Papa & the Kraut
March 29, 2007 4:45 PM   Subscribe

“The thing about the Kraut and me is that we have been in love since 1934, when we first met on the Île de France, but we’ve never been to bed. Amazing but true. Victims of unsynchronized passion.” Author Ernest Hemingway and actress Marlene Dietrich met while traveling across the Atlantic. Their friendship lasted until the Nobel Prize-winning author's death in 1961. In 2003, the JFK library received a donation from Marlene Dietrich's daughter of 30 letters, cards, and other documents that had been written to her mother by the author. Hemingway's estate had already donated 31 letters from Dietrich. These letters have now been unsealed and are set to go on view.
posted by miss lynnster (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Dietrich's grandson Peter Riva said in a telephone interview that when his mother sold Dietrich's estate to the German government in 1993 she made a point of excluding the Hemingway materials from the sale.

'She considered them to be American treasures,' Riva said, describing his mother's views, 'and wanted them safeguarded for the nation. Frankly she was advised by friends to sell them.'

Riva said an appraisal had estimated the donation's value at $6 million."*
Good for her. A nice gift.
posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on March 29, 2007


I'd heard stories about this, and no doubt Sloppy Joe and "the Kraut" must have thrown back some drinks together, but how interesting to think they had some sort of hawt romance of the mind.

Cool post!
posted by bardic at 5:06 PM on March 29, 2007


Wasn't Hemingway secretly gay?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:25 PM on March 29, 2007


Ooh, a wed wose. How womantic!
posted by hal9k at 5:29 PM on March 29, 2007


isn't it pretty to think so
posted by dorian at 5:42 PM on March 29, 2007


Wasn't Hemingway secretly gay?

50 million embrassingly-P.C. masters theses can't be wrong.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:56 PM on March 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your "while traveling" link tells me I don't have permission to access it on that server, miss lynnster. Maybe you can't link directly to IMDb's images?
posted by cgc373 at 5:56 PM on March 29, 2007


Wasn't Hemingway secretly gay?

And even if this was the case?
posted by liquorice at 6:03 PM on March 29, 2007


Dang!
You're 2 for 2 in the last 48, miss l.
Good work.
posted by Dizzy at 6:04 PM on March 29, 2007


That IMDB hates it some image hotlinking.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:08 PM on March 29, 2007


I wish I could have seen her perform live because I once listened to an entire performance of hers where she did her greatest hits and it baffles me why anyone would pay to HEAR her sing. Perhaps they were paying to SEE her sing.
posted by well_balanced at 6:45 PM on March 29, 2007


Wasn't Hemingway secretly gay?

Eh. She was not-so-secretly ambi.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:48 PM on March 29, 2007


we_ba---
Complete agreement.
Perhaps her charms did not translate well (or to put it more kindly, were "Culturally Specific"), because my Grandpa and his friends were absolutely bonkers about her and they fought in Germany during WW2.
I'm a big fan of world-weariness and truly enjoy artistic ennui, but she seems truly ill-at-ease and technically bereft.
Am I missing something?
Maybe my kids will shake their heads at Chrisssie Hynde et al in just the same way.
Paging miss lynnster!
Thoughts?
posted by Dizzy at 6:57 PM on March 29, 2007


(...not implying Ms. Hynde is in any way on cultural par with jazz singers--- just using her as an emblem of a worldly voice.)
(And I would take a bullet for her.)
(Mostly.)
(Some later solo efforts hit and miss, but I hope you'd all agree she's an amazing talent...)
posted by Dizzy at 7:03 PM on March 29, 2007


this is good.
posted by chunking express at 7:12 PM on March 29, 2007


Dizzy, you want MetaFilter to agree that something, anything, is good? Ha!
posted by Richard Daly at 7:24 PM on March 29, 2007


Wow! I had no idea about this connection. Thanks. Such a sexy low voice she had.
posted by fish tick at 7:57 PM on March 29, 2007


This is interesting stuff. As an English major back in undergrad days, it is always nice to see new primary source material come to light. When Hemingway was good, he was one of the best.
posted by marxchivist at 8:21 PM on March 29, 2007


This moves Hemingway up a notch in my estimation. Thanks for the post.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:26 PM on March 29, 2007


I can still see the linked image, but since you apparently can't I posted it so now everyone can see what it was.

Well Diz, if it makes you feel better, I actually can do a mean Marlene Dietrich impression... particularly on Falling in Love Again. My high school german comes in handy once in a while. :)

I find her kind of fascinating though. Women just didn't carry themselves the way she did back then. She was german, but came to America to make films in the late 30s & then became an American citizen. She ended up touring extensively with the USO to entertain American soldiers & tirelessly worked to help the allied forces... which, when you think about it... is pretty intense. I mean, she was quite often in her homeland, helping the people who were fighting against it. I can't imagine.

When she was older, she needed money so she got some fancy dresses made and put a nightclub act together. Problem was... she had a pretty tight relationship with alcohol at that point and her alcoholism was progressing. One night in 1975 she drunkenly fell off a stage in Sydney and broke her leg. She never got on stage again & spent the last 13 years of her life in seclusion for the most part. Kinda sad, really.

Anyhow, a long time ago I found a vintage copy of Marlene Dietrich's ABCs. It's around here somewhere. She went through the alphabet and just gave her random thoughts on all sorts of random words listed alphabetically. It's a strange book. It's cool in its oddness, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:31 PM on March 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It offends my sensibilities as a special collections librarian that Hemingway's papers are at the JFK library (see the bottom of the "JFK Library" link). Collection development policies, people!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:58 AM on March 30, 2007


50 million embrassingly-P.C. masters theses can't be wrong.

How droll and witty!

Just that quotes like, "[B]ut we’ve never been to bed. Amazing but true" are cute and clever from someone who's already out. From someone who's in the closet, it's a depressing, sad display. But then I always thought Hemingway's false macho posturing was sad.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:55 AM on March 30, 2007


She ended up touring extensively with the USO to entertain American soldiers & tirelessly worked to help the allied forces... which, when you think about it... is pretty intense. I mean, she was quite often in her homeland, helping the people who were fighting against it. I can't imagine.
German Wikipedia on it:
„Ihr politisches und soziales Engagement gegen das NS-Regime fand international deutlich früher eine Würdigung als in ihrem Heimatland Deutschland, wo ihr Handeln bei vielen auf Unverständnis stieß. Durch ihr Handeln sei sie nicht gegen Hitler getreten, sondern gegen viele Millionen einfacher deutscher Soldaten. Der Begriff der „Verräterin“ wurde (auch heute noch) vielfach publiziert und diskutiert.“

“International appreciation for her political and social stand against the Nazi regime came about distinctly earlier than that in Germany, her homeland, where her actions were met with incomprehension. What she was doing was viewed as hostile to millions of ordinary German soldiers, not hostile to Hitler. The idea of her as the ‘traitress’ was (and still is) widely discussed and publicised.”
And yeah, it’s got to have been huge to have been in the ruins of Berlin in late 1945, to learn and see of what the Red Army had done to the place she grew up in, and to be conscious that she played some part in that.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:22 AM on March 30, 2007


She ended up touring extensively with the USO to entertain American soldiers & tirelessly worked to help the allied forces... which, when you think about it... is pretty intense.

Even more intense considering that her father was a Prussian officer.

And as Aidan Kehoe points out, quite a few people in Germany considered her traitorous, even years after the war.
posted by Skeptic at 3:57 PM on March 30, 2007


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