Expansion of Hemingway Division of the JFK Library in Boston

Good day!  A new display at the JFK Library, Hemingway Collection. I will catch it in the next few weeks. Hope you are having a great summer. Best, Christine

Hemingway’s legacy inspires new JFK Museum display


Associated Press

Friday, June 29, 2018
BOSTON — A new Ernest Hemingway exhibition puts a fresh spin on the author’s colorful life and legacy by displaying his own books and belongings alongside pop culture items from his time.

“Ernest Hemingway: A Life Inspired” opened Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which has become the leading research center for Hemingway studies.

Visitors to the expanded show will see manuscripts for “A Farewell to Arms,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and other Hemingway works — but they’ll also glimpse popular paperback books from the first half of the 20th century, as well as magazines, photographs and other mementos pulled straight from his world.

It’s an elaborate attempt to portray “Papa” in his proper context.

“It is now our pleasure to present a permanent Ernest Hemingway exhibit that tells the writer’s story by weaving together his literary masterpieces with his worldly inspirations,” said James Roth, the JFK Library’s deputy director.

“The exhibit places the viewer in Hemingway’s shoes, seeing the people and places that inspired his greatest works,” he said.

It includes many of the papers, photos, fishing rods, mounted animal trophies and other quirky personal belongings that Hemingway’s widow, Mary, retrieved from the author’s former estate in Cuba with help from JFK after her husband died in 1961. She later offered a trove of items to Jacqueline Kennedy for safekeeping and display at the Boston library, which opened in 1979.

Kennedy Library, home of the Hemingway Collection, Boston

It’s since become the world’s No. 1 repository of Hemingway lore.

Hemingway and Kennedy never met, but the late president was an admirer. He wrote Hemingway for permission to use his oft-quoted phrase “grace under pressure” in the opening to JFK’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning “Profiles in Courage.”

The new permanent display builds and expands on a 2016 temporary but ambitious exhibition, “Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars.” Curated by Hilary Justice, the presidential library’s Hemingway expert, the latest presentation draws from virtually every aspect of JFK’s vast Hemingway collection.

full quote of “the world breaks everyone”

On show are first editions of Hemingway’s major works; personal photos from his own collection; and photos of the women who inspired him. (Spoiler alert: Hemingway had a reputation for being a “man’s man” and a misogynist, but strong women helped shape his art.)

There are also pages from early drafts of some of Hemingway’s most celebrated books.

“The Old Man and the Sea,” his last major work of fiction, figures prominently. A Live magazine edition of the novel is on display, along with 32 covers of translations done around the globe.

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All Photos for a change

Hadley
Hem with boys and cat
hem back row right
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.
Hemingway with 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.

Below are a few photos that are not published as often as some. Hope you enjoy them. Best, Christine

 

Hem and his father
Idaho
Hem with his beloved Black Dog (a spaniel stray that adopted Hem)

hem and Mary
The early days in PARIS, On the left, Hadley with Bumby
Hadley near the time of her wedding
Hem and Gregory, his third son

 

Hemingway and Bumby/Jack, his first born
Early love in WWI Agnes Von Kurowsky

Enough photos for Today!  C

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Thank you, Brandon King

I posted this in January but i read it again last night and it deserves to be posted again. A man after my own heart. Please read. I added some different photos. Best to all, Christine

Lessons from Hemingway: A guide to life

Brandon King / Red Dirt Report
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway.

YUKON, Okla. — I’m sitting an office surrounded by books I’ve read time after time. Each word, each stanza says something different yet I keep reading.

This is what it must feel like to be religious and captured by something through and through.

Each day, I attempt to write something new and original in hopes to capture the spirit of something yet to be said.

This, and many other lessons, I learned from one of the greatest American writers who ever lived.

Ernest Hemingway is more than a writer; he is something which doesn’t pass through life often.

Hemingway was a man of originality who cursed clichés and lived as though death bit at his heels. Eventually, he would give up running.

I began reading Hemingway shortly after high school. As an 18-year- old who had grown up in the small, yet growing, town of Yukon, culture was a commodity few and far between. It was as barren as it was lonely. At the time, I was reading pieces from writers like Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. They were powerful yet they lacked a punch I wanted to read.

Hem and Scott
Young Ezra

It wasn’t until a trip to Half-Price Books which my perspectives would change.

A blue book was fringed on the corners from being dropped too often. In silver letters, it read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. As a literary nerd, I had heard the name yet the words and meanings were not there yet.

Since this time, I have read all but two of Hemingway’s pieces. In a near obsessive state, I have found a voice which echoes through the halls of time and continues to speak to those tired of the monotony of modern living.

With each novel and short story, Hemingway provides a lesson for each reader. This should be the goal for any writer worth his or her words. Without meaning, a writer is no more than words on a deaf ear.

Before reading Hemingway’s work, I would find myself asking questions that people could only speculate the answer to. By the time I was finished, I would wonder why I hadn’t thought of that solution before. Though his work deals with death and despair mixed with the feelings of age and war, Hemingway shows us that the world can be seen in any light.

Subjects like love and loss are covered in almost every piece of work. It’s easy to summarize the passing of someone you once loved as painful. It’s quite another thing to express it the way Hemingway did.

Green hills of Africa

For most readers, we all have experienced what it’s like to fall in love with someone and have the hands of death snatch them before their time.

At least I have.

the Sun Also Rises. He lost Brett.

The lessons of Hemingway can give those without a voice a map to find how to express themselves. This is the problem with society as it progresses; just because civilization continues to survive does not mean that civilization grows.

For you, the reader, when was the last time you picked up a novel and read it for what it was worth? When was the last time you enjoyed yourself as you read something so profound that you could feel it touch your heart?

According to the PEW Research Institute, 26 percent of American adults have not read a single book over the past year. This means that no new ideas and possibly no creative endeavor has been established in over a year.

I could list every reason as to why you should learn the lessons of Hemingway but nothing good ever came free. As I’ve learned from Hemingway, “there is no friend as loyal as a book.”

Lessons come by easier for those wanting more out of life. Complacency is a mutual dish that is best served to those who want to survive. For writers and free-thinkers like Hemingway, there is more to life than survival.

It’s the stakes of being original and true. Listed below are the books that have helped me deal with certain issues. If you are interested, please invest in your local library and read on.

To quote Hemingway, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

A Farewell to Arms: Depression, death and love

The Sun Also Rises: Masculinity, maturity and adventure

The Old Man and the Sea: Aging, death, trying against all odds

For Whom the Bell Tolls: War, destruction, and courage

A Moveable Feast: Dealing with family, memories, and depression

The Garden of Eden: Skepticism, faith and originality

 

REDDIT

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer….

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Words of Wisdom: Truisms and Questionables: Enjoy

 I enjoyed this and added the media. Thank you as always for reading this blog. Best, Christine

Speaking Words Of Wisdom …

  • BY KELLY HERTZ kelly.hertz@yankton.net

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.

William Faulkner

• “The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either.’” — comedian Ricky Gervais.

• “In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which.” — writer George R.R. Martin.

“Insane people are always sure they’re just fine. It’s only the sane people who are willing to admit they’re crazy.” — writer Nora Ephron.

“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.

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.

Hemingway around 50 years old

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” — writer Isaac Asimov.

Portrait of the american biochemist and writer Isaac Asimov. USA, 1970s (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” — physicist Stephen Hawking.

“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.

Nelson Algren

• “Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” — comedian George Carlin

Anton Chekov

• “Love, friendship, respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred of something.” — writer Anton Chekov

•“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” — writer Lewis Carroll.

Philip K Dick “Everything in life is just for a while.” — writer Phillip K. DickPhillip K. Dick

• “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.” — writer Oscar Wilde

• “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” — writer James. A. Michener.

James Michener

• “Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.” — statesman Benjamin Franklin.

• “I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.” — humorist/writer Garrison Keillor.

• 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.

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Hemingway Huffington Post Trivia: Part one

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.

ernest hemingway

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.

hemingway fitzgerald

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.

ernest hemingway
Image: Getty

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.

ernest hemingway

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.

ernest 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

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IRMA AND THE HEMINGWAY HOUSE: KEY WEST

May the Hemingway house and all people in the path of Irma stay safe.  Best, Christine

Managers at Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home not heeding Mariel Hemingway’s plea to take the cats and go!

A six-toed cat, one of many that reside at the home of author Ernest Hemingway, is seen February 18, 2013 in Key West, Florida. Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship's captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. AFP PHOTO/ Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
A six-toed cat, one of many that reside at the home of author Ernest Hemingway, in 2013 in Key West, Florida. Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

UPDATE: At around 1 p.m. PST, Dave Gonzales, executive director of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, confirmed to CNN that he and nine other employees were staying through the fierce winds and rain expected with Hurricane Irma, saying the legendary author’s 1851 house, with its 18-inch-thick limestone walls is “the strongest fortress in all the Florida Keys.” Original story follows: 

Actress Mariel Hemingway thinks it’s noble that the 72-year-old general manager of her grandfather’s historic Key West home wants to stay and try to safeguard the property and its famous six-toed feline residents as Hurricane Irma comes barreling in.

But she’s begging Jacqui Sands to leave the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to protect her life.

The Ernest Hemingway House is seen in this February 16, 2016 photo in Key West, Florida. / AFP / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
The Ernest Hemingway House is seen in this February 16, 2016 photo in Key West, Florida. / AFP / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images) 

“I think you’re wonderful and an admirable person for trying to stay there and to try to save the cats and the house,” the Academy Award-winning actress said in a video posted by TMZ. 

“This is frightening. This hurricane is a big deal,” she said, adding that she should, yes, save the cats if she can.

“Get in the car with the cats and take off,” she said.

The legendary author’s home, where he wrote “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,”  is in the path of Irma, which is now categorized as a category 4 hurricane and is expected to hit the Florida Keys and other parts of southern Florida Saturday evening.

General manager Sands is tasked with securing the property and ensuring the safety of the 55 cats that freely roam there. Many of the cats are believed to be descendants of the author’s cat Snow White and have the distinctive six and seven toes on one paw.

1954: American novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) on safari in Africa. (Photo by Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American novelist  on safari in Africa in the 1950s. (Photo by Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 

Sands won’t be there alone with the cats. She’ll be joined by nine other employees, who have helped to stock up on food, water and medication for the cats and to board up windows and doors. They also have three generators to keep the power and air conditioning going. The other employees couldn’t leave because either they don’t have a car or couldn’t find a flight out, she said.

 

That confidence was echoed by the museum’s executive director Dave Gonzales, who told the Houston Chronicle that the 1851 French colonial home has 18-inch thick limestone walls that allow it to withstand dangerous storms.

“This isn’t our first hurricane. We’re here to stay,” Gonzalez said.

In an interview with CNN Friday afternoon, he added that at 16 feet above sea level, the house is not in a flood zone. As for the cats, he said they are adept at surviving storms, and the home has never lost a cat to a hurricane.

“Cats know naturally when to go. As soon as the barometric pressure drops, they come in,” Gonzalez said. “They know before humans do when it’s time to get in.”

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Actress Mariel Hemingway attends the 2015 Hope For Depression Research Foundation Luncheon at 583 Park Avenue on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Mariel Hemingway in 2015 (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images) 

But Mariel Hemingway isn’t so confident and points out that “it’s just a house.”

She acknowledged that “none of us likes to lose things we treasure” but “ultimately you’ve got to protect your life.”

Hemingway then referred to that famous idea espoused by her grandfather in his prose.

“Courage is grace under pressure,” she said. In this case, “I think this is taking things a little too far.”

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Hemingway’s First Love

Hello! This is a sweet first love letter from Hemingway to a woman with no regrets: Read on for the article below. Best, Christine

Hemingway Letters Pining For High School Love Interest Found In Marblehead

Front and rear of an envelope addressed to Frances Coates from Ernest Hemingway in 1918. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)closemore

Ernest Hemingway, the legendary author and tortured Nobel laureate, is known for works like “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Old Man and The Sea.”

His image was that of a bold adventurer and world traveler. He was an avid big game hunter, often posing next to his prey in pictures.

There’s another — and perhaps more relatable — side to the legendary author, though. It’s one of an awkward teenage suitor trying desperately to impress a girl who captured his high school heart.

Her name was Frances Elizabeth Coates. She sang opera and went to the same Oak Park, Illinois high school Hemingway attended. He played cello at the time and was enamored by Coates and her love of art.

Coates’ granddaughter, Betsy Fermano, lives in Marblehead, Mass. She kept Hemingway’s letters to her grandmother since Coates’ death in 1988. She seals the letters in a quart-sized plastic bag and was keeping them in a trunk. She only recently started dropping them off in a vault at a nearby bank when she learned they could be of value. They’re slightly yellowed but in surprisingly good condition for papers that are essentially a century old.

Betsy Fermano opens a plastic bag containing letters from Ernest Hemingway to her grandmother Frances Elizabeth Coates. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Betsy Fermano opens a plastic bag containing letters from Ernest Hemingway to her grandmother Frances Elizabeth Coates. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“I remember my grandmother telling me about these letters, and she was very embarrassed to talk about her relationship with Ernest Hemingway — or Ernie as she always called him,” says the retired fundraising and development executive. “Because they were really close friends … and I guess Ernie wasn’t with, so I’ve heard, a lot of women, and he was really close to my grandmother, to Frances, and they spent a lot of time together.”

Elder (A Hemingway Scholar) says the preservation of Hemingway’s letters is remarkable.

“Letters from that era — from 1918, 1919 — outside the family are extremely rare,” he explained. “It’s just his voice. He is just sort of free and flirtatious with her because he’s not writing to family.”

A portion of a letter written by Ernest Hemingway to Frances Coates in 1918. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A portion of a letter written by Ernest Hemingway to Frances Coates in 1918. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In the letters, a young Hemingway writes from Milan, Italy during World War I. We asked Fermano to read one of the letters Hemingway wrote from his hospital bed there in 1918 as he recovers from injuries suffered while volunteering as a wartime ambulance driver. He wrote:

“Dear Frances, you see, I can’t break the old habit of writing you whenever I get a million miles away from Oak Park. Milan is so hot that the proverbial hinges of hell would be like the beads of ice on the outside of a glass of Clicquot Club by comparison. However, it has a cathedral and a dead man, Leonardi Da Vinci and some very good-looking girls, and the best beer in the Allied countries.”

Elder said Hemingway seems to be “trying to make [Frances] jealous. He’s trying to say, ‘look at all these beautiful women around me,’ and then he’s bragging about trying beer, which would’ve been sort of the ultimate sign of rebellion, because he grew up in Oak Park, which was a town sort of founded on the temperance movement and was a dry town.”

Was Coates Hemingway’s First True Love?

Photograph of a young Ernest Hemingway and Frances Elizabeth Coates on a canoe trip. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Photograph of a young Ernest Hemingway and Frances Elizabeth Coates on a canoe trip. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“Given some of the evidence here, I think Frances Coates cared for him, but he was squarely what we call in the ‘Friend Zone,’ so if it was his first love, it was very one-sided,” explains Elder.

It was, it appears, unrequited love, then. In fact, in a letter that Francis Coates wrote to a Hemingway biographer, she described her once close friend as awkward and sensitive.

Coates went on to marry a classmate named John Grace, a future railroad executive. But Elder says apparently Hemingway, who pined over Coates as teenager, never forgot Coates — and maybe never got over her because, in fact, her name appears as a character in some of his now classic novels.

“Hemingway was good at holding grudges, and this is not really a grudge, but she is certainly someone he never forgot,” Elder says.

Hemingway apparently references Frances as a character when he’s talking about her husband, in which he writes in his novel, “To Have and Have Not”:

“He’s probably a little too good for Frances, but it will be years before Frances realizes this. Perhaps she will never realize it with luck. [This type of man] is rarely also tapped for bed. But with a lovely girl like Frances, intention counts as much as performance.”

Woo! Elder says “whether or not that was directed at [Coates], Frances definitely saw herself in that — she wrote about it, calling it a wry scene.”

Coates didn’t forget Hemingway either.

She kept his high school portrait in a gold frame in her drawer, and all of the pictures he sent her in a small envelope. Some of those are now in Marblehead as well.

So, did Francis Coates ever regret letting go of the young writer she called Ernie who later became a larger-than-life author — but who also went on to four marriages and three divorces?

Well, a little scribble on the back of an envelope may help answer that question.

“Oh, this is what she says on this envelope, ‘Ernie’s pictures. And 25 years later, ooh! Am I glad I married John!’ ” Fermano reads, laughing.

A note written by Frances Coates on the back of an envelope containing photographs of Hemingway. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

 

 

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More on Hemingway’s Brain and link to Findings of NFL Research on Concussion: Different take on it all

This is a long article but the points are interesting. Some of the formatting and photos of brain functioning could not be captured so my apologies.
As those of you who follow this blog know, Hemingway was outrageously accident prone–from a young age even before you could blame it on drinking: sky lights falling on him; car accidents when he was not driving; 2 plane crashes when he was a passenger. No question, with what we know now, these episodes could well have affected his ultimate health and functioning. Please read what you have time for. This was published in the Washington Post, writer Avi Selk.
Best wishes, Christine
April 28 at 8:30 AM

In one of Ernest Hemingway’s first published stories, a man goes into the woods and meets a disfigured prizefighter — insightful, though prone to fits of paranoia and violence.

“You’re all right,” says the visitor after they’ve chatted a while.

“No, I’m not. I’m crazy,” the fighter says. “Listen, you ever been crazy?”

“No. How does it get you?”

“I don’t know. When you got it you don’t know about it.”

Nearly a century after “The Battler” was written, psychiatrist Andrew Farah contends, we would recognize that the prizefighter suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE — the same concussion-induced brain disease now infamous in sports, particularly professional football.

And the prizefighter’s renowned author had CTE, too, Farah argues in his new book, “Hemingway’s Brain.”

The psychiatrist from High Point University in North Carolina writes of nine serious blows to Hemingway’s head — from explosions to a plane crash — that were a prelude to his decline into abusive rages, “paranoia with specific and elaborate delusions” and the final violence of his suicide in 1961.

Hemingway’s bizarre behavior in his latter years (he rehearsed his death by gunshot in front of dinner guests, for example) has been blamed on iron deficiency, bipolar disorder, attention-seeking and any number of other problems.

After researching the writer’s letters, books and hospital visits, Farah is convinced that Hemingway had dementia — made worse by alcoholism and other maladies, but dominated by CTE, the improper treatment of which likely hastened his death.

“He truly is a textbook case,” Farah told The Washington Post. “His biography makes perfect sense to me in the context of multiple brain injuries.”

Farah is not the only person to make the link. A shorter discussion of head trauma in Paul Hendrickson’s biography, “Hemingway’s Boat,” convinced a reviewer that the famous writer “was probably suffering from organic brain damage.”

But Farah’s book goes deeper, mixing biography, literature and medical analysis in what he writes is “a forensic psychiatric examination of his very brain cells — the stressors, traumas, chemical insults, and biological changes — that killed a world-famous literary genius.”

Farah dates Hemingway’s first known concussion to World War I, several years before he wrote his short story, “The Battler.”

A bomb exploded about three feet from his teenage frame.

Another likely concussion came in 1928, when Hemingway yanked what he thought was a toilet chain and brought a skylight crashing down on him — causing what Farah describes as “giddy concussive ramblings … about his own blood’s smell and taste.”

Then came a car accident in London — then more injuries as a reporter during World War II, when a German antitank gun blew Hemingway into a ditch.

The psychiatrist describes his reported symptoms: double vision, memory trouble, slowed thought. And headaches that “used to come in flashes like battery fire,” Hemingway wrote in a letter.

“There was a main permanent one all the time. I nicknamed it the MLR 2(main line of resistance) and just accepted that I had it.”

These were “classic and typical” symptoms of head trauma, Farah writes.

And not the last Hemingway would suffer.

After the war: another car accident. Then a fall on his boat “Pilar,” two years before he published “The Old Man and the Sea,” which a book reviewer called Hemingway’s “last generally admired book.”

Farah did not include in his list of concussions Hemingway’s flirtations with boxing, or accounts of head injuries he could not verify or which he suspected were the author’s tall tales.

But by the time Hemingway survived two consecutive plane crashes on a 1954 safari trip — escaping the second wreck by “batter[ing] open the jammed door with his head,” Farah writes — his remarkable brain was beyond repair.

“The injuries from earlier blows resolved, but, with additional assaults, his brain developed CTE,” Farah writes.

Often — though not always — caused by concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disease that can manifest as memory loss, anger, dementia and suicidal behavior — usually decades after the head blow, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What is a concussion?

 

Play Video0:31
This video from the CDC illustrates and explains the science behind a concussion and the importance of recovery time for the human brain. (CDC via YouTube)

Unknown in Hemingway’s day, it has been found in the brains of at least 17 dead athletes, and researchers will look for it in the brain of Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL star who killed himself in prison last week while serving a murder sentence.

 

Less bizarre but perhaps more devastating to the author: his deteriorating ability to arrange words.

“The genius who had written masterpieces such as ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ was now paralyzed, fully in the grip of a severe mental illness” as he struggled to assemble simple sentences for his memoirs in 1961, Farah writes.

“Only an autopsy can put the 100 percent stamp of approval” on a diagnosis, Farah acknowledged to The Post. But he didn’t back down from his conclusions in the book. “The symptoms are just so obvious,” he said.

CTE accounted for about three-quarters of Hemingway’s dementia, Farah said. “The concussions, alcohol, hypertension, and pre-diabetes all contributed to the changes in Hemingway’s brain,” he writes in his book.

And a long history of suicide in Hemingway’s family couldn’t have helped the author cope with his condition, Farah said.

But he is sure that by the end of his life, Hemingway had concussion-driven dementia, not psychotic depression as his doctors believed — to tragic consequences, he writes.

But depression was not Hemingway’s main problem, Farah argues. The traumas and resulting CTE had physically changed his brain — demented and weakened it.

After a round of shock treatments in early 1961, Farah writes, Hemingway “grew more and more abusive to” his wife, “berating her because of his paranoia.”

She and some friends had to physically restrain Hemingway from shooting himself that April.

He went back to the hospital for more shock treatments.

A few days after being discharged a second time, on July 2, 1961, Hemingway woke before sunrise. He fetched his shotgun from the basement, this time with no one to stop him.

All his vulnerabilities coalesced in one final instant,” as Farah puts it.

Had he lived in the 21st century, Farah writes, Hemingway would have had an MRI scan, which might have revealed his much-abused brain was shrinking.

He would have been sent to a therapist, and told to stop drinking, to focus on his health, and “remind himself he is safe.”

He likely would have been prescribed antidepressants and vitamin B pills, and kept clear of stresses such as electric current.

Modern medicine could have saved Hemingway’s life, Farah said.

Even if not: “We would have at least understood him.”

“Hemingway’s Brain” by Andrew Farah was published in April 2017 by the University of South Carolina Press.

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Hemingway’s 100 year anniversary (from High School graduation)

Young man with all of it ahead

On Saturday, June 24th, the Hemingway Foundation in Oak Park, Illinois, hosted a party to celebrate Hemingway’s graduation from high school in 1917 – 100 years ago – from Oak Park and River Forest High School.  The Foundation provided some jazz, some spoken word performances, a silent auction, and cocktails.  It has long been debated what Hemingway’s favorite drink was.  Contenders are a daquiri, a mojito, a bloody mary, and the ever-popular martini.  Solid authority supports a dry, very cold martini as his favorite. 

super cold martini
Graduation

 The Foundation also introduced their second annual publication of a collection of short stories called Hemingway Shorts, by rising writers.  The Hemingway Foundation chairman, John Barry, presented several lesser known facts about Hemingway.  If you read this blog regularly these will not be lesser known to you but bear with them. 

Intense writer

 

  1. Hemingway suffered several concussions.  There was the shell explosion in World War I, the skylight handle in Paris he mistakenly pulled which brought the window down to crash over his head leaving him with a lifelong scar that is very visible in his photos (no, he wasn’t drunk at the time!), and two plane crashes, the second of which caused the press to believe he was dead. 
Scar on left side (right as you view this)
wounded again

 2. While he was born in Oak Park, he counted downtown Chicago and Upper Michigan as home.  He honeymooned with his first wife, Hadley Richardson, in Upper Michigan on Lake Walloon, and after the war moved to Chicago for several months. 

 

 3. He burnt the candle at both ends.  Hemingway stayed up late but got up early.  His usual habit when he was writing well was to get up early and work until the early afternoon.  He’d then take a swim, go out on the Pilar, his boat, and relax with friends.  While working on a book he was very disciplined.   

Almost married to Hadley

 

  1. He wrote/typed standing up.  Due to the leg injury from shrapnel in World War I, he was more comfortable standing than sitting when working.  After the plane crashes, it was even more common for him to write while standing. 
Standing and Writing
Hem Standing
  1. He knew a fair amount about loss and starting over.  When Hemingway was married to Hadley and they were living in Paris, he was reporting for the Toronto Star.  He had been assigned to cover the Conference of Lausanne being held in Switzerland.  While there, he thought he could do some work as well as share some of his work with other journalists who might be interested.  He sent a telegram to Hadley asking that she bring some of his work.  She put all of his manuscripts in a suitcase along with the carbon copies.  Once on the train, she stepped off to buy a bottle of water and when she returned the suitcase had been stolen.  It was more than a year and a half’s work and all that was left were two short stories that were in the back of a drawer at home.  Scholars have debated whether it actually served Hemingway well to have to begin again and helped him perfect the lean style for which he is known or if it’s a huge loss to the history of his evolving style.  If anyone finds them…He did forgive Hadley, but it remained a sore spot for a long time. 
Hem, Hadley, Bumby skiing in Europe

So happy 100th anniversary of high school graduation of Ernest Hemingway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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