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Papa was a Communist Spy?

July 10, 2009

According to a book recently published by Yale UP, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Ernest Hemingway ernestly (puns!) signed on to spy for the KGB in 1941 and was given the code name Agent Argo.  The book is a result of sifting through Stalin-era documents and it reports that the Communist officials were disappointed in the information gathered by Agent Argo, despite his willingness to help.  Guardian reporter John Dugdale suggests that Hemingway may have signed on in order to further his experiences to fulfill missing links in his literary prowess, but leaves open the option that Hemingway was a dedicated–albeit ineffective–international spy.

Though Dugdale seems certain that this information will be a blight on the reputation of Hemingway, I am not so sure.  In my efforts to not think negatively of the great American author, I nearly refuse to believe he was genuinely out to damage the United States.  My naïveté is backed up by Hemingway’s service (though non-military) in World War I and my general desire for his retained reputation.

Whether or not he was a KGB spy, Hemingway’s body of work is still stellar. His political or patriotic leanings do not, in any way, take away from his literature and, if anything, make Hemingway scholarship that more interesting.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 10:19 am

    Even if it was for the communists, the idea of Hemingway being a spy for anyone makes him even more badass.

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