Mrs. Hemingway

Album: The Age Of Miracles (2010)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is about Hadley Richardson Hemingway, who was married to American author Ernest Hemingway between 1921 and 1927. Carpenter explained the inspiration for the song to Express Night Out: "This song was something I've been wanting to write, or investigate, since I was in college. That's when I first read [the Ernest Hemingway memoir] A Moveable Feast. Last summer, a new edition came out that was edited by Hemingway's second wife's grandson, and the critics' notices indicated it might be more favorable to her than the first edition. I found it to be so - it was more favorable. But what got my attention was that his first wife, Hadley, was sort of a shadowy figure in literary history and his life. I was always fascinated by her. People are aware of the story that he fell in love with her best friend and left [her]. This is a song about her life in Paris with him, before all of that happened. In A Moveable Feast he looks back to his life in Paris with Hadley, before the fame, the money, and the corruption if you will, and he always seemed to indicate that that's when he did his best work. And it's as if he lost his way and his ability to do that after that magical time was over."
  • Red-haired Hadley Richardson (1891-1979) was eight years older than Ernest Hemingway. They first encountered each other in December 1920 after Hadley visited her old roommate Smith and through her met Hemingway, who was living with Smith's brother. They married the following year after a whirlwind courtship and had one son together, John. When Hemingway fell in love with Hadley's friend, the blonde and wealthy Pauline Pfeiffer Richardson agreed to a divorce if the two were still in love after not seeing each other for 100 days. During their three month separation, Hemingway wrote much of Men Without Women.
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