New Book about The Sun Also Rises: Everyone Behaves Badly

No one defined masculinity more thoroughly than Ernest Hemingway, particularly in his best years, i.e. the 30’s and 40’s. I just read a review of a new book out by Lesley M. M. Blume, called “Everybody Behaves Badly:  The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece, The Sun Also Rises.” 

 

I always liked that quote from The Sun Also Rises. Maybe it’s just cynicism, but I prefer to think that it’s realism.  The end of that quote is “Everyone behaves badly—given the chance.”

In addition to discussing the real life people upon whom the characters in the book are based, Ms. Blume’s book discusses the issue of sexuality in “The Sun Also Rises” as well as in Hemingway’s posthumously published 1986 novel, The Garden of Eden with its gender-bending main characters well ahead of their time.  Hemingway was “one of the last authors to be a celebrity in his own right, back when ‘manly’ was a good thing.

Lesley Blume with Valerie HemingwayLMMB VH Plaza

 

The book attempts to answer the question of whether Hemingway’s persona of hyper-masculinity was real or fake and notes that “we haven’t solved the problem of how to be a man in the modern age and Hemingway was a caricature of the last generation’s attempt to do so, as Donald Trump may be of ours.” We no longer admire—thank God and for good reason—killing large animals in Africa or watching them die in bull fights. The concept of masculinity is complex and evolving.

Parenthetically, I highly recommend watching the documentary called The True Gen.  It’s about Hemingway’s friendship with Gary Cooper.  Gary Cooper apparently was always a gentlemen and Hemingway…wasn’t always restrained.  Yet, somehow they had an extremely strong friendship that lasted for a lifetime—which was a rarity for Hemingway—with Cooper at times forcing Hemingway to stop with the image and be real. Despite personalities that were almost polar opposites, both worked hard, were more sensitive that you might suspect, and hid parts of themselves for the image each wanted to project. It worked for them.  The movie is a gem and is well worth watching.I found it extremely touching. Cooper and Hemingway died 6 weeks apart: Cooper of cancer and shortly thereafter, Hemingway killed himself.

Coop
Coop

So the book by Lesley Blume sounds valuable and additive to Hemingway analysis. She knows the period well and I expect the book will ring true and be a load of fun to read.

Wife Number 3: Martha Gellhorn

Hemingway and Martha
Hemingway and Martha
Dancing
Dancing
Martha Gellhorn
Martha Gellhorn

About a year ago, I began doing posts on the wives and got sidetracked on other Hemingway issues. I posted on Hadley and Pauline, then diverted. Hemingway was married to Hadley Richardson for about seven years, i.e. 1921 to 1927. He was married to Pauline Pfeiffer from 1927 to 1940. He was married to Martha Gellhorn from 1940 to 1945. He met her in Key West when she was on vacation with her mother. Tall, attractive, ambitious, blond, smart, witty, and charming, he kept company with her first behind Pauline’s back, including when both were covering the Spanish Civil War. Martha admired his talent and bravery and he admired her looks, her talent and her courage. Hadley, Pauline, and Mary (wife no. 4) were deferential to Hemingway in the sense of wanting to please him. Martha was not. It was the one marriage he claims to have regretted and she certainly wanted nothing to do with him after the divorce.

 Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

While Hemingway was hard to be married to, he had a kind, sweet side as well. A biographer of Martha Gellhorn uncovered some letters recently that made clear that he was very supportive of her career and all that she accomplished and could accomplish. That being said, he was at times jealous that she would take off to go on assignments as opposed to staying with him in Cuba when he preferred to have her there.

 

Martha was a strong woman ahead of her time. She was also a good friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and was a first-rate journalist in her own right. She never had children of her own, but adopted two. When her health was to the point of not being recoverable, she killed herself in London at the age of 89

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Cuba is hot.
Cuba is hot.
Martha
Martha

 

Photos only with commentary: Part 2. The Pauline years

Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic
Key West
Key West
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline Ernest Hemingway with sons (Patrick, John "Bumby", and Gregory "Gigi"), at Club de Cazadores del Cerro, Cuba. Photograph in Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline
Hem on beach
Hem on beach
Hem's Dining room in Key West
Hem’s Dining room in Key West

Mary Welsh Hemingway, Hemingway’s Widow

Hem and Mary in happy days
Hem and Mary in happy days

Minn. native Mary Hemingway, wife of Ernest, memorialized in Bemidji

Mary and Hem
Mary and Hem

Mary was Hemingway’s fourth wife and his widow.  She took a fair amount of abuse. I was never certain if she truly loved him that much or if she loved being Mrs. Ernest Hemingway that much.  She survived his infatuation with Adriana Ivancich, his bad behavior and heavy drinking that was the precursor to that bad behavior and she helped as ill health hit both of them, but particularly Hemingway.

Hemingway seemed to like all sorts of women but the kind that he married was level headed and smart.  He never left Pauline for Jane Kendall Mason, beautiful though she was, as she was emotionally unstable.  Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary were all stable, intelligent women.  All but Hadley were journalists in their own right.  All but Martha were very deferential to Hemingway and perhaps that’s why he always said that was the one marriage he regretted.on the porch

Mary
Mary

Anyway, Mary is being honored in her hometown in MN.  All of the other three wives strangely were from St. Louis.

Married to a writer
Married to a writer
Mary's book about Papa
Mary’s book about Papa
Lovely bride
Lovely bride

The “Hemingway Bar” in Prague

A Moveable FeastFrom creating cocktails named after Hemingway’s wives, carefully selecting and crafting the beautiful interior and creating a massive selection of rums and quality absinthe, it’s been one hell of a ride

A cocktail connoisseur has just opened a bar in Prague where this is apparently a novel concept. Take a look.

The end of Something
The end of Something

Mining for Gold

 

Earlier this year, a trove of about 2,500 documents from Hemingway’s home in Cuba, Finca Vigia, were shipped to the Hemingway collection in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.  They were digitized and many have already been made available.  The documents include letters, lists, diaries, telegrams, insurance policies, bank statements, passports, a page of his son, Patrick’s, homework, and many Christmas cards.

The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea

For whom the bell tolls

For those of us who love and follow all things Hemingway, it’s an enormous boon that he was a packrat.  He seems to have saved everything.  In 2008, another group of documents and letters were sent to the library, including an alternate ending for For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan lives?? 

In reading about the material that went to Boston, I felt sad all over again.  When Hemingway and Mary left, they didn’t know that they would not be going back.  Books were left open, shoes were left out, a Glenn Miller record was on the phonograph.

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

After Hemingway’s death in July of 1961, relations with Cuba could not have been much worse.  The Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in April of 1961 and our two countries were not cozy.  Nevertheless, John F. Kennedy quietly arranged for Mary Hemingway to travel to Havana and meet with Fidel Castro.  They agreed that Mary could take paintings and papers out of the country and in return, she gave the Finca Vigia and its remaining contents to the Cuban people.

The property declined significantly, but due to the efforts of the Finca Vigia Foundation, which was started by Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway’s long-time editor, the decline has been arrested.  Documents are being preserved and the house has been shored up with some repairs taking place.

Mary in older age
Mary in older age

It was interesting to read about the documentation and how it came through in a very random way.  In the middle of a folder of Christmas cards, a recipe might appear or an important letter about Hemingway’s style.  A telegram from Archibald MacLeish congratulating him on For Whom the Bell Tolls is followed by Mary’s hamburger recipes.  There are logs from his boat, the Pilar, as well as correspondence that Mary had.  According to Susan Wrynn, the curator of the Hemingway collection at the JFK Library, Mary Hemingway, while packing up papers to take back to America also burned some messages which were sent to Mary but were believed not to be written by Hemingway but by a newspaper man named Herb Clark, an old flame of Mary’s in the Paris days.  Perhaps she thought that her own correspondence wasn’t important?

Hem at typewriter
Hem at typewriter

There are also stories with edits by Hemingway critiquing his own work, noting “you can phrase things clearer and better.”  Or, “you can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.”  All in all, it’s quite a find and addition to this amazing collection.

Intelligent and happy?
Intelligent and happy?

Paula McLain on THE PARIS WIFE

Paula McLain The Paris Wife author
Paula McLain
The Paris Wife author

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

 

Married to a man who hates mother
Married to a man who hates mother
Paris of Hemingway
Paris of Hemingway

 

I came across this footage and liked it.  You might enjoy seeing Ms. McLain talk about her research and how she went about making fiction of non-fiction.  I enjoyed it even though I want to be her!

Paula McLain The Paris Wife author
Paula McLain
The Paris Wife author

http://catholicbelle.wordpress.com/tag/ernest-hemingway/

Myth # 3: Hemingway as Misogynist??

The one thing I know is that a woman should never marry a man who hated his mother. Martha Gellhorn.

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket. Ernest Hemingway

Married to a man who hates mother
Married to a man who hates mother

Hemingway Misogynist (Definition) – noun, jargon. A male heterosexual individual whose misogynistic beliefs are seen predominantly when he is in a relationship with a strong, independent female who is, most likely, smarter than him. The Hemingway Misogynist is capable of having powerful lifelong friendship bonds with a few strong, independent women smarter than him, but only if he never enters into a sexual relationship with them. He will often say and believe hateful things about women in general, citing his own female friends as individual exceptions. Don’t sleep with this dude, because he will leave tire marks on your lawn when you publish your dissertation to rave critical reviews. Hemingway misogynists, Hemingway cats. Andrea Grimes

I'm insane due to men
I’m insane due to men

Hmm. May I protest?? Pauline, Martha, and Mary were all smart strong women.  And Hadley was no dope. And he seems to have slept with all of his wives.  Pauline and Mary did tend to defer to Hem but I’d say he liked that both were smart.  Martha did challenge him and he did like his wives to be home with life revolving around him.  However, I never saw him as disliking women.  He just liked his life the way he liked it.

 

If we look at his literary women, what can we see? Brett, from The Sun Also Rises was smart and strong although troubled. Jake presumably slept with Brett before his injury.  Catherine, from A Farewell to Arms, was a career woman before her time and she drove a good amount of that relationship.  Maria, in For Whom the Bell Tolls, was young but strong. Pilar was a mountain of a woman, brave, and a hero in my book. Not one was a wimp or simpering girly-girl who just wanted to be dominated.  Falling in love is not the same as wanting to be subservient.

Love is the answer (ha !)
Love is the answer (ha !)

Yup, there were many manipulative bitchy women in the short stories and novellas but many of the men were no prizes either. Helen in the Snows of Kilimanjaro and Margo in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber were wealthy, entitled, and limited. Still Harry in The Snows freely admitted his weaknesses and Helen’s efforts to help him as a writer. When honest, he admitted it was he who chose to be seduced by the easy life more than it was Helen forcing his hand.  Margo was not easy in her condescending way but Francis was without backbone until the tragic end.

Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic

Hemingway was attracted to women with spirit: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Mason, Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein, Adriana.  All had opinions, attitude, and grace. Yes, Hem hated his mother but he didn’t hate women-kind. In fact, there is ample evidence that he enjoyed women quite a bit not just as lovers but as friends and sounding boards. But, hey, what do I know? Do you think he did?

Marlene
Marlene

 

Hemingway and his “thing” for Women’s Hair

Famous Couple
Maria and her Robert

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Everyone’s commented on it:  Hemingway’s preoccupation with women’s hair.  Hemingway’s mother, Grace, whom he purported to hate, had auburn hair that was her pride and joy.  She wore it often in the Gibson girl style of the day and was quite proud of it.  In almost every work of fiction that Hemingway has written–and nonfiction if you want to count A Moveable Feast–the time spent on the description of any of the main woman’s character’s hair is significant.

Martha's blond hair
Martha’s blond hair

Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises had short, swept back hair.  She wears it cut “short like a man.”   Catherine Barclay had soft hair and “wonderfully beautiful hair.  I would lie sometimes watching her twist it up in the in the light that came in the open door and it shone even in the night as water shines sometimes just before it is really daylight.”

Maria, whom Robert Jordan called the rabbit because of her short-cropped hair cut off by the Fascists who gagged her with her own braids which was growing out, had hair the “color of wheat.” See above, Ingrid Bergman as Maria. Gary Cooper as Robert Jordan. In The Garden of Eden, the wife cuts her hair to match her husband’s and they both are attracted to the same woman.  The Garden of Eden, however, was published posthumously and as I’ve noted in earlier posts, I don’t think the same standards can be applied to something published after the author’s death since clearly he hadn’t felt it was ready to be published at the time of his death.  A huge editing may have been in the offing.L2008.87 025

In his actual life, Hadley had lovely red hair.  Shortly after their marriage she cut it short.  It’s not clear whether she did so to please Hemingway or just for ease of care after she had Bumby.  Hemingway seems to be one of the few men who prefer women with short hair.

Hadley
Hadley

 

Pauline had a boyishly short pixie cut.  She had very dark hair and it was quite stylish on her.  Hemingway liked it.  At one point during their marriage, when he was clearly attracted to Jane Mason, a socialite and a stunning, legendary strawberry blond, Pauline dyed her hair blond and arrived home with this completely new look.  There is no record of whether Hemingway liked it or reacted to it but she didn’t keep it blond for very long.

Hem, boys, and cat
Hem, boys, and cat
Sara Murphy and Pauline Hemingway
Sara Murphy and Pauline Hemingway

Martha had swinging long, blond hair when Hem met her which at times was shorter.   Mary had short, swept back curly blond hair that framed her face.

Martha
Martha in short hair

 

From their first meeting, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein were simpatico.  They did have a falling out several years later and despite the fact that Gertrude Stein clearly was living in a lesbian relationship with Alice B. Toklas, he maintained that there was a true animal attraction and that at least from his end he would have liked to have consummated the relationship had the situation been different.  He describes Gertrude as having lovely dark immigrant hair and the sentiment is one of admiration.  Her hair also was short and swept back at times, a style Hem favored, and at other times, longer and pinned up.Gertrude Stein and Bumby

 

Scholars have pondered for years about whether this preoccupation came from the fact that Hemingway’s mother dressed him in girl’s clothes from a young age.  She often represented to outsiders that he and his sister, Marcelline, were twins (they were about a year apart) and Grace maintained his hair at a feminine length.  On occasion she called him Ernestine until he was about 6-years old.  At that point he rebelled and demanded a hair cut and boy’s clothes as well as to be called by his real name.  We can get psychological about the implications but as we all know, he grew up to be the icon of masculine virility.

Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale

 

While too much can be made of this element of Hemingway’s writing, it is something to think about and it is an interesting theme that runs through the novels in particular.

 

My new puppy on a good hair day
My new puppy on a good hair day
Not a great hair day
Not a great hair day
I have beautiful hair!
I have beautiful hair!

 

WAS LOSING THE VALISE GOOD OR BAD OR . . . SOMETHING ELSE?

 

In 1922, Hadley did the only thing that Hemingway has ever seriously criticized her for:  She lost the valise that had his early manuscripts.  Hadley was heading out on a train at the Gare de Lyon Paris railway station to meet Hemingway for vacation of skiing.  She filled a valise with his early manuscripts, parts of short stories and all notes that she could find, in the belief that he could work on them while they were away.Valise

 

When she got off of the train, she realized that she didn’t have the valise.  To say that she was horrified doesn’t begin to describe how she felt.  Hem found her in tears, totally inconsolable, and while on the surface he took it better than anyone ever could have thought he would, it’s the one thing that rankled for just about forever.

He was more than jolly on the holiday but was devastated when talking to his writer friends.  Hemingway went back to Paris immediately and a reward was offered for the manuscripts return but they never were found.  The early works would have given great insight into the development and evolution of Hemingway’s writing style.Gertrude Stein and Bumby

All that was salvaged was an early version of Up in Michigan and My Old Man, some sketches, and some notes for short stories.  What were lost were 11 stories and 20 poems that Hemingway wrote between 1921 and 1922.  Ezra Pound suggested that since Hem knew what he was writing about, he should be able to recreate the stories in a better way.  However, as most writers believe, your first efforts capture the raw power of your intent and then it’s refined.  I know from my own writing that it’s rare that I can recreate the vision of the first draft, even if the first draft is not very good.

It should have been me

 

Hem tried to be cheerful despite this catastrophe but he did not write on the trip and it’s likely due to the incessant pain of this loss of his works. A publisher however wanted to publish My Old Man and he did begin to write after that. The shocking Up In Michigan was always a tough sell, particularly in the twenties, and his parents found it almost too upsetting to read. His mother’s criticism of it for its sexual themes was especially biting when Hen sought her approval despite his disdain for her.

Some critics and Hemingway scholars believe that since the first drafts were Hemingway’s first efforts at the economy of style that he developed over time, his use of simple language, the idea of leaving out as much as you put in, the loss may have benefited him by letting him begin afresh with the knowledge he’d learned.  That’s putting a kind spin on it all.  There is no way the loss was good but it was not, perhaps, devastating.  Since Hemingway went on to have a career that’s unparalleled in literary history, it wasn’t crippling.

Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris

 

Those who knew Hemingway said he mentioned this incident often in later years.  In early years he didn’t talk about it and preferred that no one else talk about it.  It was just that painful.  The incident was discussed in A Moveable Feast.  Hemingway’s sister and some of his friends believe that this event was the beginning of the breakup of the marriage and ­ that Hem never forgave Hadley.  As cantankerous as Hemingway could be, I think he did forgive her since in essence A Movable Feast is a love poem to her and their life in Paris in the 1920s.Paris train