I came across a great article written by novelist, Amy Shearn, titled A Goofy State of Mind: My Grandmother’s Letters from Martha Gellhorn. Like most EH fans this immediately caught my attention. Having read Caroline Moorehead’s book on Gellhorn as well as the Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn allowed me to enjoy Amy’s article – found on the Millions blog – that much more! Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did – you can also find Amy, like I did on Twitter at @AmyShearn and thank you Amy for letting us all in.
For those of you around the Boston area – here is some good news – Author Paula McClain whose book The Paris Wife recently came out will be at the JKK Library talking about her book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. Ms. McClain is scheduled to speak at the JFK Forum on March 23rd from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. This is a fantastic venue to hear a discussion. The last one I attended – Caroline Moorehead and her book about yet another Hemingway wife, Martha Gellhorn, was well worth the visit.
There was an article on the same book, The Paris Wife, in the NY Times entitled A First Wife Can Be So Stolid and Clueless and Plain and Pregnant. Here is a new story that came out today on this same topic on NPR.
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.”
A recent issue of the Boston Globe (Sun. July 4th issue, Bibliophiles section, C5) featured a story about songwriter/artist Mary Chapin Carpenter and her new album, “The Age of Miracles.” One of the songs featured on the album is titled Mrs. Hemingway. The song came from an idea after Carpenter read a Moveable Feast (new edition). Mrs. Hemingway refers to Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson.