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Ernest Hemingway (Ernest Miller Hemingway) Biography

(1899–1961), (Ernest Miller Hemingway), Star, Star's, Three Stories and Ten Poems, In Our Time

American novelist and short-story writer, born in Oak Park, Illinois. Whilst refusing to become a doctor like his father, Hemingway nevertheless took to his father's love of outdoor pursuits. After an education in various public schools, he began work as a reporter on the Kansas City Star, where he received a valuable vocational training. He volunteered as an ambulance driver in the First World War, seeing action in Italy before being wounded in 1918 on the Austro-Italian front. After a brief return home, he became the Toronto Star's foreign correspondent in Paris. Here he moved with a large number of other expatriate writers and artists, including Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, and Ezra Pound (see Lost Generation, The). With their encouragement, he published Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923) in Paris; and then his first collection of stories in New York, In Our Time (1925), which attracted critical acclaim for the objective, understated style which was to become so famous. Returning to New York, with the help of Sherwood Anderson he published a little-known satirical work, The Torrents of Spring (1926). From Gertrude Stein he also acquired the epigraph for his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926; UK title, Fiesta, 1927) which narrates the journey of a group of aimless Paris-based American expatriates to Pamplona for the bullfights. The ‘lost generation’ of the epigraph are conjured up in almost biographical detail in this work, which balances preoccupations of sexuality and power with the developing sparse and yet resonant use of language which was to characterize the subsequent works. He returned to war in his second novel, A Farewell to Arms (1929); Hemingway's commitment to his craft is indicated by the number of versions which exist of the closing paragraphs of this work as he strove for a precision in language. For the next fifteen years this technique steadily tightened, as displayed in short story collections Men Without Women (1927) and Winner Take Nothing (1933), an account of big-game hunting in Green Hills of Africa (1935), and the novel To Have and Have Not (1937), set in and near Key West during the Depression era. Throughout his life, Hemingway energetically pursued personal adventure and enjoyment; his increasing interest in bullfighting resulted in Death in the Afternoon (1932), where the fight is perceived more as a tragic ritual than a sport. Hemingway raised money for the Spanish Loyalists against Franco's uprising and wrote a play, The Fifth Column (1935), set in besieged Madrid; this was later published in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938), which included the famous short stories ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ and ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’. His largest novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), was also based on an incident during the Spanish Civil War and is clearly sympathetic to the Loyalist cause. After being actively involved with counter-espionage exploits during the Second World War, his next novel, Across the River and Into the Trees (1950), about an army officer who dies whilst in Venice, was a disappointment. He restored his reputation with The Old Man and the Sea (1952; Pulitzer Prize), and won the Nobel Prize in 1954. The last years of his life produced no new major work and the inexorable deterioration of his physical and mental health ended when he took his own life. Since his death several posthumous works have been published, including A Moveable Feast (1964), an often scurrilous collection of anecdotes about his apprentice years in Paris; the novels Islands in the Stream (1970), three related stories of his memories of life in the Caribbean and Cuba, and The Garden of Eden (1987); and another bullfighting work, The Dangerous Summer (1985). In addition he produced a considerable quantity of journalism and poetry, the latter posthumously edited as Eighty-Eight Poems (1979). An authoritative biography entitled Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, by Carlos Baker, was published in 1969.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Hart-Smith Biography to Sir John [Frederick William] Herschel Biography