Ernest (Miller) Hemingway (1898-1961)
One of the most famous American novelist, short-story writer and essayist, whose deceptively simple prose style have influenced wide range of writers. Hemingway was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was unable to attend the award ceremony in Stockholm, because he was recuperating from injuries sustained in an airplane crash while hunting in Uganda.
Ernest Hemingway was born inn Oak Park, Illinois. His mother Grace Hall had a operatic career before marrying Dr. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, who taught his son to love out-door life. Hemingway's father took his own life in 1928 after losing his healt to diabetes and his money in the Florida real-estate bubble. Hemingway attended the public schools in Oak Park and published his earliest stories and poems in his high school newspaper. Upon his graduation in 1917, Hemingway worked six months as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. He then joined volunteer ambulance unit in Italy during World War I. In 1918 he suffered a severe leg wound and was twice decorated by the Italian government. His affair with an American nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, gave basis for the novel A FAREWELL TO ARMS (1929). The tragic love story was filmed first time in 1932, starring Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, and Adolphe Menjou. In the second version from 1957, written by Ben Hecht and directed by Charles Vidor, Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones were in the leading roles. Its failure caused David O. Selznick to produce no more films.

After the war Hemingway worked for a short time as a journalist in Chicago. He moved in 1921 to Paris, where wrote articles for the Toronto Star. "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then whenever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." (from A Moveable Feast, 1964) In Europe Hemingway associated with such writers as Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who edited some of his texts and acted as his agent. Later Hemingway portrayed Fitzgerald in A MOVEABLE FEAST (1964), but not in a friendly light. Fitzgerald, however, regretted their lost friendship. Of Gertrude Stein Hemingway wrote to Maxwell Perkins, his editor: "She lost all sense of taste when she had the menopause. Was really an extraordinary business. Suddenly she couldn't tell a good picture from a bad one, a good writer from a bad one, it all went phtt." (from The Only Thing That Counts, 1996) When he was not writing for the newspaper or for himself, Hemingway toured with his wife, the former Elisabeth Hadley Richardson, France, Switzerland, and Italy. In 1922 he went to Greece and Turkey to report on the war between those countries. In 1923 Hemingway made two trips to Spain, on the second to see bullfights at Pamplona's annual festival.

Hemingway's first books, THREE STORIES AND TEN POEMS (1923) and IN OUR TIME (1924), were published in Paris. THE TORRENTS OF SPRING appeared in 1926 and Hemingway's first serious novel, THE SUN ALSO RISES, on the same year. The novel deals with a group of expatriates in France and Spain, members of the disillusioned post-World War I Lost Generation. Main characters are Lady Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes. Lady Brett loves Jake, who has been wounded in war and can't answer her needs. Although Hemingway never explicitly detailed Jake's injury, is seem that he has lost his testicles but not his penis. Jake and Brett and their odd group of friends have various adventures around Europe, in Madrid, Paris and Pampalona. In attempt to cope with their despair they turn to alcohol, violence, and sex. The story is narrated in first person. As Jake, Hemingway was wounded in WW I. They share also interest in bullfighting. The story ends bitter-sweet: "Oh, Jake, Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together." Hemingway wrote and rewrote the novel in various parts of Spain and France between 1924 and 1926. It became his first great success as a novelist. Although the novel's language is simple, Hemingway used understatement and omission which make the text multilayered and rich in allusions. In 1957 the story was adapted into screen. The film was directed by Henry King, starring Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner.

After the publication of MEN WITHOUT WOMEN (1927), Hemingway returned to the United States, settling in Key West, Florida. Hemingway and Hadley divorced in 1927 and on the same year he married Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion editor. In Florida he wrote A Farewell to Arms, which was published in 1929. The scene of the story is the Italian front in World War I, where two lovers find a brief happiness. The novel gained enormous critical and commercial success.

In 1930s Hemingway wrote such major works as DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON (1932), a nonfiction account of Spanish bullfighting, and THE GREEN HILL OF AFRICA (1935), a story of a hunting safari in East Africa. "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," is perhaps the most quoted line from the story. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1937) was made into a film by the director Howard Hawks. They had became friends in the late 1930s. Hawks also liked to hunt, fish, and drink, and the author got along with Hawk's wife Slim, who later said: "There was an immediate and instant attraction between us, unstated but very, very strong." According to a story, Hawks had told Hemingway that he can make "a movie out of the worst thing you ever wrote." The author has asked, "What's the worst thing I ever wrote?" and Haws said, "That piece of junk called To Have and Have Not." "I needed the money," Hemingway said. The screenplay of the film was written by Jules Furthman and William Faulkner.

Wallace Stevens once termed Hemingway "the most significant of living poets, so far as the subject of extraordinary reality is concerned." By 'poet' Stevens referred to Hemingway's stylistic achievements in the short story. Among his most famous stories is 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,' which begins with an epitaph telling that the western summit of the mountain is called the House of God, and close to it was found the carcass of a leopard. Down on the savanna the failed writer Harry is dying of gangrene in an hunting camp. "He had loved too much, demanded too much, and he wrote it all out." Just before the end of the story Harry has a vision. He dreams that he is taken up the see the top of Kilimanjaro on a rescue plane -"great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun."

In 1937 Hemingway observed the Spanish Civil war firsthand. As many writers, he supported the cause of the Loyalist. In Madrid he met Martha Gellhorn, a writer and war correspondent, who became his third wife in 1940. In TO WHOM THE BELLS TOLL (1940) Hemingway returned again in Spain. He dedicated to book to Gellhorn - Maria in the story was partly modelled after her. "Her hair was the golden brow of a grain field," Hemingway wrote of his heroine. The story covered only a few days and concerned the blowing up of a bridge by a small group of partisans. When the heroine in A Farewell to Arms dies at the end of the story after giving birth to a stillborn child, now it is time for the hero, Robert Jordan, to sacricife his life for comradeship and love. The theme of the coming of death also was central in the novel ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES (1950).

In addition to hunting expeditions in Africa and Wyoming, Hemingway developed a passion for deep-sea fishing in the waters off Key West, the Bahamas, and Cuba. He also armed his fishing boat, the Pilar, and monitored with his crew Nazi activities and their submarines in that area during World War II. In 1940 Hemingway bought Finca Vigia, a house outside Havana, Cuba. Its surroundings were a paradise for his undisciplined bunch of cats. The first years of his marriage with Gellhorn were happy, but he soon realized that she was not a housewife, but an ambitious journalist. Gellhorn called Hemingway her "Unwilling Companion". She was eager to travel and "take the pulse of the nation" or the world. In early 1941 Gellhorn made with Hemingway a long, 30,000 mile journey to China. Just before the Invasion of Normandy in 1944, Hemingway managed to get to London, where he settled at the Dorchester Hotel. Before it, he had taken Gellhorn's position as Collier's leading correspondent. She arrived two weeks later, and took a separate room. Hemingway observed the D-Day landing below the Normandy cliffs; Gellhorn went ashore with the troops. Back in Paris after many years, Hemingway spent much time at the Ritz Hotel. Hemingways's divorce from Gellhorn in 1945 was bitter. Later Gellhorn said that having "lived with a mythomaniac, I know they believe everything they say, they are not conscious liars, they invent to increase everything about themselves and their lives and believe it." In 1946 Hemingway returned to Cuba. After Gellhorn had left him, he married Mary Welsh, a correspondent for Time magazine, whom he had met in a London restaurant in 1944.

Hemingway's drinking had started already when he was a reporter. He tolerate large amounts of alcohol and it did not affect the quality of his writing for a long time. In the late 1940s he started to hear voices in his head. He was overweight and the blood pressure was high. His ignorance of the dangers of liquor Hemingway revealed when he taught his son Patrick to drink, when he was only 12-years old. The same happened with his brothers. Patrick had later in life problems with alcohol. Gregory, who was a transvestite, used drugs - he died at the age of 69 in a women's prison in Florida. After weeks of heavy drinking in Spain, Hemingway went to a doctor, who noted that the author already had clear signs of cirrhosis of the liver.

Across the River and Into the Trees was Hemingway's first novel in a decade and poorly received. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, published first in Life magazine in 1952, restored again his fame. The 27,000 word novella told a story of an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who finally catches a giant marlin after weeks of not catching anything. As he returns to the harbor, the sharks eat the fish, lashed to his boat. The model for Santiago was a Cuban fisherman, Gregorio Fuentes, who died in January 2002, at the age of 104. Fuentes had served as the captain of Hemingway's boat Pilar in the late 1930s and was occasionally his tapster. Hemingway also made a fishing trip to Peru in part to shoot footage for a film version of the Old Man and the Sea. In 1959 he visited Spain, where her met the famous bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominquin at a hospital. Abull had caught Dominquin in the groin. "Why the hell do the good and brave have to die before everyone else?" he said. However, Dominquin did not die. Hemingway planned to wrote another book of bullfighting but published instead A Moveable Feast, a memoir of the 1920s in Paris.

Much of his time Hemingway spent in Cuba until Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. He supported Castro but when the living became too difficult, he moved to the United States. When visiting Africa in 1954, Hemingway was in two flying accidents and was taken to a hospital. In the same year he started to write TRUE AT FIRST LIGHT, which was his last full-length book. Part of it appeared in Sports Illustrated in 1972 under the title African Journal.

In 1960 Hemingway was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for treatment of depression, and released in 1961. During this time he was given electric shock therapy for two months. On July 2 Hemingway committed suicide with his favorite shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. Several of Hemingway's novels have been published posthumously. True at First Light, depiction of a safari in Kenya, appeared in July 1999. It is one of the worst books published by a Nobel writer.