Monday Morning! “Paris Without End: the True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife”

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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6 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Dude, that sucks. Good luck.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      You know, the weird thing about it is they get easier every time. I’ve been through about ten of them in my life and none was as tough as Laura Schwartz when I was 23. Oh, man, I loved that girl! I spent the better part of a year lying in bed in a rented basement apartment crying my eyes out. Even the divorce, which was rough, was not as rough as that first real heartbreak. So, it sucks. But it’s not Laura Schwartz bad.Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    First and foremost, very sorry to learn of your personal situation. As you note, it feels like a death. We are here for you in any way possible. Moving on now to the post.

    Ernest would have likely still felt adrift without a job and a steady paycheck, feeling his way as what we would call a “freelancer” in today’s parlance, even if Hadley’s trust fund kept them from actual poverty in the midst of Paris’ decadent plenty. Add that to what is described here as a deeper sort of insecurity manifest in that mercurial, brash, and so very young mentality, and it is easy to see the psychological path to self-destruction.

    I am actually not closely familiar with the details of his life there — I know there was a literary circle that included a lot of American expats, a lot of booze, and a lot of sex. It seems hard to believe that Pauline Pfeiffer was the first or only time that Ernest stepped out on his wife (particularly in the seeming Bacchanalia of the day), but it also seems hard to believe that if Hadley had come into her own self-confidence that she would have put up with much of that sort of thing.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Yeah a big part of it was his parents were the sort who believed one should always be occupied with work. I think a lot of his insecurity came from that, plus they didn’t think much of his writing, which his mother thought was smutty and so on. He definitely acted a lot of that out.Report

  3. jason says:

    I’ll repeat what others said: sorry about the loss. Other than that, loved the post. I’ve studied American modernists a bit, and Hemingway always strikes me as sleazy. He received helped from other writers and then mocked and ridiculed them (and for my money, the other writers were mostly better) when he was successful. Our local library had the author of _The Paris Wife_ come as part of an annual author’s festival. I didn’t read the book, but was glad someone was telling a different Hemingway story.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to jason says:

      Yeah, I think he was super competitive. There’s this section of Death in the Afternoon where he’s bashing all these writers for not being as macho as the bullfighters and it just comes off as so pointless. I definitely don’t think the profession is helped by everyone kissing up to each other either, but Hemingway took the ‘anxiety of influence’ to an extreme.Report