Martha Gellhorn

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Emily Hahn

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 411

Martha Gellhorn is a gentleperson. For 42 pages in ["Travels with Myself and Another"] she writes about an Unwilling Companion on her trip into China's interior in 1941, always referring to him as U. C. and never mentioning that he was in fact her husband, Ernest Hemingway. This—at a time when to have been Hemingway's wife … seems excuse enough to publish every possible remembrance of the great man—entitles Miss Gellhorn to a medal, at least. But her excellence does not stop there. She renders U. C. justice: she makes him a sympathetic as well as amusing figure, although perhaps a wee bit maddening….

U. C. apart, Miss Gellhorn can be exceedingly funny on her own. Often, reading of her travels—in China of course, the Caribbean …, Russia and Israel, to name the headliners—I chuckled in a ladylike, repressed manner, but sometimes I had to stop to laugh really loud. Not that Martha Gellhorn is merely entertaining. She is a thoughtful woman with a lot of serious opinions, and whether or not one agrees with her, as I often didn't, it is worth reflecting on her reflections. (p. 15)

I have a lot in common with Miss Gellhorn, and it's not merely that we both come from St. Louis. Never mind the Chinese sense of humor that she doesn't dig. Never mind various other small, small points on which one could, if one wished, take issue. I agree with the important things she says, and I loved the book. (p. 30)

Emily Hahn, "Moving Lady," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1979 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), September 23, 1979, pp. 15, 30.

Miss Gellhorn writes in the merry, self-depreciating manner of those who came of journalistic age in the grin-and-bear-it thirties, and it is a blessing that she does, for the journeys recounted [in Travels with Myself and Another] … would be unbearable in the hands of a complainer. All her trips are unwilling, either on assignment from Collier's or as the helpless result of an unrelenting addiction to travel, but all her senses are fully involved (including a painfully keen sense of smell), and her eye is notably sharp ("We saw ostriches, an untidy weird bird, with an upper thigh like a ballet dancer and feet like high-laced black shoes"). She also has the courage to voice unpopular observations…. (p. 198)

"Books: 'Travels with Myself and Another'," in The New Yorker (© 1979 by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.), Vol. LV, No. 36, October 22, 1979, pp. 198-99.

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