New Hemingway Letters Acquired by Kennedy Library

New Hemingway Letters Acquired by Kennedy Library


Ernest Hemingway is well known for his terse, testosterone-fueled writing. Bullfighting, marlin fishing, war, and mountain climbing have all shown up in the man’s work. Today, a previously unpublished set of correspondence was obtained by the Kennedy presidential library, which houses the rest of the author’s papers. The new letters reveal a softer, gentler side to the rough-and-tumble Hemingway.

The letters were purchased from Gianfranco Ivancich, a friend of the author, who now resides in Italy. The two met at a bar in Venice in 1949, and formed a bond in spite of a two-decade age difference, both having suffered leg wounds after serving in the military. The letters were written between 1953 and 1960 (one year before Hemingway’s suicide), and are both typed and written by hand.

According to the Kennedy library foundation the conversations are often paternal and nurturing. In one, Hemingway mentions that he had to put down his injured cat, Uncle Willie:

Miss Uncle Willie. Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and loved for eleven years, nor anyone that purred with two broken legs.

Later in the letter, the author describes a group of tourists showing up at his villa:

I still had the rifle and I explained to them they had come at a bad time and to please understand and go away…[they had] come at a most interesting time. Just in time to see the great Hemingway cry because he has to kill a cat.

John Jarzemsky

News by John Jarzemsky

John is a freelance writer who has been with LitReactor since the days of its halcyon youth. You can check out John's blog, the poorly titled Super Roller Disco Monkey Hullabaloo!, for other reviews, random musings, and ill-thought out rants. He was recently published in Bushwick Nightz, a collection of short stories about the Brooklyn neighborhood in which he resides.

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iBronco's picture
iBronco from New Jersey is reading White Noise March 29, 2012 - 9:54am

It's almost emasculating...but he was still ten times more of a man than the average joe. 

Kasey's picture
Kasey from the morally and physically challenging plains of Texas is reading 12pt. Courier font March 29, 2012 - 10:49pm

He'd destroy Chuck Norris.