A FAREWELL TO SANITY –
April 1, 2021 – He also had a fraught relationship with his mother, who dressed Hemingway as a girl when he was a child. Hemingway’s third wife, journalist Martha Gellhorn, would later attribute Hemingway’s difficulties with women, including infidelity, cruelty and abandonment, to his relationship with Grace. As Gellhorn would write years after the collapse of their marriage and Hemingway’s death, ”Deep in Ernest, due to his mother, going back to the indestructible first memories of childhood, was mistrust and fear of women.” Seeking adventure and an escape from his suburban life, Hemingway left home as a teen, eventually volunteering as an ambulance driver in World War I. Severely wounded in Italy, he fell in love with his nurse, and her eventual rejection of him led to a depressive episode that would become characteristic of his life. While working as a journalist back in America, he married his first wife, Hadley Richardson, and the couple moved to Paris so Hemingway could focus on writing fiction. He soon found himself at the center of an artistic circle of fellow expats, known as the “Lost Generation,” forming relationships with future luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and others. But Hemingway’s mercurial temperament, exacerbated by the prodigious drinking and often-pugilistic personality that would become his trademarks, led to conflicts with Richardson and his circle of friends, who struggled to cope when his mood turnedtowards jealousy, mistrust and extreme competitiveness. In December 1928, when Hemingway was 29, his father killed himself, shooting himself with a family revolver after a long period of both physical and financial setbacks. Hemingway was deeply shaken by his father’s death, which he largely blamed on his mother. He alternated between anger at what he considered a “cowardly” move, and a sense of resignation that he might suffer the same fate as his father, writing to his then-mother in law shortly afterward, “I’ll probably go the same way.” He also fictionalized the events in his 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in which the father of the main character commits suicide in a similar manner.