Tuesday, February 17, 2009

John Hemingway Stops on By

(Prongs and Padfoot at the Hemingway Lecture)
One reason I love going to The Ohio State University: we get cool free lectures by famous people and their grandsons. I invited Prongs over for the night to see Hemingway’s grandson talk about his new book, Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir, which is about the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his bipolar/transsexual son Gregory. Although we have only read The Old Man and the Sea, we decided that since Hemingway is a very influential writer with an abundance of classic works, it would be a sweet opportunity to hear his grandson speak.

Here are a few things we learned about Greg and Ernest Hemingway:
  • John’s father, Gregory, was a transgender/cross-dresser and eventually had a sex change, and turned him from Gregory-->Gloria
  • Gregory, like his father, was bipolar, and his wife was schizophrenic
  • Ernest’s book Island in the Stream was basically autobiographical: it was about a family, three sons, and a son that was smart, but had a dark side to him, as well as his father, which reflected Ernest’s family life
  • Ernest himself had many effeminate suggestions in his own writings, especially in his short stories from the early 20’s
  • Gregory was arrested for walking into a bar while dressed as a woman. His mother and father found out and screamed at each other on the phone; not too long after his mother went to the hospital and died a stress-related death. Ernest blamed Gregory…Gregory criticized his father’s accusations, yet he could never forgive himself.
  • Unknown to many people, Gregory was the example of a constant Hemingway hero: manly, strong, yet had a compassionate and fragile side.
Although it was interesting to hear about the relationship between Ernest and his son, the lecture probably could have been cut in half. Here are some pictures of our notes; take from them what you will.

(Click to enlarge notes)
Enjoy those pearls of wisdom that are given to you. If anybody is interested in learning more about Hemingway's life, and/or John's new book, here is the link to his blog:


  1. mmmm I love Hemmingway.

    "Unknown to many people, Gregory was the example of a constant Hemingway hero: manly, strong, yet had a compassionate and fragile side."

    That's lovely.

  2. Great posting and great facts! Thanks for the link too! You have a great blog :)

  3. Hi!!! Love the name of the blog...Im OSU alum!!

  4. Thanks for the comments!! :)
    (go OSU)

  5. Sounds like a fascinating lecture. I knew a lot more about Hemingway's life, but had never really known anything about his kids except that Hemingway was not always the best father. Happens when you're drunk and neglectful, yes?

  6. I bet this was an interesting lecture. Would have loved to have heard it. And nope never knew Gregory was a transgender. Isn't there a couple of granddaughters who are famous actress?

  7. Wow, you guys are so lucky! Looks like it was really interesting.

    Love the notes :)

  8. Haha thanks Bella glad you liked them. We are both somewhat hyper-active and hate sitting through things with out commenting, so we just wrote back and forth to each other.

    Amanda and Kathy- It definitely was an interesting lecture even if it ran a bit long. So much is known about Hemingway's personality but little people stop to consider what the effects that his reckless lifestyle would have on his children. Probably the most interesting point was the similarity between Hemingway and his trans gender son. According to John they were one in the same which leads you to question Hemingway's effeminate suggestions in his writing.

  9. You know I've never noticed any effeminate suggestions in his writing, though I've only read a couple short stories, The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Maybe I just missed it.

    Interesting that the grandson would say the other two were exactly the same. It reminds me of what my mom says about her mom and grandma. I wonder how unbiased his perspective is, being inside the family and all.

  10. hmmmm...did my comment just vanish into thin air? Can't tell what happened. Damn Blogger!

    Anyway, I think I was saying "Cool post." Love those notes. And I think I am glad I wasn't born a Hemingway! Sounds like they all got some issues!

  11. Jenners- I was going to say I thought that I responded but I guess that was the last post haha. Glad you enjoyed the post I think I could deal with the transgender though if I could grow up in a literary family gah.

  12. Thank you for the wonderful post, that was great. I had no idea about the effeminate clues in Hemingway's stories. Can't wait to check out John's book. Ethan Hawke's mom came to my NYU European Theater class once to talk about charities in Romania. Not quite the same as a Hemingway, I think.

    lindsay || newyorkwords.net

  13. What a great opportunity. I agree that one should always take the opportunity to listen to speakers who can tell you about someone or something of importance.

  14. Just wanted to stop in quickly and say thanks for signing up for the classics challenge. If you have any question, let me know. Good luck and have fun! And I agree it's important to read those classics to appreciate what is more current. And just for funsies...I'd love to know how you found out about the challenge.

  15. I read this book many years ago. I'd love to win a copy.

  16. First...the most important thing to say here is

    GO BUCKS! (my son is a 2007 alum)

    next...I love Hemingway and I'd love to win a copy!




  17. I love Hemingway and didn't know any of this about his personal life. Thank you.

  18. Love the doodles. Have you had them analyzed??? LOL

    Please count me in!

  19. I must be hiding under a rock! I know of the grand-daughters, Mariel and Margaux Hemingway,but am not familiar with John!
    I am glad that I found your site! Thanks for educating me. Cindi

  20. Yay trannnsexualllsss.
    Lol. P.S. I still prefer the Bret Easton Ellis novel.


  21. Thanks guys! Gotta love the Hemingways. :)

  22. I would love to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. Wow, so much I didn't know about Hemingway. I would love to read even more. Thanks.


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