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Hemingway, Ernest

(US, 1899–1961)

Raised in the Chicago suburbs, Hemingway worked briefly as a reporter for the Kansas City Star before volunteering as an ambulanceman in the First World War. Badly wounded on the Italian front, he eventually moved to Paris where he associated with the experimental writers Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. These experiences informed Hemingway's finest work. His first book to appear in the United States was In Our Time (1925), a collection of stories which offers an ideal introduction to Hemingway's writing. ‘The Big Two-Hearted River’ stories follow the war-traumatized Nick Adams out into the natural world and reveal Hemingway's consummate style, where precise, simple language builds up a picture of external reality which reflects the character's inner feelings.

Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), is narrated by a war-wounded American writer living in European exile. The book chronicles the emigré life of the 1920s and develops Hemingway's broader concerns with suffering, survival, and the momentary but enduring clarity which ritualized confrontations with natural forces—like bullfighting and fishing—can bring. A Farewell to Arms (1929) raises the possibility of love providing a retreat from a harrowing war, whilst For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), set behind Franco's battle-lines in the Spanish Civil War, reveals a new political commitment in Hemingway's writing. The Old Man and the Sea (1952) is about an old Cuban fisherman struggling to catch and land a huge marlin. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Carver.


Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)