Reading Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn

I am currently reading the Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn (Henry Holt and Co. New York, 2006, 531 pgs.) written by Caroline Moorehead. I also read Moorehead’s first book, Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life which was excellent. Both books, as you may expect, give great insight into both of their lives and their relationship.

I found letters in Moorehead’s book that Martha Gellhorn had written about Hemingway before they even met in December 1936 in Key West, Florida (they were later married in 1940).

In a letter to Stanley Pennell in May 1931 – “Meanwhile, I take my code out of Hemingway. Unbelievable, isn’t it? Do you remember a Farewell to Arms. The hero talks to the women; she is worried about something; and he says: “You’re brave. Nothing ever happens to the brave”. Which is somehow enough…

Years later in a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt (January 8, 1937) and a month after she met Hemingway she writes: “I see Hemingway (37 years old at this time), who knows more about writing dialogue (I think) than anyone writing in English at this time. He’s an odd bird, very lovable and full of fire and a marvelous story-teller.”


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