MR. TOM PUTNAM: Good afternoon. On behalf of Paul Kirk, Jill Ker Conway and John Shattuck, Chair, Vice Chair and CEO, respectively, of the Kennedy Library Foundation, and all of my Library colleagues, I want to welcome you to this very special Hemingway Forum.

I’m Tom Putnam, the Library’s Acting Director. And let me begin by thanking all of you for coming, and acknowledging the sponsors of the Kennedy Library Forums, including lead sponsor Bank of America, Boston Capital, the Lowell Institute, and Corcoran Jennison, and our media sponsors, WBUR, The Boston Globe, and NECN.

Before I introduce today’s speakers, I want to recognize that we are joined this afternoon by Deborah Leff, the former Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. This is her--


This is her first return to the Kennedy Library since becoming the President of the Public Welfare Foundation earlier this fall. Were she still my boss, I would likely not dare to acknowledge her publicly, for though she brought this institution to unimaginable new heights, she did so with modesty and grace.  One of Deborah’s many passions was to preserve and promote the Hemingway Collection. So Deborah, for that, and for all of your hard work and accomplishments to transform the Kennedy Library, we thank you.


“When I was six in 1934, Papa would take me up from the Florida Keys to shoot shorebirds, golden plovers and yellow bills. They would fly in small flocks, and make a whistling sound. Papa would sit in the mangroves and make a soft imitation of their call. The birds would circle curiously, and Papa would fire with deadly accuracy. I was retriever.”

So begins a 1968 article written by Patrick Hemingway, recounting his earliest recollection of his father. One of the treasures of the Kennedy Library is the Hemingway Collection, the world’s principal center for research on the life and works of the Nobel Prize winning author.

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately known by many as Papa, yet we are honored to have with us today the only person who can truly call him by that name, Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s sole surviving son, and one of the only voices remaining with firsthand knowledge of arguably the 20th century’s greatest American writer.

Patrick Hemingway spent his boyhood in Key West. And because of what he describes as “his fortuitous position as number two son,” spent a great deal of time with his father during his later childhood and adolescence. He learned how to hunt game at his father’s side in Idaho, and to fish on Hemingway’s boat, the Pilar. In fact, had Patrick been born a girl, his parents planned to name him, not their boat, Pilar.

A graduate of Harvard, Patrick lived most of his adult life in East Africa, working as a professional hunter, safari guide, and instructor in wildlife management. “Hunting,” he once wrote, “is the old religion, the one we all believed in far away and long ago, even before the last time the ice melted and the sea rose.”

While in Tanzania, he was the only family member to be near during his father’s feared fatal airplane crashes in 1954. Earlier that year, he had accompanied his father on a safari, the genesis of the fictional memoir, True at First Light, a previously unpublished manuscript which Patrick edited in the late 1990s, bonding him once more again to his father’s presence.

Patrick now lives in Montana with his wife, Carol, who is also here with us today. In fact, it was from Carol that I learned that the only question that tends to irritate Patrick is when people ask, “Did you really know your father?” a question that is especially irksome given that Ernest Hemingway was so keen on spending time with his children.

Carefully avoiding this question, and sure to ask more astute ones, is our moderator, Professor Stanley Katz of Princeton University, and the President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies. Professor Katz currently serves as Chair of the Societies’ Social Science Research Council Working Group on Cuba, which is devoted to extending and broadening scholarly relations between Cuba and the United States, and recently undertook a collaborative project to preserve over 3000 personal photographs, 2000 letters and several draft fragments of novels and stories housed at the Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s former home outside of Havana. The project will also create digital images of these materials which will then be housed here at the Kennedy Library as well as at the Hemingway Museum in Cuba.

All who care about preserving these priceless Hemingway materials are deeply indebted to Professor Katz for this work. And we’re so pleased that he is here today to moderate this conversation. If, like me, the notion of preserving the papers and photos of Ernest Hemingway makes your heart beat aflutter, I hope you will consider becoming a member of the Friends of the Hemingway Collection.

There is information about how to join on your chairs. Your membership will help preserve the collection and support programming that examines American literature and the creative process as personified by Ernest Hemingway.

As is often the case with such larger than life figures, it can be difficult to separate the public Ernest Hemingway from his art. And his literary achievements can, at times, be overshadowed by his mythic persona. “The trouble about these myths,” states Patrick in a recent interview, “is that they might keep people from reading what he wrote. And that writing has been pretty incredible.”

So let me conclude with a passage of Hemingway prose from Islands in the Stream. Like much of Hemingway’s fiction, it is based loosely on the reality of the author’s own life. At the book’s opening, the protagonist is preparing for a visit from his three sons. Here is the description of his second child, which many believe is based on Hemingway’s observations of Patrick:

“The middle boy always reminded his father of an otter, the sort of animal that has a sound and humorous life by itself. Otters and bears are the animals that joke most. And bears, of course, are very close to men. This boy would never be wide enough and strong enough to be a bear. And he would never be an athlete, nor did he want to be. But he had a lovely, small animal quality. And he had a good mind, and a life of his own. He was affectionate. And he had a good sense of justice, and was good company.”

Patrick, on behalf of everyone here, I thank you so much for coming. We’re uniquely privileged to spend this December afternoon in your good company as you retrieve for us memories, stories and insights of the exceptional man who was your father.


MR. PATRICK HEMINGWAY: Thank you very much.

PROFESSOR STANLEY KATZ: Thank you, Tom, and thank you all for coming. This is an unexpected pleasure for me. I didn’t know, until two days ago, that I was going to be doing this. And I’m happy to do it. It’s particularly a pleasure because Ernest Hemingway-- I grew up in Chicago, although not in Oak Park. And I grew up like, I think, most young, aspiring writers of my generation to think that Ernest Hemingway was America’s greatest writer. I still think that the short stories are the greatest works of literature in our literary history.

But I had never met Patrick until we had telephone conversations about the Cuba project over the last couple of years. So I know what a rich store of insights and anecdotes he has for us today. And I wanted to begin, simply, by asking you-- the audience, now, has seen some of these wonderful pictures of your youth, and that of your brothers--  so the first question is really, simply, when did you discover and how did you discover that you were a Hemingway?

MR. HEMINGWAY: [laughter] Pretty late. I think most children, their relationship with their families is, you know, that they love their parents very dearly. They hate to see them leave the room, really, or go out for a night. But it came very late to me what my father really was, what his profession was.

He didn’t go to work like most fathers did. What he did was go to a different section of the house after breakfast, and was not to be disturbed. And so we were all very quiet. And then, on his birthday, we gave him yellow pad paper that you got in the five and ten, and pencils. And the idea was that he would write more so that we would all live better.


But just what that amounted to, I think, came very late for me, probably even after I got out of college. Literature or writing, or whatever name you give to it, is a very different art, I think, from all the others in that its basic material is just everyday speech. And everyday speech is like a public place, full of dirt, papers, bad smells. And a writer has to take that language, which everybody uses, and polish it up, and push it out again so that it really makes an impression.

And I did learn that, finally, about Ernest Hemingway. He was very good at this. He could take those very shopworn, dirty words and put them together in a new way, and shoot them out, and not as so many times you read that he wrote short, simple, declarative sentences. That is baloney. Probably one of the finest paragraphs in English prose is the opening of A Farewell to Arms. And that sentence is usually taught in schools as being just very good, indeed, a description.

And check how long it is. [laughter] I mean, like so many things, the writer becomes summed up in a few simple words. And they’re always wrong. And I really recommend, if you like a writer -- say, John Updike -- get everything he wrote, and then you can make up your mind about what he’s like. And it’s very difficult because writers are-- they change shape like an octopus, you know. You see how an octopus is green, and then he’s red, and then he’s big, and then he’s small. A writer, in his lifetime, is all of us in every possible way we could be.

And so--

PROFESSOR KATZ: Good. Well, let me follow on that and ask, then, what your sense was of the other writers who really mattered to your father.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes. I really appreciate that question because I think that the main thing with writers is that they don’t really live in the present. They live in a world that goes back 2000 years, at least.  And everything they write is resonating with everything that was written before.

And I know some of the writers that he really appreciated, he learned how to write short stories from Maupassant. And it’s a truism about everybody who writes in English that they learn how to write from reading French writers. And, earlier on, they learn by reading Spanish writers. Because the person who invented modern literature as such was a Spaniard in Don Quixote, in my opinion, which isn’t worth a great deal. But that’s at least the way I feel about it. So I’d say Maupassant was his mentor in writing short stories.

I read a wonderful paper by an English scholar, not so long ago, where he said that For Whom the Bell Tolls owed a lot to Stendhal. And I think that was a very good insight. As for style, I think W.H. Hudson, which he mentions early on in The Sun Also Rises, Robert Cohn has read The Purple Land, and he wants to go to South America and live that life. And, of course, Jake says, you know, “Not much chance of that” sort of thing.


But W.H. Hudson was a largely forgotten writer today. He wrote two works that you can still buy, Green Mansions and The Purple Land. Green Mansions was made into a movie quite a few years back.

PROFESSOR KATZ:  Quite a few years ago.

MR. HEMINGWAY: But, it’s funny, this is an illustration of that. Salman Rushdie wrote a book called The Satanic Verses, which created quite a stir. We’re feeling the repercussions of it even today. And the one person he mentions in The Satanic Verses from the West is W.H. Hudson.

And W.H. Hudson, in -- I can’t remember whether it’s Idle Days in Patagonia -- Far Away and Long Ago is the one, absolute, hardnosed statement that we have one and only life, and that there is nothing after death. And that is unique in English literature. And Rushdie refers to it.

Though you have these little indexes or evidence that writers live in this 2000-year old world. And they are not writing for their contemporaries because their contemporaries don’t count. Whether they’re admired or disliked by their contemporaries means nothing to them at all, anymore than it means to a mathematician whether he has proved, once and for all, that something is true in the sense of a mathematical proof.


PROFESSOR KATZ: But Pat, I think contemporary writers do matter sometimes negatively. And I think your father had a lot of reactions to other American writers. But I want to go all the way back because you intrigued me last night by mentioning Pound, Ezra Pound.


PROFESSOR KATZ: Can you tell us about that?

MR. HEMINGWAY: He was extremely fond of Ezra Pound as a mentor, as a teacher, as a person who taught him things that he never knew before. And Ezra Pound has a terrible reputation as a anti-Semite, as a believer in fascism, and so forth and so on. But as a poet, he’s still respected by other poets who, I think, probably have to respect him in the privacy of their own rooms.

But Ezra Pound, when it comes to literature, was sound. And I know my dad who, along with other people in the literary establishment, worked very hard to get him out of the mental institution where he had been confined as an alternate to hanging. And he did not believe in Ezra Pound’s politics. But he did really believe in his insight into literature.

PROFESSOR KATZ: But it was the poetry that he was--

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes. And my dad always said, you know, that he wished he could write poetry. And he did write some. And it isn’t very good, I guess.

The only one that I remember which, I think, is good, he said, “Never trust a publisher or you’ll sleep on straw.”


That was a poem. [laughter]

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s great.

MR. HEMINGWAY: But, you know, he’s often criticized as a man who was incapable of sustained friendship. And I quote this as an example which was sustained.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Did they know one another personally?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, very much. They were tennis friends in Paris. Neither one of them was very good. But they used to play tennis together. And my dad helped Ezra Pound in his publication of a literary magazine where the author of The Waste Land was the star. And my dad really always referred to him as the Reverend Eliot.

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s great. What about Scott Fitzgerald?

MR. HEMINGWAY: The relationship with Scott Fitzgerald was competitive, and very competitive, indeed. And, you know, my dad had a great love of the Ritz Hotel. And he, I think, first probably became aware of the Ritz Hotel by being taken there by Scott Fitzgerald.

But anyway, you’ll find in a later work he’s in a conversation with the barman at the Ritz Hotel. And the barman says, “Who was this Fitzgerald that all the Americans ask me about?”


So I think that it’s hard to say. I mean the nicest thing he said about Fitzgerald was he was like a butterfly. He didn’t know how good he was. And then, of course, he was soon injured and wiped out.


And, of course, we all know that The Great Gatsby is the great American novel. That’s an established fact alright. Whether it’s on an equal with the great Russian novel is another story. But it is the great American novel. So that’s the truth.

PROFESSOR KATZ: What kind of reader was your father? Some of you have been to the Finca in Havana. And we’ve seen the 7000 volumes that were, at that point, in his personal library. And clearly, he was a voracious reader. But did he read, for instance, contemporary fiction? Not all writers do.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes. Yes, he did. And he very much admired Faulkner, especially when they were both younger, and they were both more experimental, perhaps. I remember puzzling over two books in the library in Key West before Cuba. One was called Pylon, and the other, Mosquitoes. And I thought, “What are these books about?” I read them. And I was about 12, I guess. And now, when I read Mosquitoes and Pylon, I’m very impressed.

I think his relationship with Faulkner was more of an equal. He always, for some reason, patronized Fitzgerald, but not Faulkner. Faulkner was a real rival. I mean he had to watch over his shoulder for what was going to happen.

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s interesting.

MR. HEMINGWAY: He was not particularly-- He said that Faulkner was too onomatopoeia.



Okay, very good.

MR. HEMINGWAY: I think he called it “onomatopoeia county.” [laughter]

PROFESSOR KATZ: It’s because he, like we, can’t pronounce what it was. Exactly. And that’s really fascinating. Did writers come to the house?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes, they certainly did. The writer that he had the greatest social relationship with was John Dos Passos. And they were, throughout their lives, friends. They then became estranged. And I think, towards the very end of their lives, they were more friends again.


MR. HEMINGWAY: And John Dos Passos was a charming man. However, if you’ve seen the old movie version of Henry VIII with Charles Laughton, to watch him eat was really a spectacle.


And, before he came to visit in Key West, we would go out and shoot shorebirds because he loved to eat shorebirds, which was illegal by the way. Anyway, the phrase was, “We have to get a lot of these birds because Mr. Dos Passos could eat the pants off a brass monkey.” And I still don’t know what that phrase means.


But that was one of his strong literary friends. And he was also at one time, I think, very close to the poet-- He was Librarian of Congress for a while…



PROFESSOR KATZ: Archibald MacLeish.

MR. HEMINGWAY: In fact, my dad said, “Ah, Archie’s work with America was promise.” And Archie became Librarian of Congress.

PROFESSOR KATZ: They seem to be an odd pair.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, they were an odd pair. But they, at one time, were very close. And it was MacLeish and my dad who really pushed for Pound being released from the asylum.

PROFESSOR KATZ: I remember that. Well, tell us more about growing up. What was it like to be in the various households that you were in?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, I must say one of the… Some of you have probably read Nancy Mitford’s The Blessing.  And it’s about a child who suddenly is dealing with his parents who are being divorced. And his lifestyle really improves. And I think, if you -- I don’t know -- have been lucky enough or unfortunate enough to come from a home where ...(inaudible) parents were sort of a musical chairs game, you really don’t suffer. I think a lot of people say, “Oh, it’s terrible to come from a broken home.” I must say, in my case, it was fantastic.


You got to keep all the successive mothers because they always wanted to keep up with you even after they had left their husband. And Martha Gellhorn was a wonderful person. Hadley Richardson, I only got to know fairly late in life. But she was terrific. And my stepmother, Mary, the last one, I really liked. In fact, I sometimes felt I was being disloyal to my own mother. I thought, “Why am I—”

But it’s not a terrible thing anymore. And I hope that children that have this experience realize that it’s probably an advantage to learn that you’re not the unique person for your two parents, that you have to prove yourself in a larger sphere. And so I really don’t hold any grudges on that one.

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s interesting. Well, did your father work at making that happen? Or did it just happen?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh yes. No, no, he worked at it. He was a very good parent. I mean I don’t want to be hypocritical about this. You know, any son and any father are going to have times when there is a conflict. And I think the most difficult thing that my dad ever said to me, he said, “You know, Mouse,” which was his nickname, he said, “Mouse, you know, I’m the wolf and you’re the coyote.” And I thought, “Uh, uh. What does this mean?” And I figured that what he meant was that physically I wasn’t as imposing as him. And I liked to think later that, in certain respects, there were more coyotes than wolves, and that the coyote has really done better in life.

And I think that what this means is a wolf is a symbol. We’ve gotten very involved with wolves in the West. People love them. They hate them. They’re a symbol of something. And they’re very important. Coyotes, not so important. I mean they’re very important to American-Indian lore and so forth, clever coyote. But there’s something about a wolf that’s unique. I mean, you know, a wolf is a wolf. So that sums up the relationship between us, really.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Well, you’re on to animals now, so let’s talk about animals. Animals were very important in your father’s life. And they were very important in your life. Is there a relationship between those two things?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes, yes.  And that goes back even to another generation. I never met, as a sentient being, my grandfather on my father’s side. But he was a person very much interested in natural history, as a doctor, what in those days was called a shotgun naturalist. The animals you loved, you shot and examined them in closed quarters.


And his trick, which my father learned and later taught to me, was to make out of paper a cornucopia, a cone for saving birds that you collect as biological specimens. And my dad caught this from his father. And he loved that aspect of things. And, of course, I caught it from him because he would take me when he went out in the afternoon to essentially just take a trip, but always shoot if you could.

And I think it’s good for children to experience this in a way. You see death, among other things, in a way that isn’t all that threatening. You just think, “What’s happened to this toy? It used to move around, now it doesn’t,” sort of thing. But basically, it turned out to be the sustaining interest in my life. I’m very interested in that sort of thing.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Say a bit about how you get from that point to being conservationist or somebody interested in ecology because it’s not a necessary leap, I think.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, I think what happens to people, they can come to nature in various routes. I happened to come to it through the hunting and fishing route. But then you see something which is marvelous. It’s like for some people to go to their first opera, like Madame Bovary when she went to her first opera.

And you see this marvelous thing. And you’ve enjoyed it. And you think, “Is it possible to keep it? Or is it doomed?”

Like in China-- I don’t know whether that’s true in China today. But when people talked about China in the 19th century, they said that for whole areas of China, you did not see a single tree because the tree enabled the bird to roost in it. And the bird ate the grain. So you chopped down the tree, and prevented the bird from eating the grain. And that sort of attitude towards nature is even relevant in a golf course. A golf course is an insult against the natural environment because it is an artificial thing sustained with chemicals. It’s not nature at all.

So you get this feeling, “How can this thing last?” And you think, “Well, the only way it can last is for people to understand it and enjoy it.” If something is too elitist, you lose it because people just don’t know it’s there. It’s like they’re tone deaf. So that’s--

PROFESSOR KATZ: What about safaris, though?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Ah. Well, safaris was-- You know, I wasn’t rich enough to pay for safaris, so I had to run them.


And of course, when you run them, you have a lot more safaris than most people. And I must say I spent, what, seven or eight years of my life doing that.  And it was a fascinating thing.     And similar in some ways to the old days of sailing ships, you were away in a ship. And my family, at least on my father’s side, is associated with the sea. I think they were originally from Yorkshire, from that part. And I have an ancestor who sailed his own brig around the horn to California, and so forth. So I don’t know whether he sailed around the horn or sold it in the Isthmus of Panama. But it went across that way. But the safari life, certainly in the Golden Age, which I consider the end of World War II to about 1965, was a wonderful thing.

I enjoy people. And you were stuck with people for a month. And the reason they were there is they had paid to go.  And you never knew quite what to expect.  And I had some wonderful clients. One was the lawyer for Rita Hayworth’s divorce from Aly Khan. And he got off the plane-- you know, you’d go to meet people-- and he came off the plane, and there was a lady with him. And I said, “Oh, I’m so pleased to meet you, Mrs. So and So.”  And he turned to me, he said, “No, not Mrs. So and So, Miss So and So.” And so here was a guy who was a number one divorce lawyer coming with his secretary on safari. And this was a man who loved to live dangerously.


PROFESSOR KATZ: You lived in Africa for a long time. And I assume that-- You just described the end of that era as being around 1965. So I assume that safaris got mugged by decolonization.

MR. HEMINGWAY: No, they still go on. It’s just that when people went with me, it was 100 dollars a day. It’s now 10,000 dollars a day. That’s the change.

But they still do it, yes, oh yes.

PROFESSOR KATZ: They still are.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Especially Tanzania. What has changed, I do think, is that we used to go-- We were self-contained with tents and everything. And we’d travel around to different areas. Now, most people go to a single lodge and hunt out from that one place.

PROFESSOR KATZ: But in general, what-- You were in Africa for quite a long time.


PROFESSOR KATZ: Twenty-five years, something like that.

MR. HEMINGWAY: As my aunt said about the two rats, so one says to the other, “Enough with the cheese, let’s get out of the trap.”


MR. HEMINGWAY: And, you know, I was in Africa too long. I mean Africa, for the Africans, okay. I mean it is a wonderful place. And perhaps, in South Africa, there is some possibility of a multiracial society. That, of course, was the ideal of the colonialists, I mean a multiracial society with the whites on top, and the Indians in the middle, and the blacks on the bottom.

But I think that-- I’m very grateful that I was able to spend that much time there. And I did work, towards the end, to try and hand over things. I taught in a school where we trained African game wardens.

PROFESSOR KATZ: What was it that drew your father to Africa?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Teddy Roosevelt, probably. Africa played a big part in the mystique of Teddy Roosevelt. If you go to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Teddy Roosevelt is leading the people through the-- And it was essentially Boy’s Own Paper sort of world.  But this has a big influence in later life.

I think the reason I went to Africa was all the things that my parents brought back from there, lion skins and all this. And the one thing stuck in my memory was that, on the equator, it was still possible to have ice in the wash-up bowl in the morning. And I thought, “That’s strange. Isn’t the equator supposed to be hot?”

And it’s funny, people make such a thing of seeing Kilimanjaro with snow on the top. But the Spaniards saw that mountain in Columbia-- isn’t it? or is it Venezuela?-- that goes up-- It’s almost as high as Kilimanjaro.

PROFESSOR KATZ: I’m not sure. Somebody will know.

MR. HEMINGWAY: 19,000 feet or something. And, of course, they brought back that news to Spain in 1527 or something; that you could have snow on the equator was known for a long time. And it’s comparable to the fact that the Spaniards knew about treating malaria with quinine. It’s called after the Marquesa de Chinchon, who was the wife of the Viceroy of Peru in 1620 or something. And she recovered miraculously from a bout of fever because of this Indian remedy. It took 250 years for it to penetrate the Anglo-Saxon world.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Another in Latin America, what about Cuba? Did you spend much time with your father in Cuba?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Early on, yes. I didn’t spend any time in Cuba after 1950 or ’51, I’m not sure which. But up until that, yes, I spent a lot of time. We spent half our vacations there from school, because we were schoolboys by the time he went there.

And I really love where he lived there. It was nicer, I think, when he first moved there because it hadn’t been built up so much around. Towards the end, it became a little bit like Alexander Hamilton’s home in New York.


MR. HEMINGWAY: It’s a little bit disappointing when you go there today.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Did you go out fishing in the Pilar?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, yes. And, of course, big game fishing in the Pilar was a spectator sport. We were too young to engage these monsters of the deep. But it made an impression. And I mean, in the early days, big game fishing was being developed as a sport, not as-- now, it’s a commercial thing.

And tuna were being caught in small boats off the New England coast, and even up in Nova Scotia and further north. And the tuna there were feeding on wonderful food. And they were really fat. What happened is you’d hook them, and they’d dive and die because they were out of condition. And then you had a long haul to pull them to the surface. When they got down to Bimini, they were lean and mean. And it was very difficult to catch them without sharks getting them first.

And my dad was the first person to catch one. And the reason was that he was very aggressive. And I remember one fight that he had with a tuna that was actually witnessed by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings who was another Scribner’s author. And Max Perkins was always wanting his authors to learn to love each other. And he’d arrange for her to go over. And she wrote a description of this fight which is available.

And, as I remember, my dad lost-- I think it was 15 pounds in that fight from loss of fluid. And it was six hours, six continuous hours. So that was the Pilar.  It was a spectator-- like going to the fights.

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s great. Let me just ask one final question, and then we want to allow the audience to ask some questions here. You mentioned at lunch-- We were talking a bit about your father and public relations, I guess I would say. And the question is the obvious one. That is, to what extent was he responsible for the imagine of Hemingway?

MR. HEMINGWAY: And this, I think, lies at the primary core of the appreciation of Hemingway. I think it became finally a very bad thing. I mean he became such a public image that it tended to distract from the fact that he could actually write.

But it started with his publisher. When A Farewell to Arms came out, they more or less in their press releases gave the impression that this was Hemingway, that Hemingway had fought in the retreat from Caporetto, that he’d made a separate peace with the nurse in Switzerland, and so on and so on.

And I think my dad was very annoyed. And he actually had some harsh words with Scribner’s. But I think then he realized, well, this is going to happen. And it’s better that he formed it than Scribner’s for which he had no respect in this respect.

So he started to work very hard on this image. And he formed it. And I think it became very bad in the long run. Because the truth is, when you read Hemingway, it’s not what you think. It’s not a big, macho man. That’s not what it’s about. He wrote some of the most sensitive stories about marriage, for instance, about almost everything. And it’s not-- It really isn’t this macho thing. I mean people always want a symbol that they can loathe, a Guy Fawkes. And you know, I’m a special arguer. But everybody in this room, if you go back, make an effort to read-- Like A Canary for One is a good one to read. And, what else? I mean my memory is--

PROFESSOR KATZ: Let me ask you this question. If you had to recommend to someone who had never read a word, what book or story would you recommend that--

MR. HEMINGWAY: I agree with you 100%, the short stories are Hemingway’s masterpiece. No question about it, he was one of the truly great practitioners of the short story. His publishers wanted him to write novels because that’s where the money is. And I think he was a good novelist.  But the short stories, you don’t have to apologize or make any excuses for that.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Well let’s first thank Patrick for this. [applause]

And then we have microphones in each aisle. So if people would like to ask questions, if you would line up behind the mikes.  And can I ask that, when you do, if you would identify yourself, and ask a question rather than make a statement.

IRVING SMOLENS: My name is Irving Smolens. I live in Melrose, Massachusetts. And I was a member of the 4th Infantry Division, with which

Ernest Hemingway spent a great deal of time. And when you mentioned the fact that you used to give him yellow legal pads to write on, it reminded me that, in the collection upstairs, there is a letter that he wrote on a yellow legal pad. And he had scribbled notations beside the writing.  So you must be familiar with him doing that sort of thing.

Anyway, it had to do with an incident that happened during World War II in Rambouillet which is outside of Paris. He had been accused of taking off his correspondent’s ...(inaudible), and picking up a pistol or a weapon of some kind, and fighting with the FFI, the French Forces of the Interior.

And the Adjutant General at that time had instituted an investigation to find out if that was actually true. So he interviewed-- They sent a representative. They interviewed your dad, and he denied it. A number of years later, I think it was in 1952, the Adjutant General decided to reinvestigate the case. So they hired a retired judge to contact Ernest, and ask him if what had happened was actually the way he had described it when he was first interviewed.

And he wrote this letter and said he had lied, that actually he had done what he had been accused of doing. But he lied because-- not so much for himself, but he wanted to keep Buck Lanham his close friend, who was the Colonel who commanded the 22nd Regiment, and Ray Barton who was my Commanding General. So that letter is up there.  And John Stewart, who used to be the Education Director here, made a copy of it for me. And I made a copy of-- I sent the copy that John Stewart made for me to our 4th Infantry Division Museum down in Fort Hood so that they would have a record of it.

But the other thing is my last Battery Commander, on the way to Paris, had spotted your father with Robert Capa and their jeep driver. They were standing outside of the jeep. And he snapped a picture of him. And he sent me a copy of the picture. And I have it in my computer. And I made a copy. And I brought it so that I could give it to you. Because I had previously made a copy and presented it to the Library. So that copy and my copy, and my Battery-- the only copies available.

And I’m giving this to you.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you very much. MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, thank you. [applause]

MR. SMOLENS: [away from mike] And this is a reference to him, to your dad, that I read. ...(inaudible).

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thanks very much. [applause]

MR. HEMINGWAY: I’d like to comment briefly before the next question on this. Because this was a really important episode in my dad’s life. His relationship with the 4th Division and all the people in it was just-- I don’t know. It was a high point in his life to see how well the American soldier performed in the war against Germany. It took him back to the Civil War. He thought, “We’re really something.”

PROFESSOR KATZ: That’s great. Excuse me. Please.

KUMU GUPTA(?): My name is Kumu Gupta. And I write poems. And I just had a question that-- What was it like-- How did being the son of Mr.

Hemingway-- How did it influence your growing up, and shape your life as it is today?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, I think everybody’s life is shaped by their parents, unquestionably so, for good or bad. And in my case, it made me a very satisfied person. I was satisfied very early in life. And so I’ve had a very happy life. And I have to say that that happy life was due to both my mother and father.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. Sir. [applause]

SEAN(?) O’ROURKE: My name is Sean O’Rourke. I’m doing a biography of your father’s friend, Evan Shipman.


MR. O’ROURKE: Who was a poet, a journalist, and a horseman.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Absolutely.

MR. O’ROURKE: And, about two years ago, Bob Risch, who lives about two miles from here, published an article in The Hemingway Review in which he quoted you about the time you and Uncle Evan took care of the horses. Have you any idea when that was? And can you tell about the circumstances?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, I’m not so sure I can confirm this. The story I remember about Evan Shipman was his taking some horses across the Atlantic. And the heating facilities were very inadequate. And he was worried-- You know, they flew at high altitude. And he was afraid these horses were going to die. And he was, you know-- I just remember him talking about that.

It might be my older brother who Mr. Shipman coached. He wasn’t doing too well in mathematics. And Evan Shipman coached him in mathematics. And I don’t think it was his strong subject either.


MR. O’ROURKE: It was. He is a bookmaker.


MR. HEMINGWAY: Absolutely. Absolutely. That he was able to survive all those years betting on the horses is a sign he knew something about probability.

MR. O’ROURKE: Thank you. PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. [applause]

PAT HEALEY: Yes, hello. My name is Pat Healey, and I’m a writer. I have a question because you mentioned Max Perkins. And I noticed him on the list of people that your dad knew. Well, would you happen to remember-- Max Perkins was also an editor for Thomas Wolfe.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, yes. Yes, of course.

MS. HEALEY: And I was wondering, did your dad--  He happens to be one of my favorite writers, Thomas Wolfe. Did your dad ever mention knowing him? They would have been contemporaries. And if Max Perkins introduced his writers around, they might have known each other.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, yes. I don’t remember him, for instance, ever coming to Key West or to Cuba. Well, I don’t know whether he was still alive when my--

MS. HEALEY: He died very young. MR. HEMINGWAY: He died young. MS. HEALEY: He died in 1938.

MR. HEMINGWAY: But yes, my dad had a lot to do, through Perkins, with him. I couldn’t tell you really much about this because it was professional stuff. And they didn’t talk to me at that-- I was eight or nine years old. But I do know Max Perkins was so fond of both those men. Tom Wolfe, now, is a different person. So you say Tom and Wolfe, and they don’t know who you’re talking about.  But, Look Homeward, Angel, wasn’t that right?

MS. HEALEY: Yes, that’s right.

MR. HEMINGWAY: He was a writer, unlike my father, who needed editing. Maxwell Perkins never edited Hemingway, actually. But he sure did edit Wolfe. And the result was very felicitous, I-- You really like him, don’t you?

MS. HEALEY:  Oh, yes.  I loved him as a child, and I never stopped.

MR. HEMINGWAY: No, that’s-- I can certainly confirm that they knew each other. It wasn’t like with Dos Passos where he came and stayed at the house.

MS. HEALEY: They would have been the same age.


MS. HEALEY: Thomas Wolfe was born in 1900. But he died at 38. So I was thinking it’s probably a long shot. But I’m sure they must have at least talked about ...(inaudible). [simultaneous conversation]

MR. HEMINGWAY: But you’re right. Because Max Perkins did really like his office.

MS. HEALEY: Yes, he did.

MR. HEMINGWAY: And it was a fortunate thing because I don’t think the Scribner’s did. They were the lower social class.

MS. HEALEY: It doesn’t matter. Okay, thank you so much.


MR. HEMINGWAY: Thank you. That was great.


PAUL BOGOSIAN(?): Paul Bogosian from Belmont, Massachusetts. One of the first books I read about your dad was Morley Callaghan’s book, That Summer in Paris.


MR. BOGOSIAN: And I thought your dad, in some ways, came across as, perhaps, being sarcastic and belittling of Scott Fitzgerald and some of the other people during that period of time. And I was wondering if you could comment on your dad’s sense of humor, and how it might have been demonstrated with the ladies in his life, perhaps with his children, his colleagues, and any anecdotes that you might have that would indicate your dad’s sense of humor.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, I do believe he had a sense of humor. But humor is difficult. I mean, if I was good at it, I would be very wealthy. Humor is hard. I think he had a good sense of humor. He could be a little bit rough. I wish I could think of, just offhand, an example of it.

Yes. We just heard from the gentleman about the 4th Division.  And I think my dad, who originally went to the war as the correspondent, felt a little bit voyeurish, you know, when you’re -- what’s the term now? -- embedded with the 4th Division. And he didn’t quite know how to introduce himself. So he said, “You know,” he said, “you probably never heard of me,” he said, “But I’m Ernie Hemorrhoids, the Poor Man’s Pyle.”


MR. BOGOSIAN: Thank you.

MR. HEMINGWAY: It’s a very good answer.

DAVE WILSON: Hi. My name is Dave Wilson. My question is more of a question about editing as to-- You mentioned that he did not have a steady editor. He did most of his editing himself. Was there anyone that advised him or that he ran his ideas by, say, for the ending of Farewell to Arms? Who advised him on things like that?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, I was a bit young to pontificate on that process. But I think that he did get a certain amount of advice from Scott Fitzgerald early on. I don’t think that he particularly valued it.


I think that he was a writer who didn’t depend much on other people’s opinions. I don’t know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing in the long run. But he’s not a writer that people had much influence on what he wrote, no.

MR. WILSON: Thank you.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. Sir.

DICK PAINE: My name is Dick Paine. And I’m a Retired Air Force World War II pilot. I may not look like it, but I am, B-17 bombers and so forth. That’s all irrelevant. What I wanted to ask about was a more general question than what we’ve been hearing.

I’ve been very much interested in the question of creativity, what makes us creative. And I teach Shakespeare, or have taught Shakespeare, and poetry in the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. It’s comparable to the group here, I think.

So I wonder if you would just make a comment, from your own mind or from your father’s mind, about the interesting question of is a creative personality necessarily -- I’m holding up two fingers here to indicate quotation marks -- “normal or abnormal?” Can you comment on that?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Is the process of creativity normal?

MR. PAINE: Yes. Well, to just restate it, I guess, in order to be creative, do you have to be abnormal?


Whatever that-- However you want to define that.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Yes, well, I agree, that’s a--  I don’t feel qualified to answer that question. But, you know, if you want someone eminently unqualified to answer it, I’d say that when… You know, someone said that opera stars are freaks, that they have larynxes and an ability to project their voice which is outside the normal.

And so, I guess I would make the same answer about literary creativity. The ability to tell tales is freakish. It’s not characteristic of everyone. And I think its origin is in the shaman. A shaman got a certain status.  And people fed him, and so forth, because he could put a spin on people’s lives that was worth feeding him. And that’s all I can say.

MR. PAINE: Thank you. Thank you very much. [applause]

BILL BERLINO: Hi. I’m Bill Berlino. And I teach high school English at Bedford High. And I’ve been trying to teach Hemingway the last couple of years. And I was wondering if you had any advice on how you would go about teaching your dad to high school students.

And then I just had another quick question. Because he’s so difficult, I think, and, as you say, sensitive, but also sometimes very dark, I find myself resorting to teaching kind of the code hero concept. And I was wondering what you thought about that or what your father actually thought about that. Or is that just the development of literary criticism and things like that?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, much has been made-- And, in fact, this institution that we’re at, President Kennedy quoted “grace under pressure,” okay. And there is a certain stoicism, an admiration of people that they can hold up, and everything is going to hell, and so forth. I don’t know whether that’s the essential thing about Hemingway.

I think that, you know, if I were teaching him to high school students, I’d have them read that story, Fathers and Sons. Now that’s a loaded story because Turgenev wrote one of the most famous novels of the 19th century with that title. But Fathers and Sons, you know, it does-- I think high school students would appreciate it because, you know, your dad, you don’t know-- I mean one of the things in that story is about the terrible things that self-abuse would do to you. If you played with yourself, you would go blind. That’s what his father told him.

Well, I don’t know. Maybe that’s--

MR. BERLINO: Obviously, you haven’t taught high school. [laughter]

MR. HEMINGWAY: That’s a problem in high school.

MR. BERLINO: Thanks.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. Please. [applause]

MARLA METZNER: Marla Metzner, New York City.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh. Hi, Marla.

MS. METZNER: Nice to see you. Always good to see you. There is a bit of folklore that’s been growing down at the house you grew up in Key West about six-toed cats that your father supposedly owned. I wonder if you’d like to tell us the true story about those cats.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Oh, well that is interesting, yes. Yes, if you go to Key West, I think the subliminal message is 50 bucks, and you can have a six-toed cat, okay.


And they must have some place where they breed them. And I don’t know. I mean, it is utter nonsense. The real cat story of Key West is bizarre. Next to us, our neighbor, if you’re on Whitehead Street, it’s going -- I can’t remember -- east, I guess. On the eastern side, there was a family. And the little girl had a cat that had been terribly injured as a kitten. And this child had looked after this kitten, and raised it. But its backbone had healed. But when it walked, it was just an extraordinary sight, as we’ve seen some handicapped people.

So, one day, this cat strayed into our yard. And my father saw it. And he was very upset. And he thought the cat had just been run over. So he went and got a pistol and shot the cat [audience response] to, you know, euthanatize it.  And he gave it to the fellow that worked for us, Jimmy Smith, the garden guy. And he took it into the garden shed where they stored the hose and everything, and shut the door. Or he didn’t shut the door.

Evidently, the cat revived, having nine lives, of which probably this was only the seventh. And it managed to crawl back to the owner. And this was a terrible business because, you know, there was nothing wrong with this cat, actually. And now, my dad had shot it. And it was awful. But that was the end of that. Okay?

Later on, I got so tired of the six-toed cat thing, I wrote to The Miami Herald and said, you know, “This is not true,” and so forth and so on. And there were all sorts of letters saying what did I know about it.


And this lady who was now, you know, 70 years old or something wrote to The Miami Herald and said, “What Mr. Hemingway said is absolutely correct.” She said, “Ernest Hemingway was practicing for his safari in Africa, and he--”


“He shot my cat.” [laughter]

So that’s it. I mean there’s no truth in the six-toed cats. And there is absolute truth in this story.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you for asking that question. [applause]

MR. HEMINGWAY: That was very good.

CAROL ANN DUMOND: Good afternoon. I’m Carol Ann Dumond. And I’m from Prides Crossing. I’m a high school librarian. And prior to that, I taught American literature for a long time. In order to supplement or to enrich or to expand on your father’s literature, we often show the films. And I just wondered, was he pleased with the cinematic quality of his literature?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, that’s a very interesting question because I do know something about it. I mean, Hemingway identified the modern film as the enemy of literature. It was what was going to put writers out of business. And so he was absolutely ruthless on this. He made a point, whenever he went to a movie, to fall asleep.


He just had no-- You know, this was the enemy. And, as far as I know, most critics of the cinema, trying to do just your question exactly, say Hemingway was not a success in the movies. And I think the reason is that he was a writer. And films are told visually. And God help them.

MR. DUMOND: Thank you. PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. [applause]

We’ll take her. Go ahead.

JUDY LECK(?): I’m Judy Leck. I’m from Cape Cod. And I was asked to deliver a note to you from a woman who knew you when you were a child in Havana. Her father was Bill Hegney(?) who was a friend of your father’s. And she told me about an evening that you children, Mr. Hemingway’s children and Bill Hegney’s children, spent together because your parents were having dinner together. And she has fond memories. And by the way, when she gave me the note the other night, she did tell me the story about the six-toed cat.


So it’s a memory. But I’d like to give this to you from Jan Wyman(?).

MR. HEMINGWAY: Okay, thank you. That’s very kind of you.

PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. Please.

ALEXANDRA ASHLEY: Hi. My name is Alexandra Ashley. And I’m a senior at Elon University. And I’m taking a course right now on your father’s writing.

And I read a lot of his novels and short stories recently. And my final paper was on Hemingway and alcohol.

And I know that that’s been a reoccurring theme in a lot of his writing. And I was wondering if you had any comments on that.

MR. HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, again, this is out of my depth. I’m not a clinical psychiatrist or a doctor or a brewer or any of them. You know, alcohol is characteristic of Western culture. I mean, you don’t really think of it so much with the Chinese and so forth. And Hemingway was born at a strange time in the history of the United States. While all the men were away fighting World War I, the women managed to pass a law against alcohol.


And this resulted in what we call the Prohibition Era where the fundamental fabric of our nation was shaken by the disrespect for law. This was finally restored by the election of President Roosevelt. And I think, in that sense, Hemingway was a son of the times. You can hardly be a red-blooded American and not drink. And there was a little ditty:

Root-ta-toot-toot, root-ta-toot-toot. We are the boys from the institution. We don’t drink and we don’t chew. And we don’t go with the girls that do.


So, you know, people took the pledge. And there’s that story where they’re on the thing, and they’re telling the horrors of alcohol. And they drop a worm into a glass full of alcohol, and the worm withers up and dies. And they say, “People, what does that tell you about alcohol?” And the little boy raised a hand, he said, “Drink more, and kill your worm.”


Now, I’ve gotten a laugh. But the truth is alcohol, at least for many people, is the beginning of the end. Okay? And it’s a horrible business. Perhaps it began when my dad took his first drink, and it ended when he died. Okay. So at least he survived 61 years of it. Pretty good. And you know, in Europe, especially in England, they talked about a four-bottle man. That was a man who could drink four bottles of claret at night, and never show it. Okay.

I mean, alcohol is very complex. I don’t know whether it really undermined Hemingway’s death.  I mean health.  Because he seemed to have a lot of things that were bothering him at the end of his life. And whether they were helped or hurt by alcohol, I have to leave to doctors and practitioners of medical science. It’s too complex.

I mean, I’m not so sure-- He wrote this, that he found that creating yourself a level of sensitivity to what was going on with the people you were surrounded with became unbearable, and that the only way he could deal with it was to have a drink, the “giant killer” as he called it. Now that doesn’t sound good, does it, not from the standpoint of clinical psychology. But I don’t know. I don’t know whether Hemingway could have done better without drinking or worse with drinking. I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me.

I don’t have that problem. You know, it doesn’t mean anything to me. And when I was a child, I was allowed to drink. And I drank enough so that I would go to bed reeling. And I’m one of those people who has terrible hangovers. If I’ve overindulged in alcohol, I feel lousy the next day. But I never treated it by having a drink. So I don’t know. This is something which I think is a serious question with Hemingway. It’s a serious question with a lot of writers, okay.

But remember, so much social life in America takes place in bars. You know, that’s where you really get the true gen. You go to a bar, and you can find out more about what’s going on in a town than anywhere else. So it’s an occupational hazard for journalists, especially journalists. I mean, you cannot be a journalist and not drink.


PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. MS. ASHLEY: Thank you. [applause]

PROFESSOR KATZ: These will be the last two questions now.

MIKE FLEMING: Hi. My name is Mike Fleming, from Chelmsford. I was just wondering-- You said your father was not very open to advice from his peers or his publishers. Who do you think were the seminal influences on his style, on his terse style? I mean, were there authors, or working for a paper? Why did he write the way he did?

And also, I’m going to sneak in a second question. I’m a student at Stanford University. And I take a big interest in Steinbeck there. And I was wondering if your father and Steinbeck ever crossed paths.

MR. HEMINGWAY: You know, that’s a very interesting question. I wish I could answer it for you. I can’t. I really don’t know any of the background between Steinbeck and Hemingway. I think that Steinbeck is a great writer.

That’s all I can say on the subject. I’ve very much enjoyed reading Steinbeck.

As far as the influences on Hemingway from contemporaries, I don’t think that’s probably what writers do. I don’t think that-- They compete with their contemporaries. I don’t think they learn anything from them. And so learn in a sense that, when Faulkner may have written something that my dad thought was pretty good, then he’d go out and try and write it better, you know, and not necessarily successfully. But the people that writers learn from is that 2000-year old pool, okay.

MR. FLEMING: That’s what I mean, who in the--

MR. HEMINGWAY: Writers have to read writers that wrote before their time, not just what they’re writing now. And that’s what’s missing now in American literature. I’m not impressed. I’m not impressed by modern American literature at all. Because we’ve cut ourselves off. We think we’re so clever. We know everything. We’re born clever. We’re the master race. Now that’s the first time I’ve showed the nastiness here this evening.


MR. FLEMING: I’m honored.


MR. HEMINGWAY: Who he learned from was everybody that wrote before him, if I ...(inaudible).

PROFESSOR KATZ: The final question.

RICHARD NEYMAN: Hi. My name is Richard Neyman.  I live in Waltham. And one of the Hemingway magazines, the name Philip Percival is mentioned who ran the African safaris. And apparently, he was good friends with your mother and father. Did you know him?

MR. HEMINGWAY: Very well. He was a great friend of mine as well.  He was a very fine example of a type of Englishman that was created in Edwardian times. You know, he guided Teddy Roosevelt when he first came to Africa. He had many members of the British Royal Family as clients. He guided Eastman. The founder of the Kodak company was his client. He’s a very interesting man. And, to a certain extent, he was used as the hunter in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, the physical type. He was not the character. But the physical description of that man is based on Percival. I really-- Talk about mentors. Percival was my mentor. I thought he was the cat’s whiskers myself.


RICHARD: Thank you. PROFESSOR KATZ: Thank you. [applause]

I want to take this occasion to thank the Kennedy Library, the Friends of Hemingway, but particularly Carol and Patrick Hemingway. All of us who are parents know that the most important thing that could happen to us is to hear someone say that our children were admirable people. And I think we can say that of Patrick, and thank him profoundly for being such an admirable person.