Were Steinbeck and Hemingway both paranoid? Was Iris Chang?
Today is the the 50th anniversary of Hemingway's suicide with a shotgun in Ketchum, Idaho. Writer-biographer A.E. Hotchner wrote about it yesterday for the New York Times. The link to it is attached below. It is fascinating reading.
Hotchner said Hemingway's belief the ``feds'' were following him was a major factor that led to the writer's suicide.
When Chang shot herself to death in 2004, notes she left behind indicate she also felt she was being shadowed by both American and Japanese agents, chiefly because of her book ``The Rape of Nanking.'' The reality or the imagining of it certainly contributed to her death.
Steinbeck also felt he was being followed. He once wrote J. Edgar Hoover to get his people ``off my heels.'' This depsite the fact that Steinbeck worked for a time for the ``U.S. government's'' department of ``information, '' as he wrote on a New York gun permit application in 1942.
Last week local PBS ran intrguing pieces on Elia Kazan's amazing career as a stage and film director and his dark side of giving names before HUAC. A film on the ``black list'' and Dalton Trumbo followed, examining the destruction of Trumbo's and other Hollywood writers' careers and the considerable damage to their families.
One can go on and on, of course. Hopefully we are at the point where government now finds better things to do and leaves artists and writers alone. Hotchner's piece:
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