Martha Gellhorn: The war writer in the field and in the text

By Kate McLoughlin

Martha Gellhorn: The war writer in the field and in the text

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7636-7
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2007
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Literature & literary studies / Prose: non-fiction, LITERARY COLLECTIONS / American / General, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Editors, Journalists, Publishers, Anthologies: general, Cultural studies, Literature


Martha Gellhorn was the doyenne of twentieth century war correspondence. Opinionated, honest and unafraid, she covered conflicts from the Spanish Civil War to Reagan's wars in Central America in the 1980s. Martha Gellhorn: the war writer in the field and in the text is the first critical study of her Second World War fiction and journalism.

Often overlooked in accounts of war literature is the writer's precise position in relation to battle and his or her resultant standing in the text. Kate McLoughlin traces Gellhorn's daring attempts to access the war zone and her constructions of the woman war correspondent in her despatches, novels, short stories and play. Drawing on unpublished letters, close attention is given to Gellhorn's rivalry with Ernest Hemingway (the two were married from 1940 to 1945) over reaching the Normandy beaches on D-Day and its textual outcome in the pages of Collier's magazine. McLoughlin goes on to examine Gellhorn's increasingly negative portrayals of the glamorous female war reporter and to suggests why such disillusionment might have set in.


1. Routes to World War II
2. 'A walking tape recorder with eyes'
3. Being there: the field
4. Being there: the text
5. From presence to participation
6. Fatal distraction


Kate McLoughlin is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow

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