The work of Ernest Hemingway became iconic for the generation of the 60s and 70s. And the life of the writer was as difficult and bright as that of the characters in his works.
Throughout his life, Ernest Hemingway has been married for 40 years, but with four different wives. His first and last passions were platonic.
Video: Ernest Hemingway
Agnes von Kurowski
Young Ernest fell in love with Agness when he was 19 years old. In 1918, he went to war as a chauffeur from the Red Cross, was wounded – and ended up in a Milan hospital. It was there that Ernest met Agnes. She was a charming, cheerful girl, seven years older than Ernest.
Hemingway was so fascinated by the nurse that he proposed to her, but was refused. Still, Agnes was older than him, and experienced more maternal feelings.
Then the image of von Kurowski will appear in the novel “A Farewell to Arms” – she will become the prototype of the heroine of Catherine Barkley. Agnes was transferred to another city, from which she sent a letter to Ernest, in which she wrote about her feelings, more similar to those of her mother.
For some time they kept up friendly correspondence, but gradually communication ceased. Agnes von Kurowski was married twice and lived to be 90 years old.
The first wife of the famous writer was the timid and very feminine Headley Richardson. They were introduced by mutual friends.
The woman turned out to be 8 years older than Ernest, and she had a difficult fate: her mother died, and her father committed suicide. A similar story would later happen to Hemingway’s parents.
Headley was able to heal Ernest of his love for Agnes – in 1921 he and Headley got married and moved to Paris. About their family life will be written one of the most famous works of Heminugei “The holiday that is always with you.”
In 1923, son Jack Headley Nikanor was born. Headley was a wonderful wife and mother, although some friends of the couple felt that she was too subservient to the domineering nature of her husband.
The first few years of marriage were perfect. Later, Hemingway will consider the divorce from Headley one of the biggest mistakes in his life. But their family happiness lasted until 1926, when the witty and charming 30-year-old Pauline Pfeiffer arrived in Paris. She was going to work for Vogue magazine, and she was surrounded by Dos Passos and Fitzgerald.
Having met Ernest Hemingway, Pauline fell in love without memory, and the writer succumbed to her charm. Pauline’s sister told Headley about their relationship, and the timid Richardson made a mistake. Instead of letting the feelings gradually cool down, she invited Hemingway to check their relationship with Pauline apart. And, of course, they only got stronger. Ernest was tormented, tormented by doubts, thought about suicide, but nevertheless packed Headley’s things – and moved him to a new apartment.
The woman behaved impeccably, and she explained to her little son that her father and Polina fell in love with each other. In 1927, the couple divorced, managing to maintain a warm relationship, and Jack often saw his father.
Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer got married in the Catholic Church and spent their honeymoon in a fishing village. Pfeiffer adored her husband and told everyone that they were one. In 1928, their son Patrick was born. Despite her love for her son, Polina’s husband remained in the first place.
It is worth noting that the writer was not particularly interested in children. But he loved his sons, taught them hunting and fishing, and raised them in his special harsh manner. In 1931, the Hemingway couple bought a house on Key West, an island in Florida. They really wanted the second child to be a girl, but they had a second son, Gregory.
If during the period of his first marriage the writer’s favorite place was Paris, then with Polina this place was taken by Key West, a ranch in Wyoming and Cuba, where he went fishing on his yacht “Pilar”. In 1933, the Hemingway went on a safari to Kenya and it went very well. Their Key West cabin became a landmark, and Ernest grew in popularity.
In 1936, the story “The Snow of Kilimanjaro” was published, which was a huge success. And at this time, Hemingway was depressed: he was worried that his talent was starting to go away, insomnia and sudden mood swings appeared. The writer’s family happiness cracked, and in 1936 Ernest Hemingway met the young journalist Martha Gelhorn.
Martha was a fighter for social justice and held a liberal view. She wrote a book about the unemployed – and became famous. Then she met Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom they became friends. Arriving in Key West, Martha dropped into Slob Joe’s bar, where she met Hemingway.
In 1936, Ernest went to Madrid as a war correspondent, leaving his wife at home. Martha also arrived there, and they began a serious romance. Later they will visit Spain several times, and their front-line romance will be described in the play “The Fifth Column”.
If relations with Martha developed rapidly, then with Polina everything became worse. Pfeiffer, having learned about this novel, began to threaten her husband that she would throw herself off the balcony. Hemingway was on edge, got into fights, and in 1939 he left Pauline – and began to live with Martha.
They settled in a Havana hotel in terrible conditions. Martha, unable to withstand such an unsettled life, rented a house near Havana with her savings and repaired it. To earn money, she had to go to Finland, where it was restless at the time. Hemingway believed that she left him because of her journalistic vanity, although he was proud of her courage.
In 1940, the couple got married, and the book For Whom the Bell Tolls was published, which became a bestseller. Ernest was popular, and Martha suddenly realized that she didn’t like her husband’s lifestyle, and their circle of interests did not coincide. Gelhorn began to pursue a career as a war correspondent, which did not suit her husband, a writer.
In 1941, Hemingway had the idea of becoming an intelligence officer, but nothing came of it. Disagreements between the spouses arose more and more often, and in 1944 Ernest flew to London without his wife. Martha traveled there separately. When she reached London, Hemingway had already met Mary Welch, who was also a journalist.
The writer had a car accident and was surrounded by friends, drinks and flowers that Mary brought. Martha, seeing such a picture, announced that their relationship was over.
The writer had already arrived in Paris in 1944 with Mary Welch.
In Paris, Ernest continued to conduct intelligence activities, and at the same time – drink a lot. He made it clear to his new lover that only one person can write in their family, and that is him. When Mary tried to rebel against his drunkenness, Hemingway raised his hand to her.
In 1945, she came with him to his Cuban home, and was amazed at his neglect.
According to Cuban law, Hemingway got all the property that was acquired during his marriage to Martha. He only sent her family crystal and china, and never spoke to her again.
In 1946, Mary Welch and Ernest Hemingway were married, although the woman herself doubted the possible family happiness.
But she was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, and when the doctors were already powerless, her husband saved her. He personally supervised the blood transfusion, and did not leave her. For this Mary was infinitely grateful to him.
The writer’s last hobby was platonic, like his first love. He met Adriana in Italy in 1948. The girl was only 18 years old, and she charmed Hemingway so much that he wrote her letters from Cuba every day. In addition, the girl was a very talented artist, and she made illustrations for some of his works.
But the family was worried that rumors began to circulate around Adriana. And after she made the cover for “The Old Man and the Sea”, their communication gradually stopped.
Ernest Hemingway was not an easy man, and not every woman could stand his character. But all the beloved of the writer became the prototypes of the heroines of his famous works. And each of his chosen ones tried to maintain his talent at certain periods of his life.
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