The Hemingway Attack (Part IV): Something about Katy-Hemingway and John Dos Passos

Ernest Hemingway was far more in tune with John Dos Passos than with any other writer or friend from his early years, such as Sherwood Anderson, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Archibald MacLeish or F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Their friendship would last for most of the two decades between the First and Second World Wars.  Still, Dos was not immune from the Hemingway psyche and after Anderson, Ford and Stein, this other great American writer and longtime friend would be next on Hem’s hit list.

Ernest Hemingway in Paris, 1924.  He was no longer the quiet, shy Midwesterner.  The Great War had changed that.

Ernest Hemingway in Paris, 1924. He was no longer the quiet, shy Midwesterner. The Great War had changed that.

The left-leaning, socially conscious Dos Passos was one of several American writers who in the 1920’s and 1930’s enjoyed literary fame in tandem with Hemingway.  By 1925, he was commercially successful with the publication of Manhattan Transfer and his 1930’s U.S.A. trilogy of 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932) and The Big Money (1936) would mark him as one of America’s greats.

Both men had been volunteer ambulance drivers in Italy during the war and the two budding writers first met in Italy in Dolo in 1918 and then again in 1922 in Paris. In 1924 Ford Madox Ford published some of his writing in the transatlantic review. That same year Dos joined Hem in Pamplona for the running of the bulls.Dos Passos already had two novels—One Man’s Initiation: 1917 and Three Soldiers—published. Hemingway was receiving only rejection letters from American magazines, so a few months after the Pamplona trip, Dos took a manuscript of the young writer’s short story collection In Our Time to New York to show his own publishing contacts.  A gesture for which Hemingway wrote and thanked him.

“Jesus, I wish you were over here so we could get drunk like I am now and have been so often lately. I never knew it was you trying to get the book over and did. You’re a good guy, Dos, and I wish to hell you were here. Christ knows I appreciate you and Sherwood jamming it through.”[i]

American writer John Dos Passos.  Friends with Hemingway for almost two decades.

American writer John Dos Passos. Friends with Hemingway for almost two decades.

Hemingway’s appreciation of Sherwood Anderson would last only a few more months; for Dos, it would last for more than decade.

It was Dos who not only went with him to Pamplona in 1924 and again in 1926; but who introduced the young writer to Gerald and Sara Murphy, wealthy expatriates and patrons of the arts. Dos who spent the next years in the sun and sand with Hem at the Murphy’s Villa America in Antibes on the Riviera or skiing and drinking kirsch in Schruns or catching tarpon in Key West or hunting in Montana.  Dos, while fishing with Hem in Key West in February, 1929, met Katy Smith, sister of Bill Smith, one of Hemingway’s old up in Michigan friends.  In August, they would marry in Ellsworth, Maine.

On November 1, 1930, it was Dos who was riding next to Hem, passing the bourbon bottle back and forth, as Hem, his weak eyes temporarily blinded from the glare of an oncoming vehicle, drove the car off the road, severely fracturing his right arm.

In the 1930s, Dos Passos and Katy often visited Key West, Havana and Bimini as part of the Hemingway crowd. Eating, drinking and game fishing were always the orders of the day.  It was Dos who was trapped with Hem in Havana during the 1934 Cuban revolution and who, at the beginning of the infamous 1935 Bimini trip, filmed Hem as the writer accidently shot himself on his fishing boat, the Pilar, while trying to kill a gaffed shark.

John and Katy Smith Dos Passos in Key West in 1932.  Photo is courtesy of the JFK Library.

John and Katy Smith Dos Passos in Key West in 1932. Photo is courtesy of the JFK Library.

During the Spanish Civil War both men were sympathetic to the Republican government and in 1937 they traveled to Spain. Ostensibly, their friendship abruptly ended over the Jose Robles affair.  Robles was a friend and translator of Dos Passos and had suddenly disappeared under murky circumstances.  It turned out that he was seized by the Republican government as a spy for the Nationalists and presumably tortured and executed.  Dos Passos blamed the Spanish Republican government’s Soviet Russian-controlled secret police for Robles’ disappearance whereas Hemingway was told by the Republicans that Robles was a spy and he, in turn, accused Dos Passos of betraying the Republican cause.[ii] There is no need to go further into this sordid story. Much, perhaps too much, has been written about it, and much, too much has been made about the premise that it caused the irreparable breach in the close 15-year friendship between the two writers.

The main fault with this premise is that by the mid-1930’s, their friendship was already fracturing. Much about Hemingway was also fracturing and he knew the signs.

“He says, he’s never been crazy, Bugs,” Ad said.

“He’s got a lot coming to him,” the negro said.

He had written that about Nick Adams in his 1925 short story “The Battler.”

Hemingway also knew a lot about what would be coming to him. In 1909, his father had written him from St. Mary’s Hospital where he had checked in for treatment of his “nervous condition.”

“Soon we will be coming here together,” Clarence Hemingway had told the eleven-year-old Ernest.  In 1928, Hemingway père shot himself with his own father’s Civil War pistol.

Hemingway had not written a major novel in years; Both Death in the Afternoon, his 1932 treatise on bullfighting and writing, and Green Hills of Africa, the non-fictional account of his 1934 East African safari, had not received stellar reviews.  Now, in 1936, the year before the trip to Spain to cover the civil war, his marriage to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, was drifting toward rockier and rockier shoals; recurring bouts of severe depression, insomnia and sudden violent accusatory attacks on those closest to him, fistfights galore, all fueled further by excessive alcohol intake from self-medication, were driving him to deep despair.

His regular visitors, his crowd, were now “brain-sucking time eating bastards,” he told Sara Murphy.  “Fornicate a visitor say I. Only most of them aren’t worth a quick one even…thought was faceing (sic) impotence, inability to write, insomnia and was going to blow my lousy head off…”[iii] He was “a malevolent bastard, full of self-loathing,” said a friend.[iv]

Hemingway and Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky with whom he had a wartime affair. Agnes ended the romance with a "Dear John" letter.

Hemingway and Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky with whom he had a wartime affair.  Agnes ended the romance with a “Dear John” letter.  Photo is courtesy of the JFK Library

His despair was further deepened by the presence of the happily-married Dos and his wife, Katy. Dos, who would be happily correcting the galleys of his new novel, The Big Money, the third novel of his USA trilogy.  The perky, lively Katy Smith had been an early Hemingway infatuation, a love that befell him right after the war-time interlude with his Red Cross nurse, Alice von Kurowsky.  And now she was in Key West, happily helping her husband. She would be one visitor always worth a quick one.  Only now, it would only be with Dos.

Before the war, Hemingway, along with his sisters and little brother, spent his summers at Windemere, the family’s summer cottage at Horton’s Bay in Michigan.  In his teens, he was part of a crowd of other “summer people.” His closest friend was William (Bill) Smith, who along with his older sister, Katherine Foster (Katy) Smith, were from St. Louis and stayed at their aunt’s summer home.   There was also Jack Pentecost and Karl Edgar. As kids often do, they gave each other nicknames.   Ernest was “Wemedge,” Katy was “Butstein” or “Stuts,” Jack was “the Ghee,” and Edgar was “Odgar.”

In the summer of 1920, trying to recuperate from his war wounds, both physical and mental, he went to Horton’s Bay, but annoyed by his mother, he stayed with Bill and Katy Smith. Katy, like Agnes von Kurowsky, was older than Ernest but he had done a lot of growing in that past year. Katy was being pursued by a lovesick Edgar and she, in turn, was doing some pursuing of her own. The new, improved, war wounded and more romantic Ernest was in her summer sights. Hemingway, who had received a “Dear John” letter from Alice, was also attracted to her; an attraction that continued in Chicago when Hemingway moved in across the street from her apartment.

Hemingway (with hat) and the Summer, 1920 Horton's Bay gang.    Now, he was romancing Katy Smith.

Hemingway (with hat) and the Summer, 1920 Horton’s Bay gang. Now, he was romancing Katy Smith.  Photo is courtesy of the JFK Library

It was Katy who introduced Hemingway to her old schoolmate Hadley Richardson, who was also from St. Louis, and whom Katy had known since childhood. Whether Katy intended it to happen or not, Ernest was soon taken enough by Hadley to propose marriage. Two years later, when the Hemingways arrived in Paris, one of the first letters he wrote was to Katy:

“Dear Butstein,” he saluted her from Switzerland where he and Hadley had sought refuge from the winter Paris damp. He followed with a lengthy and rather fanciful description of his digs in the Latin Quarter and the winter wonders of the Swiss Alps. Finally, he would get around to the heart of the matter. “Deare (sic) old Butstein, wish to hell you were here…Write me. I ain’t heard from you. I’ll send you some of my stuff if you want; if you write me, that is. Please write a man.   Ain’t I your best friend? Or ain’t I? Who’s fonder of you than I am anyway?”[v]

In 1926, the urbane Pauline Pfeiffer had wormed her way so deeply into the Hemingway household and into Hemingway’s body and soul that his marriage to Hadley was coming apart at the seams. So was he.   Guilt-ridden, indecisive as to how to end it, even whether to end it, he was drinking heavily—really, more heavily than usual would be a truer statement. The solution? Like the adult Nick Adams of his short story Fathers and Sons, “If he wrote it, he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of many things by writing them.”[vi] So he wrote.

The result was Summer People, a short story that remained unpublished until long after his death, a story about his last summer in Horton’s Bay, a summer with Katy Smith and the rest of the gang; a story in which he tried to get rid of many things.

There was his depression and thoughts of suicide. In the story, Nick Adams stops at a spring on the side of the road from Horton’s Bay. “Nick thought, I wish I could put all of myself in there. I bet that would fix me.”[vii]

There was his marriage to Hadley and the possibility of a new marriage to Pauline:

“I’d like to be Wemedge,” Kate said.

“You could always be Mrs. Wemedge,” Odgar said.

“There isn’t going to be any Mrs. Wemedge,” Nick said. 

While Kate rests her feet on Nick—Wemedge—Ernest’s back, the conversation continues:

“Don’t be too sure,” Odgar said.

“I’m awfully sure,” Nick said. “I’m going to marry a mermaid.”

“She’d be Mrs. Wemedge,” Kate said.

“No she wouldn’t,” Nick said. “I wouldn’t let her.”

“How would you stop her?”

“I’d stop her all right. Just let her try it.”[viii]

And then there was Kate. While the others talked, he imagined making love to her underwater. But then she would drown, he concludes—He notices how the mooning Odgar’s voice becomes husky when he is near Kate—She makes a rendezvous with Wemedge to meet later that night under a copse of hemlock, the classical poisonous fir whose brewed needles were the mode of execution of Socrates, who also had asked many questions. Butstein brings the blankets, Wemedge brings the food.

“Dear Butstein,” Nick said. He held her close against him, feeling her body against his, all the sweet body against his body. She pressed close against him.

“I love you so, Wemedge.”

“Dear, dear old Butstein,” Nick said.

They undress.

They lay between the rough blankets. He was hot against her cool body, hunting for it, then it was all right.

“Is it all right?”

Kate pressed all the way up for answer.

“Is it fun?”

“Oh, Wemedge. I’ve wanted it so. I’ve needed it so.”

After they rest he felt the whole feeling come back again and he enters her once more, this time from behind, while kissing her back.

“Is it good this way?” he said.

“I love it. I love it. I love it. Oh, come, Wemedge. Please come. Come, come. Please, Wemedge. Please, please Wemedge.”

“There it is,” Nick said.

Afterwards, Nick-Wemedge-Ernest is hungry and they eat. Kate wants to stay there all night; he wants to go home.

He came through the wet grass to the cottage and upstairs to his room, walking carefully not to creak. It was good to be in bed, sheets, stretching full length, dipping his head in the pillow. Good in bed, comfortable, happy, fishing, tomorrow, he prayed as he always when he remembered it…[ix]

Was this “getting rid of things” the first time Hemingway had written about Katy Smith since leaving Chicago? It is hard not to think that there had been others. What about the suitcase full of his short stories that Hadley “lost” at the Gare de Lyon in December of 1922? Manuscripts she was bringing to Hem in Lausanne so he could work on them. Manuscripts he had not asked her to bring. Was there something about Katy Smith, Hadley’s old school friend, in them? Something Hadley had read? Something that restrained the volatile Hem from savagely berating his wife for her carelessness, if it was that? Something that he was recreating in 1926.

And now, a decade later in 1936, with his mood becoming darker and darker, more and more like his father’s, filled with bouts of self-destructiveness—heavy drinking, unpredictable lashings out at Pauline and railing at his friends—Dos, Archie, even Carlos Gutierrez, his old and trusted Cuban fishing mate. And with the young blond journalist Martha Gellhorn on the Key West scene, was this something about Katy resurfacing once again?

Mired in what he would call one of his “blackass” moods, Hemingway would once more write to get rid of things. “I’m crazy as a coot and being as cruel to you as I can be,” the dying writer Harry Walden told his wife in The Snows of Kilimanjaro,[x] written in 1936, along with The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, in which the hunter is killed by his wife.[xi] Having ridden himself of Pauline in these African stories, he would try once again to do the same with Katy.

In April he had practically begged Dos and Katy to come down to Key West. By the end of the summer, things had changed drastically. In August, Dos’s The Big Money had received rave reviews. And Hem still had not completed another novel.

He had previously published the short stories One Trip Across in Cosmopolitan Magazine and The Tradesman’s Return in Esquire. He quickly fashioned these two stories into the first two parts of what would become To Have and to Have Not.

In the first draft of this novel, really a collection of short stories, about the antihero Harry Morgan and et in Key West and Havana, Hemingway’s uncontrollable anger and professional jealousy spills out into vicious attacks on Dos and Katy.

The easily recognizable Katy is “very odd” and “I really think he was honest until he married her. She’s handsome and she’s charming and she’s very good to him but she has one little defect. She likes to steal as much as a monkey does.”

Dos lives off loans given to him by rich friends who “are proud to back him. It gives them a sort of incorruptable (sic) feeling, too.” Dos is a “modern Galahad” who “wouldnt(sic) change a comma if you put him on the rack” and even if you broke him on the wheel, “the word merde stays in.” The writer “always tells the truth…and never pay anyone anymore. He doesn’t (sic) have to.”[xii]

He was warned by Esquire publisher Gingrich that he was libeling the Dos Passos. Gingrich said that he could see “through every reference as through a screen door.”   According to Carlos Baker, Hemingway argued he had a “neat stratagem.” He knew that Dos intensely disliked Gingrich and if Dos complained about any of the passages, he would tell Dos that Gingrich had objected to these same passages; that way Dos would insist that they remain in the story.[xiii]

He did make changes, including the physical descriptions of the characters, but what was left was plenty damaging to his friend and his first love. And Hemingway was still worried about possible libel suits, such as were currently embroiling Thomas Wolfe.

“Am awfully sorry about that Tom Wolfe libel suit,” he wrote his editor Max Perkins. “On this book of mine we will have to put something air tight in the front to make absolutely sure that no one identifies themselves with characters. How was Tom caught?”[xiv]

In November of 1937, Katy wrote Sara Murphy, asking: “Have you heard anything of the Monster of Mt. Kisco (Hemingway)? Pauline’s visit was a great pleasure to us, but she seemed worried about Ernest, and no wonder—she was very cute and nervy, I thought—but couldn’t sleep…”[xv] Perhaps, Pauline had sensed just how Martha Gellhorn, in Spain with Hemingway, was curing the writer’s bouts of insomnia, and perhaps, if Katy had known what Wemedge had written about Dos and her in the book that would be released that month, she might have developed some insomnia of her own.

In the final draft of To Have and Have Not, Hemingway’s attacks on his old friends were far bloodier, far more malicious and far more personal than his previous attacks in print on other writers. He fashioned the character of the writer Richard Gordon after Dos Passos and that of Gordon’s wife, after Katy.

In a series of lengthy passages inserted throughout the last third of the story and which had nothing to do with the main narrative about the antihero Harry Morgan, Hemingway attacks Dos Passos (Gordon) for his alleged extramarital affairs, his inability to sexually satisfy his wife (Katy), Dos’s phony writing about the down trodden working classes, and worst of all, not being able to take a solid punch in barroom brawl. Not satisfied with this, he goes even further, attacking Katy for not being sexually pleasing to Dos Passos and for purportedly having an abortion.[xvi] And all of this maliciousness had been in the hands of Max Perkins, his editor, long before the blow up in Spain over Robles.

In Hemingway’s attacks on Sherwood Anderson, Ford Madox Ford and Gertrude Stein, wives and partners were always part of the attack. With the attack on Dos, “Butstein” would come in for more than her fair share of maliciousness at the hands of “Wemedge.”

When Helen Gordon (Katy) confronts her husband, Richard (Dos), about his cheating, she tells him that there is someone else who wants to marry her. When a disbelieving Gordon asks why, Helen answers:

“Because he loves me. Because he wants me to live with him. He makes enough money to support me.”

“You’re married to me.”

“Not really. Not in the church. You wouldn’t marry me in the church and it broke my poor mother’s heart as you well know.”[xvii]

Having savaged Dos in this passage as not only a cheater who doesn’t deserve Katy’s love, who forced her to marry outside the Church, and who can’t make enough money as a writer to support her, Hemingway then goes after Katy, who had miscarried several times, giving her fictional character the following dialogue in which she accuses Dos:

“Love is just another dirty lie. Love is ergoapiol pills to make me come around because you were afraid to have a baby. Love is quinine and quinine and quinine until deaf with it.   Love is that dirty aborting horror you took me to. Love is my insides all messed up. It’s half catheters and half whirling douches. I know about love. Love always hangs up behind the bathroom door. It smells like Lysol.”[xviii]

Hemingway doesn’t stop with this attack on the Catholic Katy for the alleged abortion; he brings Dos back under the machine gun, with the “fictional” Katy telling her “fictional” husband:

“Love is all the dirty little tricks you taught me that you probably got out of some book. All right. I’m through with you and I’m through with love. Your kind of picknose love. You writer.”

“You little mick slut.”

“Don’t call me names. I know the word for you.”

The Hemingway attack then turns to a long anguished passage by Katy, which on the surface goes after Dos’s literary capabilities and his purported “selling out,” with the fictional Katy telling her husband:

“If you were just a good writer I could stand for all the rest of it maybe. But I’ve seen you bitter, jealous, changing your politics to suit the fashion, sucking up to people’s faces and talking about them behind their backs.”

But the passage really is psychological projection and a sharp self-analysis by the deeply troubled Hemingway that recaps his current state of affairs with Pauline and Martha, as well as the complex relationship he had had with his father. The contrast between the description of the fictional Katy’s father and his marriage and that of the browbeaten, harried Clarence Hemingway is striking.[xix] Why did Hemingway choose Katy Smith Dos Passos as the vehicle to do this? Was he still trying to get rid of his love for her? Of his father’s “cowardice?” Of his own in not being brave enough to tell Pauline it was all over? Did Katy just happen to be available in Key West for use as a character? How much of his attack on Dos and his violent break with the old friend had to with Katy? In any event, the close ties, at least in Hemingway’s mind, had already been broken the year before Spain.

On Friday, September 12, 1947, Katy and Dos were in an automobile accident in Wareham, Massachusetts. Katy died instantly and Dos lost his right eye. A few days later, Hemingway wrote his publisher, Charles Scribner, and in talking about “a bad year for deads,” said:

“Katy Dos Passos was an old girl of mine, had known her since she was 8 years old, and Dos drove her into a parked truck and killed her last Sat.”[xx]

By 1949, Hemingway’s mood toward his old friend had mellowed. He sent congratulations to Dos upon his new marriage and invited his old friend and his new bride to visit him at the Finca Vigia, outside Havana.

But in 1951 Dos Passos published Chosen Country to favorable reviews. Archibald MacLeish said that it was the best book Dos had ever written and Edmund Wilson told Dos that he was fascinated by the book but found it difficult to judge because he knew many of the characters.[xxi]

One of those characters was called George “Georgie” Elbert Warner and was supposedly modelled after a young Hemingway, one with dirty fingernails, something that Dos must have heard only from Katy, and who spoke out of the side of his mouth.

And Hemingway was furious about what he believed to be a false depiction of his and Katy’s relationship during their Chicago interlude. All the old bile, the paranoid suspicions and jealousy had burbled up again. To Hemingway, the “Honest Jack Passos “of 1938, the one who betrayed the Spanish Republican Government, who will “knife you three times in the back for fifteen cents and sing Giovanezza (the Italian Fascist war song) for free” had returned.[xxii]

He told biographer Charles A. Fenton that “Honest John Dos Passos met Kate Smith down in Key West around the time I was writing A Farewell to Arms…But he gets to Northern Michigan and he marries Katy and kills her dead finally when he drives into the back of a truck. The windshield cut her throat and Honest John loses an eye….He takes badly remembered anecdotes heard at our table when he was a guest and fouls them up a little more…Dos makes the loathsome character who is supposed to be me in the book then betray Kate.”[xxiii]

Had he forgotten how he had characterized Dos and betrayed Katy in To Have and Have Not? Apparently so. And now there would be more.

In an article for Sports Illustrated a couple of years after Hemingway’s suicide, Dos Passos said that Hem was fun in those Key West years “before he took himself too seriously.”

Hemingway would get the last word in, however, and do it in true Hemingway attack formation.  In the late 1950’s, Hemingway was working on his memoirs of the Paris years, memoirs that would be published posthumously as A Moveable Feast. And just as he had maliciously attacked Ford Madox Ford and Gertrude Stein in those memoirs, so would he spill plenty of bile onto Dos.

In the chapter “The Pilot Fish and the Rich,” Hemingway went after Dos and his other old friends, Gerald and Sara Murphy, over their ski week together in Schruns in March, 1926. Dos was the “pilot fish” and the Murphys were the “rich.” And the pilot fish had brought the rich to Hemingway.

The pilot fish “has the irreplaceable early training of the bastard and a latent and long denied love of money…These rich loved and trusted him…and because he was an unerring pilot fish they could tell through all the then true sincerity of his politics it was a passing sham and that he was one of them although he did not know it then.”[xxiv]

Next, in Part V of the Hemingway Attack–The writer’s friendship with F. Scott Fitzgerald.


[i] EH to JDP, 22 April, 1925, in Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, P. 157, ed by Carlos Baker, Granada, London, 1981; The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Vol. II, P. 322, ed by Sandra Spanier, Albert J. DeFazio III and Robert W. Trogdon, Cambridge University, 2013.

[ii] For the best discussion of the Robles Affair, see Paul Preston, We Saw Spain Die, Skyhorse, New York, 2009.

[iii] Letter from EH to SM, 11 February, 1936, Letters from the Lost Generation, P. 155, ed by Linda Patterson Miller, Rutgers, 1991.

[iv] Michael Reynolds, Hemingway: The 1930’s, P. 228, W.W. Norton, NY, 1997.

[v]EH to KS, 27 January, 1922, in The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Vol. I, Pp. 323-325.

[vi] Hemingway, Fathers and Sons, in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia Edition, P. 371, Scribner, NY, 1987.

[vii] Hemingway, Summer People, Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, P. 496.

[viii] Ibid, Pp. 499-500.

[ix] Ibid, Pp. 502-503.

[x] Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia Edition, P. 43, Scribner, NY, 1987.

[xi] Ibid, P. 5.

[xii] Items 230-32, in the JFK Library, quoted by Robert Fleming in “The Libel of Dos Passos in To Have and Have Not,” Journal of Modern Literature, Spring, 1989, Pp 598, 600.

[xiii] Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life, P. 380, Avon, NY, 1968.

[xiv] EH to MP, 15 December, 1936, Selected Letters, P. 455.

[xv] Letter from KDP to SM, 12 November 1937, Lost Generation, P. 203.

[xvi] Hemingway, To Have and Have Not, Part III, Scribner, NY, 1937.

[xvii] Ibid, P. 185.

[xviii] Ibid, Pp 185-186.

[xix] Ibid, Pp 186-188.

[xx] Letter from EH to CS, 18 September, 1947, Selected Letters, P. 626.

[xxi] Virginia Spencer Carr, Dos Passos: A Life, P. 499, Doubleday. NY, 1984.

[xxii] Letter from EH to JDP, 26 March, 1938, Selected Letters, P. 464.

[xxiii] Letter from EH to CAF, 29 July, 1952, Selected Letters, Pp. 775-776.

[xxiv] Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition, P. 234, Scribner, NY, 1964, 1994.


  1. Dear Stan,

    Last year I bought Hemingway’s collected letters and found him to be
    the cut-throat bitchy gossip-monster that your articles efficiently zero in on.
    Wish I’d found you sooner. Coulda saved 80 bucks.
    Your cross reference sleuthing puts a ton of biography work to shame.

    I can’t find part 5 on Fitzgerald. Is that article hiding somewhere on this site?
    Or was the topic so juicy that a full length book was required?


    • Stan Trybulski says

      Benny, thanks for the response. It is important to always look at Hemingway’s actions and words from a psychological perspective. Remember, he was genetically disposed to severe depression, had undergone several near-death experiences, suffered multiple severe head traumas and self-medicated with alcohol. Combine this with a bitterness toward his mother for her treatment of his father and his anger at his father for taking it and then killing himself and you have a rich context to apply. No excuses, just analysis. As to Part V, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I had first planned to do some research in the Hemingway Collection at the JFK Library but never quite got around to it. Alas. Sometimes, one can over-research a topic and this appears to be one of them. I will reread my notes and see what if I can whip them into publishable shapes.
      Warm regards,
      Stan Trybulski

  2. Stan,
    I may have spoken a bit brash.
    I like descirbing Hemingway’s “social skills” with colorful words
    simply because that’s how he would often describe his friends & foes
    in life.
    I appreciate the complexity of his character. If he’d never written at all
    he’d still be an interesting case study of a driven social climber with
    extremely merciless defense techniques. Thank god he wrote though.

    I appreciate your writing on Hemingway for being
    respectful but not doting. I look forward to your future blog posts,
    Ernest related or otherwise, and will continue reccomending your
    site to friends.

  3. P.P. Salles says

    Hey, I’m loving these Hemingway pieces you have written. But where is the ‘Part V’? Have you posted because I can’t find it. Please tell me you did not give it up…

    Anyway, much appreciate your work!

    P.S. I am aware that these are from 2014. Still, I—

    • Stan Trybulski says

      Dear P.P.; Mea culpa, it’s coming, in the next few months.

      Stan Trybulski

      • Dear Mr. Stan Trybulski:

        From Thailand. Thank gods on the New Year Eve of 2020 send your block to my computer. I read The Hemingway Attack part 3 and laughed to death. I really love your works and will try to read every pieces of them.

        Happy new year.

        Thank you.

        Somboon K.

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