Ernest Hemingway’s Blood and Money

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In 1918, shortly before the culmination of the First World War, writer Ernest Hemingway was wounded by an Austrian mortar which exploded near him at Fossalta di Piave. He was a Red Cross ambulance driver at the time.

Around thirty years later, Hemingway revisited the same spot during his trip to Venice. Initially, he wanted to defecate at the spot as a form of symbolism. However, he reconsidered and instead, he used a stick to dig a hole and buried a 1,000 lira note there. He said that with this action, he had contributed both blood and money to the Italian soil.

Note that the protagonist in Hemingway’s 1950 novel Across the River and into the Trees, carried out a similar deed, the key difference was that the money he contributed was a 10,000 lira note.


Owen, Richard (2017). Hemingway in Italy.

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