Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back To Italy





Ernest first went to Europe as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Red Cross during World War I. (The top photo shows him in 1918.) He passed through Paris and other parts of France on his way to Italy and was impressed with the city. He was sent to the Italian front to evacuate soldiers wounded in fighting with Austrian troops. He was stationed in a town called Fossalta, not far from Mestre and Venice. His area of operation was along the Piave River, an area that was seeing heavy fighting. He was wounded by a mortar shell (over 200 pieces of shrapnel were removed from his body) and was sent to a hospital near Milan to recover. He promptly fell in love with his nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky. It was a brief affair, but one that Hemingway would talk about and embellish considerably. He also added quite a bit of drama and heroism to his war service experiences.

After the war, Ernest returned home, leaving from Genoa, with a brief trip to Naples for his first trip to Southern Italy. He arrived home to a hero's welcome and began to court Hadley Richardson.

After he and Hadley had married they moved to Paris so he could try his hand at writing. He was doing some travelling for The Star as its foreign correspondent and getting to see more of Europe. In 1922, he decided to take Hadley to Italy for a month's vacation to show her the places of his adventures.

First they went to Milan and to Biffi's cafe in the Galleria, a great indoor shopping mall and one of the places Ernest frequented with his nurse, Agnes. They travelled to Mestre, then Schio, Fossalta, and the Piave River, but he was disappointed that everything had changed. He had wanted to impress Hadley with scenes of ruin and destruction and privation, but the damage had all been cleaned up in the years after the war.
His second novel, "A Farewell to Arms", is based on his adventures in the war and his affair with his nurse during his recuperation in Milan.
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41 comments:

isabella said...

I know how he felt ;-)
I tried visiting my birthplace and let me tell you - Thomas Wolfe was right - you can't go home again!

I love both of the photos and I notice an eerie resemblance between Hem and you...Did anyone tell you that?

Moi said...

it all reminded me of a farewell to arms and then i read your line...and doesn't he look like a fine young lad there :)

Nikon said...

Isabella, I'm glad that you like the photos. The "eerie resemblence" has never been mentioned! Thank you :)

Moi, I think that it is a striking shot of him, too. I liked "A Farewell to Arms" more than "The Sun Also Rises", I think.

Carlos said...

Paul,
Very, very interesting. I liked both the photos and your text. I think the resemblance Isabella mentions applies also to the writing...

Nikon said...

Thank you, Carlos!
At least Hem was a little more prolific :)

Kate said...

Ah, but he was handsome. His marriage to Hadley is the one I have romanticized the most, probably because of the passages in _A Moveable Feast_. Whenever I read your posts, I want to go back and reread Hemingway. Perhaps I should!

Nikon said...

Hi Kate, I think Hadley was the one for Hem. He just messed it up.
in "Islands In The Stream," he is remembering the Paris years - incorporating "A Moveable Feast" -and he mentions how she was The One.

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Release on Flavia’s accident and status of the process.

The resignation is to stop the evolution. (David Santos in times without end)

Thank you

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GMG said...

Great to see another post here. It seems to be true that Papa added "quite a bit of drama and heroism to his war service experiences", but Farewell is a wonderful book anyhow, anywhere!
The picture of the Gallery is amazing, and my daughter is probably enjoying it now, as she made a long weekend in Milan! And I'm obviously envious...
Have a great weekend!
Gil

Shionge said...

He sure looks handsome in those days ya Paul :D

I was at the library every weekend and yes I came across a long series of his books, shall borrow one of his book soon.

Thanks for this post.

Elween said...

pardon my ignorance but...is he the writer of The old man and the sea? if yes, that's the only book authored by him that i have ever read...

thx for visiting my blog, do come again :)

ammaro.com said...

is this basically a semi-biography of hemingways journals?

nice.

milan is beautiful. i have a photo exactly the same as that picture. creepy.

Nikon said...

Ammaro, this started out as an attempt to put pictures to the places in Paris that Hemingway frequented in "A Moveable Feast."
It's hard to find vintage picture for many events.
I think I could have done the whole blog just on cafes :)
Thanks for the visit!

99 said...

Great pictures Nikon. I agree, he was also very handsome... no wonder women were falling at his feet. You can already see passion in his face even at that young age.

Nikon said...

Thank you 99 for the visit.
Hem was passionate in almost everything he did. Perhaps it was evident to women?

isabella said...

Bonjour Paul, ca va?

Have you heard that McCullough is writing a book about "Americans in Paris"? Don't know what new material he has on Hemingway, but here's the notice:
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jnHLB4DxuxuvtQ8XzRv7NNHVIMqAD8SSFCDG0

A plus tard!

Icarus said...

Great post, Paul. 2 superb photos. Curiously, I'm at a part in my current reading, the Sebastian Faulks novel, "Human Traces", in which the son of one of the main characters is writing a letter home from the front on the River Piave, 1917.
I had to read "A Farewell to Arms" at school (700 years ago) and became a Hem fan then.
Where to next?

Nikon said...

Thank you for the info, Isabella, I appreciate it.

Icarus, I think "A Farewell to Arms" was my first of Hem's novels, too! I know it wasn't " The Sun Also Rises."
Good to see you.

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Fabrizio - ikol22 said...

It's very interesting and I agree with Isabella in her first comment: never turn back other than see what we were.

isabella said...

Thinking of you on this holiday - and giving thanks for your efforts to keep Hemingway alive in our hearts and minds ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving, Paul!

Kate said...

I hope that your Thanksgiving is happy and healthy. Happy Day!!

Isadora said...

:) had a chance to walk under those arches too - pretty awesome even now.

Moi said...

hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Nikon.......i did say your Hi's to the cats :)

Nikon said...

Thank you Moi!!
I love the Fishing shots.

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

Hai, Nikon, i came back to see you...i am out of station for a short period...sorry

GMG said...

Looking forward to a new post: December in Paris?...
Enjoy the weekend!

raghu said...

Ernest looks like HITLER.Really a great hero...and your writings are nice.

Joy said...

He was definitely gorgeous! I love the second photo. Very dramatic.

joy
Norwich Daily Photo
The Goddess In You
Your Love Coach

Nikon said...

Thanks for dropping by, Joy.

Elween said...

he had an affair with a nurse? behind Hadley's back? oh...ehm, the story must be very...interesting..:)

Nikon said...

Elween, the affair was before he married Hadley.
But he liked to make Hadley jealous by talking about the nurse.

david santos said...

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Icarus said...

Hey Paul!

I've moved on to Mailer's last. My previous Mailer was "The Naked & the Daed", when I was 14. My first shock is that Mailer's style totally conceals the fact that he was American, which is a rare feat. Usually, the difference between US writers &Brits/Aussies, etc. is pretty obvious.
Watch your mail box, this is only a rare, minute-long crack in the window of opportunity to do some visits. The work is plentiful, hideously mediocre, but I'm totally focused on it. Strange. It'll go on till near Xmas, probably. Then I'll shut down and really write!
Hope you are doing OK, coping.

Anna said...

Thanks Nikon, I didn't even notice the last post date on the Bergamo was in March, I guess the photo really got me going, lol. Anyway, you let me know which is your popular blog and I will switch. It happened to me before, I was at these two blogs leaving comments, and I found out that most of the people were hanging out on their second blogs. It kind of felt like there was no body there, lol. Thanks for letting me know, and please do continue, I think you got something. I was vivid blogger at the beginning, but now I post 2 times a week the most, so I have more time to visit. Nice talking to you and hope to see you around. Anna :)

Michelle~~The Red Velvet Shoe said...

He was always handsome, but in very different ways. . .the youth & vitality are strong and rich in this photo~~one of my favorites.

Michelle

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Hemingway ever met Walt Disney. Disney was also driving an ambulance for the Red Cross in Paris.

Nikon said...

Yes, you're right about Disney working for the Red Cross,(1917).
Disney drove his ambulance in France, though - Hemingway drove one in the Italian campaign.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Nikon said...

Follow up - I've never read that they met (Disney & Hemingway), but who knows? Disney was an artist in Paris, the Mecca of artists at the end of the war.