Hemingway’s Son Named for Bullfighter

Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, welcomed their only child in October of 1923. The baby boy was named John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway.

The name Nicanor was inspired by Spanish torero (bullfighter) Nicanor Villalta. It can be traced back to the ancient Greek word nike, meaning “victory.”

The interesting thing? While we all know that Hemingway was a bullfighting fan, at the time his son was born, he had only recently become a fan.

When Hemingway saw his first bullfight in Pamplona in 1923, he brought his wife Hadley along because he hoped the event would have a positive influence on the unborn son she then carried. The sport certainly affected the budding writer. It became one of the reigning passions of his life.

P.S. Hemingway’s friends called him “Hem.”

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