Authors We Love: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (Author of The Old Man and the Sea)

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 — July 2, 1961) was an American writer and journalist who lived in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Hemingway won many awards during his life. He was awarded the silver medal for bravery during World War I. In 1953, he won the Pulitzer Prize for the Old Man and the Sea, which won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. In 2001, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms were included in The American Modern Library‘s list of The 100 Best English Novels of The 20th Century. Hemingway was a representative figure among the “Lost Generation” writers in the United States. In his works, he showed confusion and hesitation about life, the world and the society. He has always been known as a tough guy in the literary world, and he is the spiritual monument of the American nation. Hemingway’s works mark the formation of his unique style of creation, and occupy an important position in the history of American and world literature.

Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park and was baptised at Walloon Lake. Hemingway spent most of his childhood in his farmhouse at Walloon Lake, reading picture books and animal comics and listening to all kinds of stories. He liked to imitate different characters and was interested in sewing and other domestic things. Hemingway’s mother wanted her son to pursue a musical career, but Hemingway followed his father’s interests, such as hunting, fishing, and camping in the woods and lakes. So Hemingway, who grew up in a farmhouse on Walloon Lake, loved nature. From 1913 to 1917, Hemingway received high school education, academic performance, physical education, and an outstanding talent in English. He got his first writing experience in junior high, writing for two literary newspapers. When he entered high school, he became the editor of the journal. He sometimes uses the name Ring Lardner Jr in honor of his literary hero, Ring Lardner . After high school, Hemingway, rejecting college, began his writing career at the age of 18 as a reporter for the Kansas City Star, an influential newspaper in the United States. During his six months working for the Kansas City Star, Hemingway received good training.

In 1918, despite his father’s opposition, Hemingway quit his job as a journalist and tried to join the U.S. military to observe the fighting in World War I. Hemingway failed the physical examination due to a visual defect and was transferred to the Red Cross ambulance team as an ambulance driver. On his way to the Italian front, he stopped in Paris under German bombardment. Instead of staying in a safe hotel, he kept as close as he could to the battle. Hemingway witnessed the cruelty of war on the Italian front, shocked by the explosion of an ammunition depot near Milan and the fact that more women than men died in a makeshift morgue. Hemingway was awarded a silver medal for bravery by the Italian government on July 8, 1918, when he was wounded while transporting supplies and dragged the wounded Italian soldiers to safety. Later, Hemingway worked in an American Red Cross hospital in Milan. It was the inspiration for his early novel A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway regarded himself as the protagonist of the novel, the original creation.

In 1920, Hemingway moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he lived in an apartment. While there, Hemingway took a job with the Toronto Star as a freelance writer, reporter, and overseas correspondent, and struck up a friendship with Morley Callaghan, a star reporter. Between 1920 and 1921, Hemingway lived near Chicago’s north side and worked for a small newspaper. In 1921, Hemingway married his first wife, Hadley Richardson, and moved to a three-story apartment on the North side of Chicago in September. By December, the Hemingways had moved out of the country and never returned to live there. Ernest Hemingway, settled in Paris, gave an interview to the Star newspaper about the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922). Back in Paris, Anderson guided Hemingway into the “Paris Modernist Movement.” Hemingway’s first novel, “Three Stories and Ten Poems,” was published in Paris in 1923. After the birth of his first son, Hemingway quit his job at the Toronto Star to support the family.

In 1925, the short story series In Our Time was published, showing a concise style of writing. 1926 Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises was published. In 1927, Hemingway divorced Hadley Richardson and married his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer and published Men Without Women. Hemingway left Paris in 1928 to live a quiet idyllic life in Florida and Cuba. He often goes hunting, fishing, and watching bullfights. Within a few years, Hemingway’s second and third sons were born. In 1931, Hemingway moved to Key West (where he lived in a house that is now a museum) and gathered material for Death in the Afternoon and Winner Gets Nothing. Death in the Afternoon was published in 1932. In 1937-38, he worked as a war correspondent on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. During World War II, he went with the army as a journalist and fought in the liberation of Paris. During this time, Hemingway’s essay “Denouncement” was published in 1969 with “The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War.”

Hemingway and Pfeiffer’s marriage ended in 1940. During this period, physical health problems came one after another, causing great trouble to Hemingway. In the same year, Hemingway published For Whom the Bell Tolls, an anti-fascist novel set in the Spanish Civil War, and in 1950, Across the River and into the Trees, set in Venice after World War II. After the Pacific War broke out at the end of 1941, Hemingway immediately converted his yacht into a patrol boat to monitor the operations of German submarines and provide information for the destruction of the enemy. In the mid-1990s, Alexander Vasiliev, a former KGB officer, was granted access to Soviet intelligence archives. He was surprised to discover that Hemingway had been recruited as a KGB spy in 1941, codenamed Argo. Unfortunately, he had no talent for obtaining any valuable information.

In 1944, Hemingway accompanied the American army to Europe for an interview. He was seriously injured in a plane crash, but after recovering, he still went behind enemy lines for an interview. After the end of the second world war, he received a bronze medal. Hemingway divorced Martha in 1948, married Mary Welsh Hemingway, a wartime correspondent, and returned to Cuba shortly thereafter. Hemingway took his own life with a shotgun in Idaho on July 2, 1961, at age 62. Hemingway has an excellent command of language. He often employs the simplest words to express the most complex content, basic words and short sentence patterns to express the specific meaning, nouns and verbs to reveal the true colors of things without any affectation. Hemingway’s life and literary career were controversial from the start. Hemingway, whether as a legendary figure or as a writer, created a concise and smooth style with his unique artistic style and superb writing skills, which purified the traditional style of writing of a generation and had a great impact on the European and American literary circles.

-Coreen C.

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