Ernest Hemingway: Wikis


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Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway in 1939
Born July 21, 1899(1899-07-21)
Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died July 2, 1961 (aged 61)
Ketchum, Idaho, United States
Nationality American
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature
1954 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – 1953
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Hadley Richardson (1921–1927)
Pauline Pfeiffer (1927–1940)
Martha Gellhorn (1940–1945)
Mary Welsh Hemingway (1946–1961)
Children Jack Hemingway (1923–2000)
Patrick Hemingway (1928–)
Gregory Hemingway (1931–2001)

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American writer and journalist. During his lifetime he had seven novels, six collections of short stories, and two works of non-fiction published, with a further three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction autobiographical works published after his death. Hemingway's distinctive writing style characterized by economy and understatement had an enormous influence on 20th-century fiction, as did his apparent life of adventure and the public image he cultivated. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, culminating in his 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. Hemingway's protagonists are typically stoical men who exhibit an ideal described as "grace under pressure"; many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

Hemingway was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After leaving high school he worked for a few months as a reporter, before leaving for the Italian front to become an ambulance driver during World War I; he was seriously injured and returned home within the year. In 1922 Hemingway married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives, and the couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent. During his time there he met and was influenced by writers and artists of the 1920s expatriate community known as the "Lost Generation". His first novel, The Sun Also Rises, was written in 1924.

After divorcing Hadley Richardson in 1927 Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer; they divorced following Hemingway's return from covering the Spanish Civil War, after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. Martha Gellhorn became his third wife in 1940, but he left her for Mary Welsh Hemingway after World War II, during which he was present at D-Day and the liberation of Paris.

Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952 Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in a plane crash that left him in pain or ill-health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway had permanent residences in Key West, Florida, and Cuba during the 1930s and 40s, but in 1959 he moved from Cuba to Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.



Early life

Birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.[1] His father, Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, was a physician and his mother, Grace Hall–Hemingway (she hyphenated her last name), a musician, both well-educated and well-respected in the conservative community of Oak Park.[2] When Clarence and Grace Hemingway married in 1896, they moved in with Grace's father, Ernest Hall,[3] after whom they named their first son. Hemingway later claimed to dislike his given name, which he "associated with the naive, even foolish hero of Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest".[4] The family's seven–bedroom home in a respectable neighborhood contained a music studio for Grace and a medical office for Clarence.[5]

Hemingway's mother, a classically trained musician, frequently performed in concerts around the village. As an adult Hemingway professed to hate his mother, although biographer Michael Reynolds points out that Hemingway mirrored her energy and enthusiasm.[6] Her insistence that he learn the cello became a "source of conflict", but he admitted the music lessons were useful to his writing, as in the "contrapunctal structure of For Whom the Bell Tolls.[7] The family owned a summer home called Windemere on Walloon Lake, near Petoskey, Michigan, which they visited during the summers. There Hemingway learned to hunt, fish, and camp in the woods and lakes of Northern Michigan. His early experiences with nature instilled a lasting passion for outdoor adventure, living in remote or isolated areas, hunting and fishing.[8] His father Clarence instructed him in the outdoor life until depression caused him to become reclusive when Hemingway was about 12-years-old.[9]

Hemingway in World War I uniform (from JFK Library)

Hemingway attended Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 until 1917. He took part in a number of sports—boxing, track, water polo, and football—and had good grades in English classes.[10] He and his sister Marcelline performed in the school orchestra for two years.[6] Beginning in his junior year, Hemingway wrote and edited the "Trapeze" and "Tabula" (the school's newspaper and yearbook), in which he imitated the language of sportswriters, and sometimes used the pen name Ring Lardner, Jr., a nod to his literary hero Ring Lardner of the Chicago Tribune, who used the byline "Line O'Type".[11] Like Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis, Hemingway worked as a journalist before becoming a novelist; after leaving high school he was hired as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star,[12] where he quickly learned that the truth often lurks below the surface of a story.[13] Although he worked at the newspaper for only six months from October 17, 1917 to April 30, 1918, he relied on the Star's style guide as a foundation for his writing: "Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative."[14]

World War I

Early in 1918, Hemingway responded to a Red Cross recruitment effort and signed on as an ambulance driver. In the spring he returned for a quick trip home, and up to Michigan to fish, before leaving for New York.[15] He left New York in May, and arrived in Paris as the city was under bombardment from German artillery.[16] By June he was stationed at the Italian Front. The day he arrived in Milan he was dispatched to the scene of a munitions factory explosion where rescuers retrieved the shredded remains of the female workers.[17] A few days later he was stationed at Fossalta di Piave. On July 8 he was seriously wounded by mortar fire, having just returned from the canteen to deliver chocolate and cigarettes to the men at the front line.[18] Despite his wounds, Hemingway carried an Italian soldier to safety, for which he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery.[19] According to Hemingway scholar Hallengren, Hemingway "was the first American to be wounded during World War I".[20] Still only eighteen, Hemingway said of the incident: "When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you ... Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you."[21] He sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs; underwent an operation at a distribution center; spent five days at a field hospital; and was transferred to the Red Cross hospital in Milan for recuperation.[22] Hemingway spent six months in hospital, where he met and fell in love with Agnes von Kurowsky, a Red Cross nurse seven years his senior.[23] Agnes and Hemingway planned to marry, but she became engaged to an Italian officer in March 1919, an incident that provided material for the short and bitter work "A Very Short Story".[24] Biographer Jeffrey Meyers claims Hemingway was devastated by Agnes' rejection, and that he followed a pattern of abandoning a wife before she abandoned him in future relationships.[25]

Toronto and Chicago

Hemingway's 1923 passport photo

Hemingway returned home in early 1919 and spent the summer in Michigan, fishing and camping with high school friends.[21] In September he left for the back country with two friends to fish and camp for a week. The trip became the inspiration for his short story "Big Two-Hearted River", in which Nick Adams takes to the country to find solitude after his return from war.[26] Late in the year he moved to Toronto and began to write for the Toronto Star Weekly as a freelancer, staff writer, and foreign correspondent.[27] In the fall of 1920, after having spent the summer in Michigan,[27] he moved to Chicago for a short period while still filing stories for the Toronto Star. In Chicago he worked as associate editor of the monthly journal Co-operative Commonwealth and met Hadley Richardson, eight years older than him (and one year older than Agnes).[28] After a few months Hadley and Hemingway decided to marry, planning a honeymoon in Europe; Sherwood Anderson convinced them to visit Paris, a city quickly attracting expatriate artists largely because of the good exchange rates.[29] Hemingway married Hadley on September 3, 1921. Two months later Hemingway became a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star and the couple left for Paris.[30]


Anderson wrote letters of introduction for Hemingway to Gertrude Stein and other writers in Paris.[31] Stein, who became Hemingway's mentor for a period and introduced him to the Expatriate Modernists of the Montparnasse Quarter, referred to the young artists as the "Lost Generation" a term Hemingway popularized with the publication of The Sun Also Rises.[32] A regular at Stein's salon, Hemingway met young and newly influential artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Juan Gris.[33] Eventually Hemingway withdrew from Stein's influence and their relationship deteriorated into a literary quarrel that spanned decades.[34] During this period Ezra Pound mentored the young writer.[33] Hemingway met Pound in February 1922, toured Italy with him in 1923, and lived on the same street in 1924. The two forged a strong friendship, and in Hemingway Pound recognized, and fostered, a talented writer.[35] A popular gathering place for writers was Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company. She published James Joyce's Ulysses, and Hemingway met Joyce there in March 1922. The two writers frequently embarked on "alcoholic sprees".[36] Hemingway and Hadley lived in a small walk-up on the Rue de Cardinal Lemoine, and he worked in a rented room in a nearby building.[29]

Ernest Hemingway with Lady Duff Twysden, Hadley Hemingway, and three unidentified people at a cafe in Pamplona, Spain, July 1925. (JFK Library)

During his first 20 months in Paris, Hemingway filed 88 stories for the Toronto Star.[37] He covered the Greco-Turkish War where he witnessed the burning of Smyrna; he wrote travel pieces such as "Tuna Fishing in Spain", "Trout Fishing All Across Europe: Spain Has the Best, Then Germany"; and he wrote about bullfighting—"Pamplona in July; World's Series of Bull Fighting a Mad, Whirling Carnival".[38] Hemingway was devastated on learning that Hadley had lost a suitcase filled with his manuscripts at the Gare de Lyons as she was travelling to Geneva to meet him in December 1922.[39] A month later, because Hadley was pregnant, the couple returned to Toronto, where their son John Hadley Nicanor was born on October 10, 1923. During their absence Hemingway's first book was published, Three Stories and Ten Poems. Two of the stories it contained were all that remained of his work after the loss of the suitcase, and the third had been written the previous spring in Italy. Within months a second volume, in our time (without capitals), was published. The small volume included six vignettes and a dozen stories Hemingway had written the previous summer during his first visit to Spain. Hadley, Hemingway, and their son (nicknamed Bumby), returned to Paris in January 1924 and moved into a new apartment on the Rue Notre Dame des Champs.[40] Hemingway helped Ford Madox Ford edit The Transatlantic Review, in which works by Pound, John Dos Passos, and Gertrude Stein were published, as well as some of Hemingway's own early stories such as "Indian Camp".[41] When "In Our Time" (with capital letters) was published in 1925 the dust jacket had comments from Ford.[42][43] Six months earlier, Hemingway met F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the pair formed a friendship of "admiration and hostility".[44]

Ernest, Hadley, and Bumby Hemingway 1926 (JFK Library)

In the summer of 1925, Hemingway and Hadley went on their annual visit to Pamplona for the Festival of San Fermín, accompanied by a group of American and British ex-patriates.[45] The trip inspired Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises, which he began to write immediately after the fiesta, finishing it September.[46] He decided to slow down for the revision process and devoted all of that fall and winter to the rewrite.[47] The revised manuscript arrived in New York in April,[48] and Hemingway corrected the final proof in Paris in August 1926.[49] Scribner's published the novel in October.[50]

Hemingway's marriage to Hadley broke down as he was writing and revising The Sun Also Rises.[49] In the spring of 1926, Hadley became aware of his affair with Pauline Pfeiffer,[51] although she had endured Pauline's presence in Pamplona that July.[52] However, on their return to Paris Hadley and Hemingway decided to separate,[53] and Hadley formally requested a divorce in the fall. By November they had split their possessions, and Hadley accepted Hemingway's offer of the proceeds from The Sun Also Rises.[54] The couple were divorced in January 1927, and Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer in May.[55]

Pauline was from Arkansas—her family was wealthy and Catholic—and before their marriage Hemingway converted to Catholicism.[56][57] In Paris she worked for Vogue.[56] After a honeymoon in Grau-du-Roi, where he contracted anthrax, Hemingway settled in Paris and planned his next collection of short stories,[58] Men Without Women, published in October 1927.[59] By the end of the year Pauline was pregnant, and wanted to move back to America to have her baby. John Dos Passos recommended Key West; in March 1928, they left Paris. Some time that spring Hemingway suffered a severe injury in their Paris bathroom, when he pulled a skylight down on his head thinking he was pulling on a toilet chain. This left him with a prominent forehead scar, subject of numerous legends, which he carried for the rest of his life. When Hemingway was asked about the scar he was reluctant to answer.[60][note 1] After his departure from Paris, Hemingway "never again lived in a big city".[61]

Key West and the Caribbean

In the late spring Hemingway and Pauline travelled to Kansas City where their son Patrick Hemingway was born on June 28, 1928. Pauline had a difficult delivery, which Hemingway fictionalized in A Farewell to Arms.[62] After Patrick's birth, Pauline and Hemingway travelled to Wyoming, Massachusetts and New York.[62] In the fall he was in New York with Bumby, about to board a train to Florida, when he received a cable telling him that his father had committed suicide.[note 2][63]

Hemingway worked on the draft of A Farewell to Arms during 1928. It was finished by late summer, but he delayed for a few months before revising it. By the winter of 1929 the serialization in Scribner's magazine was set for May, but that spring Hemingway continued to work on the book's ending in France, which he may have rewritten as many as seventeen times. When the book was published on September 27[64] Hemingway's stature as an American writer was secured.[65] In France and Spain during the summer of 1929 he gathered material for his next work, Death in the Afternoon.[66]

During the early 1930s Hemingway spent his winters in Key West and summers in Wyoming, where he found "the most beautiful country he had seen in the American West" and hunting that included deer, elk, and grizzly bear. His third son, Gregory Hancock Hemingway, was born on November 12, 1931 in Kansas City.[67][note 3] Pauline's uncle bought the couple a house in Key West where the second floor of the carriage house was converted to a writing den.[68] While in Key West he enticed his male friends to join him on fishing expeditions—inviting his longtime friends Waldo Peirce, John Dos Passos, and Max Perkins[69]—with one all male trip to the Dry Tortugas, and he relaxed at Sloppy Joe's.[70]

The Hemingway family with marlins. Bimini, 1935 (JFK Library)

In 1933 Hemingway and Pauline went on safari to East Africa, a 10-week trip that provided material for Green Hills of Africa as well as the short stories "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber".[71] They visited Mombasa, Nairobi, and Machakos in Kenya, then Tanganyika where they hunted in the Serengeti, around Lake Manyara and west and southeast of the present-day Tarangire National Park. Hemingway contracted amoebic dysentery that caused a prolapsed intestine and he was evacuated by plane to Nairobi, an experience reflected in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". Their guide was the noted "white hunter" Philip Hope Percival, who had guided Theodore Roosevelt on his 1909 safari. On his return to Key West in early 1934 Hemingway began work on Green Hills of Africa, published in 1935 to mixed reviews.[72]

Back in Key West, Hemingway bought a boat in 1934, named it the Pilar, and began sailing the Caribbean.[73] In 1935 he discovered Bimini, where he spent a considerable amount of time.[71] During this period he also worked on To Have and Have Not, published in 1937 while he was in Spain, the only novel he wrote during the 1930s.[74]

Ivens, Hemingway, and Ludwig Renn (German writer as International Brigades officer). Spanish Civil War, 1937

Spanish Civil War and World War II

In 1937 Hemingway reported on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA).[75] He arrived in France in March, and in Spain ten days later with Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens.[76] Ivens, who was filming The Spanish Earth, needed Hemingway as a screenwriter to replace John Dos Passos, who left the project when his friend José Robles was arrested and later executed.[77] The incident changed Dos Passos' opinion of the republicans, which created a rift between him and Hemingway, who spread a rumor that Dos Passos was a coward for leaving Spain.[78]

Journalist Martha Gellhorn, whom Hemingway met in Key West in 1936, joined him in Spain.[79] While in Madrid with Gellhorn, Hemingway wrote the play The Fifth Column during the bombardment of Madrid late in 1937.[80] He returned to Key West for a few months, then back to Spain in 1938 where he was present at the Battle of the Ebro, the last republican stand. With fellow British and American journalists, Hemingway rowed the group across the river, some of the last to leave the battle.[81][82]

Ernest Hemingway with sons and kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba 1946. (JFK Library)

Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn moved to Cuba in 1939, and in 1940 bought the "Finca Vigia" ("Lookout Farm"), which they had been renting. A few months later Hemingway divorced Pauline and married Martha.[83] As he had after his divorce from Hadley, he changed locations: he moved his primary summer residence to Ketchum, Idaho, just outside the newly built resort of Sun Valley; and his winter residence to Cuba.[84] He was at work on For Whom the Bell Tolls, which he started in March 1939, finished in July 1940, and was published in October 1940.[85] Consistent with his pattern of moving around while working on a manuscript, he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls in Cuba, Wyoming, and Sun Valley.[86] For Whom the Bell Tolls became a book-of-the-month choice, sold half a million copies within months, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and became a literary triumph for Hemingway.[87]

In January 1941 Martha was sent to China on assignment for Collier's magazine, and Hemingway accompanied her. Although Hemingway wrote dispatches for PM, he had little affinity for China.[88] However, in the recently-published Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassilev, it is alleged that Hemingway's KGB file identifies him as "Agent Argo". He was apparently recruited in 1941 before the trip to China, but he ultimately failed to "give [the Russians] any political information" and was not "verified in practical work". Contact with "Argo" ceased by 1950.[89]

Hemingway returned to Cuba on the outbreak of World War II, and refitted the Pilar to hunt down German submarines.[21] From June to December 1944 he was in Europe, at the D-Day landing after which he attached himself to "the 22nd Regiment commanded by Col. Charles 'Buck' Lanaham as it drove toward Paris", and he led a small band of village militia in Rambouillet outside of Paris.[90] Of Hemingway's exploits, War II historian Paul Fussell remarks: "Hemingway got into considerable trouble playing infantry captain to a group of Resistance people that he gathered because a correspondent is not supposed to lead troops, even if he does it well".[21] On August 25 he was present at the liberation of Paris, although the assertion that he was first in the city, or that he liberated the Ritz is considered part of the Hemingway legend.[91][92] While in Paris he attended a reunion hosted by Sylvia Beach and made up his long-running feud with Gertrude Stein.[93] Hemingway was present at heavy fighting in the Hürtgenwald at the end 1944.[94]

When Hemingway arrived in Europe, he met Time magazine correspondent Mary Welsh in London.[95] During the war his marriage to Martha disintegrated; the last time he saw her was in March 1945 as he was preparing to return to Cuba.[96] In 1947 Hemingway was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery during World War II. His valor for having been "under fire in combat areas in order to obtain an accurate picture of conditions" was recognized, with the commendation that "through his talent of expression, Mr. Hemingway enabled readers to obtain a vivid picture of the difficulties and triumphs of the front-line soldier and his organization in combat".[21]


Ernest Hemingway writing in Kenya in 1953 (JFK Library)

Of his writing career, Hemingway stated from 1942 to 1945 he "was out of business as a writer."[97] In 1946 he married Mary Welsh, who had an ectopic pregnancy five months later. Hemingway and Mary had a series of accidents and health problems after the war: in a 1945 car accident he "smashed his knee" and sustained another "deep wound on his forehead"; Mary broke her right ankle and then her left ankle in successive skiing accidents. In 1947 his sons Patrick and Gregory were in a car accident, leaving Patrick with a head wound and severely ill.[98] He became depressed as his literary friends died: in 1939 Yeats and Ford Madox Ford; in 1940 Scott Fitzgerald; in 1941 Sherwood Anderson and James Joyce; in 1946 Gertrude Stein; and the following year in 1947, Max Perkins, Hemingway's long time editor and friend.[99] During this period he had severe headaches, high blood pressure, weight problems, and eventually diabetes—much of which was the result of previous accidents and heavy drinking.[100] Nonetheless, early in 1946 he began work on The Garden of Eden with 800 pages finished by June.[101][note 4] During the post–war years he also began work on a trilogy to be called "The Land", "The Sea" and "The Air" which he intended to combine in one novel known as The Sea Book. However, both projects stalled and biographer James Mellow considers his inability to continue "a symptom of his troubles" during these years.[102][note 5]

In 1948 Hemingway and Mary travelled to Europe. While visiting Italy he returned to the site of his World War I accident, and shortly afterwards he began work on Across the River and Into the Trees, which he worked on through 1949; it was published in 1950 to bad reviews.[103] A year later he wrote the draft of Old Man and the Sea in eight weeks, considering it "the best I can write ever for all of my life".[100] The Old Man and the Sea became a book-of-the month selection, made Hemingway an international celebrity, and won the Pulitzer Prize in May 1952, a month before he left for his second trip to Africa.[104][105]

In Africa he was seriously injured in two successive plane crashes: he sprained his right shoulder, arm, and left leg; had a concussion; temporarily lost vision in his left eye and the hearing in his left ear; suffered paralysis of the spine; had a crushed vertebra, ruptured liver, spleen and kidney; and sustained first degree burns on his face, arms, and leg. Some American newspapers published his obituary, believing he had been killed. A month later he was again badly injured in a bushfire accident, which left him with second degree burns on his legs, front torso, lips, left hand and right forearm.[106]

On the Pilar: 1950s (JFK Library)

Back in Cuba, in October 1954 Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Politely he mentioned Carl Sandburg and Isak Dinesen, who in his opinion, deserved the prize. The prize money was welcome, he told reporters.[107] Because he was in pain as a result of the African accidents, and he had recently returned home to Cuba after an absence of almost a year, Hemingway chose not to travel to Stockholm to accept the prize in person.[108] Instead he sent a speech to be read in which he defines the writer's life: "Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day."[109][note 6]

As a result of the severe accidents and injuries he sustained in Africa, Hemingway was bedridden from late 1956 to early 1957.[110] The Finca Vigia became crowded with guests and tourists and Hemingway, beginning to become unhappy with life in Cuba, considered a permanent move to Idaho. In 1959 he bought a home overlooking the Big Wood River, outside of Ketchum, and left Cuba, although he apparently remained on easy terms with the Castro government, going so far as telling the New York Times he was "delighted" with Castro's overthrow of Havana.[111][112] In 1960, he left Cuba and Finca Vigía for the last time. The house was appropriated after the Bay of Pigs invasion (two months before Hemingway's death), complete with Hemingway's collection of "four to six thousand books", and the Hemingways were forced to leave art and manuscripts in a bank vault in Havana.[113]

Idaho and suicide

Hemingway in Sun Valley, 1959. (JFK Library)

In 1957 he had begun A Moveable Feast, working on it in Cuba and Idaho from 1957 to 1960.[114][115] His early passion for bullfighting was renewed in 1959 when he spent the summer in Spain for a series of bullfighting articles he was to write for Life Magazine.[116] The following winter the manuscript grew to 63,000 words—Life wanted only 10,000 words—and he asked his friend A. E. Hotchner to help organize the manuscript that was to become The Dangerous Summer.[117][118] Although Hemingway's mental deterioration began to be noticeable in the summer of 1960, he travelled to Spain to gather photographs for the manuscript. Alone in Spain, without Mary, Hemingway's mental state disintegrated rapidly. The first installments of The Dangerous Summer were published in Life in September 1960 to good reviews. When he left Spain, Hemingway travelled straight to Idaho; that November he was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.[119] He had been receiving treatment for high blood pressure and liver problems, and he may have believed he was going to be treated for hypertension.[120] His paranoia became acute and he believed the FBI was actively monitoring his movements.[121] [note 7] Hemingway suffered from physical problems as well: his eyesight was failing; his health was poor. Furthermore, his home and possessions in Cuba had been abandoned during the revolution.[122]

Back in Ketchum in the spring of 1961, three months after his initial ECT treatments at the Mayo, Hemingway attempted suicide. Mary asked Hemingway's personal physician, Dr. Saviers, for immediate hospitalization at the Sun Valley hospital; and from there he was returned to the Mayo for more shock treatments.[123] He was released in late June and arrived home in Ketchum on June 30. Two days later, in the early morning hours of July 2, 1961, Hemingway "quite deliberately" shot himself with his favorite shotgun.[124]

Other members of Hemingway's immediate family also committed suicide: his father Clarence Hemingway; his sister Ursula; and his brother Leicester.[125] During his final years, Hemingway's behavior was similar to his father's before he committed suicide.[126] Hemingway's father may have had the genetic disease haemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration.[127] Medical records made available in 1991 confirm that Hemingway's haemochromatosis had been diagnosed early in 1961.[128] Added to his physicial ailments was the additional problem that Hemingway had been a heavy drinker for most of his life.[100]

Ernest and Mary Hemingway graves, Ketchum, Idaho

Hemingway is interred at the Ketchum Cemetery, at the north end of town. A memorial was erected in 1966 at another location, overlooking Trail Creek, north of Ketchum. On it is inscribed a eulogy Ernest Hemingway wrote for a friend, Gene Van Guilder:

Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever
Ernest Hemingway – Idaho – 1939


Leslie Fiedler believes themes recurrent in American literature exist with great clarity in Hemingway's work. A theme Fiedler defines as "The Sacred Land"—the American West—is extended in Hemingway's work to include the mountains of Spain, Switzerland and Africa, and the streams of Michigan. The American West is symbolized by the use of the "Hotel Montana" in The Sun Also Rises and in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Furthermore, Fiedler considers the American literary theme of the evil "Dark Woman" vs. the good "Light Woman" to be inverted in Hemingway's fiction. The dark woman (Brett Ashley) is a goddess; the light woman (Margot Macomber) is a murderess.[129]

The theme of death permeates Hemingway's work. Stoltzfus believes Hemingway's writings exhibit the concept of existentialism: redemption is possible at the moment of death if the concept of "nothingness" is embraced. When death is faced with dignity and courage then life can be lived with authenticity. In Hemingway's works those who live an "authentic" life find redemption at the moment of death. Francis Macomber dies happy because the last hours of his life are authentic; the bullfighter in the corrida represents the pinnacle of a life lived with authenticity.[130]

Although Hemingway writes about sports, Carlos Baker claims the emphasis is not on sport but on the athlete.[131] According to Stoltzfus the hunter or fisherman has a moment of transcendence when the prey is killed. Nature is a place for rebirth, for therapy, as in "The Big Two-Hearted River".[130] Nature is the great refuge, according to Fiedler. Nature is where men are without women: men fish; men hunt; men find redemption in nature.[129]

Finally the theme of emasculation is prevalent, most notably in The Sun Also Rises in which Jake Barnes's war wound—and his inability to consummate the relationship with Brett—contributes to the tension of the piece. Emasculation, according to Fiedler, is both a result of a generation of wounded soldiers, but of more importance, a generation in which women such as Brett gained emancipation.[129] Baker believes Hemingway's work emphasizes the "natural" vs. the "unnatural". For example, the short story "Alpine Idyll" is about the "unnaturalness" of skiers in the high country where the late spring snow is juxtaposed against the "unnaturalness" of the peasant who allowed his wife's dead body to linger too long in the shed during the winter. The skiers and peasant retreat to the valley to the "natural" spring for redemption.[132]

Writing style

The New York Times wrote in 1926 of Hemingway's first novel: "No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame".[133] The Sun Also Rises is written in the spare, tightly written prose for which Hemingway is famous, a style which has influenced countless crime and pulp fiction novels.[134] It is a style which some critics consider his greatest contribution to literature.[135] In 1954, when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature it was for "his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style".[136]

Henry Louis Gates believes Hemingway's style was fundamentally shaped post–World War I. He explains that Hemingway and other modernists "lost faith in the central institutions of Western civilization" and as a reaction against the "elaborate style" of 19th century writers, Hemingway created a style "in which meaning is established through dialogue, through action, and silences—a fiction in which nothing crucial—or at least very little—is stated explicitly."[21]

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
—Ernest Hemingway in Death in the Afternoon [137]

Hemingway began as a writer of short stories, and as Baker explains, he learned how to "get the most from the least, how to prune language how to multiply intensities, and how to tell nothing but the truth in a way that allowed for telling more than the truth".[138] The style is known as the Iceberg Theory because in Hemingway's writing the hard facts float above water; the supporting structure, complete with symbolism, operates out-of-sight.[138] Jackson Benson believes Hemingway used autobiographical details to work as framing devices to write about life in general—not only about his life. For example, Benson postulates that Hemingway used his experiences and drew them out further with "what if" scenarios: "what if I were wounded in such a way that I could not sleep at night? What if I were wounded and made crazy, what would happen if I were sent back to the front?"[139] The concept of the iceberg theory is sometimes referred to as the "theory of omission." Hemingway believed the writer could describe one thing (such as Nick Adams fishing in "The Big Two-Hearted River") though an entirely different thing occurs below the surface (Nick Adams concentrating on fishing to the extent that he does not have to think about anything else).[140]

The simplicity of the prose is deceptive. Zoe Trodd believes Hemingway crafted skeletal sentences in response to Henry James's observation that WWI had "used up words". In his writing Hemingway offered an almost photographic reality that was often "multi-focal". His iceberg theory of omission was the foundation on which he built. The syntax, which lacks subordinating conjunctions, creates static sentences. He used a photographic "snapshot" style to create a collage of images. Short sentences build one on another; events build to create a sense of the whole. Multiple strands exist in one story; an "embedded text" bridges to a different angle. He also used other cinematic techniques of "cutting" quickly from one scene to the next; or of "splicing" a scene into another. Intentional omissions allow the reader to fill the gap, as though responding to instructions from the author, and create three-dimensional prose.[141]

Hemingway uses polysyndeton to convey both a timeless immediacy and a Biblical grandeur. Hemingway's polysyndetonic sentence—or, in later works, his use of subordinate clauses—uses conjunctions to juxtapose startling visions and images; the critic Jackson Benson compares them to haikus.[135][142] Many of Hemingway's acolytes misinterpreted his lead and frowned upon all expression of emotion; Saul Bellow satirized this style as "Do you have emotions? Strangle them."[143] However, Hemingway's intent was not to eliminate emotion but to portray it more scientifically. Hemingway thought it would be easy, and pointless, to describe emotions; he sculpted his bright and finely chiseled collages of images in order to grasp "the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always".[144] This use of an image as an objective correlative is characteristic of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, and of course Proust.[145][note 8] Hemingway's letters refer to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past several times over the years, and indicate he might have read the massive book at least twice.[146] His writing was likely also influenced by the Japanese poetic canon.[147][note 9]

Influence and legacy

Hemingway's most important legacy to American literature is his style: writers who came after him attempted either to emulate it or to avoid it.[148] In a 2004 speech at the John F. Kennedy Library, Russell Banks declared that he, like many male writers of his generation, was influenced by Hemingway's philosophy of the writing process, Hemingway's style, and Hemingway's life and public image.[149] With the publication of The Sun Also Rises Hemingway's reputation was sealed. He became the spokesperson for the post-World War I generation, and he established a style to be emulated.[134] His books were burned in Berlin in 1933, and disavowed by his parents.[20] Hemingway biographer Michael Reynolds asserts Hemingway's legacy is that "he left stories and novels so starkly moving that some have become part of our cultural heritage."[150]

The American Mercury with Al Hirschfeld's caricature of Ernest Hemingway

Jackson Benson claims Hemingway, and the details of his life, have become a "prime vehicle for exploitation" which has created a "Hemingway industry".[151] The "hard boiled style" that is often used to describe Hemingway's work should not be confused with the author, according to Hemingway scholar Hallengren, who considers the machismo of the man should be separated from the author himself.[20] Benson agrees, going so far as to point out that Hemingway was as introverted and private as J. D. Salinger, yet paradoxically, Hemingway masked his true nature with braggadacio.[152] In fact, during World War II, Salinger met and corresponded with Hemingway, whom he acknowledged as an influence.[153] In a letter to Hemingway, Salinger wrote that their talks "had given him his only hopeful minutes of the entire war", and jokingly "named himself national chairman of the Hemingway Fan Clubs".[154]

The extent of Hemingway's influence is seen in the many tributes to the man, and echoes of his fiction to be found in popular culture. The International Imitation Hemingway Competition was created in the 1980's to publicly acknowledge his influence, and the comically misplaced efforts of lesser authors to imitate his style. Entrants are encouraged to submit one "really good page of really bad Hemingway", and winners are flown to Italy to Harry's Bar there.[155] In 1978 a minor planet, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh, was named for him—3656 Hemingway;[156] on July 17, 1989, the United States Postal Service issued a 25-cent postage stamp honoring Hemingway.[157]; Ray Bradbury wrote the story The Kilimanjaro Device in which Hemingway doesn't die, but instead is transported to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which represents a heaven for writers, according to Hemingway's own story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro";[67] the 1993 motion picture Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, about the friendship of two retired men, one Irish, one Cuban, in a seaside town in Florida, starred Robert Duvall, Richard Harris, Shirley MacLaine, Sandra Bullock, and Piper Laurie.[158] Furthermore, Hemingway's influence is evident in popular culture with the existence of many restaurants named "Hemingway"; and the proliferation of bars called "Harry's" (a nod to the bar in Across the River and Into the Trees).[159] A line of "Hemingway" furniture, introduced by a popular manufacturer and promoted by Hemingway's son Jack (Bumby), has pieces such as the "Kilimanjaro" bedside table.[160]


  • Father: Clarence Hemingway. Born September 2, 1871, died December 6, 1928. (death by suicide)
  • Mother: Grace Hall Hemingway. Born June 15, 1872, died June 28, 1951
  • Marcelline Hemingway. Born January 15, 1898, died December 9, 1963
  • Ursula Hemingway. Born April 29, 1902, died October 30, 1966 (death by suicide)
  • Madelaine Hemingway. Born November 28, 1904, died January 14, 1995
  • Carol Hemingway. Born July 19, 1911, died October 27, 2002
  • Leicester Hemingway. Born April 1, 1915, died September 13, 1982 (death by suicide)
Wives, children and grandchildren
  • Granddaughter, Joan (Muffet) Hemingway
  • Granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway. Born February 16, 1954, died July 2, 1996 (death by suicide)
  • Granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway. Born November 22, 1961
  • Great-Granddaughter, Dree Hemingway. Born 1987
  • Pauline Pfeiffer. Married May 10, 1927, divorced November 4, 1940, died October 21, 1951.
  • Granddaughter, Mina Hemingway
  • Son, Gregory Hemingway (called 'Gig' by Hemingway; later called himself 'Gloria'). Born November 12, 1931, died October 1, 2001.
  • Martha Gellhorn. Married November 21, 1940, divorced December 21, 1945, died February 15, 1998.
  • Mary Welsh. Married March 14, 1946, died November 26, 1986.

See also



  1. ^ In the April 1931 passport application, Hemingway noted the forehead scar. In 1928, the skylight in the bathroom of his Paris apartment fell on him, which caused one of the many head injuries he received throughout his life.
  2. ^ Clarence Hemingway used his father's Civil War pistol to shoot himself.Meyers 1985, p. 2
  3. ^ Gregory Hemingway underwent sex reassignment surgery in the mid-1990s and thereafter was known as Gloria Hemingway BBC News. 3 October 2003. Hemingway legacy feud 'resolved'. Accessed 2010–19–02.
  4. ^ The Garden of Eden was published posthumously in 1986.
  5. ^ Published posthumously as Islands in the Stream in 1970.
  6. ^ The full spech is available at
  7. ^ In fact, the FBI had opened a file on him during WWII, when he used the Pilar to patrol the waters off Cuba, and J. Edgar Hoover had an agent in Havana watch Hemingway during the 1950s.(Mellow 1992, pp. 597–598) The FBI knew Hemingway was at the Mayo, as an agent documented in a letter written in January, 1961.(Meyers 1985, pp. 543–544)
  8. ^ McCormick compares Hemingway's and Proust's use of memory to find the objective correlative
  9. ^ Starrs draws a correlation between the "Imagist" influences of Ezra Pound, who mentored Hemingway in the 1920s.


  1. ^ Oliver, p. 140
  2. ^ Reynolds 2000, p. 17
  3. ^ Oliver, p. 134
  4. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 8
  5. ^ Reynolds 2000, pp. 17–18
  6. ^ a b Reynolds 2000, p. 19
  7. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 3
  8. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 13
  9. ^ Reynolds 2000, p. 20
  10. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 21
  11. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 19
  12. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 23
  13. ^ Reynolds 1998, p. 17
  14. ^ "Star style and rules for writing". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2009–08–29. 
  15. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 48–49
  16. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 27
  17. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 57
  18. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 59–60
  19. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 30–31
  20. ^ a b c Hallengren
  21. ^ a b c d e f Putnam
  22. ^ Desnoyers, p. 3
  23. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 37
  24. ^ Scholes
  25. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 40–41
  26. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 101
  27. ^ a b Meyers 1985, pp. 51–53
  28. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 56–58
  29. ^ a b Baker 1972, p. 7
  30. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 60–62
  31. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 61
  32. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 308
  33. ^ a b Reynolds 2000, p. 28
  34. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 77–81
  35. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 73–74
  36. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 82
  37. ^ Reynolds, p. 24
  38. ^ Desnoyers, p. 5
  39. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 69–70
  40. ^ Baker 1972, pp. 15–18
  41. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 126
  42. ^ Baker 1972, p. 34
  43. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 127
  44. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 159–160
  45. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 119
  46. ^ Baker 1972, pp. 33–34
  47. ^ Baker 1972, p. 34
  48. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 328
  49. ^ a b Baker 1972, p. 44
  50. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 189
  51. ^ Baker 1972, p. 43
  52. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 333
  53. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 338
  54. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 340
  55. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 172
  56. ^ a b Mellow 1992, p. 294
  57. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 174
  58. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 348–353
  59. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 195
  60. ^ Robinson, Daniel (2005). ""My True Occupation is That of a Writer:Hemingway's passport correspondence". The Hemingway Review. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  61. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 204
  62. ^ a b Meyers 1985, p. 208
  63. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 367
  64. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 215
  65. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 378
  66. ^ Baker 1972, pp. 96–98
  67. ^ a b Oliver, p. 144
  68. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 222–227
  69. ^ Mellow 1992
  70. ^ Mellow 1985, p. 402
  71. ^ a b Desnoyers, p. 9
  72. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 337–340
  73. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 280
  74. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 292
  75. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 488
  76. ^ Koch 2005, p. 87
  77. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 311
  78. ^ Koch 2005, p. 164
  79. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 298
  80. ^ Koch 2005, p. 134
  81. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 321
  82. ^ Thomas 2001, p. 833
  83. ^ Desnoyers, pp. 10–11
  84. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 342
  85. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 334
  86. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 326
  87. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 335–338
  88. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 356–361
  89. ^ Dugdale, John (2009-07-09). "Hemingway revealed as failed KGB spy". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010–02–08. 
  90. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 398–405
  91. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 408
  92. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 535
  93. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 541
  94. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 411
  95. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 394
  96. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 416
  97. ^ qtd in Mellow 1992, p. 552
  98. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 420–421
  99. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 548–550
  100. ^ a b c Desnoyers, p. 12
  101. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 436
  102. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 552
  103. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 440
  104. ^ Desnoyers, p. 13
  105. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 489
  106. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 505–507
  107. ^ Baker 1972, p. 338
  108. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 509
  109. ^ "Ernest Hemingway The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954 Banquet Speech". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  110. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 512
  111. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 494–495
  112. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 516–519
  113. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 599
  114. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 533
  115. ^ Hotchner, A.E. (2009–07–19). "Don't Touch 'A Movable Feast'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009–09–3. 
  116. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 520
  117. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 542
  118. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 598–600
  119. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 598–601
  120. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 545
  121. ^ Mellow 1992, pp. 597–598
  122. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 543–544
  123. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 551
  124. ^ Reynolds 2000, p. 16
  125. ^ Oliver, pp. 139–149
  126. ^ Burwell 1996, p. 234
  127. ^ Burwell 1996, p. 14
  128. ^ Burwell 1996, p. 189
  129. ^ a b c Fiedler, p. 345–365
  130. ^ a b Stoltzfus
  131. ^ Baker, p. 101-121
  132. ^ Baker, pp. 101–121
  133. ^ "Marital Tragedy". The New York Times. October 31, 1926. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  134. ^ a b Nagel 1996, p. 87
  135. ^ a b McCormick, p. 49
  136. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  137. ^ qtd. in Oliver 1999, p. 322
  138. ^ a b Baker 1972, p. 117
  139. ^ Benson 1989
  140. ^ Oliver 1999, pp. 321–322
  141. ^ Trodd
  142. ^ Benson, p. 309
  143. ^ qtd. in Hoberek, p. 309
  144. ^ Hemingway: Death in the Afternoon, Chapter 1 Excerpt Simon & Schuster Books website. Retrieved 09-03-2010.
  145. ^ McCormick, p. 47
  146. ^ Burwell 1996, p. 187
  147. ^ Starrs, Roy (1998). An Artless Art. The Japan Library. p. 77. ISBN 1–873410–64–6. Retrieved 2010–02–09. 
  148. ^ Oliver 1999, pp. 140–141
  149. ^ Banks, p. 54
  150. ^ Reynolds 2000, p. 15
  151. ^ Benson 1989, p. 347
  152. ^ Benson 1989, p. 349
  153. ^ Lamb, Robert Paul (Winter 1996). "Hemingway and the creation of twentieth-century dialogue – American author Ernest Hemingway" (reprint). Twentieth Century Literature. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  154. ^ Baker, Carlos (1969). Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. pp. 420, 646. ISBN 0-02-001690-5. 
  155. ^ Wanted: One Really Good Page of Really Bad Hemingway Jack Smith. LA Times, March 15, 1993. Retrieved 07-03-2010.
  156. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 307. ISBN 3-540-00238-3. 
  157. ^ Scott catalog # 2418;
  158. ^ Oliver, p. 360
  159. ^ Oliver, p. 142
  160. ^ A Line of Hemingway Furniture, With a Veneer of Taste Jan Hoffman, The New York Times, June 15, 1999. Retrieved 09-03-2010.


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.
And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.

Ernest Hemingway (21 July 18992 July 1961) was an American novelist and short story writer whose works are characterized by terse minimalism and understatement. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.



The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life — and one is as good as the other.
I've been in love (truly) with five women, the Spanish Republic and the 4th Infantry Division
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn...
Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called by the Masai "Ngàje Ngài," the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.
There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention.
I wouldn't kid Our Lord if he was on the cross. But I would attempt a joke with him if I ran into him chasing the money changers out of the temple.
Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.
  • Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo clock style of architecture.
    • The Toronto Star Weekly (4 March 1922)
  • Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.
    • "Trout Fishing in Europe" The Toronto Star Weekly (17 November 1923)
  • A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
    • Letter (6 December 1924); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • The age demanded that we dance
    And jammed us into iron pants.
    And in the end the age was handed
    The sort of shit that it demanded.
    • "The Age Demanded" in Der Querschnitt (February 1925); as quoted in Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation (1983) by Noel Riley Fitch
  • My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.
    • Letter (15 May 1925); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • God knows, people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp-following eunuchs of literature. They won't even whore. They're all virtuous and sterile. And how well meaning and high minded. But they're all camp-followers.
    • Letter to Sherwood Anderson (23 May 1925); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • I wonder what your idea of heaven would be — A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists. All powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death. And hell would probably an ugly vacuum full of poor polygamists unable to obtain booze or with chronic stomach disorders that they called secret sorrows.
  • To me a heaven would be a big bull ring with me holding two barrera seats and a trout stream outside that no one else was allowed to fish in and two lovely houses in the town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on 9 different floors and one house would be fitted up with special copies of the Dial printed on soft tissue and kept in the toilets on every floor and in the other house we would use the American Mercury and the New Republic.
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1 July 1925)
  • Write me at the Hotel Quintana, Pamplona, Spain. Or don't you like to write letters. I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1 July 1925)
  • I've tried to reduce profanity but I reduced so much profanity when writing the book that I'm afraid not much could come out. Perhaps we will have to consider it simply as a profane book and hope that the next book will be less profane or perhaps more sacred.
    • About his book, The Sun Also Rises in a letter (21 August 1926); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • In the fall the war was always there but we did not go to it any more.
    • "In Another Country" in Men Without Women (1927).
  • Well, Fitz, I looked all through that bible, it was in very fine print and stumbling on that great book Ecclesiastics, read it aloud to all who would listen. Soon I was alone and began cursing the bloody bible because there were no titles in it — although I found the source of practically every good title you ever heard of. But the boys, principally Kipling, had been there before me and swiped all the good ones so I called the book Men Without Women hoping it would have a large sale among the fairies and old Vassar Girls.
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (15 September 1927); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life — and one is as good as the other.
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (4 September 1929); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as The Artist's Reward.
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (13 September 1929); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Grace under pressure
    • Hemingway's definition of "guts" as recounted by Dorothy Parker in the New Yorker (30 November 1929)
  • Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones.
    • Letter (5-6 January 1932); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.
    • Nick Adams of "Fathers and Sons" in Winner Take Nothing (1932)
  • Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.
    • The old waiter of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" in Winner Take Nothing (1932)
  • That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best — make it all up — but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.
    • Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (28 May 1934); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Here is the piece. If you can't say fornicate can you say copulate or if not that can you say co-habit? If not that would have to say consummate I suppose. Use your own good taste and judgment.
    • Letter to Esquire editor Arnold Gingrich (11 April 1935); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Don't you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle. I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? When you are cold and wet what else can warm you? Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does?... The only time it isn't good for you is when you write or when you fight. You have to do that cold. But it always helps my shooting. Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.
    • Postscript to letter to critic, poet and translator Ivan Kashkin (19 August 1935); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn... American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
    • Green Hills of Africa (1935) ch. 1
  • I've seen a lot of patriots and they all died just like anybody else if it hurt bad enough and once they were dead their patriotism was only good for legends; it was bad for their prose and made them write bad poetry. If you are going to be a great patriot, i.e., loyal to any existing order of government (not one who wishes to destroy the existing for something better), you want to be killed early if your life and works won't stink.
    • Letter (12 January 1936); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called by the Masai "Ngàje Ngài," the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.
    • "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," first published in Esquire (August 1936); later published in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938)
  • However you make your living is where your talent lies.
    • "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," first published in Esquire (August 1936); later published in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938)
  • The rich were dull and they drank too much or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor Julian and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, "The very rich are different from you and me." And how someone had said to Julian, "Yes, they have more money."
    • "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," first published in Esquire (August 1936); later published in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Originally in Esquire "Julian" was named as F. Scott Fitzgerald, who, in "The Rich Boy" (1926) had written: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand..." Fitzgerald responded to this in a letter (August 1936) to Hemingway saying: "Riches have never fascinated me, unless combined with the greatest charm or distinction."
  • Ezra was right half the time, and when he was wrong, he was so wrong you were never in any doubt about it.
    • On Ezra Pound, as quoted in The New Republic (11 November 1936)
  • There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention.
    • Preface to The Great Crusade (1940) by Gustav Regler
  • I don't like to write like God. It is only because you never do it, though, that the critics think you can't do it.
    • Letter (26 August 1940); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.
    • Introduction to Men at War (1942)
  • In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but unused.
    • Preface to The First Forty-Nine Stories (1944)
  • All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.
    • Letter (9 April 1945); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
    • Letter (23 July 1945); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • You see it's awfully hard to talk or write about your own stuff because if it is any good you yourself know about how good it is — but if you say so yourself you feel like a shit.
    • Letter to Malcolm Cowley (17 October 1945); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Do you remember how old Ford was always writing how Conrad suffered so when he wrote? How it was un metier de chien etc. Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked out afterwards. But never feel as good as while writing.
    • Letter to Malcolm Cowley (14 November 1945); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • It's enough for you to do it once for a few men to remember you. But if you do it year after year, then many people remember you and they tell it to their children, and their children and grandchildren remember and, if it concerns books, they can read them. And if it's good enough, it will last as long as there are human beings.
    • As quoted in "Portrait of Mr. Papa" by Malcolm Cowley in LIFE magazine (10 January 1949)
  • Scott took LITERATURE so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start.
    • Letter to Arthur Mizener (12 May 1950); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • I started out very quiet and I beat Mr. Turgenev. Then I trained hard and I beat Mr. de Maupassant. I’ve fought two draws with Mr. Stendhal, and I think I had an edge in the last one. But nobody’s going to get me in any ring with Mr. Tolstoy unless I’m crazy or I keep getting better.
    • Source: quoted in Lillian Ross's profile of Hemingway, which first appeared in the The New Yorker (13 May 1950). The profile was later published as a short book titled Portrait of Hemingway (1961). Variant:
      I started out very quiet and I beat Turgenev. Then I trained hard and I beat de Maupassant. I've fought two draws with Stendhal, and I think I had an edge in the last one. But nobody's going to get me in any ring with Tolstoy unless I'm crazy or I keep getting better.
  • Wars are Spinach. Life in general is the tough part. In war all you have to do is not worry and know how to read a map and co-ordinates.
  • Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
    • Letter (9 July 1950); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • I am opposed to writing about the private lives of living authors and psychoanalyzing them while they are alive. Criticism is getting all mixed up with a combination of the Junior F.B.I.-men, discards from Freud and Jung and a sort of Columnist peep-hole and missing laundry list school.... Every young English professor sees gold in them dirty sheets now. Imagine what they can do with the soiled sheets of four legal beds by the same writer and you can see why their tongues are slavering.
    • Letter (21 February 1952); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.
    • Letter (21 February 1952); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • You know lots of criticism is written by characters who are very academic and think it is a sign you are worthless if you make jokes or kid or even clown. I wouldn't kid Our Lord if he was on the cross. But I would attempt a joke with him if I ran into him chasing the money changers out of the temple.
    • Letter (21 June 1952); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Then there is the other secret. There isn't any symbolysm [sic]. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.
    • Letter to Bernard Berenson (13 September 1952); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Having books published is very destructive to writing. It is even worse than making love too much. Because when you make love too much at least you get a damned clarte that is like no other light. A very clear and hollow light.
    • Letter to Bernard Berenson (2 October 1952); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Actually if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it. There are only certain words which are valid and similies (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time).
    • Letter (20 March 1953); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • You know that fiction, prose rather, is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing. You do not have the reference, the old important reference. You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true. You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it.
    • Letter to Bernard Berenson (24 September 1954); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • As a Nobel Prize winner I cannot but regret that the award was never given to Mark Twain, nor to Henry James, speaking only of my own countrymen. Greater writers than these also did not receive the prize. I would have been happy — happier — today if the prize had been given to that beautiful writer Isak Dinesen.
    • As quoted in The New York Times Book Review (7 November 1954)
  • I wish I could write well enough to write about aircraft. Faulkner did it very well in Pylon but you cannot do something someone else has done though you might have done it if they hadn't.
    • Letter (3 July 1956); published in Ernest Hemingway : Selected Letters 1917-1961 (1981) edited by Carlos Baker
  • Pound's crazy. All poets are.... They have to be. You don't put a poet like Pound in the loony bin. For history's sake we shouldn't keep him there.
    • As quoted in The New York Post (24 January 1957)
  • It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them. ... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
    • White, William, ed (1967). By-Line, Ernest Hemingway: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades by Ernest Hemingway. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 364.  
  • We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
    • New York Journal-American (11 July 1961)
  • Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it — don't cheat with it.
    • Letter to F Scott Fitzgerald, as quoted in Scott Fitzgerald (1962) by Andrew Turnbull (1962) Ch. 14
  • If you have a success, you have it for the wrong reasons. If you become popular it is always because of the worst aspects of your work.
    • As quoted in That Summer in Paris (1963) by Morley Callaghan
  • I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
    • As quoted in Reporting (1964) by Lillian Ross
  • If a writer … knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows…. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
    • As quoted in A Second Flowering (1973) by Malcolm Cowley
  • When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.
    • As quoted in Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Co. (1974) by James Mellow
  • You make your own luck, Gig. You know what makes a good loser? Practice.
    • Speaking to his son Gregory, as quoted in Papa, a Personal Memoir (1976) Gregory H. Hemingway
  • It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.
    • On the loss of a suitcase containing work from his first two years as a writer, as quoted in With Hemingway (1984) by Arnold Samuelson
  • You're beautiful, like a May fly.
    • Statement to his future wife Mary Welsh, recalled in her obituaries (26 November 1986)

The Sun Also Rises (1926)

  • You know it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch. It's sort of what we have instead of God.
  • A bottle of wine was good company.
  • All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault.
  • This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don't want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.
    • Count Mippipopolous, in Book 1, Ch. 7
  • You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.
    • Bill Gorton to Jake Barnes, in Book. 2, Ch. 12

A Farewell to Arms (1929)

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
  • I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success.
    • Ch. 15
  • I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.
    • Ch. 27 (1929).
  • The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
    • Ch. 34
  • "You're my religion; you're all I've got."

Death in the Afternoon (1932)

All our words from loose using have lost their edge.
The great artist goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.
There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring.
  • About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
    • Ch. 1 (1932).
  • All our words from loose using have lost their edge.
    • Ch. 7
  • Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts.
    • Ch. 7
  • Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter's honor.
    • Ch. 9
  • Honor to a Spaniard, no matter how dishonest, is as real a thing as water, wine, or olive oil. There is honor among pickpockets and honor among whores. It is simply that the standards differ.
    • Ch. 9
  • The individual, the great artist when he comes, uses everything that has been discovered or known about his art up to that point, being able to accept or reject in a time so short it seems that the knowledge was born with him, rather than that he takes instantly what it takes the ordinary man a lifetime to know, and then the great artist goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.
    • Ch. 10
  • There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.
    • Ch. 11
  • Madame, it is an old word and each one takes it new and wears it out himself. It is a word that fills with meaning as a bladder with air and the meaning goes out of it as quickly. It may be punctured as a bladder is punctured and patched and blown up again and if you have not had it it does not exist for you. All people talk of it, but those who have had it are marked by it, and I would not wish to speak of it further since of all things it is the most ridiculous to talk of and only fools go through it many times.
    • Ch. 11
  • Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
    • Ch. 11
  • Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.
    • Ch. 16
  • A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
    • Ch. 16
  • When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
    • Ch. 16
  • There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man's life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.
    • Ch. 16

A Letter from Cuba (1934)

"Old Newsman Writes : A Letter from Cuba" in Esquire (December 1934)
The hardest thing to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write.
  • All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.
  • The hardest thing to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn, and anybody is cheating who takes politics as a way out. All the outs are too easy, and the thing itself is too hard to do.
  • Now a writer can make himself a nice career while he is alive by espousing a political cause, working for it, making a profession of believing in it, and if it wins he will be very well placed. All politics is a matter of working hard without reward, or with a living wage for a time, in the hope of booty later. A man can be a Fascist or a Communist and if his outfit gets in he can get to be an ambassador or have a million copies of his books printed by the Government or any of the other rewards the boys dream about.
  • Personal columnists ... are jackals and no jackal has been known to live on grass once he had learned about meat — no matter who killed the meat for him.
  • If the book is good, is about something that you know, and is truly written, and reading it over you see that this is so, you can let the boys yip and the noise will have that pleasant sound coyotes make on a very cold night when they are out in the snow and you are in your own cabin that you have built or paid for with your work.
  • All the critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure and general drying up of natural juices. Not a one will wish you luck or hope that you will keep on writing unless you have political affiliations in which case these will rally around and speak of you and Homer, Balzac, Zola and Link Steffens.

Notes on the Next War (1935)

"Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter" first published in Esquire (September 1935)
In modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.
No catalogue of horrors ever kept men from war. Before the war you always think that it's not you that dies. But you will die, brother, if you go to it long enough.
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin.
  • War is no longer made by simply analysed economic forces if it ever was. War is made or planned now by individual men, demagogues and dictators who play on the patriotism of their people to mislead them into a belief in the great fallacy of war when all their vaunted reforms have failed to satisfy the people they misrule.
  • We in America should see that no man is ever given, no matter how gradually or how noble and excellent the man, the power to put this country into a war which is now being prepared and brought closer each day with all the pre-meditation of a long planned murder. For when you give power to an executive you do not know who will be filling that position when the time of crisis comes.
  • They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.
    • Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Sweet and glorious it is to die for our country. ~ Horace in Odes, Book 3, Ode 2, Line 13, as translated in The Works of Horace by J. C. Elgood
  • Hit in the head you will die quickly and cleanly even sweetly and fittingly except for the white blinding flash that never stops, unless perhaps it is only the frontal bone or your optic nerve that is smashed, or your jaw carried away, or your nose and cheek bones gone so you can still think but you have no face to talk with. But if you are not hit in the head you will be hit in the chest, and choke in it, or in the lower belly, and feel it all slip and slide loosely as you open, to spill out when you try to get up, it's not supposed to be so painful but they always scream with it, it's the idea I suppose, or have the flash, the slamming clang of high explosive on a hard road and find your legs are gone above the knee, or maybe just a foot gone and watch the white bone sticking through your puttee, or watch them take a boot off with your foot a mush inside it, or feel an arm flop and learn how a bone feels grating, or you will burn, choke and vomit, or be blown to hell a dozen ways, without sweetness or fittingness: but none of this means anything. No catalogue of horrors ever kept men from war. Before the war you always think that it's not you that dies. But you will die, brother, if you go to it long enough.
  • The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

The title of this work comes from "Meditation XVII" by John Donne
  • I am no romantic glorifier of the Spanish woman, nor did I ever think of a casual piece as anything much other than a casual piece in any country. But when I am with Maria I love her so that I feel, literally. as though I would die and I never believed in that or thought that it could happen.
    • Ch. 13
  • What a business. You go along your whole life and they seem as though they mean something and they always end up not meaning anything. There was never any of what this is. You think that is one thing you will never have. And then, on a lousy show like this, co-ordinating two chicken-crut guerilla bands to help you blow a bridge under impossible conditions, to abort a counter-offensive that will probably already be started, you run into a girl like this Maria.
    • Ch. 13
  • 'But are there not many Fascists in your country?' 'There are many who do not know they are Fascists, but will find it out when the time comes'.
  • He was just a coward and that was the worst luck any man could have.
    • Ch. 30
  • If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.
    • Ch 43
  • There's no one thing that's true. It's all true.
    • Ch 43
  • For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up and into nowhere, suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.
    • Ch. 13
  • If every one said orders were impossible to carry out when they were received where would you be? Where would we all be if you just said, "Impossible," when orders came?
  • Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today. It's been that way all this year. It's been that way so many times. All of war is that way.
  • That tomorrow should come and that I should be there.

The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

  • “Age is my alarm clock,” the old man said. “Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”

“I don’t know,” the boy said. “All I know is that young boys sleep late and hard.”

  • He always thought of the sea as la mar, which is what people call her in spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her, but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fisherman, those who used buoys as floats for their lines or had motorboats bought when the shark lovers had much money, spoke of her as el mar, which is masculine, they spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. The old man always thought of her as feminine, as something that gave or withheld great favors. If she did wild or wicked things, it is because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.
  • Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Nobel Prize Speech (1954)

Delivered from Hemingway's notes by US Ambassador John C. Cabot (10 December 1954) Full text online
Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.
  • No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.
  • Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten. Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.
  • How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
  • A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it.

Paris Review interview (1958)

Interviewed by George Plimpton Paris Review Issue 18 (Spring 1958); later published in Writers at Work, Second Series (1963)
  • You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.
  • I might say that what amateurs call a style is usually only the unavoidable awkwardnesses in first trying to make something that has not heretofore been made.
  • From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows?
  • The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.
  • Survival, with honor, that outmoded and all-important word, is as difficult as ever and as all-important to a writer. Those who do not last are always more beloved since no one has to see them in their long, dull, unrelenting, no-quarter-given-and-no- quarter-received, fights that they make to do something as they believe it should be done before they die. Those who die or quit early and easy and with every good reason are preferred because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-disguised cowardice are more human and more beloved.
  • All you can be sure about in a political-minded writer is that if his work should last you will have to skip the politics when you read it. Many of the so-called politically enlisted writers change their politics frequently... Perhaps it can be respected as a form of the pursuit of happiness.

A Moveable Feast (1964)

  • "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."
  • If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
    • Epigraph
  • The only thing that could spoil a day was people.... People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
    • Ch. 6
  • They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.
    • Ch. 11
  • Some people show evil as a great racehorse shows breeding. They have the dignity of a hard chancre.
    • Ch. 12
  • I do not think I had ever seen a nastier-looking man.... Under the black hat, when I had first seen them, the eyes had been those of an unsuccessful rapist.
    • Ch. 12
  • All things truly wicked start from an innocence.
    • Ch 17; Variant: All things truly wicked start from innocence.
      • As quoted by R Z Sheppard in review of The Garden of Eden (1986) TIME (26 May 1986)
  • His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.
  • As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank the cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and make plans.

Papa Hemingway (1966)

Quotations of Hemingway from the book by A.E. Hotchner (1966 edition)
  • One battle doesn't make a campaign but critics treat one book, good or bad, like a whole goddamn war.
  • All good books have one thing in common — they are truer than if they had really happened.
    • Similar to his remark in "A Letter from Cuba" (1934)
  • Never confuse movement with action.
    • As quoted by Marlene Dietrich, who added "In those five words he gave me a whole philosophy." Pt. 1, Ch. 1
  • Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3
  • Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.
    • On being informed that Faulkner had said that Hemingway "had never been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary." Pt. 1, Ch. 4
  • The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. Parodies are what you write when you are associate editor of the Harvard Lampoon. The greater the work of literature, the easier the parody. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above the urinal.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 4
  • Only one marriage I regret. I remember after I got that marriage license I went across from the license bureau to a bar for a drink. The bartender said, "What will you have, sir?" And I said, "A glass of hemlock."
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 5
  • To be a successful father ... there's one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don't look at it for the first two years.
    • Pt. 2, Ch. 5
  • You write a book like that that you're fond of over the years, then you see that happen to it, it's like pissing in your father's beer.
    • Statement after seeing David O. Selznick's remake of A Farewell to Arms (1957).

Islands in the Stream (1970)

  • The house was built on the highest part of the narrow tongue of land between the harbor and the open sea. It had lasted through three hurricanes and it was built solid as a ship. It was shaded by tall coconut palms that were bent by the trade wind and on the ocean side you could walk out of the door and down the bluff across the white sand and into the Gulf Stream. The water of the Stream was usually a dark blue when you looked out at it when there was no wind. But when you walked out into it there was just the green light of the water over that floury white sand and you could see the shadow of any big fish a long time before he could ever come in close to the beach. It was a safe and fine place to bathe in the day but it was no place to swim at night. At night the sharks came in close to the beach, hunting at the edge of the Stream, and from the upper porch of the house on quiet nights you could hear the splashing of the fish they hunted and if you went down to the beach you could see the phosphorescent wakes they made in the water. At night the sharks had no fear and everything else feared them. But in the day they stayed out away from the clear white sand and if they did come in you could see their shadows a long way away.

Quotes about Ernest Hemingway

  • I wonder now what Ernest Hemmingway's dictionary looked like, since he got along so well with dinky words that everybody can spell and truly understand.
    • Kurt Vonnegut, "The Random House Dictionary" (book review) in The New York Times. Reprinted as "New Dictionary" in Welcome to the Monkey House.

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Simple English


Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 - July 2, 1961) was an American writer, generally considered to be a member of the Lost Generation. Some people say that, of the many people he created in his books, the author himself was his own best creation.


Hemingway's early life

Very early days

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899. He grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, near the middle western city of Chicago. He was the second child in a family of six. His father was a doctor. His mother liked to paint and play the piano.

Each summer, the family travelled to their holiday home in northern Michigan. Ernest's father taught him how to catch fish, hunt, set up a camp, and cook over a fire.

At home in Oak Park, Ernest wrote for his school newspaper. He tried to write like a famous sports writer, Ring Lardner, and he made his writing skills better.

Start as a news reporter

In 1917, Hemingway decided not to go to a university. The United States had just entered World War I and he wanted to join the Army, but they rejected him because his eyesight was not good enough.

Ernest found a job with the Kansas City Star newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri. He reported news that happened at the hospital, police headquarters, and the railroad station. One reporter said: "Hemingway liked to be where the action was."

The Kansas City Star told its reporters to write short sentences, and to report unusual details of an incident. Hemingway quickly learned to do both.

His life outside of America

Hemingway worked for the newspaper for nine months. He then joined the Red Cross to help on the battle fields of Europe. His job was to drive an ambulance and to take wounded soldiers off the battlefield.

The Red Cross sent him to Italy. There, he soon saw the first wounded. This was when a weapons factory in Milan exploded. Later, he was sent to the battle front. He went close to the fighting to see how he could act in the face of danger. Soon, he was seriously wounded.

Soon after healing, the war ended. Hemingway returned to the United States. After less than a year he had changed forever: he needed to write about what he had seen.

Gone to Chicago

Some time later, Hemingway left home for Chicago to prove to himself, and to his family, that he could earn a living from his writing.

But he ran out of money and began to write for a newspaper again. The Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, loved his reportsin life life life life in Chicago. They hired him and paid him well.

In Chicago, Hemingway met Sherwood Anderson. Anderson was one of the first American writers to write about common people. Hemingway saw that Anderson's stories showed life as it really was. This was similar to what he wanted to do.

Anderson gave Hemingway advice about his writing. He told Hemingway to move to Paris. Life was less costly there. He said that city had many young artists and writers from many nations.

In return for Anderson's kindness, Hemingway wrote a book called The Torrents of Spring. It makes fun of his friend and the way he wrote. Hemingway felt he could not say "thank you" to anyone. He had to believe he did everything for himself, even when he knew others helped him.

In Paris

Hemingway decided to move to Paris. Before he did, in America, he married a woman he had recently met. Her name was Hadley Richardson.

Paris was cold and grey when Hemingway and his new wife arrived in 1921. They lived in one of the poorer parts of the city. Their rooms were small and they did not have water from pipes. But the Toronto Star employed him as its European reporter, so they had enough money for the two of them to live. That job gave Hemingway time to write his stories.

Hemingway enjoyed exploring Paris, learning French customs, and meeting friends. Some of these new friends were artists and writers who had come to the city in the 1920s. Among them were poet, Ezra Pound, and writers Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Seeing that Hemingway was a good writer, they helped him publish his stories in the United States. He was thankful for their support at the time, but later denied that he had received their help.

Hemingway travelled all over Europe. He wrote about politics, peace conferences, and border disputes, as well as sports, skiing, and fishing. Later he would write about bullfighting in Spain. The Toronto Star was pleased with his work, and wanted more of his reports, but Hemingway was busy with his own writing.

He said this: "Sometimes, I would start a new story and could not get it going. Then I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think. I would say to myself: 'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.' So finally, I would write a true sentence and go on from there. It was a wonderful feeling when I had worked well."

His first success in 1925

Hemingway's first book of small stories was called In Our Time. One of its stories, "Big Two Hearted River," told of the effects of war on a young man who was taking a long fishing trip in Michigan. Hemingway had learned from his father, when he was a boy, about living in the wild.

The story is about two kinds of rivers. One is calm and clear, and is where the young man fishes. The other is a dark, threatening swamp.

The story shows its main character trying to forget his past, as well as the war. He does not talk much about the war. The reader learns about the young man, not because Hemingway tells his readers what the man thinks, but because he shows that man learning about himself.

One of the best modern American stories, it is often published in collections of best writing.

After the book was published in 1925, Hadley and Hemingway returned to the United States for the birth of their son, after which they quickly returned to Paris.

A book: The Sun Also Rises

Hemingway was working on a long story. He wanted to publish a novel so he would be recognized as a serious writer. And he wanted the money a novel would earn.

The novel was called The Sun Also Rises. It is about young Americans in Europe after World War One. The war had destroyed their dreams and had given them nothing to replace those dreams. The writer Gertrude Stein later called these people members of "The Lost Generation. "

The book was an immediate success. At the age of 25 Ernest Hemingway was famous.

Many people, however, did not like Hemingway's art because they did not like what he wrote about.

Hemingway's sentences were short, the way he had been taught to write at the Kansas city star newspaper. He wrote about what he knew and felt. He used few descriptive words. His statements were clear and easily understood.

He had learned from earlier writers, like Ring Lardner and Sherwood Anderson, but Hemingway brought something new to his writing. He was able to paint in words what he saw and felt. In later books, sometimes he missed. Sometimes he even looked foolish. But when he was right he was almost perfect.

Marriage with Pauline Pfeiffer

File:Hemingway's writing desk in Key
Hemingway's desk, the table he used for writing, at his home in Key West, Florida

With the success of his novel, Hemingway became even more popular in Paris. Many people came to see him. One was an American woman, Pauline Pfeiffer. She became Hadley's friend. Then Pauline fell in love with Hemingway.

Hemingway and Pauline saw each other secretly. One time, they went away together on a short trip. Years later, Hemingway wrote about returning home after that trip:

"When I saw Hadley again, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her. She was smiling and the sun was on her lovely face. "

But the marriage was over. Ernest Hemingway and Hadley separated. She kept their son. He agreed to give her money he earned from his books.

In later years, he looked back at his marriage to Hadley as the happiest time of his life.

At twenty-five, Hemingway was living in Paris. He was a famous writer. But the end of his first marriage made him want to leave the place where he had first become famous.

Much later he said, "the city was never to be the same again. When I returned to it, I found it had changed as I had changed. Paris was never the same as when I was poor and very happy."

Hemingway and his new wife returned to the United States in 1928. They settled in Key West, an island with a fishing port near the southern coast of Florida.

His well-known books

Before leaving Paris, Hemingway sent a collection of his stories to New York to be published. The book of stories, called Men Without Women, was published soon after Hemingway arrived in Key West.

The Killers

One of the stories was called "The Killers." In it, Hemingway used a discussion between two men to create a feeling of tension and coming violence. This was a new method of telling a story:

Nick opened the thingy and went into the room. Ole Andreson was lying on the bed with all his clothes on. He had been a heavyweight prizefighter and he was too long for the bed. He lay with his head on two pillows. He did not look at Nick.

"What was it?" He asked.

"I was up at Henry's," Nick said, "and two fellows came in and tied me up and the cook, and they said they were going to kill you."

It sounded silly when he said it. Ole Andreson said nothing, "they put us out in the kitchen," Nick went on. "They were going to shoot you when you came in to supper."

Ole Andreson looked at the wall and did not say anything. "George thought I ought to come and tell you about it."

"There is not anything I can do about it," Ole Andreson said.

Any new book by Hemingway was an important event for readers. But stories like "The Killers" shocked many people. Some thought there was too much violence in his stories. Others said he only wrote about gunmen, soldiers, fighters, and drinkers.

This made Hemingway angry. He felt that writers should not be judged by those who could not write a story.

Hemingway was happy in Key West. In the morning he wrote, in the afternoon he fished, and at night he went to a public house and drank. One old fisherman said: "Hemingway was a man who talked slowly and very carefully. He asked a lot of questions. And he always wanted to get his information exactly right."

A Farewell to Arms

Hemingway and his wife Pauline had a child in Key West.

Soon afterwards, he heard that his father had killed himself. Hemingway was shocked. He said, "My father taught me so much. He was the only one I really cared about."

When Hemingway returned to work there was a sadness about his writing that was not there before.

His new book told about an American soldier who served with the Italian army during World War One. He meets an English nurse, and they fall in love. They flee from the army, but she dies during childbirth. Some of the events are taken from Hemingway's service in Italy. The book is called A Farewell to Arms.

Part of the book talks about the defeat of the Italian army at a place called Caporetto:

"At noon we were stuck in a muddy road about as nearly as we could figure, ten kilometres from Udine. The rain had stopped during the forenoon and three times we had heard planes coming, seen them pass overhead, watched them go far to the left and heard them bombing on the main highroad. . . .

"Later we were on a road that led to a river. There was a long line of abandoned trucks and carts on a road leading up to a bridge. No one was in sight. The river was high and the bridge had been blown up in the center; the stone arch was fallen into the river and the brown water was going over it. We went up the bank looking for a place to cross. . . . we did not see any troops; only abandoned trucks and stores. Along the river bank was nothing and no one but the wet brush and muddy ground. "

Death in the Afternoon

A Farewell to Arms was very successful. It earned Hemingway a great deal of money. It permitted him to travel.

One place he visited was Spain, a country he loved. He said, "I want to paint with words all the sights and sounds and smells of Spain. And if I can write any of it down truly, then it will represent all of Spain."

He wrote a book called Death in the Afternoon. It describes the Spanish custom of bull fighting. Hemingway believed that bull fighting was an art, just as much as writing was an art. And he believed it was a true test of a man's bravery, something that always concerned him.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Hemingway also travelled to Africa. He had been asked to write a series of reports about African hunting. He said, "Hunting in Africa is the kind of hunting I like. No riding in cars, just simple walking and feeling the grass under my feet."

The trip to Africa resulted in a book called The Green Hills of Africa and many smaller stories.

One story is one of Hemingway's best. The story, called The Snows of Kilimanjaro, tells of Hemingway's fears about himself. It is about a writer who betrays his art for money and is unable to remain true to himself.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

In 1936, the Civil War in Spain gave him a chance to return to Spain and test his bravery again. He agreed to write about the war for an American news organization.

It was a dangerous job. One day, Hemingway and two other reporters were driving a car near a battlefield. The car carried two white flags to show they were not fighting. But rebel gunners thought the car was carrying enemy officers. Hemingway was almost killed. Later he said that "bullets are all the same. If they do not hit you, there is no story. If they do hit you, then you do not have to write it. "

The trip to Spain resulted in two works: a play called The Fifth Column, and a novel called For Whom the Bell Tolls. The novel tells the story of an American who has chosen to fight against the fascists. He realizes that there are lies and injustice on his side. But he sees no hope except the victory of his side. During the fighting, he escapes his fear of death and of being alone. He decides that "he can live as full a life in seventy hours as in seventy years."

Later days and his married life

File:Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway in 1950

The book was a great success. Hemingway enjoyed being famous. His second marriage was ending. He divorced Pauline and married reporter Martha Gellhorn. He had met her while they were working in Spain. They decided to live in Cuba, near the city of Havana. Their house looked out over the Caribbean Sea.

But this marriage did not last long. Hemingway was changing. He began to feel that whatever he said was right. Martha went on long trips to be away from him. He drank heavily to forget his loneliness.

When America entered World War Two, Hemingway went to Britain as a reporter. Later he took part in the invasion of Europe and the freeing of Paris.

During the war, Hemingway met another reporter, Mary Walsh. In 1945, when his marriage to Martha was legally over, he married Mary.

After the war, Hemingway began work on his last important book, The Old Man and the Sea. It is the story of a Cuban fisherman who refuses to be defeated by nature.

Hemingway said, "I was trying to show the experience of the fisherman so exactly and directly that it became part of the reader's experience."

In 1954, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But he was too sick to take part in the ceremony.

Ernest Hemingway was 60 years old, but he said he felt like he was 86. Even worse, he felt that he no longer was able to write. He seemed to be living the story about the writer who had sold his writing skill in order to make money.

In 1961, Ernest Hemingway killed himself. Among the papers he left was one that described what he liked best:

"To stay in places and to leave. . . to trust, to distrust. . . to no longer believe and believe again. . . to watch the changes in the seasons. . . to be out in boats. . . to watch the snow come, to watch it go. . . to hear the rain. . . And to know where I can find what I want."

Ernest Hemingway owned many cats, especially cats with extra toes. Today these cats are sometimes called Hemingway cats in his honor. His house in Key West, Florida is now a home for his cats and their kittens.

The article above is a rewriting of public domain material, provided by Voice of America Special English Website.

mrj:Хемингуэй, Эрнест Миллер

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