He was educated in the public schools and began to write in high school , where he was active and outstanding, but the parts of his boyhood that mattered most were summers spent with his family on Walloon Lake in upper Michigan. On graduation from high school in , impatient for a less-sheltered environment , he did not enter college but went to Kansas City, where he was employed as a reporter for the Star. He was repeatedly rejected for military service because of a defective eye, but he managed to enter World War I as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross.
On July 8, , not yet 19 years old, he was injured on the Austro-Italian front at Fossalta di Piave.
Why We Should Keep Reading Hemingway
Decorated for heroism and hospitalized in Milan, he fell in love with a Red Cross nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, who declined to marry him. These were experiences he was never to forget.
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After recuperating at home, Hemingway renewed his efforts at writing, for a while worked at odd jobs in Chicago, and sailed for France as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Advised and encouraged by other American writers in Paris— F. Scott Fitzgerald , Gertrude Stein , Ezra Pound —he began to see his nonjournalistic work appear in print there, and in his first important book, a collection of stories called In Our Time , was published in New York City; it was originally released in Paris in In he published The Sun Also Rises , a novel with which he scored his first solid success.
A pessimistic but sparkling book, it deals with a group of aimless expatriates in France and Spain—members of the postwar Lost Generation , a phrase that Hemingway scorned while making it famous. This work also introduced him to the limelight, which he both craved and resented for the rest of his life. The writing of books occupied Hemingway for most of the postwar years. He remained based in Paris, but he traveled widely for the skiing, bullfighting , fishing, and hunting that by then had become part of his life and formed the background for much of his writing.
His position as a master of short fiction had been advanced by Men Without Women in and thoroughly established with the stories in Winner Take Nothing in Reaching back to his experience as a young soldier in Italy, Hemingway developed a grim but lyrical novel of great power, fusing love story with war story.
While serving with the Italian ambulance service during World War I, the American lieutenant Frederic Henry falls in love with the English nurse Catherine Barkley, who tends him during his recuperation after being wounded. She becomes pregnant by him, but he must return to his post. There, however, Catherine and her baby die during childbirth, and Henry is left desolate at the loss of the great love of his life.
Similarly, a safari he took in —34 in the big-game region of Tanganyika resulted in Green Hills of Africa , an account of big-game hunting. Mostly for the fishing, he purchased a house in Key West , Florida, and bought his own fishing boat. A minor novel of called To Have and Have Not is about a Caribbean desperado and is set against a background of lower-class violence and upper-class decadence in Key West during the Great Depression.
By now Spain was in the midst of civil war.
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Still deeply attached to that country, Hemingway made four trips there, once more a correspondent. He raised money for the Republicans in their struggle against the Nationalists under General Francisco Franco , and he wrote a play called The Fifth Column , which is set in besieged Madrid. As in many of his books, the protagonist of the play is based on the author.
It was also the most successful of all his books as measured in sales. Set during the Spanish Civil War , it tells of Robert Jordan, an American volunteer who is sent to join a guerrilla band behind the Nationalist lines in the Guadarrama Mountains. Through dialogue , flashbacks, and stories, Hemingway offers telling and vivid profiles of the Spanish character and unsparingly depicts the cruelty and inhumanity stirred up by the civil war.
In an atmosphere of impending disaster, he blows up the bridge but is wounded and makes his retreating comrades leave him behind, where he prepares a last-minute resistance to his Nationalist pursuers.
All of his life Hemingway was fascinated by war—in A Farewell to Arms he focused on its pointlessness, in For Whom the Bell Tolls on the comradeship it creates—and, as World War II progressed, he made his way to London as a journalist. Attaching himself to the 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division, he saw a good deal of action in Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge.
He also participated in the liberation of Paris, and, although ostensibly a journalist, he impressed professional soldiers not only as a man of courage in battle but also as a real expert in military matters, guerrilla activities, and intelligence collection. Following the war in Europe, Hemingway returned to his home in Cuba and began to work seriously again.
He also traveled widely, and, on a trip to Africa, he was injured in a plane crash. The author continued to work on his book of short stories, Men Without Women. Soon, Pauline became pregnant and the couple decided to move back to America. During this time, Hemingway finished his celebrated World War I novel A Farewell to Arms , securing his lasting place in the literary canon. When he wasn't writing, Hemingway spent much of the s chasing adventure: big-game hunting in Africa, bullfighting in Spain, deep-sea fishing in Florida.
Why We Should Keep Reading Hemingway
While reporting on the Spanish Civil War in , Hemingway met a fellow war correspondent named Martha Gellhorn soon to become wife number three and gathered material for his next novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls , which would eventually be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Almost predictably, his marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer deteriorated and the couple divorced. Gellhorn and Hemingway married soon after and purchased a farm near Havana, Cuba, which would serve as their winter residence. When the United States entered World War II in , Hemingway served as a correspondent and was present at several of the war's key moments, including the D-Day landing.
Toward the end of the war, Hemingway met another war correspondent, Mary Welsh, whom he would later marry after divorcing Martha Gellhorn. In , Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea , which would become perhaps his most famous book, finally winning him the Pulitzer Prize he had long been denied. The author continued his forays into Africa and sustained several injuries during his adventures, even surviving multiple plane crashes.
In , he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Even at this peak of his literary career, though, the burly Hemingway's body and mind were beginning to betray him. Recovering from various old injuries in Cuba, Hemingway suffered from depression and was treated for numerous conditions such as high blood pressure and liver disease. There he continued to battle with deteriorating mental and physical health.
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