Ernest Hemingway

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Writers and critics

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, 1950
Born: July 21, 1899
Oak Park, Illinois
Died: July 2, 1961
Ketchum, Idaho
Occupation(s): Writer and journalist
Literary movement: The Lost Generation
Influences: Gertrude Stein, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pío Baroja, Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser
Influenced: Jack Kerouac, J.D. Salinger, Hunter S. Thompson, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, Douglas Coupland, Charles Bukowski

Ernest Miller Hemingway ( July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. His distinctive writing style is characterized by economy and understatement and had a significant influence on the development of twentieth century fiction writing. 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 considered classics in the canon of American literature.

Hemingway, nicknamed "Papa," was part of the 1920s expatriate community in Paris, as described in his memoir A Moveable Feast, and was known as part of "the Lost Generation," a name he popularized. He led a turbulent social life, was married four times, and allegedly had various romantic relationships during his lifetime. Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. In 1961, he committed suicide. He was 61 years old.

Early Life and Writing Experience

A baby picture, c. 1900
A baby picture, c. 1900

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, US, a suburb of Chicago. Oak Park at the time was actually Cicero, Illinois which was split up some years later into Chicago and Oak Park. Hemingway was the first son and the second of six children born to Clarence Edmonds ("Doctor Ed") and Grace Hall Hemingway. Hemingway's physician father attended to the birth of Ernest and blew a horn on his front porch to announce 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 maternal grandfather, Ernest Hall, an English immigrant and Civil War veteran who lived with the family. Hemingway was his namesake.

Hemingway's semi-neurotic mother had considerable singing talent and 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 perhaps further 'feminised' her son in his youth by calling him "Ernestine." Though much is made of this by biographers, male infants and toddlers of the Victorian middle-class were often dressed as females. Many themes in Hemingway's work point to destructive interactions between male and female sexual partners (cf. " Hills Like White Elephants"), within marital unions (cf. "Now I Lay Me"), and among most other combinations of men and women (cf. " The Sun Also Rises"); in addition certain posthumously published pieces contain ambiguous treatment of gender roles. However, the connection between Hemingway's depiction of these human conditions and his own early childhood experiences is not presumptively established.

While his mother hoped that her son would develop an interest in music, Hemingway adopted his father's outdoorsy interests of hunting, fishing, and camping in the woods and lakes of northern Michigan. The family owned a house called Windemere on Michigan's Walloon Lake and often spent 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 remote or isolated areas.

Ernest Hemingway attended Oak Park and River Forest High School from September, 1913 until graduation in June of 1917. He excelled both academically and athletically; he boxed, played football, and displayed particular talent in English classes. His first writing experience was writing for "Trapeze" and "Tabula" (the school's newspaper and original literary magazine, respectively) in his junior year, then serving as editor in his senior year.

After high school, Hemingway did not want to go to college. Instead, at age eighteen, he began his writing career as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star (1917). Although he worked at the newspaper for only six months (October 17, 1917-April 30, 1918), 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." In 1999, the centennial year of Hemingway's birth, The Star named Hemingway its top reporter of the last hundred years. Some readers felt that this was more an honorary award than one actually earned on merit by the then young and short-term reporter.

World War I

A young Hemingway in his World War I uniform
A young Hemingway in his World War I uniform

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 Red Cross Ambulance Corps. 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.

Soon after arriving on the Italian Front, he witnessed the brutalities of war; on his first day of duty, an ammunition factory near Milan blew up. Hemingway had to pick up the human remains, mostly women who worked there. 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 quote 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 [too old] for this war, pop," replied, "I can die as well as any man."

At the Italian Front on 8 July 1918, Hemingway was wounded delivering supplies to soldiers, which ended his career as an ambulance driver. Hemingway was hit by an Austrian trench mortar shell that left fragments in his legs, and by a burst of machine-gun fire. He was later awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor (medaglia d'argento) from the Italian government for, while injured, dragging a wounded Italian soldier to safety. His survival was helped by the fact that he was able to plug his wounds with cigarette butts, stanching the flow of blood.

After this experience, Hemingway convalesced in a Milan hospital run by the American Red Cross, where there was very little to do for entertainment. Hemingway often drank heavily and read newspapers to pass the time. Here 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 survive his return to the United States; instead of following Hemingway to the U.S. as originally planned, she became romantically involved with an Italian officer and this left an indelible mark on Hemingway's psyche. These events provided inspiration for and were fictionalized in one of Hemingway's early novels, A Farewell to Arms.

Literary aftermath of WWI

First novels and other early works

Ernest Hemingway's apartment in 1921 in Chicago, 1239 North Dearborn.
Ernest Hemingway's apartment in 1921 in Chicago, 1239 North Dearborn.

After the war, Hemingway returned to Oak Park. Driven from the United States in part 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.

For a short time from 1920 to 1921, Hemingway lived on the near north side of Chicago working for a small newspaper. In 1921, Hemingway married his first wife, Hadley Richardson. In September, he moved to a cramped fourth floor apartment at 1239 North Dearborn in a run-down section of Chicago's near north side. The building still stands with a plaque on the front of it calling it "the Hemingway Apartment." Hadley found it dark and depressing, and, partly because of this, the Hemingways decided to live abroad for a time. In December of 1921 Hemingway left Chicago and Oak Park, never to live there again.

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 beginning of the American expatriate circle that became known as the Lost Generation, a term popularized by Hemingway in the epigraph to his novel, The Sun Also Rises, and his memoir A Moveable Feast. Hemingway's 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.

Hemingway's American literary debut came with the publication of the short story cycle 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.

Gertrude Stein (pictured here in a portrait by Pablo Picasso) was a long-time mentor of Hemingway and served as an important influence on his style and literary development.
Gertrude Stein (pictured here in a portrait by Pablo Picasso) was a long-time mentor of Hemingway and served as an important influence on his style and literary development.

In 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 tried to do much to advance Hemingway's career and the publication of his first collections of stories, although the relationship later cooled and became more competitive. Fitzgerald's 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 her husband of having an affair with him.

Whether or not Zelda Fitzgerald's assessment of the relationship between the two men was correct, it has been postulated in some sources that Hemingway's well-documented homophobia and his frequent attacks on openly gay individuals, such as Jean Cocteau, was over-compensation for his own latent homosexuality. In one such instance, an anecdote told by Hemingway has an enraged Cocteau charging Radiguet (known in the Parisian literary circles as "Monsieur Bébé") with decadence for his tryst with a model: "Bébé est vicieuse. Il aime les femmes." ("Baby is depraved. He likes women." [Note the use of the feminine adjective]). Radiguet, Hemingway implies, employed his sexuality to advance his career, being a writer "who knew how to make his career not only with his pen but with his pencil," a salacious and phallic allusion. The proposed argument is that the rage against Cocteau and Radiguet (whose relationship has been heavily contested in other sources) shows an inherent hostility against homosexuals which also becomes a central theme of much of his short fiction, including "The Sea Change".

These relationships and long nights of excessive drinking provided inspiration for Hemingway's first successful novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), which took him only six weeks to finish at his favorite restaurant in Montparnasse, La Closerie des Lilas. The novel was semi-autobiographical in nature, following a group of expatriate Americans as they ambled around Europe. The novel was a success and met with critical acclaim. While Hemingway had initially claimed that the novel was an obsolete form of literature, he was apparently inspired to write it after reading Fitzgerald's manuscript for The Great Gatsby.

Hemingway divorced Hadley Richardson in 1927 and married Pauline Pfeiffer, a devout Roman Catholic from Piggott, Arkansas. Pfeiffer was an occasional fashion reporter, publishing in magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. 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 stories. In 1928 Hemingway and Pfeiffer moved to Key West, Florida, to begin their new life together. However, their new life was soon interrupted by yet another tragic even in Hemingway's life.

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 what he thought to be the Catholic view, 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. In that same year, 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.

Published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms details the romance between Frederic Henry, an American soldier, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The 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 obscure, curiously, he had already appeared in In Our Time. A 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. The success of A Farewell to Arms allowed Hemingway to become financially independent.

Early critical interplay

Hemingway's early works sold well and were generally received favorably by critics. This success elicited some crude and pretentious behaviour 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 writer. According 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 Anderson's.

Max 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 in the offices of Scribners that Maxwell Perkins would witness and later describe in a letter to Scott Fitzgerald). 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 awareness.

Of criticism, Hemingway said, "You can write anytime people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love," in an interview in The Paris Review, with its founder, George Plimpton, in 1958.

Key West & the Spanish Civil War

Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for "For Whom The Bell Tolls," at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939
Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for "For Whom The Bell Tolls," at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939

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 Take Nothing.

Death 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 he thought Baroja deserved the prize more than he).

A safari in the fall of 1933 led him to Mombasa, Nairobi, and Machakos in Kenya, moving on from there to Tanzania where he hunted in the Serengeti, around Lake Manyara and West and Southeast of the present-day Tarangire National Park. 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.

In 1937 Hemingway traveled to Spain in order to report on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. While in Spain, Hemingway broke his friendship with John Dos Passos because Dos Passos kept reporting despite warning on the atrocities, not only of the fascist Nationalists whom Hemingway disliked, but also of the elected, left-leaning Republicans whom Hemingway favored. In 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 war also caused strain in Hemingway's marriage to Pauline Pfieffer. Pfieffer was a devout Catholic, and as such she side with the fascist, pro-catholic regime of Franco. This was directly opposed to Hemingway's support for the Republican revolutionaries. During this time Hemingway also wrote a little known essay, The Denunciation, which would not be published until 1969 within a collection of stories, the Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War. The story seems autobiographical, thus suggesting that Hemingway might have been an informant for the Republic as well as a weapons instructor during the war.

Some 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.

The Forty-Nine Stories

In 1938—along with his only full-length play, entitled The Fifth Column—49 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.

Some 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 Macomber.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Generalissimo Francisco Franco and the Nationalists defeated the Republicans and the Spanish Civil War ended 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 of four years in Spain, Martha Gellhorn, as his third wife. His novel For Whom The Bell Tolls was published in 1940. The novel was written in 1939 in Cuba and Key West, and was finished in July, 1940. The long work, which takes place during the Spanish Civil War, was based on real events (The Spanish Civil War (1961) by Hugh Thomas) and tells of an American named Robert Jordan fighting with Spanish guerrillas on the side of the Republicans. It was largely based upon Hemingway's experience of living in Spain and reporting on the Spanish Civil War. It is one of Hemingway's most notable literary accomplishments. The title is taken from the penultimate paragraph of John Donne's Meditation XVII.

World 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.

Hemingway, who was a correspondent for Collier's Weekly, observed the D-Day landings from an LCVP (landing craft), although he was not allowed to go ashore. He later became angry that his wife, Martha Gellhorn—by then more a rival war correspondent than a wife—had managed to get ashore in the early hours of June 7th dressed as a nurse, after she had crossed the Atlantic to England in a ship loaded with explosives. Still later, at Villedieu-les-Poêles, he allegedly threw three grenades into a cellar where SS officers were hiding. Hemingway 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. This claim has been challenged by many historians, who say the only thing Hemingway liberated was the Ritz Hotel Bar. Nevertheless, he was without question on the scene.

After 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 comprise "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). He spent time in a small town in Italy called Acciaroli (located apprx. 136km south of Naples), where he was often seen walking around town, bottle in hand. Acciaroli was predominantly known as a fishing village, and it was here where Hemingway conceived of the idea for "The Old Man and the Sea." Hemingway became fascinated with Antonio Masarone, an old fisherman whose Italian nickname, "Mastracchio", translated as "Old Man." 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 (Hemingway) (1970).

Newly divorced from Gellhorn after four years of contentious marriage, Hemingway married the war correspondent Mary Welsh, whom he had 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 American Civil War Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Enamored of a young Italian girl ( Adriana Ivancich) at the time, Hemingway wrote Across the River and Into the Trees as a romance between a war-weary Colonel Cantwell (based on his friend, then Colonel, Major General Charles T. Lanham) and the young Renata (clearly based on Adriana; "Renata" means "reborn" in Italian). The novel received largely bad reviews, many of which accused Hemingway of tastelessness, 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 nonetheless.

Later years

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. It earned him both the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Upon receiving the Nobel prize, he noted with uncharacteristic humbleness that he would have been "happy;happier...if the prize had been given to that beautiful writer Isak Dinesen," referring to Danish writer Karen Blixen. These awards helped to restore his international reputation.

Then, 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. Some American newspapers mistakenly ran his obituary thinking he had been killed in the accidents .

As 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.

A 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 were perilously high, he suffered from aortal inflammation, and his depression, aggravated by the drinking, was worsening.

He 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 American government for his residence and activities in Cuba.

On 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, the proposal was agreed upon. The first part of the story appeared in Life Magazine on September 5, 1960, with the remaining installments being printed in successive issues.

Hemingway 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, his 6-foot (183 cm) frame appearing gaunt at 170 pounds (77 kg).


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 at his home in Ketchum, Idaho, with a shotgun blast to the head. Judged not mentally responsible for his action of suicide, he was buried in a Roman Catholic service. Hemingway himself blamed the ECT treatments for "putting him out of business" by destroying his memory; and medical and scholarly opinion has been respectfully attentive to this view.

Other members of Hemingway's immediate family also committed suicide, including his father, Clarence Hemingway, his siblings Ursula and Leicester, and later his granddaughter 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 also causes depression or instability in the cerebrum. Hemingway's 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 succumbed to alcoholism in his twilight years.

Ernest Hemingway is interred in the town cemetery in Ketchum, at the north end of town. A memorial, erected in 1966, is just off of Trail Creek Road, one mile northeast of the Sun Valley Lodge.


  • Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. Married September 3, 1921, divorced April 4, 1927.
Son, John Hadley, Nicanor (Bumby) was born on October 10, 1923.
  • Pauline Pfeiffer. Married May 10, 1927, divorced November 4, 1940.
Son, Patrick, was born on June 28, 1929.
Son, Gregory Hancock (called 'Gig' by Hemingway; later called himself Gloria), was born on November 12, 1931.
  • Martha Gellhorn. Married November 21, 1940, divorced December 21, 1945.
  • Mary Welsh. Married March 14, 1946.
On 19 August, 1946, Mary miscarried Hemingway’s unborn child due to ectopic pregnancy.

Posthumous publications

Ernest Hemingway was a prolific letter writer, and in 1981 many 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 his letters; however the letters provide detail and personality that make the volume more engaging than most Hemingway biographies. Further letters would later be published in a book of his correspondence with his editor Max Perkins, The Only Thing that Counts [1996].

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 A Moveable Feast, Islands in the Stream, The Nick Adams Stories (portions of which were previously unpublished), 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." In 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." Some 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 omits two-thirds of the original manuscript.

The Nick Adams Stories appeared posthumously in 1972. What is now considered the definitive compilation of all of Hemingway's short stories was published as The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway, first compiled and published in 1987. As well, in 1969 The Fifth Column and Four Stories Of The Spanish Civil War was published. It contains Hemingway's only full length play, The Fifth Column, which was previously published along with the First Forty-Nine Stories in 1938, along with four unpublished works written about Hemingway's experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

In 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. Six years later, Under Kilimanjaro, a re-edited and considerably longer version of True at First Light appeared. In either edition, 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. Anticipation 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. Finally, a collection of introductions, forwards, public letters and other miscellanea was published as Hemingway and the Mechanism of Fame in 2005.

Influence and legacy

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 to Hemingway. Hemingway's 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 his early novel, The Rum Diary. Thompson's later suicide by gunshot to the head mirrored Hemingway's, although he used a .45 and not a shotgun. Hemingway also provided a role model to fellow author and hunter Robert Ruark, who is frequently referred to as "the poor man's Ernest Hemingway". In Latin American literature, Hemingway's impact can be seen in the work of fellow Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, who often uses the sea as a central image in his fiction. Beyond the more formal literature authors, popular novelist Elmore Leonard, who authored scores of Western and Crime genre novels, cites Hemingway as his preeminent influence and this is evident in his tightly written prose. Though he never claimed to write serious literature, he did say, "I learned by imitating Hemingway....until I realized that I didn't share his attitude about life. I didn't take myself or anything as seriously as he did."

Awards and honours

During his lifetime Hemingway was awarded with:

  • Silver Medal of Military Valor (medaglia d'argento) in World War I
  • Bronze Star (War Correspondent-Military Irregular in World War II) in 1947
  • Pulitzer Prize in 1953 (for The Old Man and the Sea)
  • Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 (The Old Man and the Sea cited as a reason for the award)

Hemingway in fiction, art, and song

  • In 1999, Michael Palin retraced the footsteps of Hemingway, in Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure, a television documentary, one hundred years after the 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.
  • Since 1987, actor-writer Ed Metzger has portrayed the life of Ernest Hemingway in his 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 his website
  • Hemingway's World War II experiences in Cuba have been novelized by Dan Simmons as a spy thriller, The Crook Factory.
  • Science 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 century history.
  • In 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.
  • In 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.
  • The 1988 film The Moderns locates itself in Hemingway's Paris with a central character named Nick Hart, who befriends Hemingway.
  • The 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.
  • The band Ween mentions Hemingway on the song "Don't Laugh I Love You". The lyrics read, "Ernest Hemingway would always be there for me. But now Ernest Hemingway is dead." Punk rock band Bad Religion references Hemingway in their song "Stranger Than Fiction". The lyric in point, "I want to know why Hemingway cracked."
  • Hemingway is mentioned in Billy Joel's history themed song " We Didn't Start the Fire", as the first figure in the 13th stanza.
  • It is somewhat believed that The Killers were named after his famous short story.
  • Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, has mentioned Hemingway several times in his online blog, and even named his English Bulldog after him.
  • In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, there is a questgiver in Stranglethorn Vale called Hemet Nesingwary. His name is certainly the anagram of Hemingway's, and even their face is similar. Also, Nesingwary wrote a book called "Green Hills of Stranglethorn", a spoof on "Green Hills of Africa".
  • In Celebrity Deathmatch, Hemingway fights against Mankind ( Mick Foley).
  • Hemingway is mentioned along with Fitzgerald in the song "Poor Little Rich Boy", by Regina Spektor.


  • 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 descendants 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.
  • While Hemingway was married to Pauline Pfeiffer, he lived and wrote most of A Farewell to Arms and several short stories at her parents' house in Piggott, Arkansas. The Pfeiffer House has been converted into a museum and is now owned by Arkansas State University.
  • 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 mustache (with an occasional beard) from the age of 23 on. By age 50, 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 32 (and very rarely was he photographed wearing them). He was fond of tennis, fonder of fishing and hunting, and hated New York City.
  • The late actress and model Margaux Hemingway and her actress sister Mariel Hemingway are Hemingway's granddaughters.
  • Jake Barnes, the impotent protagonist in The Sun Also Rises, is allegedly based on F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Hemingway's memorial is inscribed with a eulogy he wrote for a friend, Gene Van Guilder:

Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever

Ernest Hemingway - Idaho - 1939

  • Hemingway is believed to have purchased the gun he used to commit suicide at Abercrombie & Fitch, which was then a firearm supplier.
  • Though Hemingway did not have a favorable opinion of his hometown of Oak Park, IL, describing it as a town of "Wide yards and narrow minds," the town has adopted a favorable opinion about him. Today a Hemingway Museum exists in that town. Every summer a Hemingway festival is staged in that city, complete with a "running of the bulls," using a fake bull on wheels. This festival also features readings of the author's work and Spanish food.



(1924) The Torrents of Spring
(1926) The Sun Also Rises
(1927) Fiesta (Fiesta is the Spanish title for The Sun Also Rises)
(1929) A Farewell to Arms
(1937) To Have and Have Not
(1940) For Whom the Bell Tolls
(1950) Across the River and Into the Trees
(1952) The Old Man and the Sea
(1970) Islands in the Stream
(1986) The Garden of Eden
(1999) True At First Light
(2005) Under Kilimanjaro


(1932) Death in the Afternoon
(1935) Green Hills of Africa
(1962) Hemingway, The Wild Years
(1964) A Moveable Feast
(1967) By-Line: Ernest Hemingway
(1970) Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter
(1981) Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961
(1985) The Dangerous Summer
(1985) Dateline: Toronto

Short story collections

(1923) Three Stories and Ten Poems
(1925) Cat in the Rain
(1925) In Our Time
(1927) Men Without Women
(1933) Winner Take Nothing
(1936) The Snows of Kilimanjaro
(1938) The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories
(1969) The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War
(1972) The Nick Adams Stories
(1987) The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
(1995) Everyman's Library: The Collected Stories

Movies based on Hemingway's works

US and UK releases only.

(1932) A Farewell to Arms (starring Gary Cooper)
(1943) For Whom the Bell Tolls (starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman)
(1944) To Have and Have Not (starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall)
(1946) The Killers (starring Burt Lancaster)
(1952) The Snows of Kilimanjaro (starring Gregory Peck)
(1957) A Farewell to Arms (starring Rock Hudson)
(1957) The Sun Also Rises (starring Tyrone Power)
(1958) The Old Man and the Sea (starring Spencer Tracy)
(1962) Adventures of a Young Man
(1964) The Killers (starring Lee Marvin)
(1965) For Whom the Bell Tolls
(1977) Islands in the Stream (starring George C. Scott)
(1984) The Sun Also Rises
(1990) The Old Man and the Sea (starring Anthony Quinn)
(1996) In Love and War (starring Chris O'Donnnell)
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