island Historical Society invites the community to attend a special presentation at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 22, in the Rose Hall Auditorium, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island.
MIHS members are admitted free and non-members are asked to pay $10.
During the past year, I had a desktop calendar delivering me (mostly) daily doses of the “365 Greatest Things Ever Said.” While I could dispute the breadth of that claim, I did hang onto several items that struck a chord with me.
I’ll share a few of those words of wisdom with you:
“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.” — writer William Faulkner.
• “The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either.’” — comedian Ricky Gervais.
“We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?” — writer/filmmaker Jean Cocteau.
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What’s for lunch?’” — writer A.A. Milne.
“When you’re right, nobody remembers. When you’re wrong, nobody forgets.” — boxer Muhammad Ali
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to shut your mouth.” — writer Ernest Hemingway.
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” — writer Isaac Asimov.
“Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never play cards with a man named Doc. And never lay down with (someone) who’s got more troubles than you.” — writer Nelson Algren.
• “Love, friendship, respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred of something.” — writer Anton Chekov
• “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” — writer James. A. Michener.
• “Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.” — statesman Benjamin Franklin.
• And finally, if you crave something truly practical to take into 2018, consider these words from poet Maya Angelou: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
Follow @kelly_hertz on Twitter.
Part Two of Trivia:
7. James Joyce would get in bar fights and then have Hemingway beat the person up.
Kenneth Schuyler Lynn has a quote in his book, Hemingway, from the novelist about Hemingway and James Joyce’s hangouts together.
“We would go out for a drink,” Hemingway told a reporter for Time magazine in the midfifties, “and Joyce would fall into a fight. He couldn’t even see the man so he’d say: ‘Deal with him, Hemingway! Deal with him!’”
8. According to Hemingway, his eyelids were particularly thin, causing him to always wake at daybreak.
This also comes from the New Yorker profile, where Ross wrote, “He always wakes at daybreak, he explained, because his eyelids are especially thin and his eyes especially sensitive to light.”
Hemingway is then quoted as saying, “I have seen all the sunrises there have been in my life, and that’s half a hundred years.” Hemingway continues, “I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast — talk them or write them down.”
9. His daily word count was tracked on a slab of cardboard on his wall.
American journalist George Plimpton interviewed Hemingway in a Madrid café during May, 1954. In his piece, Plimton writes:
He keeps track of his daily progress — “so as not to kid myself” — on a large chart made out of the side of a cardboard packing case and set up against the wall under the nose of a mounted gazelle head. The numbers on the chart showing the daily output of words differ from 450, 575, 462, 1250, back to 512, the higher figures on days Hemingway puts in extra work so he won’t feel guilty spending the following day fishing on the Gulf Stream.
10. The ending of A Farewell to Arms was rewritten 39 times.
Also in the Madrid café in 1954, Plimpton got a quote from Hemingway about rewriting the ending to one of his most famous works.
Plimpton asked how much rewriting Hemingway does, to which the novelist responded, “It depends. I rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.”
The interviewer wondered, “Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?”
Hemingway responded, “Getting the words right.”
11. This is how Hemingway said he wanted to spend his older days …
From the New Yorker profile, here is an extended description by Hemingway of how he would have ideally spent his older days:
“What I want to be when I am old is a wise old man who won’t bore,” he said, then paused while the waiter set a plate of asparagus and an artichoke before him and poured the Tavel. Hemingway tasted the wine and gave the waiter a nod. “I’d like to see all the new fighters, horses, ballets, bike riders, dames, bullfighters, painters, airplanes, sons of bitches, café characters, big international whores, restaurants, years of wine, newsreels, and never have to write a line about any of it,” he said. “I’d like to write lots of letters to my friends and get back letters. Would like to be able to make love good until I was eighty-five, the way Clemenceau could. And what I would like to be is not Bernie Baruch. I wouldn’t sit on park benches, although I might go around the park once in a while to feed the pigeons, and also I wouldn’t have any long beard, so there could be an old man didn’t look like Shaw.” He stopped and ran the back of his hand along his beard, and looked around the room reflectively. “Have never met Mr. Shaw,” he said. “Never been to Niagara Falls, either. Anyway, I would take up harness racing. You aren’t up near the top at that until you’re over seventy-five. Then I could get me a good young ball club, maybe, like Mr. Mack. Only I wouldn’t signal with a program—so as to break the pattern. Haven’t figured out yet what I would signal with. And when that’s over, I’ll make the prettiest corpse since Pretty Boy Floyd. Only suckers worry about saving their souls. Who the hell should care about saving his soul when it is a man’s duty to lose it intelligently, the way you would sell a position you were defending, if you could not hold it, as expensively as possible, trying to make it the most expensive position that was ever sold. It isn’t hard to die.” He opened his mouth and laughed, at first soundlessly and then loudly. “No more worries,” he said. With his fingers, he picked up a long spear of asparagus and looked at it without enthusiasm. “It takes a pretty good man to make any sense when he’s dying,” he said.
Happy New year to all:
Below is the Huffington Post’s list of Hemingway Trivia BY TODD VAN LULING. A few were new to me. Best to all for 2018. Love, Christine
11 Things You Didn’t Know About Ernest Hemingway
1. Hemingway apparently once lived, got drunk and slept with a bear.
Former New Yorker staff writer Lillian Ross had a long profile of Hemingway published in 1950.
During a section of the story where she’s at a bar with Hemingway, talking about bears at the Bronx zoo, Ross includes an aside about how the writer gets along well with animals, writing, “In Montana, once, he lived with a bear, and the bear slept with him, got drunk with him, and was a close friend.”
As this fact simultaneously seems insane and doesn’t readily appear elsewhere, it’s unclear whether Ross’ aside was an exclusive for her interview or if the story is more of a legend.
2. F. Scott Fitzgerald once had Hemingway look at his penis to judge if it was adequate.
In Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast — a collection of stories about his time in Paris as an expat during the 1920s — there’s a long interaction with the Great Gatsby author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this exchange, according to Hemingway, Fitzgerald confesses that his wife, Zelda, said that his penis is too small or exactly, “She said it was a matter of measurements.”
Hemingway tells Fitzgerald to follow him to the men’s room and then says, “‘You’re perfectly fine,’ I said. ‘You are OK. There’s nothing wrong with you.” He continued reassuring Fitzgerald, “You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened. Go over to the Louvre and look at the people in the statues and then go home and look at yourself in the mirror in profile.’”
3. Hemingway once said that he can’t think of any better way to spend money than on champagne.
In the New Yorker profile from 1950, Hemingway gets frustrated at the group he’s having lunch with for thinking they can leave the table before all of the champagne is finished.
“‘The half bottle of champagne is the enemy of man,’” Hemingway said. We all sat down again,” writes Ross in the New Yorker.
Hemingway is then quoted while pouring more champagne as saying, “If I have any money, I can’t think of any better way of spending money than on champagne.”
4. The KGB secretly recruited Hemingway to be their spy, and he accepted.
According to a 2009 story in The Guardian, Hemingway went by the code name “Argo,” while somewhat working for the KGB. The article talks about the publication of Yale University Press’ Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which claims that Hemingway was listed as a KGB operative in America during Stalin-era Moscow.
According to the documents obtained by the book, Hemingway was recruited in 1941 and was fully willing to help, but never actually provided any useful information. It’s unclear if that’s because Hemingway was doing this all as a lark, or if he just wasn’t that good of a spy.
“The name’s Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway,” is a lot of syllables.
5. While in his later years, the FBI conducted surveillance on Hemingway.
Hemingway biographer and personal friend of the author for 14 years, A.E. Hotchner, wrote a New York Times opinion piece in 2011, claiming that Hemingway spent his last days incredibly paranoid that the FBI was following him and that this paranoia ended up being justified.
“It’s the worst hell. The goddamnedest hell. They’ve bugged everything. That’s why we’re using Duke’s car. Mine’s bugged. Everything’s bugged. Can’t use the phone. Mail intercepted,” Hotchner quotes Hemingway as telling him shortly after the author’s 60th birthday. Hotchner remembered thinking Hemingway was losing it as the author went on and on about how his phones were being tapped and his mail intercepted.
Hotchner was then shocked when the FBI released its Hemingway file due to a Freedom of Information petition, where they admitted Hemingway was put on the surveillance list in the 1940s by J. Edgar Hoover. “Over the following years, agents filed reports on him and tapped his phones,” Hotchner wrote. According to Hotchner, he’s had to find a way to reconcile his memories of Hemingway losing it in his final years — which partially led to extensive electroshock therapy — with the author actually being right.
6. Hemingway felt it “would be very dangerous” for someone to not attend multiple fights a year.
In that same New Yorker profile from 1950, Ross writes about what happened when she suggested what Hemingway thought was a lackluster fight:
Hemingway gave me a long, reproachful look. “Daughter, you’ve got to learn that a bad fight is worse than no fight,” he said. We would all go to a fight when he got back from Europe, he said, because it was absolutely necessary to go to several good fights a year. “If you quit going for too long a time, then you never go near them,” he said. “That would be very dangerous.” He was interrupted by a brief fit of coughing. “Finally,” he concluded, “you end up in one room and won’t move.”
Part two to appear in two weeks. Best, Christine