Hemingway (1898-1961) was born in Illinois. His family took him, as a boy, on frequent hunting and fishing trips and so acquainted him early with the kinds of virtues, such as courage and endurance, which were later reflected in his fiction.
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.
Oak Park, Illinois . Hemingway's House
Ernest Hemmingway’s Parents
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.
After the war he lived for several years in Paris, where he became part of a group of Americans who felt alienated from their country. They considered themselves a lost generation. He wrote articles for the Toronto Star
It was not long before he began publishing remarkable and completely individual short stories. 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 The year he left Paris he published the powerful novel The sun Also Rises . His subjects were often war and its effects on people, or contests, such as hunting or bullfighting, which demand stamina and courage.
After the publication of Men without Women Hemingway returned to the United States, settling in Key West, Florida.
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 HILL OF AFRICA (1935), a story of a hunting safari in East Africa
Among his most famous stories is 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,' which begins with an epitaph telling that the western summit of the mountain is called the House of God, and close to it was found the carcass of a leopard. Down on the savanna the failed writer Harry is dying of gangrene in an hunting camp. "He had loved too much, demanded too much, and he wrote it all out." Just before the end of the story Harry has a vision. He dreams that he is taken up the see the top of Kilimanjaro on a rescue plane -"great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun."
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 Bells Toll (1940) Hemingway returned again in Spain. He dedicated to book to Gellhorn - Maria in the story was partly modeled after her.
In 1940 Hemingway bought Finca Vigia, a house outside Havana, Cuba. Its surroundings were a paradise for his undisciplined bunch of cats. The first years of his marriage with Gellhorn were happy, but he soon realized that she was not a housewife, but an ambitious journalist. Gellhorn called Hemingway her "Unwilling Companion". She was eager to travel and "take the pulse of the nation" or the world. In early 1941 Gellhorn made with Hemingway a long, 30,000 mile journey to China.
Across the River and Into the Trees was Hemingway's first novel in a decade and poorly received. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, published first in Life magazine in 1952, restored again his fame.
The 27,000 word novella told a story of an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who finally catches a giant marlin after weeks of not catching anything. As he returns to the harbor, the sharks eat the fish, lashed to his boat.
The model for Santiago was a Cuban fisherman, Gregorio Fuentes, who died in January 2002, at the age of 104. Fuentes had served as the captain of Hemingway's boat Pilar in the late 1930s and was occasionally his tapster. Hemingway also made a fishing trip to Peru in part to shoot footage for a film version of the Old Man and the Sea .
Hemingway's style of writing is striking. His sentences are short, his words simple, yet they are often filled with emotion. A careful reading can show us, furthermore, that he is a master of the pause. That is, if we look closely, we see how the action of his stories continues during the silences, during the times his characters say nothing.
This action is often full of meaning. There are times when the most powerful effect comes from restraint. Such times occur often in Hemingway's fiction. He perfected the art of conveying emotion with few words.
In contrast to the Romantic writer, who often emphasizes abundance and even excess, Hemingway is a Classicist in his restraint and understatement. He believes, with many other Classicists, that the strongest effect comes with an economy of means.
This is not to say that his work is either emotionless or dull. "In Another Country" is filled with emotional overtones. Its dominant feeling is one of pity for misfortunes that can never be remedied. A hand crippled is, and will always be, a hand crippled
A beloved wife lost through death is lost indeed. Perhaps we should be resigned to such misfortunes, but the Italian major in this story laments that he cannot be resigned. The tragedies of life cannot really be remedied.
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. When visiting Africa in 1954, Hemingway was in two flying accidents and was taken to a hospital. In the same year he started to write TRUE AT FIRST LIGHT, which was his last full-length book.
Hemmingway's House in Cuba
In 1960 Hemingway was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for treatment of depression, and released in 1961. During this time he was given electric shock therapy for two months. On July 2 Hemingway committed suicide with his favorite shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.