Along with Youth (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Louis Auchincloss would have labeled Grace Hall Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s mother, an “injustice collector,” and that was indeed the way that Hemingway often looked upon her. Toward the end of this book, Peter Griffin presents a fragment from an early draft of a work that was eventually to grow into For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), in which Hemingway clearly reveals how much he would have appreciated his mother’s not trying to make him earn her love.
Grace, though musically talented, was a domineering woman with a highly conventional value system. She controlled her husband to the point of emasculating him and attempted to exert similar control over Ernest, who fled from Oak Park in his twenty-third year and was to return only five or six times after that, never for more than a few days at a time. Although he provided for his mother in her old age, Ernest seldom saw her and in the last half of his own life avoided all contact with his immediate family.
Griffin’s book is based upon a broad selection of manuscript materials, much of which, such as the Hemingway-Bill Horne correspondence, has never before been available to scholars. Griffin has also made extensive use of such items as five “Memory Books,” chronicling Hemingway’s first eighteen years, that Grace Hemingway kept from her son’s birth until his graduation from high school.
Griffin reveals a Hemingway that the reading public has not encountered...
(The entire section is 1836 words.)
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