Martha Gellhorn, fully Martha Ellis Gellhorn

Martha
Gellhorn, fully Martha Ellis Gellhorn
1908
1998

American Novelist, Travel Writer, War Correspondent and Journalist, married Ernest Hemingway

Author Quotes

Why do people talk of the horrors of old age? It's great. I feel like a fine old car with the parts gradually wearing out, but I'm not complaining... Those who find growing old terrible are people who haven't done what they wanted with their lives.

Gradually I came to realize that people will more readily swallow lies than truth, as if the taste of lies was homey, appetizing: a habit.

The only way I can pay back for what fate and society have handed me is to try, in minor totally useless ways, to make an angry sound against injustice.

I daresay I was the worst bed partner in five continents.

The road passed through a curtain of pine forest and came out on a flat, rolling snow field. In this field the sprawled or bunched bodies of Germans lay thick, like some dark shapeless vegetable.

I didn't write. I just wandered about.

Then somebody suggested I should write about the war, and I said I didn't know anything about the war. I did not understand anything about it. I didn't see how I could write it.

I followed the war wherever I could reach it.

There were ten concentration camps in France from 1939 on.

I found out about the Spanish war because I was in Germany when it began.

Thousands got away to other countries; thousands returned to Spain tempted by false promises of kindness. By the tens of thousands, these Spaniards died of neglect in the concentration camps.

I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother.

Travel is compost for the mind.

I only knew about daily life. It was said, well, it isn't everybody's daily life. That is why I started.

Unless they are immediate victims, the majority of mankind behaves as if war was an act of God which could not be prevented; or they behave as if war elsewhere was none of their business. It would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination.

I see mysteries and complications wherever I look, and I have never met a steadily logical person.

War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say and it seems to me I have been saying it forever. Unless they are immediate victims, the majority of mankind behaves as if war was an act of God which could not be prevented; or they behave as if war elsewhere was none of their business. It would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination.

I tell you loneliness is the thing to master. Courage and fear, love, death are only parts of it and can easily be ruled afterwards. If I make myself master my own loneliness there will be peace or safety: and perhaps these are the same.

What the trees can do handsomely-greening and flowering, fading and then the falling of leaves-human beings cannot do with dignity, let alone without pain.

A broken heart is such a shabby thing, like poverty and failure and the incurable diseases which are also deforming. I hate it and am ashamed of it, and I must somehow repair this heart and put it back into its normal condition, as a tough somewhat scarred but operating organ.

If I practiced sex, out of moral conviction, that was one thing; but to enjoy it... seemed a defeat.

After the desperate years of their own war, after six years of repression inside Spain and six years of horror in exile, these people remain intact in spirit. They are armed with a transcendent faith; they have never won, and yet they have never accepted defeat.

If I were a first rate writer, I wouldn't mind a bit. What does depress me is this: it is so desperately hard and so obsessive and so lonely to write that, in return for all this work, one would like a little self-satisfaction. And that is never going to come, for the simple reason that I do not deserve it. I cannot be a good enough writer. You see? I call it grim. But the future looks awfully clear to me.

And though various organizations in America and England collected money and sent food parcels to these refugees, nothing was ever received by the Spanish.

In the last camp they all ate grass, until the authorities forbade them to pull it up. They were accustomed to having the fruits of their little communal gardens stolen by the guards, after they had done all the work; but at the last camp everything was stolen.

Author Picture
First Name
Martha
Last Name
Gellhorn, fully Martha Ellis Gellhorn
Birth Date
1908
Death Date
1998
Bio

American Novelist, Travel Writer, War Correspondent and Journalist, married Ernest Hemingway