Dying Like Hemingway

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 2 2011 @ 9:04pm


by Chris Bodenner

In his new book, Marty Beckerman chronicles the epic drinking habits of Ernest Hemingway, who committed suicide 50 years ago today:

The only time Hemingway cried over alcohol: When Congress made it illegal during Prohibition. But he pulled himself together, as a man does always, and traveled to Paris, as a man does seldom. There Papa committed to a life of glorious, full-throttle chemical dependence alongside "The Great Gatsby" author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who said, "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." In Fitzgerald's case, the drink took ten thousand drinks and then left him dead in the gutter.

John Walsh delves into Hemingway's troubled psyche:

It's easy to be spiteful about Hemingway. All his posturing, his editing of the truth, his vainglorious fibbing can obscure his undoubted bravery. He loved being in the thick of the war – the tank advance through the Ardennes, the Battle of the Bulge – dodging bullets, watching men being shot to hell all around him. But it's hard to shake off the feeling that what he was doing wasn't bravery, but psychotic self-dramatisation. And when you inspect the image of Hemingway-as-hero, you uncover an extraordinary sub-stratum of self-harming.