Hemingway’s Decline

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Does Ernest Hemingway’s death outshine his literary prowess? At the end of Hemingway’s life, he was subjected to electro-shock treatment to treat his paranoid depression, which resulted in memory loss and subsequently the loss of his writerly abilities—this all after six major brain traumas. Reading about all of the injuries (emotional and physical) incurred during his lifetime, it’s shocking how amazingly resilient he was!

“Courage was ‘grace under pressure,’ he said, and the head that he kept putting in the way of car windshields, bullets, and plane fuselages was terribly full of self-generated destructive forces.  Why it was that way none of his biographers has ever adequately expressed.  That so large and memorable a personage was so entirely without hope so much of the time awakens compassion.”

(via The Millions)


Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →