Restoring Papa and His Wives

July 5, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

The upcoming publication of Ernest Hemingway’s “restored” A Moveable Feast by grandson Sean offers yet another example that spicy family intrigue can have a legacy all its own. The book — a memoir of Hemingway’s expatriate years in Paris — was originally edited by Ernest’s fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, and published in 1964, four years after Hemingway’s death. Now Sean Hemingway (who was encouraged to do the project by Pauline’s son Patrick) wants to set the record straight by retelling the various aspects of Hemingway’s marriages that might have made Mary uncomfortable. Apparently Scribner, who is printing 16,000 copies of the latest version, feels the minutiae of Papa’s personal relationships still titillates plenty of readers.
“Patrick, 81, said he did not blame Mary, who died in 1986, for her editing. ‘I think she did an excellent job, given the circumstances of the time, he said. But he speculated that Mary, who had had a falling out with Pauline, might have wanted to curry favor with Hadley, who owned the rights to a painting by Miró that Mary wanted.” Motoko Rich in The New York Times.