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Autumn in Venice : Ernest Hemingway and his last muse /

by Di Robilant, Andrea [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.Edition: First edition.Description: xiv, 348 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9781101946657; 1101946652.Subject(s): Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961 -- Homes and haunts -- Italy -- Venice | Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961 -- Knowledge -- Italy | Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography | Americans -- Italy -- Venice -- Biography | Venice (Italy) -- In literature | BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- Literary | LITERARY CRITICISM -- Books & Reading | LITERARY CRITICISM -- American -- General | Biographies | Biography | Biographies
Contents:
Coming into the country -- The road to Cortina -- Venice -- Villa Aprile -- Finca Vigía -- Paris -- Venice -- Paris -- Crouching beast -- Let's dance -- Idyll of the sea -- Safari -- La enfermedad.
Summary: "The acclaimed author of A Venetian Affair now gives us the remarkable story of Hemingway's love affair with both the city of Venice and the muse he found there--a vivacious 18-year-old who inspired the man thirty years her senior to complete his great final work. In the fall of 1948 Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called "absolutely god-damned wonderful." He was a year shy of his fiftieth birthday and hadn't published a novel in nearly a decade. At a duck shoot in the lagoon he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Andrea di Robilant--whose great uncle moved in Hemingway's revolving circle of bon vivants, aristocrats, and artists--recreates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and Into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. This illuminating story of writer and muse--which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity--is an intimate look at the fractured heart and changing art of Hemingway in his fifties"-- Dust jacket.
List(s) this item appears in: Fall Display 2019
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Adult Collection Adult New Arrivals 813 DIR Checked out 12/03/2019 39270004782003

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called "absolutely god-damned wonderful." A year shy of his fiftieth birthday, Hemingway hadn't published a novel in nearly a decade when he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Here Andrea di Robilant re-creates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship, during which Adriana inspired a man thirty years her senior to complete his great final work.<br> <br> Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea . The illuminating story of writer and muse--which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity-- Autumn in Venice is an intimate look at Hemingway's final years.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 333-337) and index.

Coming into the country -- The road to Cortina -- Venice -- Villa Aprile -- Finca Vigía -- Paris -- Venice -- Paris -- Crouching beast -- Let's dance -- Idyll of the sea -- Safari -- La enfermedad.

"The acclaimed author of A Venetian Affair now gives us the remarkable story of Hemingway's love affair with both the city of Venice and the muse he found there--a vivacious 18-year-old who inspired the man thirty years her senior to complete his great final work. In the fall of 1948 Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called "absolutely god-damned wonderful." He was a year shy of his fiftieth birthday and hadn't published a novel in nearly a decade. At a duck shoot in the lagoon he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Andrea di Robilant--whose great uncle moved in Hemingway's revolving circle of bon vivants, aristocrats, and artists--recreates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and Into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. This illuminating story of writer and muse--which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity--is an intimate look at the fractured heart and changing art of Hemingway in his fifties"-- Dust jacket.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">Prologue   In the autumn of 1948, Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, traveled to northern Italy and visited Venice for the first time. They had not planned it that way: their initial intention, when they had sailed from Cuba, was to disembark in the south of France, drive across Provence, and head on to Paris. But a mechanical failure forced the ship to dock in the port of Genoa. Hemingway had known the city well in his youth: it was from Genoa that he had sailed home on the Giuseppe Verdi after World War I, and it was to Genoa that he had returned several times in the twenties, both on assignment as a young reporter and on holiday with his first wife, Hadley Richardson.   As Hemingway set foot on Italian soil, old memories resurfaced, and a longing to see the country took over. He and Mary set off on a serendipitous journey that took them to the lake region in Lombardy, then on to the Dolomites, and finally down into the Veneto, and to Fossalta di Piave, the little town huddled on the southern bank of the Piave River, where Hemingway had stared death in the face on the night of July 8, 1918--a brash kid from Oak Park, Illinois, two weeks away from his nineteenth birthday.   Fossalta is no more than fifteen miles from Venice as the crow flies. Young Hemingway never had a chance to visit the city--he was injured only days after reaching the front line. He finally managed to see it, thirty years later, arriving with Mary on a clear, moonlit evening. Venice was all he had hoped for and more-- "absolutely god-damned wonderful."   Hemingway was less than a year shy of his fiftieth birthday. He hadn't published a novel in nearly a decade and was struggling with a rambling manuscript. Critics considered him an author of the past; the new young writers coming out of World War II were getting all the attention. His marriage offered few pleasures. Indeed, the trip to Europe was at least in part an attempt to revive a languishing union.   On this score, the first few weeks in Italy looked promising: Hemingway was in excellent form, and Mary had rarely seen her husband in such a pleasant mood. But in early December, things took an unexpected turn. At a duck shoot in the lagoon, Hemingway met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking eighteenyear-old just out of finishing school. Hemingway later wrote that when he saw Adriana the first time he felt as if "lightning had struck"--a hackneyed expression he probably would never have used except perhaps in the original, mythological sense, as a way to underscore his helplessness in the face of the gods' capricious deed.   Lovely, seductive, mischievous Adriana became Hemingway's muse in the most classical sense. She brought joy to his life, inspired him, made him feel young again--sometimes as young as a child, judging by his playful antics. Most important, her presence helped to fill the dried-up well of his creative juices, leading to a remarkable literary flowering in the late season of his life. Out of Hemingway's first Venetian journey, in 1948-49, came Across the River and into the Trees, a mysterious and deeply autobiographical novel. Then came The Old Man and the Sea, a perfectly formed novella he wrote in a state of grace while Adriana was staying with him in Cuba. During the time Hemingway was under her spell, he also wrote a good portion of A Moveable Feast and made great strides on two novels that had been languishing for years and were published posthumously, Islands in the Stream and The Garden of Eden . In loving Adriana, Hemingway found the creative release that had been eluding him for years and which Mary, for all her dedication to her complicated husband, could not always provide.   Much has been said and written about whether Hemingway and Adriana were lovers. To be sure, the relationship was fraught with sexual tension from the beginning--their letters attest to that. And there were moments of great intimacy between them--in Venice, in Paris, in Cuba--when the line may have been crossed. But I believe, as Adriana always claimed, that the relationship remained essentially platonic. Hemingway himself saw it as an idyllic union that was separate and removed from earthly life. He sometimes referred to it in Spanish as una cosa sagrada --a sacred thing, which everyone, including his wife, should respect and protect. Of course, to invoke the sacredness of his love for Adriana was another way to deflect the pressure of responsibility. But it did not change the fundamentals: he was a married man in his fifties, looking the worse for wear, hopelessly in love with a girl who was less than half his age.   Hemingway openly discussed with Adriana his desire to leave Mary in order to marry her. Adriana always dismissed the possibility as a puerile fantasy--she came from a conservative Catholic background in a country where divorce was not even contemplated. Hemingway knew it was never a real possibility, but it gave him pleasure to fantasize about it.   Meanwhile, gossip sheets and magazines talked. Scandal hung over Adriana from the start and got more poisonous with time. Hemingway was acutely aware of the damage he was inflicting on her reputation (perhaps less so of the long-term psychological consequences). But his remorse was never strong enough for him to put an end to their ambiguous attachment--even if it meant possibly damaging the life of the young woman he loved.   * I have a faded memory of Adriana. When I was growing up, she and her second husband, Rudolf Graf von Rex, lived with their two young children in a country house in southern Tuscany not far from where my family lived. I saw them occasionally at social gatherings--cocktail parties around Christmastime, that sort of thing. I remember an attractive woman in her forties, subdued, vaguely distant, standing in a corner of a crowded room, holding on to a glass of whiskey and a cigarette. I doubt we ever exchanged more than a few words, yet to this day I remember her melancholic gaze.   As a young adult--I was then living in New York--I learned that Adriana had taken her life after struggling with depression. She was buried in the small cemetery down the road from our house. The tombstone was a nicely carved slab of peperino, a darkgray stone typical of the region; the lettering was in German Gothic: Adriana Grafin von Rex. Whenever I passed by the cemetery, I noticed the plot was well tended, with Mediterranean evergreens neatly clipped.   I was vaguely aware of Adriana's association with Hemingway, but it was not until years later, when I moved to Venice with my family during a sabbatical year, that I learned more about their relationship. In fact, it was hard to avoid the topic: seventy years later, Venetians still talk about it as if it were the gossip of the season. One day, I went to see Adriana's older brother, Gianfranco--he had been like a younger brother to Hemingway and had lived with him in Cuba for many years. Gianfranco was in his early nineties and not in very good shape. But I was intrigued to learn that he had recently sold the last batch of Hemingway's letters to him to the JFK Library in Boston, where the Hemingway Collection is housed.   Months later, I happened to be in Boston and I went over to the library to check out the letters. They had already been filed in a much larger collection, which included most of the correspondence between Hemingway and Adriana from 1948 until 1956. I sat down to read the letters and became utterly absorbed by them.   They covered a period of eight years, starting with a cheeky postcard Adriana sent in December 1948--her girlish scrawl read, "Dear Mister Papa--How are you? Working very hard?"-- and terminating with the dramatic letter that ended their correspondence. It was fascinating to see Adriana grow from the innocent young girl who had just graduated from the Catholic school of the Sisters of Nevers into a worldly young woman handling a complicated relationship with a famous man.   The context in which that relationship blossomed was equally interesting to me. My family has strong ties to Venice and the region of the Veneto. I am familiar with the places Hemingway and Adriana went to and the people they knew at the time. My great-uncle Carlo di Robilant and his wife, Caroline, have small roles in the story. "The Faithful Bull," a fable Hemingway wrote in Cortina, was dedicated to my aunt Olghina.   Hemingway liked to say he was "a Veneto boy." I think he was genuinely happy there--as happy as he had been fishing the Gulf Stream, hunting in Africa, and studying bulls and toreadors in Spain. At the end of his first, eight-month-long visit, Lillian Ross, the reporter for The New Yorker, asked him how it had been. "Italy was so damned wonderful," he said. "It was sort of like having died and gone to Heaven, a place you'd figured never to see." Excerpted from Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse by Andrea Di Robilant All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

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