Ernest Hemingway Biography @ LostGeneration.com  World War II. 

 

 

 


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Mary Welsh, Hemingway's fourth wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hemingway during World War II.

 

 

 

   Ernest Hemingway Biography> World War II

 

In the spring of 1944 Hemingway finally decided to go to Europe to report the war, heading first to London where he wrote articles about the RAF and about the war’s effects on England. While there he was injured in a car crash, suffering a serious concussion and a gash to his head which required over 50 stitches. Martha visited him in the hospital and minimized his injuries, castigating him for being involved in a drunken auto wreck. Hemingway really was seriously hurt and Martha’s cavalier reaction triggered the beginning of the end of their marriage. While in London Hemingway met Mary Welsh, the antithesis of Martha. Mary was caring, adoring, and complimentary while Martha couldn’t care less, had lost any admiration for her man and was often insulting to him. For Hemingway it was an easy choice between the two and like in other wars, Hemingway fell in love with a new woman.

Hemingway and Mary openly conducted their courtship in London and then in France after the allied invasion at Normandy and the subsequent liberation of Paris. For all intents and purposes Hemingway’s third marriage was over and his fourth and final marriage to Mary had begun. Hemingway wrote, "Funny how it should take one war to start a woman in your damn heart and another to finish her. Bad luck."

 

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In late August of 1944 Hemingway and his band of irregular soldiers entered Paris. Hemingway was always fond of saying he was the first to enter Paris en route to its liberation, but the story is a stretch. He did liberate his favorite bar and hotel though. He set up camp in The Ritz Hotel and spent the next week or so drinking, carousing and celebrating his return to the city that meant so much to him as a young man.

Next, Hemingway traveled to the north of France to join his friend General Buck Lanham as the allied forces (the 22nd Infantry Regiment in particular) pushed toward Germany. Hemingway spent a month with Lanham, long enough to watch American forces cross over into Germany. The fighting was some of the bloodiest of the war and was obliquely recorded by Hemingway in Across the River and into the Trees.

Hemingway returned to America in March of 1946 with plans to write a great novel of the war, but it never materialized. The only book length work he would produce about the war was Across the River and Into the Trees. It tells the bitter-sweet story of Richard Cantwell, a former brigadier general who has been demoted to colonel after a disastrous battle which had been blamed on him. The aging Cantwell, with his heart problem that threatened to kill him at any moment, falls in love with the young Italian countess Renata. They carry out a love affair and through their conversations and monologues we learn the source of Cantwell’s bitterness...an inept military that fails to appreciate his talents and in fact sends him orders that are impossible to fulfill, in effect guaranteeing his failure and disgrace, an ex-wife (based on Martha Gellhorn) that uses her relationship with Cantwell to gain access to the military brass for information important to her journalism career and a general distaste for the modern world.

Banking on Hemingway’s reputation, Scribners ran an initial printing of 75,000 copies of Across the River and Into the Trees in September of 1950 after it had already appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in the February-June issues of the same year. Generally slammed by the critics as sentimental, boorish and a thin disguise of Hemingway’s own relationship with a young Italian woman named Adriana Ivancich, the novel actually contains some of Hemingway’s finest writing, especially in the opening chapters. The critics were expecting something on the scale of For Whom The Bell Tolls and were disappointed by the short novel and its narrow scope.

 

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