Reading Matters

Gellhorn’s love letter to Ernest Hemingway

Martha Gellhorn, a WWI war correspondent, was Ernest Hemingway’s third wife. They were often apart, while she wrote from Cuba and he hunted submarines. Or sometimes while he wrote, and she covered the war.

In a letter to her husband in 1943, Gellhorn says:

“I would like to be young and poor in Milan, and with you and not married to you. I think maybe I have always wanted to feel some way like a woman, and if I ever did, it was the first winter in Madrid. Thre is a sort of blindness and fervor and recklessness about that sort of feeling, which one must always want. I hate being so wise and careful, so reliable, so denatured, so able to get on. Possibly why I have always been happiest at wars (and also because I have never been hit) is that war is the greatest folly of all and it permits the participants to throw away all the working paraphernalia of life, and be fools too. If that is being fools? Depends on the values, I guess.”

-- From “Letters of Note: Volume 2. An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience.” (Chronicle Books)

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