Later in life, Hemingway acted as a war correspondant in both the Spanish Civil War and World War II. After the publication of several successful books during the course of the 1950s, Hemingway, facing substantial physical and mental health problems, committed suicide in 1961.
Ernest Hemingway in Southern VictoryEdit
Ernie (1899-1939) was an American author and veteran of the Great War, where he suffered a wound to his genitalia. Despondency over this injury eventually led him to alcoholism and depression. His life ended in a tragic murder-suicide.
When the Great War broke out, Ernie was conscripted into the US Army as an ambulance driver amd sent to the Quebecois front. He was wounded when his ambulance, marked with the Red Cross, was strafed by a Canadian aeroplane near Riviere-du-Loup. He lost much of his genitalia. Lucien Galtier witnessed this incident and was greatly shocked, later telling his friends of the "poor American soldier, whose life is ruined".
After the war Ernie moved to Boston, where he was able to publish a few novels. He was hired by Joseph P. Kennedy to help Sylvia Enos ghostwrite I Sank Roger Kimball, the story of her revenge against Confederate submariner Roger Kimball, who killed her husband George after his country had already surrendered in the Great War. Sylvia was impressed by Ernie's short, clipped sentences and paragraphs, and also found herself strangely attracted to Ernie himself. It was Ernie who advised Sylvia to close out her account at her bank the day before that bank closed, saving Sylvia from financial ruin.
He fell on hard times thereafter, drifting from one writing job to the next and supplementing his income by taking money to be knocked out by prizefighters. He and Sylvia encountered each other again and began an intimate relationship shortly thereafter. Ernie's genital wound made sex difficult for him, but Sylvia was patient. Nevertheless, his impotence left Hemingway depressed and embittered, and Sylvia became frightened by the intensity of Ernie's dark moods after his frequent sexual failures. At one point Ernie angrily remarked that he should go to Spain and participate in the Spanish Civil War. At other times, he spoke of suicide.
Many of Sylvia's friends and loved ones, including her son George Enos, Jr., encouraged her to leave Ernie before he harmed her. But their warnings only made her more stubborn and more committed to her relationship with Ernie despite her own fears that their worries were valid. One night Ernie produced a loaded revolver after another failed attempt at sex. Sylvia tried to wrest it away from him, the gun misfired, and Sylvia was killed. Horrified, Ernie shot himself.
Tutledove never uses Ernie's last name, but describes the character in sufficient enough detail to make it clear that Ernie is indeed Ernest Hemingway.
In OTL, Ernest Hemingway did not suffer a genital wound. However, the main character of his first major novel, The Sun Also Rises, did suffer such a wound in the First World War, and a main plot element of Hemingway's book is a tragic love affair which cannot be consumated due to that wound.