Hemingway, Ernest (Miller)

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HEMINGWAY, Ernest (Miller)

Nationality: American. Born: Oak Park, Illinois, 21 July 1899. Education: Oak Park High School, graduated 1917. Military Service: Served as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy, 1918; also served on the western front with the Italian Arditi (wounded in action: Medaglia d'Argento al Valore Militare; Croce de Guerra); involved in antisubmarine patrol duty off the coast of Cuba, 1942-44. Family: Married 1) Hadley Richardson in 1921 (divorced 1927), one son; 2) Pauline Pfeiffer in 1927 (divorced 1940), two sons; 3) the writer Martha Gellhorn in 1940 (divorced 1946); 4) Mary Welsh in 1946. Career: Reporter, Kansas City Star, 1917; reporter, then foreign correspondent, Toronto Star and Star Weekly, 1920-23: covered the Greco-Turkish War, 1922; moved to Paris, 1921, and became associated with the expatriate community, including Gertrude Stein, q.v., and Ezra Pound; correspondent in Paris for Hearst newspapers, 1924-27; settled in Key West, Florida, 1928; moved to Cuba, 1940, and to Idaho, 1958. War correspondent for North American Newspaper Alliance, in Spain, 1937-38, and for Collier's in Europe, 1944-45. Awards: Bancarella prize (Italy), 1953; Pulitzer Prize, 1953; Nobel Prize for literature, 1954; American Academy award of merit medal, 1954. Died: 2 July 1961 (suicide).



A Hemingway Selection, edited by Dennis Pepper. 1972.

The Enduring Hemingway, edited by Charles Scribner, Jr. 1974.

88 Poems, edited by Nicholas Gerogiannis. 1979; as Complete Poems, 1983.

The Complete Short Stories, edited by Finta Vigia. 1987.

The Collected Stories (Campbell Publishers ). 1995.

The Short Stories (Scribner Classics) . 1995.

Short Stories

Three Stories and Ten Poems. 1923.

In Our Time (sketches). 1924.

In Our Time: Stories. 1925; revised edition, 1930.

Men Without Women. 1927.

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen. 1933.

Winner Take Nothing. 1933.

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (includes play). 1938.

The Portable Hemingway, edited by Malcolm Cowley. 1944.

The Essential Hemingway. 1947.

The Old Man and the Sea. 1952.

Hemingway in Michigan, edited by Constance Cappel Montgomery. 1966.

The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War. 1969.

The Nick Adams Stories, edited by Philip Young. 1972.


The Torrents of Spring: A Romantic Novel in Honor of the Passing of a Great Race. 1926.

The Sun Also Rises. 1926; as Fiesta, 1927.

A Farewell to Arms. 1929.

To Have and Have Not. 1937.

For Whom the Bell Tolls. 1940.

Across the River and into the Trees. 1950.

Islands in the Stream. 1970.

A Divine Gesture: A Fable. 1974.

The Garden of Eden. 1986.


Today Is Friday. 1926.

The Spanish Earth (screenplay). 1938.

The Fifth Column (produced 1940). In The Fifth Column…, 1938.

Screenplays (documentaries): Spain in Flames, with others, 1937;The Spanish Earth, 1937.


Collected Poems. 1960.


Death in the Afternoon. 1932.

Green Hills of Africa. 1935.

The Hemingway Reader, edited by Charles Poore. 1953.

Hemingway: The Wild Years (newspaper articles), edited by GeneZ. Hanrahan. 1962.

A Moveable Feast (autobiography). 1964.

By-Line: Hemingway, Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades, edited by William White. 1967.

Hemingway: Cub Reporter: "Kansas City Star" Stories, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli. 1970.

The Faithful Bull (for children). 1980.

Selected Letters 1917-1961, edited by Carlos Baker. 1981.

Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. 1984.

The Dangerous Summer. 1985.

Dateline: Toronto: The Complete Toronto Star Dispatches 1920 to 1924, edited by William White. 1985.

Conversations with Hemingway (interviews), edited by Bruccoli, 1986.

The Only Thing That Counts: The Ernest Hemingway/Maxwell Perkins Correspondence, 1925-1947. 1996.

Editor, Men at War: The Best War Stories of All Time. 1942.



Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography by Audre Hanneman, 1967, supplement, 1975; Hemingway: A Reference Guide by Linda W. Wagner, 1977.

Critical Studies:

Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, 1952, revised edition, 1972, and Hemingway: A Life Story, 1969, both by Carlos Baker, and Hemingway and His Critics: An International Anthology edited by Baker, 1961; Hemingway by Philip Young, 1952, revised edition, as Hemingway: A Reconsideration, 1966; Hemingway by Stewart F. Sanderson, 1961; Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Robert P. Weeks, 1962; Hemingway by Earl Rovit, 1963; The Hero in Hemingway's Short Stories by Joseph DeFalco, 1963; Hemingway: An Introduction and Interpretation by Sheridan Baker, 1967; Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism by Leo Gurko, 1968; Hemingway's Nonfiction: The Public Voice by Robert O. Stephens, 1968, and Hemingway: The Critical Reception edited by Stephens, 1977; "Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" by Gary D. Elliott, in Explicator 35, 1977; Hemingway: The Inward Terrain by Richard B. Hovey, 1968; Hemingway's Heroes by Delbert E. Wylder, 1969; Hemingway: The Writer's Art of Self-Defense by Jackson R. Benson, 1969, and The Short Stories of Hemingway: Critical Essays edited by Benson, 1975; A Reader's Guide to Hemingway by Arthur Waldhorn, 1972; Hemingway's Craft by Sheldon Norman Grebstein, 1973; Hemingway and Faulkner: Inventors/Masters by Linda W. Wagner, 1975, Hemingway: Six Decades of Criticism, 1987, and New Essays on The Sun Also Rises, 1987, both edited by Linda Wagner-Martin; By Force of Will: The Life and Art of Hemingway, 1977, and New Essays on A Farewell to Arms, 1990, both by Scott Donaldson; Scott and Ernest: The Authority of Failure and the Authority of Success by Matthew J. Bruccoli, 1978; Hemingway and His World by Anthony Burgess, 1978; The Tragic Art of Hemingway by Wirt Williams, 1981; Hemingway: The Critical Heritage edited by Jeffrey Meyers, 1982, and Hemingway: A Biography by Meyers, 1985; Hemingway's Nick Adams, 1982, and Hemingway: A Study of the Short Fiction, 1989, both by Joseph M. Flora; Hemingway by Samuel Shaw, 1982; Hemingway: New Critical Essays edited by A. Robert Lee, 1983; The Hemingway Women by Bernice Kert, 1983; Hemingway and The Sun Also Rises: The Crafting of a Style by Frederic J. Svoboda, 1983; Hemingway: The Writer in Context edited by James Nagel, 1984; Concealments in Hemingway's Work by Gerry Brenner, 1984; Hemingway: Life and Works (chronology) by Gerald B. Nelson and Glory Jones, 1984; Cassandra's Daughters: Women in Hemingway by Roger Whitlow, 1984; Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years, 1985, and Less Than a Treason: Hemingway in Paris, 1990, both by Peter Griffin; The Young Hemingway, 1986, Hemingway: The Paris Years, 1989, and Hemingway: The American Homecoming, 1993, by Michael Reynolds; Hemingway (biography) by Kenneth S. Lynn, 1987; Hemingway and Nineteenth-Century Aestheticism by John Gaggin, 1988; Hemingway Rediscovered by Norberto Fuentes, 1988; Hemingway in Love and War: The Lost Diary of Agnes von Kurowsky, Her Letters and Correspondence of Hemingway edited by Henry Serrano Villard and James Nagel, 1989; Hemingway's Neglected Short Fiction: New Perspectives edited by Susan F. Beegel, 1989; Hemingway's Art of Non-Fiction by R. Weber, 1990; Hemingway and His World by A. E. Hotchner, 1990; Hemingway: Essays of Reassessment edited by Frank Scafella, 1991; Hemingway's Genders: Rereading the Hemingway Text by Nancy R. Comley, 1994; The Novels of Huxley and Hemingway: A Study in Two Planes of Reality by Sanjukta Dasgupta, 1996; New Essays on Hemingway's Short Fiction, 1998.

* * *

When Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1954, the jury testified to his stature as one of the most important twentieth-century authors. In the words of the president of the Swedish Academy, Hemingway "honestly and undauntedly reproduces the genuine features of the hard countenance of the age," displaying in the process "a natural admiration of every individual who fights the good fight in a world of reality overshadowed by violence and death." This judgment on the author's moral stance was coupled with a tribute to his "powerful style-forming mastery of the art of modern narration."

The more obvious features of Hemingway's narrative technique—the crisp reporting of action observed in sharp focus, dialogue that is colloquial in register and laconic in tone—have been imitated by writers throughout the world. In this sense his influence as a stylist has been massive. But in Hemingway, unlike many imitators of the superficialities of his style, these features grow out of and are supported by deeper narrative structures. His early shorter fiction best illustrates how he taught himself to build them.

In Death in the Afternoon, essential reading for its scattered comments on his aims and techniques, he recalled his apprenticeship to his craft.

I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty, apart from knowing truly what you really felt …, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced.

His aim was to describe action in such a concentrated form that the experience would be communicated powerfully and precisely to the reader. Sequences of action were to be stated in simple declarative prose; extraneous matter must be discarded as likely to dilute the concentration. In this way the essential message to be communicated, "the real thing … would be as valid in a year or ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always…." His first substantial collection of short stories, In Our Time, incorporates twelve experimental vignettes of this kind, dealing with a variety of violent events. The following is typical of the genre:

We were in a garden at Mons. Young Buckley came in with his patrol across the river. The first German I saw climbed up over the garden wall. We waited till he got one leg over and then potted him. He had so much equipment on and looked awfully surprised and fell down into the garden. Then three more came over further down the wall. We shot them. They all came just like that.

Here Hemingway has chosen to present the action through the register of a British subaltern's speech style. The strength of the sketch, however, lies in the accelerating pace of the sequence of actions: waiting while the first German climbs halfway over the wall; potting him; noting the heavy equipment, the surprised expression, the fall; then rapid action in which the narrator has no time to observe such details: "Then three more came over further down the wall. We shot them. They all came just like that." These vignettes are interleaved between longer stories in which the narrative technique has been developed and amplified by dialogue. This also has been reduced to bare essentials. The emotional responses between speakers are implied, not described, as speech follows speech. The new stories also extend the range of subjects, exploring areas of violence and pain in which physical brutality is compounded with spiritual torment. Seven of the stories deal with events in the life of a certain Nick Adams and form a kind of loose episodic novel. Of these, "Indian Camp" and "The End of Something" are compelling studies of the loss of adolescent innocence and of painful initiation into the adult world. Equally powerful is "The Battler," in which Nick falls in with a violent punch drunk boxer and his softly spoken black protector. The story is pervaded by a suppressed hint of something sinister in the relationship between the boxer and his protector.

But "Out of Season" illustrates most clearly the direction Hemingway's narrative technique was taking. The story is presented obliquely, its effect created as much by what is omitted as by what is overtly stated. It tells how a young man and his wife set out to fish an Alpine stream. Their tippling peasant guide leads them to a stretch of water where fishing is prohibited, though he assures them that no one will object. The man is keen to fish; the woman is not and turns back to their hotel. The man finds he has no lead sinker for his line. The guide asks for money to buy supplies so that all three may go fishing the next day. The man hands money over but says he may decide not to go fishing after all. The story, however, is not really about the fishing trip. It is about the relationship of the man and the woman as revealed through the action and dialogue. There is something deeply wrong between them; chasms of resentment open up between the man's expressions of solicitude and the woman's refusal to respond. We are not told what the trouble is, but we feel that it is very bad. Superficially, this is the story of an aborted fishing trip; quintessentially it is the story of a collapsing relationship whose outcome is unresolved.

Hemingway wrote of his narrative strategy that "if a writer of prose knows enough about 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 if the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." With this and his dictum that "prose is architecture, not interior decoration" in mind, the reader more easily perceives the submerged structures that support the visible parts of his later fiction, including "Hills Like White Elephants," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," and the long story (for it is hardly a novel) The Old Man and the Sea. The submerged structures in The Old Man and the Sea incorporate Christian symbols and a framework of allegory to support the account of a fisherman's fight for victory and survival. This is a masterpiece from, in the Nobel jury's citation, "one of the great writers of our time."

—Stewart F. Sanderson

See the essays on "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," "Hills Like White Elephants," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro."