An Irish writer follows Hem/Fitzgerald Trail

Hem and Scott
Hem and Scott

Ciara O’Callaghan, who is a travel writer for the Irish Times, just wrote an article on trailing F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and following their European, American, and Caribbean travels. Noting that they were the Jekyll and Hyde equivalent in the literary world with Hemingway being the ultimate man’s man, bullfighter, and womanizer and Fitzgerald being the eternal outsider and hopeless romantic, Ms. O’Callaghan notes that they nevertheless shared in common a fondness for hard and heavy drinking and quality writing.

finca-vigia
Finca Vigia
Harry's Bar
Harry’s Bar

 

They first met in Paris in 1925 when Fitzgerald was close to the top of the literary world and Hemingway was a mere newly-arrived hopeful. Ms. O’Callaghan traipsed from the Dingo Bar in Paris where the two writers first met, to Harry’s New York, and The Ritz, all in Paris and then traveled to the Finca Vigia outside Havana. While in the vicinity, she visited the El Floridita to sample some Papa Dobles plus a few daiquiris and sit next to the bronze statue of Papa at the bar.martini

She then moved on to Montgomery, Alabama to soak up some F. Scott ambiance. It was in Alabama that Fitzgerald made a home with his wife Zelda and ultimately their daughter Scotty. 

Zelda
Zelda

 Zelda came from a wealthy established Alabama family and her father–a Judge–was quite sure that this “writer” could not meet his daughter’s needs. Zelda, however, was in love and Fitzgerald was crazy over-the-moon in love with Zelda and off they went to Europe as a young married couple.

Scott and Zelda from Midnight in Paris
Scott and Zelda from Midnight in Paris

 

As Fitzgerald’s star began to fade, primarily due to drink and lack of focus which probably was due to drink, Hemingway’s star began to rise. Ms. O’Callaghan notes that Hemingway is often cast in the role of Hyde, i.e. more fiend than friend, known for criticizing Fitzgerald behind his back. Less known are his kind words to Fitzgerald and his constant reassurance that “you can write twice as well now as you ever could.”

My reading suggests that they both were always seeking reassurance from each other and even when they had a falling out, they would communicate indirectly through Max Perkins wondering what the other was doing. Perkins would accommodate and let each know something about the other. Fitzgerald always referred to Hemingway as “the greatest living writer of this century.” The were the original frenemies, before there was a word for it.

Key West
Key West
Max perkins
Max perkins

 

In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway does backhandedly put Fitzgerald down, but please let’s recall that it was published posthumously in 1964 without editing by Hemingway. For all we know, he would have changed that significantly. He could be cruel but he also could be extremely generous and loyal to his friends.

 Ms. O’Callaghan ends her article by quoting Hemingway who once said that, “You should never go on trips with anyone you do not love,” and she notes that luckily for herself she loves both writers and enjoyed her travels with “them.”. Ditto here, although Hemingway is always first in my heart.

Hemingway age 30
Hemingway age 30

 

 

 

Visit To the Hemingway Collection in Boston Part 1

img_0373

 

Kennedy Library, home of the Hemingway Collection, Boston
Kennedy Library, home of the Hemingway Collection, Boston

I was in Boston for a few days and took the opportunity to visit the Hemingway collection at the JFK Library and Museum. It’s about 20 minutes depending on traffic from downtown in a cab but shuttle buses travel out there more inexpensively as well. It is right on the water and very modern as you can see.

The present exhibit at the Hemingway Collection is entitled Hemingway Between the Wars, which covers much if not most of his career. The Old Man and the Sea, The Dangerous Summer, A Moveable Feast, among others came after World War II, (some posthumously. Hem died in 1961 and A Moveable Feast came out in 1964, edited primarily by Hemingway’s surviving wife, Mary. Garden of Eden  was also posthumously published.) but The Sun Also Rises, Men Without Women, A Farewell to Arms, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and many of the more famous short stories, i.e. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Green Hills of Africa, all were done between the wars.

Green hills of Africa
Green hills of Africa

Although Hemingway had his first great romance (with Agnes Von Kurowsky, his attending nurse after Hemingway was injured) during the war–not between the wars, the famous photo of her and Hemingway was in the exhibit. While I knew well that F. Scott Fitzgerald had done some serious editing on The Sun Also Rises and cut out the beginning and told Hemingway to start at a different place—and the rest is history—they had the actual letter Fitzgerald wrote to Hemingway expressing his disappointment at the beginning and making his suggestion to cut in strong terms. Uncharacteristically and probably because he was young and not yet confident, Hemingway did not resist and took Fitzgerald’s advice, much to the improvement of the book.

 1918 Nurse Agnes von Kurowsky and American Red Cross volunteer Ernest Hemingway, Milan, Italy. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
1918 Nurse Agnes von Kurowsky and American Red Cross volunteer Ernest Hemingway, Milan, Italy. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Hem and Scott
Hem and Scott

 

There also was a list of titles that Hemingway considered for The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1936). For those of you not familiar with this story, it is set in Africa and was published in September 1936 in Cosmopolitan Magazine concurrently with The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The story was eventually adapted to the screen as “The Macomber Affair” (1947).

The story deals with a dysfunctional marriage between Francis and Margot who are on a big game safari in Africa with a professional hunter Robert Wilson. On his first time out, Francis had panicked when a wounded lion charged him, which humiliated him in front of his wife who took far too much pleasure in mocking him about his act of cowardice. It is suggested that she sleeps with Robert Wilson. The next day the party hunt buffalo. Two are killed and one is wounded and retreats. It’s generally bad form, not to mention cruel all around, to leave a wounded animal as it is, and Francis and Wilson proceed to track him so that they can put him out of his misery. When they find the buffalo, it charges Francis Macomber. He stands his ground and fires, but his shots are too high. At the last second Macomber kills the buffalo with his last bullet and Margot fires a shot from her gun, which hits Macomber in the skull and kills him. Good times!

Hadley
Hadley

(Sorry, as a divorce lawyer I sometimes have a dark sense of humor on relationships.) Anyway, at the exhibit, there is a list of some of the alternate titles that Hemingway considered such as Marriage is a Dangerous Game, A Marriage has Terminated, The Cult of Violence, Marriage as a Bond.

Happy

HAPPY On the Sea

Fitzgerald's advice typed up so we can read it easily. Actual handwritten letter was in the display.

 

TO BE CONTINUED Next POST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Hemingway’s Letters

For readers of Ernest Hemingway, it can be tempting to mix the iconic writer’s fictional characters with the public persona of the writer himself. He never kept a journal and apparently integrated many of his personal experiences into his art.

More of Hemingway’s letters are being published and they are so revealing and fun. For example, Hemingway is known as being a bit of a bully to his wives yet some of the letters show great sensitivities to Martha Gellhorn  and admiration and support for her career as a writer. Please take a look when you have time.

Best, Christine

EH5598P 1940 Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH5598P 1940
Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Play in LA about Hem and Scott: UPDATE RE CAST!

Ty Mayberry and Adam J. Harrington in Scott and Hem at the Falcon Theatre (photo by Jill Mamey).

If you are in the Toluca Lake area, this looks good, fun, thought provoking! There is a new cast member playing F. Scott Fitzgerald: now played by Kevin Blake.  Please go to see it if you can!  I have heard good things.

Love, Christine

 

Scott and Hem is a brilliant play about two brilliant literary giants– F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway– being presented at the Falcon Theatre from Oct. 14 to Nov. 15. The show puts the spotlight on F. Scott Fitzgerald (Kevin Blake) and Ernest Hemingway (Ty Mayberry) wrestling with the personal destruction that comes with their sparks of art and the perils of their creativity. It is a combative comedy fueled by Scott and Hem’s friendship and intense rivalry. The two legendary authors reunite in 1937 at Fitzgerald’s home in Hollywood’s fabled Garden of Allah, chaperoned by the saucy Ms. Eve Montaigne (Jackie Seiden). There they explore their mysterious bond and the genius that first brought them together, and ultimately tore them apart. It is written by Mark St. Germain, and Dimitri Toscas is at the helm of the show so perfectly cast. Scott and Hem is presented by Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake. Go to www.falcontheatre.com. #

More Hemingway and Fitzgerald

James Joyce
James Joyce
Scott and Zelda as seen in Midnight in Paris
Scott and Zelda as seen in Midnight in Paris
Hem and Scott
Hem and Scott

In the world of renowned and important authors, it can be argued that no writer has ever given us as many interesting real life tales and correspondence than the “Papa” of 20th century fiction: Ernest Hemingway

They were the top dogs, supporters and admirers of the other. A few anecdotes of their relationship. note however that much as I love Hemingway, some of the anecdotes in A Moveable Feast may be read with some sense of possible embellishment–on occasion.  Still, the relationship between Hem and Fitz is always fascinating.

Scott
Scott

 

THE NEXT VOLUME OF HEMINGWAY’S LETTERS 1926-1929

Just when you think everything that can possibly be written about Hemingway or his life or his writing has been done, another level of knowledge is uncovered.

Writing
Writing

 

The third volume of Hemingway’s letters, which covers the period 1926 to 1929, has been published. Those were truly wonderful years. He wrote The Sun Also Rises in about six weeks—at least for the first draft—in 1926. It was published in 1927. These letters cover correspondence with some of the literary luminaries of the day as well as cover a very rich and turbulent period for Hemingway.

Hadley
Hadley

We are all familiar with the spare prose and tight structure of his writing. Consequently, his letters are surprisingly rambling and fun. He writes very honestly about his divorce from his first wife, Hadley, and of the pain of falling in love with a woman who became their mutual friend, Vogue journalist Pauline Pfeiffer. He also wrote of the drama of the birth of his first son, Patrick, by cesarean section during which Pauline almost died. It also was at this period of time that he relocated to Key West and completed his second book Men Without Women.

Hem and Hadley
Hem and Hadley

 

While Hemingway aficionados are familiar with his dislike of his mother throughout his life, it may be less well known that he was very fond of his father who killed himself. In the letter to Pauline’s mother following his father’s suicide, he wrote, “I was awfully fond of my father—and still feel very badly about it all and not able to get it out of my mind and my book into my mind.”

 

Seventy percent of the letters have never been published before. They reveal a side to Hemingway that has had very little exposure: his intense drive to be the best writer out there, his insecurities, his enjoyment of a little gossip. He wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald asking him to write “all the dirt.”

Hem and Scott
Hem and Scott

 

It also seems clear that the culminating event in A Farewell to Arms, i.e. Catherine’s death during childbirth—is based in large part on Pauline’s difficulties. At the end of A Farewell to Arms when the nurse asks Frederic Henry if he’s proud of his newborn son, Frederic’s response is almost verbatim from a Hemingway letter in which he replied, “No, he nearly killed his mother.”

 

Hemingway had always asked that his letters never be published, but his fourth wife Mary agreed to the publication of some and I’m not familiar enough with the details of the estate to know exactly how these came to be published.

Pauline
Pauline
I love these letters. read them.
I love these letters. read them.

Read the letters and enjoy. Also, if you’re in New York catch the exhibit that’s at the Morgan Library. You won’t regret it. Love, Christine