Hemingway was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist.
His distinctive writing style is characterized by terse minimalism
and understatement and had a significant influence on the development
of twentieth century fiction. Hemingway's protagonists are typically
stoics, often seen as projections of his own character--men who
must show "grace under pressure." Many of his works are
now considered classics in the canon of American literature.
was part of the 1920s expatriate community in Paris, known as
"The Lost Generation," a name coined and popularized
by Gertrude Stein. He led a turbulent social life, was married
four times, and allegedly had various romantic relationships during
his lifetime. Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize (1953) and
Nobel Prize in Literature (1954) for The Old Man and the Sea.
He committed suicide at age sixty-one in 1961.
Early life and writing
Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb
of Chicago. Hemingway's physician father, Clarence Edmonds, attended
to the birth of Ernest and subsequently blew a horn on his front
porch; announcing to the neighbors that his wife had borne a baby
boy. The Hemingways lived in a six-bedroom Victorian house built
by Ernest's widowed grandfather, Ernest Hall, an English immigrant
and Civil War veteran who lived with the family and is also Hemingway's
Hemingway was the firstborn son and the second of six children
to Clarence ("Doctor Ed") and Grace Hall Hemingway.
His mother was a homemaker with considerable singing talent who
had once aspired to an opera career and earned money giving voice
and music lessons. She was domineering and narrowly religious,
mirroring the strict Protestant ethic of Oak Park, which Hemingway
later said had "wide lawns and narrow minds". His mother
had wanted to bear twins, and when this did not happen, she dressed
young Ernest and his sister Marcelline (eighteen months his senior)
in similar clothes and with similar hairstyles, maintaining the
pretense of the two children being "twins." Grace Hemingway
further feminized her son in his youth by calling him "Ernestine"
(while much is made of this by biographers--especially Kenneth
S. Lynn--it should be noted that middle-class Victorian boys were
often treated in this manner).
his mother hoped that her son would develop an interest in music,
Hemingway adopted his father's outdoorsy interests of hunting
and fishing in the woods and lakes of northern Michigan. The family
owned a house called Windemere on Michigan's Walloon Lake, and
would often spend summers vacationing there. These early experiences
in close contact with nature would instill in Hemingway a lifelong
passion for outdoor adventure and for living in areas of the world
generally considered remote or isolated.
attended Oak Park and River Forest High School where he excelled
both academically and athletically. Hemingway boxed and played
football, and displayed particular talent in English classes.
His first writing experience was serving as editor for both Trapeze
and Tabula, the school's newspaper and literary magazine, respectively.
Hemingway graduated from high school, he did not pursue a college
education. Instead, at age seventeen, he began his writing career
as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star (1916). Although he
worked at the newspaper for only six months, throughout his lifetime
he used the guidance from the Star's style guide as a foundation
for his writing style: "Use short sentences. Use short first
paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative."
War I until the Spanish Civil War
Hemingway left his reporting job after only a few months, and,
against his father's wishes, tried to join the United States Army
to see action in World War I. He supposedly failed the medical
examination due to poor vision (there is no record of this), and
instead joined the American Field Service Ambulance Corps and
left for Italy. En route to the Italian front, he stopped in Paris,
which was under constant bombardment from German artillery. Instead
of staying in the relative safety of the Hotel Florida, Hemingway
tried to get as close to combat as possible.
after arriving on the Italian front, he witnessed the brutalities
of the war; on his first day of duty, an ammunition factory near
Milan suffered an explosion. Hemingway had to pick up the human
remains, mostly of women who had worked at the factory. This first,
extremely cruel encounter with death left him shaken. The soldiers
he met later did not lighten the horror; for example, one of them,
Eric Dorman-Smith, quoted to him a line from Part Two of Shakespeare's
Henry IV: "By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once;
we owe God a death...and let it go which way it will, he that
dies this year is quit for the next." (Hemingway, for his
part, would conjure this very same Shakespearean line in The Short
Happy Life of Francis Macomber, one of his famous African short
stories.) In another instance, a 50-year-old soldier, to whom
Hemingway said, "You're troppo vecchio for this war, pop,"
replied, "I can die as well as any man."
the Italian front on 8 July 1918, Hemingway was wounded delivering
supplies to soldiers, ending his career as an ambulance driver.
The exact details of the attack are in dispute, but two facts
are certain: Hemingway was hit by an Austria trench mortar shell
that left fragments in both of his legs, and he was subsequently
awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor (medaglia d'argento)
from the Italian government.
After this experience, Hemingway convalesced in a Milan hospital
run by the American Red Cross. At the hospital there was very
little to do for entertainment. Hemingway would often drink heavily
and read newspapers to pass the time. It was here that he met
Sister Agnes von Kurowsky of Washington, D.C., one of eighteen
nurses attending groups of four patients each. Hemingway fell
in love with Sister Agnes, who was more than six years older than
him, but their relationship did not last. After he returned to
the United States, she fell in love with and married another man.
These events provided inspiration and were fictionalized in one
of Hemingway's early novels, A Farewell to Arms.
Literary aftermath of
First novels and
other early works
Gertrude Stein was a long-time mentor of Hemingway and served
as an important influence on his style and literary development.After
the war, Hemingway returned to Oak Park. Driven in part from the
United States due to prohibition, in 1920 he took a job in Toronto,
Ontario at the Toronto Star. He worked there as a freelancer,
staff writer, and foreign correspondent. It was in Toronto that
Hemingway befriended fellow Star reporter Morley Callaghan. Callaghan
had begun writing short stories at this time and showed them to
Hemingway, who praised it as fine work. Callaghan and Hemingway
would later reunite in Paris.
1921, Hemingway married his first wife, Hadley Richardson. The
Hemingways decided to live abroad for a time. At the advice of
Sherwood Anderson, they settled in Paris, where Hemingway covered
the Greco-Turkish War for the Star. After Hemingway's return to
Paris, Anderson gave him a letter of introduction to Gertrude
Stein. She became his mentor and introduced him to the "Parisian
Modern Movement" then ongoing in Montparnasse Quarter; this
was the beginnings of the American expatriate circle that became
known as the Lost Generation, a term coined by Stein.
other influential mentor was Ezra Pound, the founder of imagism.
Hemingway later said in reminiscence of this eclectic group, "Ezra
was right half the time, and when he was wrong, he was so wrong
you were never in any doubt about it. Gertrude was always right."
The group often frequented Sylvia Beach's bookshop, Shakespeare
& Co., at 12 Rue de l'Odéon. After the 1922 publication
and American banning of colleague James Joyce's Ulysses,
Hemingway used Toronto-based friends to smuggle copies of the
novel into the United States. Hemingway's own first book, called
Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923), was published in Paris by
Robert McAlmon. In the same year, during a brief return to Toronto,
Hemingway's first son was born. Hemingway asked Gertrude Stein
to be little John's godmother. Busy supporting a family, he became
bored with the Toronto Star and resigned on January 1, 1924.
American literary debut came with the publication of the short
story collection In Our Time (1925). The vignettes that now constitute
the interchapters of the American version were initially published
in Europe as In Our Time (1924). This work was important for Hemingway,
reaffirming to him that his minimalist style could be accepted
by the literary community. "Big Two-Hearted River" is
the collection's best-known story.
April of 1925, two weeks after the publication of The Great Gatsby,
Hemingway met F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Dingo Bar. Fitzgerald
and Hemingway were at first close friends, often drinking and
talking together. They frequently exchanged manuscripts, and Fitzgerald
did much to advance Hemingway's career and the publication of
his first collections of stories, although the relationship later
cooled and became more competitive.
wife Zelda, however, disliked Hemingway from the start. Openly
describing him as "bogus" and "phoney as a rubber
cheque" and asserting that his macho persona was a facade;
she became irrationally convinced that Hemingway was homosexual
and accused Scott Fitzgerald of having an affair with him.
relationships and long nights of excessive drinking provided inspiration
for Hemingway's first successful novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926).
It took him only six weeks to finish at his favorite restaurant
in Montparnasse, La Closerie des Lilas. The novel, semi-autobiographical
in that it follows a group of expatriate Americans in Europe,
was successful and was met with critical acclaim. While Hemingway
had initially claimed that the novel was an obsolete form of literature,
he was apparently inspired to write one after reading Fitzgerald's
manuscript for The Great Gatsby.
divorced Hadley Richardson and married Pauline Pfeiffer, a devout
Roman Catholic from Piggott, Arkansas, in 1927. Hemingway converted
to Catholicism himself at this time. That year saw the publication
of Men Without Women, a collection of short stories, containing
"The Killers", one of Hemingway's best-known and most-anthologized
was here that he wrote The Sun Also Rises.In 1928, Hemingway's
father, Clarence, troubled with diabetes and financial instabilities,
committed suicide using an old Civil War pistol. This suicide
caused great hurt for Hemingway; he immediately traveled to Oak
Park to arrange the funeral and caused controversy by vocalizing
the Catholic idea that suicides go to Hell. At about the same
time, Harry Crosby, founder of the Black Sun Press and friend
of Hemingway from his days in Paris, also committed suicide.
1928 Hemingway's second son, Patrick, was born in Kansas City
(his third son, Gregory, would be born to the couple a few years
later). It was a Caesarean birth after difficult labor, details
that were incorporated into the concluding scene of his novel
A Farewell to Arms, the last important work associated with the
period closely following World War I. It details the romance between
Frederic Henry, an American soldier, and Catherine Barkley, a
novel is heavily autobiographical in nature: the plot is directly
inspired by his experience with Sister von Kurowsky in Milan;
the intense labor pains of his second wife, Pauline, in the birth
of Hemingway's son Patrick inspired Catherine's labor in the novel;
the real-life Kitty Cannell inspired the fictional Helen Ferguson;
the priest was based on Don Giuseppe Bianchi, the priest of the
69th and 70th regiments of the Brigata Ancona. While the inspiration
of the character Rinaldi is mysterious, curiously, he had already
appeared in In Our Time.
Farewell to Arms was published at a time when many other World
War I books were prominent, including Frederic Manning's Her Privates
We, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, Richard
Aldington's Death of a Hero, and Robert Graves' Goodbye to All
That. A Farewell to Arms's success rendered Hemingway essentially
(First) Forty Nine Stories
Several of Hemingway's most famous short stories were written
in the period following the war; in 1938—along with his
only full-length play, entitled The Fifth Column—49 such
stories were published in the collection The Fifth Column and
the First Forty-Nine Stories. Hemingway's intention was, as he
openly stated in his own foreword to the collection, to write
more. Many of the stories that make up this collection can be
found in other abridged collections, including In Our Time, Men
Without Women, Winner Take Nothing, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
of the collection's important stories include: Old Man at the
Bridge, On The Quai at Smyrna, Hills Like White Elephants, One
Reader Writes, The Killers and (perhaps most famously) A Clean,
Well-Lighted Place. While these stories are rather short, the
book also includes much longer stories. Among these the most famous
are The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis
one other story collection by Hemingway appeared during his lifetime,
entitled Four Stories Of The Spanish Civil War; "The Denunciation"
is the most notable story therein. The Nick Adams Stories appeared
posthumously in 1972. What is now considered the definitive compilation
of all of Hemingway's short stories is published as The Complete
Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway, first compiled and published
Hemingway's early works sold well and were generally received
favorably by critics. This success elicited some crude and pretentious
behavior from Hemingway, even in these formative years of his
career. For example, he began to tell F. Scott Fitzgerald how
to write; he also claimed that the English novelist Ford Madox
Ford was sexually impotent. Hemingway in turn was the subject
of much criticism. The journal Bookman attacked him as a dirty
to Fitzgerald, McAlmon, the publisher of his first non-commercial
book, labeled Hemingway "a fag and a wife-beater" and
claimed that Pauline was a lesbian (she is alleged to have had
lesbian affairs after their divorce). Gertrude Stein criticized
him in her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, suggesting
that he had derived his prose style from her own and from Sherwood
Eastman disparaged Hemingway harshly, asking him to "come
out from behind that false hair on the chest" (these accusations
led to a physical confrontation between the two). Eastman would
go on to write an essay entitled Bull in the Afternoon, a satire
of Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon. Another facet of Eastman's
criticism consisted in the suggestion that Hemingway ought to
give up his lonely, tight-lipped stoicism and write about contemporary
social affairs. Hemingway did so for at least a short time; his
article Who Murdered the Vets? for New Masses, a leftist magazine,
and To Have and Have Not displayed a certain heightened social
in Key West
Following the advice of John Dos Passos, Hemingway moved to Key
West, Florida where he established his first American home. From
his old stone house—a wedding present from Pauline's uncle—Hemingway
fished in the Dry Tortugas waters with his longtime friend Waldo
Peirce, went to the famous bar Sloppy Joe's, and traveled occasionally
to Spain, gathering material for Death in the Afternoon and Winner
in the Afternoon, a book about bullfighting, was published in
1932. Hemingway had become a bullfighting aficionado after seeing
the Pamplona fiesta of 1925, fictionalized in The Sun Also Rises.
In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway extensively discussed the
metaphysics of bullfighting: the ritualized, almost religious
practice. In his writings on Spain he was influenced by the Spanish
master Pío Baroja (when Hemingway won the Nobel Prize,
he traveled to see Baroja, then on his death bed, specifically
to tell him that he thought Baroja deserved the prize more than
A safari in the fall of 1932 led him to Mombasa, Nairobi, and
Machakos in the Mua Hills. In Spain reporting on the Spanish Civil
War, Hemingway broke friendship with John Dos Passos because Dos
Passos kept reporting despite warning on the atrocities, not only
of the Fascists who Hemingway disliked, but also of the Republicans
who Hemingway favored ("The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos
Passos, and the Murder of Jose Robles" by Stephen Koch, published
2005 ISBN 1582432805) and The Spanish Civil War (1961) by Hugh
this circumstance Hemingway has been linked to reporter Herbert
Matthews. Hemingway also began to question his Catholicism at
this time, eventually leaving the church (though friends indicate
that he had "funny ties" to Catholicism for the rest
of his life). The story "The Denunciation" seems autobiographical,
thus suggesting that the author might have been an informant for
the Republic as well as weapons instructor (The Spanish Civil
War (1961) by Hugh Thomas). 1935 saw the publication of Green
Hills of Africa, an account of his African safari. The Snows of
Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber were
the fictionalized results of his African experiences.
health problems characterized this period of Hemingway's life:
an anthrax infection, a cut eyeball, a gash in his forehead, grippe,
toothache, hemorrhoids; kidney trouble from fishing in Spain,
torn groin muscle, finger gashed to the bone in an accident with
a punching ball, lacerations (to arms, legs, and face) from a
ride on a runaway horse through a deep Wyoming forest, and a broken
arm from a car accident.
Whom the Bell Tolls
Francisco Franco won the Spanish Civil War in the spring of 1939.
Hemingway had lost an adopted homeland to Franco's fascist nationalists,
and would later lose his beloved Key West, Florida home due to
his 1940 divorce. A few weeks after the divorce Hemingway married
his companion in Spain, Martha Gellhorn, as his third wife. His
novel For Whom The Bell Tolls was published in 1940; the long
work, which takes place during the Spanish Civil War, based on
real events (The Spanish Civil War Hugh Thomas) tells of an American
man named "Robert Jordan" fighting with Spanish guerrillas
on the side of the Republicans. It is one of Hemingway's most
notable literary accomplishments. The title is taken from the
penultimate paragraph of John Donne's Meditation XVII.
War II and its aftermath
The United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941, and
for the first time in his life, Hemingway sought to take part
in naval warfare. Aboard
the Pilar, now a Q-Ship, Hemingway's crew was charged with sinking
German submarines threatening the shipping off the coasts of Cuba
and the United States (Martha Gellhorn always viewed the sub-hunting
as an excuse for Hemingway and his friends to get gas and booze
for fishing). As the FBI took over Caribbean counter-espionage--J.
Edgar Hoover was suspicious of Hemingway from the start, and would
become more so later-- Ernest went to Europe as a war correspondent
for Collier's magazine.
took part in the D-Day invasion of France as a correspondent on
a landing craft, coming in on the 9th wave after most of the action
was done (he was infuriated by the fact that then-wife Martha
had managed to get in earlier). Later, at Villedieu-les-Poêles,
France, he allegedly threw three grenades into a cellar where
SS officers were hiding--although this story, as always where
Hemingway is concerned, needs to be taken with a large grain of
he acted as an unofficial liaison officer at Château de
Rambouillet, and afterwards, formed his own partisan group which
in his telling took part in the liberation of Paris. (These claims
have been mostly debunked by historians; some friends said that
the only thing Hemingway liberated was the Ritz bar, but he was
without question on the scene.)For more information about Hemingway's
involvement in D-Day, and what was effectively a US Army court-martial
for carrying and using arms in contravention of the rules governing
war correspondents, read Charles Whiting's 'Hemingway Goes To
the war, Hemingway started work on The Garden of Eden, which was
never finished and would be published posthumously in much-abridged
form in 1986. At one stage, he planned a major trilogy which was
to be comprised of "The Sea When Young", "The Sea
When Absent" and "The Sea in Being" (the latter
eventually published in 1952 as The Old Man and the Sea). There
was also a "Sea-Chase" story; three of these pieces
were edited and stuck together as the posthumously-published novel
Islands in the Stream (1970).
divorced from Martha, Hemingway married the war correspondent
Mary Welsh, whom he'd met overseas in 1944. Hemingway's first
novel after For Whom the Bell Tolls was Across the River and Into
the Trees (1950), set in post-World War II Venice. He derived
the title from the last words of General Stonewall Jackson. Enamored
of a young Italian girl (Adriana Ivancich) at the time, Across
the River and Into the Trees is a romance between a war-weary
Colonel Cantwell (based on British Lieutenant General "Chink"
Dorman-Smith [see Journal of Modern Literature, June 1984]) and
the young Renata (which means "Reborn" in Latin; obviously
based on Adriana).
novel received largely bad reviews, many of which accused Hemingway
of bad taste, stylistic ineptitude, and sentimentality. Perhaps
the last charge was the truest, and fit an emerging pattern: Hemingway
was growing old. But 'Across the River' has its latter-day defenders
One section of the above-mentioned sea trilogy was published as
The Old Man and the Sea in 1952. That novella's enormous success
satisfied and fulfilled Hemingway, probably for the last time
in his life. It earned him both the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and
the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, and restored his international
his legendary bad luck struck once again; on a safari he suffered
injuries in two successive plane crashes. Hemingway's injuries
were serious; he sprained his right shoulder, arm, and left leg,
had a grave concussion, temporarily lost vision in his left eye
(and the hearing in his left ear), had paralysis of the sphincter,
a crushed vertebra, ruptured liver, spleen and kidney, and first
degree burns on his face, arms, and leg.
if this were not enough, he was badly injured one month later
in a bushfire accident which left him with second degree burns
on his legs, front torso, lips, left hand and right forearm. The
pain left him in prolonged anguish, and he was unable to travel
to Stockholm to accept his Nobel Prize.
glimmer of hope came with the discovery of some of his old manuscripts
from 1928 in the Ritz cellars, which were transformed into A Moveable
Feast. Although some of his energy seemed to be restored, severe
drinking problems kept him down. His blood pressure and cholesterol
count were perilously high, he suffered from aortal inflammation,
and his depression, aggravated by the drinking, was worsening.
also lost his Finca Vigía, his estate outside Havana, Cuba
that he had owned for over twenty years, and was forced to go
into exile in Ketchum, Idaho, when the conflict in Cuba began
to escalate. And so the final chapter began--with Hemingway under
surveillance from the US federal government for his residence
and activities in Cuba.
26 February 1960, Ernest Hemingway was unable to get his bullfighting
narrative The Dangerous Summer to the publishers. He therefore
had his wife Mary summon his friend, Life Magazine bureau head
Will Lang Jr., to leave Paris and come to Spain. Hemingway persuaded
Lang to let him print the manuscript, along with a picture layout
before it came out in hardcover. Although not a word of it was
on paper, Ernest agreed to the proposal. The first part of story
appeared in Life Magazine on September 5, 1960. The other installments
were printed on the following issues of Life.
was upset by the photographs in his The Dangerous Summer article.
He was receiving treatment in Ketchum, Idaho for high blood pressure
and liver problems—and also electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
for depression and his continued paranoia, although this may in
fact have helped to precipitate his suicide, since he reportedly
suffered significant memory loss as a result of the shock treatments.
He also lost weight and his 6-foot frame appeared gaunt at 170
Hemingway attempted suicide in the spring of 1961, and received
ECT treatment again; but, some three weeks short of his 62nd birthday,
he took his own life on the morning of July 2, 1961, with a shotgun
blast to the head. Judged not mentally responsible for his action
of suicide, he was buried with a Roman Catholic service. Hemingway
himself blamed the ECT treatments for "putting him out of
business" by destroying his memory; medical and scholarly
opinion has been respectfully attentive to this view.
members of Hemingway's immediate family also committed suicide,
including his father, Clarence Hemingway, his siblings Ursula
and Leicester, and later his grandaughter Margaux Hemingway. Some
believe that certain members of Hemingway's paternal line had
a genetic condition or hereditary disease known as haemochromatosis,
in which an excess of iron concentration in the blood causes damage
to the pancreas and depression or instability in the cerebrum.
physician father is known to have developed bronze diabetes owing
to this condition in the years prior to his suicide at age fifty-nine.
Some think Hemingway suffered from bipolar disorder. Throughout
his life Hemingway was a heavy drinker and sucumbed to alcoholism
in his twilight years. One must allow that there is a surfeit
of medical speculation about his final illness and death.
Hemingway is interred in the Catholic cemetery in Ketchum.
Hemingway was still writing new works up to the time of his death
in 1961. All of these unfinished works which were Hemingway's
sole creation have been published posthumously; they are Islands
in the Stream, The Dangerous Summer, and The Garden of Eden. In
a note forwarding "Islands in the Stream" Mary Hemingway
indicated that she worked with Charles Scribner, Jr. on "preparing
this book for publication from Ernest's original manuscript."
that note she stated that "beyond the routine chores of correcting
spelling and punctuation, we made some cuts in the manuscript,
I feeling that Ernest would surely have made them himself. The
book is all Ernest's. We have added nothing to it." Controversy
has surrounded the publication of these works, insofar as it has
been suggested that it is not necessarily within the jurisdiction
of Hemingway's relatives or publishers to determine whether these
works should be made available to the public. For example, scholars
often disapprovingly note that the version of The Garden of Eden
published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1986, though in no way
a revision of Hemingway's original words, nonetheless does not
include some two-thirds of the original manuscript.
1999, another novel entitled True at First Light appeared under
the name of Ernest Hemingway, though it was heavily edited by
his son Patrick Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway was a prolific letter
writer, and in 2003 much of these were published by Scribner in
Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961. It was met with some
controversy as Hemingway himself stated he never wished to publish
Associated Press reported in February 2005 on the progress of
what is purported to be the final work to be posthumously published
that was written by Hemingway. Entitled Under Kilimanjaro, the
novel is a fictional account of Hemingway's final African safari
in 1953–1954. He spent several months in Kenya with his
fourth wife, Mary, before his near-fatal plane crashes took place.
of the novel, whose manuscript was completed in 1956, adumbrates
perhaps an unprecedentedly large critical battle over whether
it is proper to publish the work (many sources mention that a
new, light side of Hemingway will be seen as opposed to his canonical,
macho image), even as editors Robert W. Lewis of University of
North Dakota and Robert E. Fleming of University of New Mexico
have pushed it through to publication; the novel was published
on September 15 2005.
Also published after Hemingway's death were several collections
of his work as a journalist. These collections contain his columns
and articles for Esquire Magazine, The North American Newspaper
Alliance, and the Toronto Star; they include Byline: Ernest Hemingway
edited by William White, and Hemingway: The Wild Years edited
by Gene Z. Hanrahan.
The influence of Hemingway's writings on American literature was
considerable and continues today. Indeed, the influence of Hemingway's
style was so widespread that it may be glimpsed in most contemporary
fiction, as writers draw inspiration either from Hemingway himself
or indirectly through writers who more consciously emulated Hemingway's
style. In his own time, Hemingway affected writers within his
modernist literary circle. James Joyce called "A Clean, Well
Lighted Place" "one of the best stories ever written".
Pulp fiction and "hard boiled" crime fiction (which
flourished from the 1920s to the 1950s) often owed a strong debt
terse prose style--"Nick stood up. He was all right"--
is known to have inspired Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk,
Douglas Coupland and many Generation X writers. Hemingway's style
also influenced Jack Kerouac and other Beat Generation writers.
J.D. Salinger is said to have wanted to be a great American short
story writer in the same vein as Hemingway. Hunter S. Thompson
often compared himself to Hemingway, and terse Hemingway-esque
sentences can be found in The Rum Diary.
Latin American literature, Hemingway's impact can perhaps best
be seen in the work of Gabriel García Márquez, who,
for instance, often uses the sea as a central image in his fiction.
fiction novelist Joe Haldeman won the Hugo Award and the Nebula
Award for his novella, The Hemingway Hoax, a story which explored
the effect that Hemingway's lost stories might have had upon twentieth
famous heavy-metal band, Metallica were inspired by 'For Whom
The Bell Tolls' and penned the eponymous song that went on to
become a major hit.
1999, Michael Palin retraced the footsteps of Hemingway, in Michael
Palin's Hemingway Adventure, a television documentary, one hundred
years after his birth of his favorite writer. The journey took
him through many sites including Chicago, Paris, Italy, Africa,
Key West, Cuba, and Idaho. The book is available at his website.
1987, actor-writer Ed Metzger has portrayed the life of Ernest
Hemingway in one-man stage show Hemingway: On The Edge, featuring
stories and anecdotes from Hemingway's own life and adventures.
Metzger quotes Hemingway, "My father told me never kill anything
you're not going to eat. At the age of 9, I shot a porcupine.
It was the toughest lesson I ever had." More information
about the show is available at website
this writing, only one of Hemingway's sons (Patrick) survives.
Harry Turtledove's Alternate History Timeline-191, Hemingway shows
up as a character who drove ambulances on the US-Canadian Front
in Quebec during the Great War. The character had part of his
reproductive organs shot off in the war, giving him severe depression
and suicidal tendencies.
Dave Sim's graphic novel Cerebus, the story arc "Form and
Void" features Ham and Mary Ernestway, parodies of Hemingway
and his wife Mary. The last few years of Hemingway's life, including
his electroshock therapy, the safari in which he was badly injured,
and his suicide, are used as plot points for the story.
During his lifetime Hemingway was awarded with:
Silver Medal of Military Valor (medaglia d'argento) in World War
2. Bronze Star (War Correspondent-Military Irregular in World
War II) in 1947
3. Pulitzer Prize in 1953 (for The Old Man and the Sea)
4. Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 (The Old Man and the Sea
cited as a reason for the award)
1. Sailors were long-known to especially value polydactyl cats
(which have extra toes as a genetic trait) for their extraordinary
climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard
rodents. Some sailors also considered them to be extremely good
luck when at sea. Hemingway was one of the more famous lovers
of polydactyl cats. He was first given a six-toed cat by a ship's
captain. As provided in his will, his former home in Key West,
Florida (which is now a popular museum) currently houses approximately
sixty descendents of his cats, approximately 50% of whom are polydactyl.
The house and its feline residents make a brief appearance in
the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill.
2. According to various biographical sources, Hemingway was six
feet tall and weighed anywhere between 170 and 260 pounds at varying
times in his life. His build was muscular, though he became paunchy
in his middle years. He had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and habitually
wore a moustache (with an occasional beard) from the age of twenty
three on. By age fifty, he consistently wore a graying beard.
He had a scar on his forehead, the result of a drunken accident
in Paris in his late 20s (thinking he was flushing a toilet, he
accidentally pulled a skylight down on his head). He suffered
from myopia all his life, but vanity prevented him from being
fitted with glasses until he was thirty two (and very rarely was
he photographed wearing them). He was fond of tennis, fonder of
fishing and hunting, and hated New York City.