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Hemingway's parents: Clarence Hemingway and Grace Hall Hemingway.

Hemingway in Love

Hemingway returned to Illinois in 1918 after spending about two years working as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star and serving as a Red Cross volunteer on the Italian border during the war. (See Italy.)

Though he did precious little writing in Chicago, Hemingway made two very important friends. It was here in 1920 that he began his first real love affair after the unrequited romance with his nurse in Milan (the inspiration for "A Farewell to Arms").

He met a woman called Hadley Richardson, eight years his senior. He was drawn to her both as attractive woman and uncensorious drinking companion and, according to Hemingway's first biographer, Carlos Baker, she was impressed, among other things, "by the way Ernest made cigarette smoke pour from his nostrils." They married in September 1921 and lived briefly in an unglamorous apartment on North Dearborn Street.

Hemingway met first wife Hadley Richardson in Chicago in 1920.

Around the same time, Hemingway met and was befriended by a writer called Sherwood Anderson, fresh back from Paris, who persuaded Ernest that the French capital was the only place for an aspiring writer to be. Attitudes to life and art were much more liberal and, because of the post-war exchange rate, it was dirt cheap.

Though it may well have been a desire to escape the close proximity of his mother that counted most in the final decision, Hemingway needed little more encouragement to head for Europe. On December 8, 1921, he and Hadley left New York for Le Havre on the Leopoldina.

She was thirty, he was twenty-two. Hemingway's travels had begun. He would be on the move for the rest of his life.

Photo credits: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection/John F. Kennedy Library. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999. Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Shop.