Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hemingway and Dietrich

Boston's John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library has released a collection of 30 unpublished letters written by Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich. The collection also includes photographs and articles written about the pair.
Hemingway and Dietrich started writing to each other when he was 50 and she was 47, remaining in close contact until the writer's suicide in 1961. But they never consummated their love, because of what Hemingway referred to as "unsynchronised passion".

Although it was not a physical relationship, they certainly knew how to flirt. In a letter dated June 19 1950 at 4am, Hemingway wrote: "You are getting so beautiful they will have to make passport pictures of you 9 feet tall." He continued with a question: "What do you really want to do for a life work? Break everybody's heart for a dime? You could always break mine for a nickel and I'd bring the nickel."
There are now plans to put their correspondence into a book, including 31 letters from Dietrich to Hemingway. In one of them from 1951, she addressed him as "Beloved Papa", and continued: "I think it is high time to tell you that I think of you constantly. I read your letters over and over and speak of you with a few chosen men. I have moved your photograph to my bedroom and mostly look at it rather helplessly."
They seem to have had a strange, but passionate, relationship and the 61 letters in question seem to offer the makings of an interesting book.

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