Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Part Two

Continuing thoughts on the book by Nicholas Reynolds: 

A good portion of the new book deals with Hemingway’s participation in World War II and the liberation of Paris. As those of you who follow this blog know, Hemingway had been working out of Cuba as the “crook factory” and it actually was more than fun and games. He kept very careful journals/records of what he and his gang saw. His crew ran from the former military people, friends, Jai Lai players, gamblers etc., and all kept alert for German submarines that were trolling the Caribbean.

trolling for German subversives

 

However, when wife Martha Gellhorn became more actively involved as a war correspondent for Colliers, she very much wanted him to join her in Europe.  He initially resisted, but finally did accept a position as a war correspondent.

Hem and Marty

 

Based on Reynold’s research, Hemingway actively participated in the fighting and in pitching in wherever needed. It was there that he met a friend who would be very close to him for the rest of his life, Colonial Lanham, a British officer known as “Buck” Lanham. Lanham was forever grateful for the friendship and was shocked that Hemingway, as a journalist who did not have to go into dangerous situations where he could be killed nevertheless did.

With Buck

On one occasion, Hemingway had to cross a line of fire in order to get a message to the other side. Many had been shot trying. Hemingway was a lot of things that weren’t good and he could be a fairly obnoxious drunk. However, he was not lacking in true courage or in caring about other soldiers or people suffering. Lanham indicated in his writings that he would remember that moment for the rest of his life, seeing the big man – thus a large target – darting and running to get across.

Hem and Buck
Colonel Charles T. Lanham aka Buck

 

Hemingway was so involved in the actual doing of things – his regiment of irregulars thought he was their leader despite knowing of course that he was the author and journalist, not a military commander – that charges were brought against him for violations of the protocols of war journalism. He ultimately was cleared of any wrongdoing but there’s no question that other journalists resented him and his notoriety and fame and his jumping into the action.

At the liberation of Paris

 

Hemingway was on the FBI watch list as a result of his activities in Spain and was eyed with suspicion by J. Edgar Hoover for that, as well as for living in Cuba. That surveillance which many thought was imagined by Hemingway was in fact real and fed into the paranoia he had in the last year of his life.

J. Edgar Hoover

All in all a very good book that concludes Hemingway was not a spy per se. At moments, he was sought out by the Russians who would have liked to recruit him but who did not learn anything harmful to the U.S. Hemingway was too much of a dedicated American for that.

New Hemingway book: Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds: Part one

Happy New Year all readers of Hemingway!  Hope you had a great holiday season!

I just listened with interest (via audio disc) to the new book about Hemingway’s involvement in soviet politics and communist causes. The book is called Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds. I’m very familiar with Hemingway’s left-leanings, although my reading suggests not so much left-leaning as anti-fascist leanings. Even by those that would like to argue that he was very involved in communist causes, there is acknowledgement that his greatest leaning was the belief in the individual, which he felt fascism and communism both suppressed.

 

Reynolds traces the roots of his advocacy to the Key West hurricane of 1934 in which numerous veterans working for the New Deal were killed and left to decay on the beaches. Hemingway blamed the government for indifference. Generally he was on the side of the underdog. In the Spanish Civil War, it was evident that he was more anti-fascist than pro-communist. Still he was actively involved in the movie The Spanish Earth, a film advocating for the anti-Franco rebels, and did most of the narration. He also wrote the play The Fifth Column about that war.

 

Photos by Robert Capa, the renowned photographer

During his involvement in the Spanish Civil War and his frequent trips to Spain in the late 30s to cover the war and write about the war, it was clear to me that, unlike some journalists and sympathizers with the Republicans (the left side if we have to put labels on it, those against Franco), he was one of the few who was not just an observer but was willing to put his money and his life where his mouth was.

Ernest HEMINGWAY during Spanish Civil War.
In December 1937 Ernest Hemingway was covering the Loyalist assault on Teruel, the walled town in the bleak mountains of Southern Aragon, Gen. Franco was planning to use this corridor route to the Mediterranean thus seaparting Barcelona from Valencia and Madrid. Robert CAPA the photographer and Hemingway would with some colleagues drive daily to Teruel from Valencia and return each evening.
Valencia. Dec. 1937. Hemingway visiting the front line.

He provided the funding for the completion of The Spanish Earth when money ran out. There also was an interesting anecdote about Hemingway being in Spain with another journalist when the car in front of them was attacked and rolled over, its inhabitants gravely wounded, Hemingway jumped out of his vehicle and immediately was providing emergency medical aid and doing anything he could to assist. (He was an ambulance driver in World War I so did know some techniques. His father also was a doctor and he had some exposure to medical procedures during his youth).

ME: FYI. The Spanish Earth is available for viewing on YOUTUBE. About an hour long. Hemingway in NYC introduced it in a showing to raise money for the Republican cause. 

The other journalist just continued taking notes and not lending a hand. Hemingway yelled at him to pitch in or he, Hemingway, would kill him. Numerous times when Hemingway could have been sitting comfortably in Key West or in Cuba, he put himself in dangerous situations. He was a person who believed the individual could make a difference in general, and that included him. He was fairly apolitical, but, that being said, he did take a stance against Hitler and the fascists and was really upset, as was his wife to be, Martha Gellhorn, a journalist in her own right, with the British and the French for not coming to the assistance of the Spanish Republicans.

Hemingway’s frequent visits to support the Republican cause also was crucial to his writing of For Whom the Bell Tolls. The hero in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan, was fighting for the Republicans and the book covers four days in which he’s tasked with blowing up a bridge that will halt the fascists’ progress when an offensive begins. Nevertheless, while exposing the atrocities of the fascists, For Whom the Bell Tolls also doesn’t sugarcoat some of the poor behavior by the communists. For that, he was roundly criticized by his leftist friends. He replied that he tried to tell the truth from both sides.

To be continued

Recent Reviews of Hemingway’s Key West Home and MuseumTour

Happy Holidays to all!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I live in CT so dreaming of warm locales comes naturally at this time of year.  In case you are thinking of a Southern trip, may I suggest considering one of our territories (Puerto Rico if available and utilities restored by the time of your trip, the U.S. Virgin Islands, any of the beleaguered Caribbeans which rely on tourism to survive) including in particular our own Key West.

I thought for this post I would highlight the value of a trip to Hemingway’s house in Key West. I just randomly copied the most recent reviews on Trip Advisor, posted below. Hemingway bought the place on Whitehead Street – well actually his wife Pauline’s Uncle put up the money to buy the place – after Hem left his first wife, Hadley, and

 

The Finca in Cuba. compare to the below Key west house
Pauline at Paris Vogue

married his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Pauline hailed from a wealthy St. Louis family, which made money in pharmaceuticals and her Uncle Gus was very generous to his family. Hemingway lived there from approximately 1930 to 1940, when he left Pauline for Martha Gellhorn and bought the place in Cuba.

 

the house in keywest. compare to the Cuban home above

It was on the advice of John Dos Passos, a fellow member of the “Lost Generation” of ex patriate artists and writers populating Paris during the 1920s, that Hemingway was first prompted to visit Key West.  They were delayed in their journey due to car trouble.

John Dos Passos

He and Pauline rented a home for a few weeks waiting for the car and it was there that Hemingway continued his Paris habits of writing during the early mornings hoping to finish the war novel he’d begun. He then would explore his surroundings in the afternoons. The Hemingways spent three weeks waiting for their car, and it was during this very brief three-week interlude that Ernest finished the partially autobiographical novel about the First World War, “A Farewell To Arms.”

Swimming with Pauline

Both Ernest and Pauline grew to love Key West and its inhabitants, and soon decided to look for a permanent residence. After two seasons in Key West, Pauline’s Uncle Gus purchased the house on Whitehead Street for them in 1931.

Hem’s Dining room in Key West
Dining room in Cuba. Much more rustic

 

Key West

The home was in great disrepair when the Hemingways took ownership (as was the Cuban home when Hemingway bought it), but both Ernest and Pauline could see beyond the rubble and ruin, and appreciated the grand architecture and stateliness of the home. The massive restoration and remodeling they undertook in the early 1930’s turned the home into the National Historical Landmark that thousands of tourists visit and enjoy today.

Catherine and Frederic the remake

A unique and extraordinary feature of the grounds is the pool, built in 1937-38, at the staggering cost for the time of $20,000. It was the first in-ground pool in Key West, and the only pool within 100 miles. The exhorbitant construction costs once prompted Hemingway to take a penny from his pocket, press it into the wet cement of the surrounding patio, and announce jokingly, “Here, take the last penny I’ve got!” Tourists are invited to look for the penny, still embedded between flagstones at the north end of the pool.

Hem and Pauline

It’s a more elegant place than the place in Cuba, had much more Pauline in it than her husband. It had some funny quirks though. There also is a urinal there that Hemingway salvaged from a bar that was being taken down and he had a sentimental attachment to the number of times he’d used it. I believe it is now used to house plants.

Anyway, if you’re in that vicinity it’s well worth a look. Best and happy holiday season, Christine

Recent reviews of the Hemingway House

the house is a tribute to the late author, whose exploits during his life are legendary. The tour guides shared several interesting stories about Hemingway and his various wives/mistresses. The cats were adorable (and I’m not a cat person). Plenty of interesting photos and examples…More

Fun time, great tour guide. Not a huge Hemingway fan but would recommend a visit to all. Cats are very aloof.

3) Where do I start?

The Ernest Hemingway tour is a must for anyone visiting Key West! Whether you have read all of his books or none, it really doesn’t matter. The history of his house and life unfold eloquently and in a fun manner by the tour guides. They make this tour what it is, in my opinion by bringing the homes history and Hemingway’s history to life. And it is nice that you can manage the walking tour in under an hour, which leaves time to walk about the Hemingway grounds if you would like. Actual descendants of Hemingway’s cats are on premises! It was a fun and informative tour that I feel is a must visiting Key West!

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g34345-d130377-r539518496-The_Ernest_Hemingway_Home_and_Museum-Key_West_Florida_Keys_Florida.html#

The Six Word Story

This is a familiar story.

Hemingway around 50 years old

Hemingway famously bet someone that he could write a novel in six words. What he came up was:
“For sale, baby shoes, never used.”

And there you have it. The Glasgow Middle School sixth graders in Kentucky were challenged to find their inner Hemingway and write a memoir in six words. They certainly were able to come up with slogans for their lives in six words.  Examples:

  1. X-box made me hate the park.
  2. Fighting over nothing is definitely something.
  3. Keep running. Don’t stop. Not yet.
  4. Rock music blaring made today exceptional.
  5. Ignorance is bliss—that’s a lie.

My women’s group tried this and some of the outcomes were really interesting and illuminating. Given the fact that the exercise was announced and then we were given pens and paper to scrawl something in the next five minutes made the challenge harder.

My women’s group: me second from left.

Someone wrote, “Good girl, bad girl, okay woman.”

Anther wrote, “See you, see them, see me.”

Another answer, “Husband, work, kids, what about me?”

Try it yourself and see what emerges. It is a truly interesting dinner party game over coffee and dessert.

Hemingway’s Letters: Volume 4 is out (1929-1931)

Happy Thanksgiving to All! Next volume available. These years cover the success of The Sun Also Rises, marriage to Pauline, serialization of A Farewell to Arms, and the rise of celebrity. Good reading there!  Best, Christine

 Fourth volume of ‘The Letters of Ernest Hemingway’ series available Nov. 3

New book features Hemingway’s personal correspondence from 1929 to 1931
November 1, 2017

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “Sweet, deferent, generous, dutiful, responsible, arrogant, belligerent" — these are just a few of the traits that Penn State Liberal Arts Professor of English Sandra Spanier said Ernest Hemingway reveals in a series of personal correspondence that she and her team have collected and published in the fourth volume of "The Letters of Ernest Hemingway (1929-1931)."

 

The book, published by Cambridge University Press and available in the U.S. on Friday, Nov. 3, is edited by Spanier and Miriam B. Mandel and captures an important turning point in Hemingway’s life as he — for the first time — begins to contend with celebrity.

The new book picks up where the third volume left off in April 1929, just as Hemingway is returning to Paris with his second wife and just before Scribner’s Magazine serialized his novel “A Farewell to Arms” from May 1929 to October 1929. Spanier, who serves as general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, explained that Hemingway’s correspondence reveals an internal struggle in dealing with his meteoric rise to international fame.

Pauline, second wife

“On the one hand,” Spanier said, “Hemingway was highly interested in how his work was being received, but he is also increasingly intent on keeping his private life separate from his writing life.” Among the 430 letters to 125 correspondents in the volume is an October 1929 note from Hemingway to his mother in which he writes, “If anyone ever wants to interview you about me please tell them that you know I dislike any personal publicity and have promised me not to even answer any questions about me.”

The end of marriage to Hadley

In addition to coping with his newfound fame, the editors identified other themes emerging from Hemingway’s letters, including his reflections on mortality, depression, his professional persona and international politics.

“We also see an unfamiliar aspect of Hemingway’s personality — that of a mentor,” Spanier said, citing correspondence with other writers, including a note to George Albee in October 1931. Among Hemingway’s other literary correspondents are John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Archibald MacLeish, Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder and the legendary editor Maxwell Perkins.

“Keep on writing — you will write damned good stuff — but I can’t take that story and go to bat for it because it isn’t right yet — But it’s better to write a new one than re-write an old one — If this advice is punk — remember you asked for it.”

— Ernest Hemingway to George Albee, 1931

Spanier said that she is continually amazed at the enduring and intense public interest in Hemingway: “We are producing these volumes as a comprehensive scholarly collection, but we have a very wide general readership.”

“Reading Hemingway’s letters is to go back in time by stepping into the fascinating world of a revolutionary wordsmith; a voyage through decades to the very moments when literature was taking a sudden bend in the road; a shift that was being steered by the father of modern literature. Indeed, the value of these letters cannot be overstated.”

— Nick Mafi, Esquire

Spanier directs an international team of scholars working to collect and publish more than 6,000 letters from Ernest Hemingway in a projected 17-volume series. Her work has taken her around the globe.

In addition, Spanier engages a team of Penn State graduate and undergraduate students in the Hemingway Letters Project. Undergraduate interns assist in maintaining the extensive master archive of more than 25,000 documents, while graduate research assistants work closely with volume editors to research annotations, the informative notes that explain Hemingway’s numerous and often obscure references to people, literary works and historical events. With strict procedures in place for documenting research, one footnote might generate dozens of pages of recorded information behind the scenes.

Pauline giving haircut

One former graduate student, Assistant Research Professor of English Verna Kale, received her doctorate from Penn State in 2010 and now serves as the project’s associate editor. Kale said that public interest in Hemingway adapts with cultural trends. “After World War II people were interested in heroism in Hemingway’s stories; more recently we’ve seen a focus on how he deals with issues of gender and sexuality. His appeal is as timeless as it is universal,” said Kale.

More information about the Hemingway Letters Project and the most recent volume is available on the Hemingway Society Website.

Hemingway’s Final Steps: Read Eric Althoff’s article and journey

Read Eric’s Travels excerpted here. Best, Christine (some photos i added of the house and mountains.)

Tracing Hemingway’s final steps in Ketchum, Idaho

The author at the gravesite of Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. (Eric Althoff/The Washington Times)
The author at the gravesite of Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. (Eric Althoff/The Washington Times) more >
– The Washington Times – Saturday, October 7, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You drive for three hours from Boise, through largely empty high desert country, to come to the place where Ernest Hemingway spent his final years, and where, on July 2, 1961, he chose to silence the demons forever.

Ketchum, Idaho, is also where many of Hollywood’s elite have second or third (or however many in the ordinal list) homes. For it is said that in the surrounding Sun Valley community, they can be unbothered in a way that is perhaps not so viable in Park City, Utah, the other ski community known for the glitziness of its populace away from Tinseltown.

I am met at the Sun Valley Lodge (1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho, 83353, 800/786-8259) by Jim Jaquet and his wife Wendy, who together run Jaquet Guide Services, wherein the couple offers specialized tours of Sun Valley that include restaurants, galleries and the Hemingway sites. .

 

Interior of the Ketchum house

As we drive away from the Sun Valley Lodge, Jim and Wendy point to various homes that belong to the rich and famous. Time was when they would take pilgrims closer, but a sense of privacy now pervades in Ketchum, and so today I must enjoy the posh homes from afar.

What I can get up close and personal to, however, is the Hemingway Memorial on Trail Creek Rd., erected in 1966 by friends and family of the deceased wordsmith on what would have been his 67th birthday. The bust of “Papa” Hemingway sits in a quiet alcove above a creek bed, and at its base is an inscription:

“Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods
leaves floating on trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies
… Now he will be a part of them forever.”

After a quick jaunt through the heart of town, Jim and Wendy take me to a spot on the outskirts of Ketchum and pull over. Jim hands me a pair of binoculars to spy, far in the distance, the privately owned Mary and Ernest Hemingway House and Preserve, where the scribe lived in his final tumultuous years, anguished that he was no longer able to write as he once had.

As no tourists are allowed near the home (the road leading up to it is also privately run), Jim shows me photographs of what the cabin looked like when Hemingway occupied it. Eerily, the shotgun he used to end his own life is in one of the photos, which can’t help but give me a chill.

Mary Hemingway

Jim tells me that one of the accepted theories about Hemingway’s suicide was that it was brought on by depression, magnified by his decreasing ability to write to his own liking, as well as the rather copious amounts of alcohol he was known to consume. Furthermore, some have posited that both the physical and “invisible” injuries he suffered during his time in the ambulance corps during the First World War may have later reared their ugliness as Hemingway sank deeper and deeper into despair until he could take it no more.

Add to this a condition called hemochromatosis, or too much iron in the blood, his diabetes and various other problems.

The midcentury Hemingway cabin is now run by The Community Library, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today I shall get no closer.

Hem’s view while writing

It’s only appropriate that our next stop is Hemingway’s final resting place, the Ketchum Cemetery, located at 1026 N Main St. Papa’s grave is easy to find: Pilgrims leave pennies on the gravestone, as well as tributes like a half-finished bottle of Jameson today.

There’s also a journal, in which visitors can inscribe their thoughts. Not knowing precisely what to say, but knowing I must write something, I set pen to paper, allowing the ink to move me:

“One writer to another, may our language be the better angels of man. — EFA, May 14, 2017”

Friends and relatives of Papa are also interred here, including Margaux Hemingway, Hemingway’s granddaughter and a respected actress in her day. Unfortunately, like Ernest, Margaux was afflicted by depression and battled a chronic alcohol problem. She was found dead at her L.A. home July 1, 1996, the result of a sedative overdose.

Margaux and Hem’s son, Jack, Mariel on far right

Margaux was the fifth member of her immediate family to commit suicide, according to the IMDB. She is buried a few feet away from her grandfather.

Margaux’s sister, Muriel, is also an actress, and earned an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 19 for her role in Woody Allen’s 1979 film “Manhattan.” She still acts to this day.

Mariel
hem and Mary

From atop one of the lava cones, I look back to the northwest and the Sawtooth National Forest, whose accompanying mountain ranges enclose Ketchum and Sun Valley. My view from here is prosaic and inspiring — doubtless part of the reason Hemingway chose this central Idaho wonderland to try to re-stoke the artistic fires within.

It proved to be too large a task even for the glories of nature.

The house on a Hill: Hemingway’s home
 I enjoyed the article and the respect for Hemingway’s love of this area, this home, his legacy.  Best to all and hope your Thanksgiving was lovely.  Christine

When a Labor of Love Blooms

 

Yes, writing and creating takes time and timing. See below please how a novel became a movie. Best, Christine

Martha Gellhorn (wife 3) and Hemingway.

Alison Owen, Contributor
Producer
When A Labor Of Love Blooms
08/31/2017

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Dane DeHaan and Alicia Vikander star in TULIP FEVER.

The passage of time has become synonymous with something negative. For instance, over time we age – a negative. In this age of technology, we’re impatient for instant gratification. But there cannot be time constraints placed on art.

 Take Maxwell Perkins as an example. Perkins, who began his career working for The New York Times, was an editor at Scribner’s and to this day is known for discovering some of the most quintessential classic American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

Max Perkins

Before Perkins, editors didn’t normally get so involved in shaping author’s work. He changed the meaning of the job in large part because of his working relationship with Thomas Wolfe. Though ingenious, Wolfe was stubborn. He lacked discipline, overwriting his stories by hundreds of pages, and fought Perkins’s edits at every word.

I first read Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever nearly 17 years ago. It was before the book had been published and I fell absolutely in love. I had already read a review of a factual book about the tulip fever of 1630s Amsterdam and was fascinated by the concept of this mania and how it was the first example of the futures market.

Tulip Fever; Alicia Vikander

I immediately bought the option and fewer than two days after I had sent it out, I had received offers from the industry’s greats. Stephen Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Harvey Weinstein were all interested. I felt like I was dreaming. But then the whirlwind slowed. I was devastated initially because I thought we’d missed our opportunity. Little did I know the zeitgeist would only become more applicable. 

The entertainment industry is continually in motion, constantly cranking out the next big project. When people hear how much time has passed between the option of the manuscript and the release, it automatically colors their perspective. The immediate instinct is that something is wrong. If you go into something with your mind made up, the chances of it being changed are incredibly slim.

Earlier this year, we screened the film for a host of best-selling authors including Amor Towles, Anthony Doerr, Dan Jones, Jodi Picoult, Philippa Gregory, M.L. Stedman, Philip Kerr, Sally Bedell Smith, Daniel James Brown, Emma Donoguhe, and Ruth Ware.  They praised the thrilling romance narrative, its humor, themes of female empowerment, the talent, the cinematography, the writing.

Catherine and Frederic the remake
Movie of A Farewell to Arms

In large part, this was why we went to authors for support. We knew they wouldn’t judge the movie based on how long it has taken to get to the screen. They don’t view the film with the same harsh eye that film critics do.  Time does not connote bad. To them, time has no meaning.

And this Friday, I could not be happier to share it with audiences.

ME:  So for those who like period movies, perhaps try Tulip Fever.

.

Lillian Ross: Friend or Foe of Hemingway

New book

The below is from a recent article about Lillian Ross who wrote an iconic interview of Hemingway. I quote just a bit but reprint my blog post on this topic. Thank you as always for your interest in Hemingway. Love, Christine

“Lillian Ross, who recently died at the age of 99, was one of the most remarkable writers of her time. She wrote for The New Yorker for half a dozen decades and redefined magazine journalism while providing fresh, vivid accounts of reality. She was never seen writing a note. The critic Edmund Wilson called her “the girl with the built-in tape-recorder.”

Lillian with an editor

Her clever handling of quotations was not always admired. She first aroused intense criticism with her profile of Ernest Hemingway, published in The New Yorker in 1950. Hemingway loved to talk about himself, especially when drinking, and he particularly liked comparing himself to champion athletes. When Ross interviewed him, he had just turned 50.

Hemingway around 50 years old

Many believed that she had depicted the leading American novelist of the day as a drunken blowhard. Hemingway didn’t think so. He liked the article and years later even provided a jacket blurb for a book by Ross.”

Read my blog post on this from a while ago. So sorry for Ms. Ross’ passing as she was a fine journalist, but Hemingway, from my reading, was not thrilled with the article she wrote. He accepted that it was what it was, the dye was cast, and maintained a friendship with her. My post is below.

 

Older post from nov 2015

How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?

The above is a link to the Lillian Ross interview with Hemingway, a sad betrayal of his kindness and friendship to a young writer. My thoughts on this below.

There’s a famous profile of Hemingway that was published on May 13, 1950 in The New Yorker  done by a very young journalist at the time named Lillian Ross. Hemingway had helped her with her first big article about Sidney Franklin, the first Jewish-American bull fighter. Hemingway and Lillian Ross became friends and as Hemingway often did, he enjoyed taking this younger, very smart woman under his wing and addressing her as “daughter” and sharing some of the things that he knew with her.

Lillian's book after Hem's death
Lillian’s book after Hem’s death
Lillian Ross
Lillian Ross

 

Lillian Ross started working at The New Yorker in 1945 and seemed particularly adept at charming her subjects into saying things they might otherwise not say. She asked to do a profile on Hemingway, who needed the publicity like a hole in the head, but he agreed, hoping to help her career. She shadowed him for months and in particular went with him to New York on a three-day tour. Hemingway viewed it all as a lark.

Here’s where my objectivity stops. As I noted in my opening post five years ago, while I try to be objective about Hemingway and his flaws, which were many, I’m on his side. I’m not neutral. Lillian Ross’ article made him look like a self-involved jerk, almost ignorant. He thought she was his friend.

Hem relaxed
Hem relaxed

 

In that article are statements by Hemingway such as “Book is like engine. We have to slack her off gradually.” And then there’s this repeated gem apropos of nothing, “How do you like it now, Gentlemen.” Ross always maintained that it was an affectionate portrait of a wonderful writer, but, in essence, it made fun of him and it made him look ludicrous. If that’s how she saw him, then so be it. The press is free and she can write what she’d like to write, but don’t pretend it was an “affectionate” portrayal.

An older Lillian Ross
An older Lillian Ross

 

At the time, Lillian Ross was 24 years old and it was the opportunity of a lifetime to profile Ernest Hemingway, the biggest writer of the day. Years later, The New York Times wrote that “The effect of her severely unadorned portrait was to create an impression of an unpleasant egotist, a celebrity who, to a pathetic extent, had identified himself with his own public image.”   As one of Hemingway’s biographers, Jeffrey Meyers, wrote later that she’d repaid his generosity with meanness and malice, and established her reputation at his expense.” Quoting Meyers again, he notes that she never recorded or revealed the serious and sensitive side of his character and chose instead to portray him as a boring braggart. So how do you like it now, Gentlemen?

New book
New book

When Lillian published the profile in book form shortly after Hemingway’s death, she still claimed it was a sympathetic portrait of a great, loveable man. Few readers were fooled. She also claimed he was fine with it. True. He read it before publication; felt the dye was cast so said little; and passed on it, but it was not really “fine” with him. He was hurt.

reading
reading

 

If you look at the cover, could Lillian have picked a less attractive, less compelling photo? (See below right). In a reissue, there’s a nice photo of Hemingway and Lillian on the front, but I believe the original shows a Hemingway looking out of it and bizarre. If I’m wrong on this, someone out there probably knows, so please correct me.lillian_ross_book_01

 

Lillian Ross has written a new book in which Ross has collected selected pieces, including the Hemingway profile along with newer works spanning her sixty year career as a journalist. It is called “Reporting Always: Writings From The New Yorker.” It was published last week by Scribner’s, which, of course, is Hemingway’s publisher.

 

I can’t help being wounded for him. He trusted her and thought they were having some fun together and that she would not portray him as a lout. It’s his fault in part, no question for being too casual and not foreseeing damage for not taking the interview seriously. However, his loyalty was betrayed.ErnestHemingway and cat

 

Take a read and see what you think. Perhaps you’ll see it differently. I’m happy to stand corrected or confronted.

Love,

Christine

anger and betrayal
anger and betrayal

Did Hemingway Have a Favorite Wife? Hadley

Hem and Hadley near their wedding

Did Hemingway have a favorite wife?  Of course he did despite each wife having suited him at the time he married each.

Hadley near the time of her wedding

Hemingway had four wives:  Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn, and Mary Walsh. Of the four, three were from the St. Louis area.  Only Mary was from elsewhere—Minnesota. Hadley was the great love of his life, in my opinion. Surely in retrospect, based on A Moveable Feast, she was.

The Paris Wife

Hadley and Hem were married on September 3, 1921 in Horton Bay, Michigan, and they spent their honeymoon at the family summer cottage, which featured significantly in Hemingway’s early short stories.  Hemingway’s biographer, Jeffrey Meyers, noted in his biography that, “with Hadley, Hemingway achieved everything he had hoped for with Agnes:  the love of a beautiful woman, a comfortable income, a life inEurope.” (Agnes was Agnes Von Kurowsky, his nurse in Italy who was the prototype for Catherine Barkley, the heroine of A Farewell to Arms). He called her Tatie or Hash.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby skiing in Europe

While the Hemingways had little money as they headed to Paris, Hadley’s modest trust fund sustained them. They had a small apartment, as well as a rented studio for Hemingway’s work, plus an abundance of expatriot and European friends, most of whom were writers.  Gertrude Stein’s salon was nearby and she was a mentor, although ultimately there was a falling out. 

 

One of the great dramas of their marriage occurred in December, 1922, when Hadley was traveling alone to Geneva to meet Hemingway there (he was covering a peace conference), and Hadley lost a suitcase filled with Hemingway’s manuscripts.  One can only speculate about what impact this ultimately had on his writing.  At the time, he was devastated.  As any writer knows, you can never recreate the first cut. However, scholars opine regularly about whether the loss enabled him to start from scratch and do a better job or whether it was an irreplaceable loss. Clearly, he did okay despite . . .

Pamplona

Still, Hadley was there at the beginning before he was the famous Ernest Hemingway. She was there during the ever-productive Paris years, which proved to be a touchstone gift that kept on giving. She funded his ability to write in Paris, enabling him to eventually at warp speed finish the first draft of The Sun Also Rises in six weeks 

 To Hadley’s dismay and hurt, she never figured significantly as a character in any of Hemingway’s books, which did tend to be based on actual people in his life.  The fictional memoir, The Paris Wife, paints Hadley as wounded that she was written out of The Sun Also Rises while starring Lady Brett Ashley, who’s based whole hog on Lady Duff Twysden.  

Almost married to Hadley

Hadley settled into married life as a wife and mother, but trouble was not far away. She and Hem met the charming Pfeiffer sisters.  Although initially Hemingway thought Jinny was the more attractive, it was the petite Pauline, a writer for Paris Vogue, who ultimately captured his attention.  As Pauline played the role of loyal, jokey pal to both Ernest and Hadley, she set her cap for Hem and he fell hard.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby

Now it was Hadley’s turn to be devastated. Initially, she resisted a divorce but later agreed. Their son, John aka Jack aka Bumby, was about 4 years old at the time. Hadley graciously accepted Hemingway’s offers of the royalties fromThe Sun Also Rises as child support and alimony.  At the time, she had no way of knowing whether those would amount to anything. As of that date, Hemingway’s writings had not created much money at all so for all Hadley knew, this new style of novel might do little in the way of sales.

Of course, the rest was history.  Hadley and Hemingway divorced in January of 1927.  The Sun Also Rises was published shortly before the final formal divorce.  Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927.  When The Sun Also Rises was made into a film, profits from the film also went to Hadley.  

Hadley and Hemingway remained friendly throughout their lives.She and Hem didn’t socialize, but they were in touch regarding their son, Jack, who was known in the family as Bumby).

Hadley stayed on in France until 1934.  Paul Mowrer was a foreign journalist for the Chicago Daily News.  She’d known him since the spring of 1927.  Mowrer was no light weight himself, having received the Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent in 1929.  Hadley and Paul married in London in 1933.  The Mowrers ultimately moved to a suburb of Chicago.

After the divorce from Hemingway, Hadley saw Ernest only once again although they wrote to each other regularly. She and Paul Mowrer ran into him while vacationing inWyoming in Sept 1939.  Hadley died on January 22, 1979 in Lakeland,Florida.  She is the grandmother of Mariel and Margaux Hemingway, who are the children of Jack/Bumby.

Did Hem have a favorite wife? Hell, yes. Her name was Hadley.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/10/hadley-freeman-richardson-ernest-hemingway

 

Answers to Trivia Test

Real aficionados will find this so easy but casual readers . . .  not so much. Answers below!

trivia contest ready
Mary’s book

1)        Which Hemingway novel(s) were made into movies (Check all applicable)

  1. The Sun Also Rises   YES
  2. Old Man and the Sea  YES
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls  YES
  4. A Farewell to Arms   YES

2)        Number of wives

  1. Three
  2. Four   X
  3. Five
  4. Two

Bonus point for first names  (Hadley, Pauline, Martha, Mary)

3)        What was Hemingway’s nickname for the Nobel Prize for Literature?  THE IGNOBLE PRIZE

4)        What animals populated his Cuban home?  CATS and Dogs and chickens

5)        As a writer, was the Hemingway the type to:

  1. get it down right the first time with few revisions or
  2. did he revise extensively  YES

6)        Famous couples in his books

  1. Jake and ?  (BRETT)
  2. Robert Jordan and ?  (MARIA)
  3. Frederic and ?  (CATHERINE)
  4. the Colonel and ? (RENATA)

7)        What was Hemingway’s personal nickname from the time he was 27?  PAPA

8)        Which book was Hemingway’s memoir and love story to the city of Paris? A MOVEABLE FEAST

9)        In what state was Hemingway born?  ILLINOIS

10)    In what state did Hemingway die?  IDAHO

11)    Where do Hemingway’s original papers and most of his memorabilia reside? THE KENNEDY LIBRARY

12)    To whom did Hemingway say “Never mistake movement for action.” MARLENE DIETRICH

13)    Who was Hemingway’s closest Hollywood friend, starred in one of his movies, and who “made it to the barn” (their slang for ‘died’) before Hem, much to Hemingway’s grief.  GARY COOPER

14)    Who said that Hemingway needs a new woman for each new book?  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD and Faulkner said something similar: that Hemingway seemed to feel he had to marry every woman he fell in love with.

Marlene