Back in 2009 when I published my history foreign correspondents in China, Through the Looking Glass, the biggest thing people focussed on was Ernest Hemingway’s time in China. Hemingway came with his then wife Martha Gellhorn at the start of the war as the Chinese government was retreating to Chungking. It was really Gellhorn’s trip for Collier‘s while Hemingway’s writing went to the soon-to-be-defunct PM magazine (and to the White House – he may well have been spying either on orders or for the hell of it) which means it’s a bit lost among all his other output. To be fair Hemingway didn’t produce much of substance while on the trip. However, it seems Hemingway was interested in China and news from the country for a quite a long time. On holiday (where I tend to revisit old favourites rather than read new books) I’ve been rereading Hemingway’s collection of stories Men Without Women (it’s been 15 years at least since I last read it). In the collection is a story Che Ti Dice La Patria? about Hemingway travelling through Italy. It was first published in the New Republic on May 18, 1927, entitled Italy-1927. Men Without Women was published slightly later. Anyway, in the short story Hemingway remarks that while stopping for lunch in the suburbs of Genoa he read the accounts of the fighting in Shanghai in the papers – that of course being the Shanghai Massacre of 1927 and the suppression of the Communists in the city (if you’re not familiar with that see Wikipedia here or, even better, read Andre Malraux’s Man’s Fate).
A very minor footnote I know…but interesting none the less (to me at least!!)