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ERNEST HEMINGWAY
(1899-1961)

The Sun Is but a Morning Star

Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway was born inn Oak Park, Illinois. His mother Grace Hall had a operatic career before marrying Dr. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, who taught his son to love out-door life. Hemingway's father took his own life in 1928 after losing his health to diabetes and his money in the Florida real-estate bubble. Hemingway attended the public schools in Oak Park and published his earliest stories and poems in his high school newspaper. Upon his graduation in 1917, Hemingway worked six months as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. He then joined volunteer ambulance unit in Italy during World War I. In 1918 he suffered a severe leg wound and was twice decorated by the Italian government. His affair with an American nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, gave basis for the novel "A Farewell to Arms" (1929). The tragic love story was filmed first time in 1932, and second time in 1957.

After the war Hemingway worked for a short time as a journalist in Chicago. He moved in 1921 to Paris, where wrote articles for "The Toronto Star". In Europe Hemingway associated with such writers as Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who edited some of his texts and acted as his agent. Later Hemingway portrayed Fitzgerald in "A Movable Feast" (1964), but not in a friendly light. Fitzgerald, however, regretted their lost friendship. When he was not writing for the newspaper or for himself, Hemingway toured with his wife France, Switzerland, and Italy. In 1922 he went to Greece and Turkey to report on the war between those countries. In 1923 Hemingway made two trips to Spain, on the second to see bullfights at Pamplona's annual festival.

Hemingway's first books, "Three Stories and Ten Poems" (1923) and "In Our Time" (1924), were published in Paris. "The Torrents of Spring" appeared in 1926 and Hemingway's first serious novel, "The Sun Also Rises", on the same year. The novel deals with a group of expatriates in France and Spain, members of the disillusioned post-World War I Lost Generation. Hemingway wrote and rewrote the novel in various parts of Spain and France between 1924 and 1926. It became his first great success as a novelist. Although the novel's language is simple, Hemingway used understatement and omission which make the text multilayered and rich in allusions. In 1957 the story was adapted into screen.

After the publication of "Men Without Women" (1927), Hemingway returned to the United States, settling in Key West, Florida. Hemingway and Hadley divorced in 1927 and on the same year he married Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion editor. In Florida he wrote "A Farewell to Arms", which was published in 1929. The scene of the story is the Italian front in World War I, where two lovers find a brief happiness. The novel gained enormous critical and commercial success.

In 1930s Hemingway wrote such major works as "Death in the Afternoon" (1932), a nonfiction account of Spanish bullfighting, and "The Green Hills of Africa" (1935), a story of a hunting safari in East Africa.

Wallace Stevens once termed Hemingway "the most significant of living poets, so far as the subject of extraordinary reality is concerned." By 'poet' Stevens referred to Hemingway's stylistic achievements in the short story. Among his most famous stories is "The Snows of Kilimanjaro".

In 1937 Hemingway observed the Spanish Civil war firsthand. As many writers, he supported the cause of the Loyalist. In Madrid he met Martha Gellhorn, a writer and war correspondent, who became his third wife in 1940. In "To Whom the Bell Tolls" (1940) Maria is partly modeled after her. While the heroine in "A Farewell to Arms" dies at the end of the story after giving birth to a stillborn child, now it is time for the hero, Robert Jordan, to sacrifice his life for comradeship and love.

In addition to hunting expeditions in Africa and Wyoming, Hemingway developed a passion for deep-sea fishing in the waters off Key West, the Bahamas, and Cuba. In 1940 Hemingway bought Finca Vigia, a house outside Havana, Cuba to return there in 1946.

"The Old Man and the Sea", published first in "Life Magazine" in 1952, restored Hemingway's fading fame and brought him the Nobel price for literature.

Much of his time Hemingway spent in Cuba until Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. He supported Castro but when the living became too difficult, he moved to the United States. On July 2 Hemingway committed suicide with his favorite shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

 

 

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© E-publisher LiterNet, 06.11.2009
The Sun Is but a Morning Star. Anthology of American Literature. Edited by Albena Bakratcheva. Varna: LiterNet, 2008-2010