Monday, November 17, 2014

Ernest Hemingway Biography

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

v     Ernest Hemingway was a highly influential writer and journalist, famous for his simple way of writing.

v     As a journalist, Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent in Europe, covering the Greco-Turkish War, the Spanish Civil War and World War II, being present at the beach landing in Normandy and the liberation of Paris.

v     Hemingway earned the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery in World War I, and a Bronze Star in World War II, leading a local militia during the liberation of Paris.

v     Hemingway wrote ten novels, ten short story collections, and five non-fiction works, but some of these works were published posthumously (after he died).

v     His most famous novels are: The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, The Garden of Eden and The Sun Also Rises.

v     His nonfiction work includes Death in the Afternoon, about Spanish bullfighting.

v     Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize in 1952 for The Old Man and the Sea. He almost won a Pulitzer for For Whom the Bell Tolls, but one man, the president of Columbia University, didn't like it and overruled the Pulitzer committee.

v     He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, saying other writers like Carl Sandburg deserved it more than him.

Personal Life:

Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, near Chicago. His father was a doctor, and his mother a musician. As a child, his father taught him to hunt, fish and camp. In high school he excelled at sports like boxing, track and field, and football. He also had a course on journalism, where the teacher treated it just like a newspaper office.

After high school, Hemingway worked for a short time as a journalist for the Kansas City Star. This newspaper had a style guide for it's writers which was hugely influential for Hemingway, "Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative."

Hemingway, age 18, in Milan, Italy

Hemingway then enlisted as an ambulance driver in World War I, starting in May, 1918. He was seriously wounded soon after, by a mortar shell, and sent home. He said, "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." This experience also led to a lifelong problem with alcohol.

While recuperating, he fell in love with a nurse, seven years older than him, and they planned to marry. But, she changed her mind and married someone else, breaking his heart and his trust. Ever since, Hemingway was sure to leave a woman before she left him - marrying four times in his life. This also contributed to his problem with alcohol.

In 1921, he took his first wife to live with him in Paris, where he continued work as a correspondent. There, he joined what would be called the Lost Generation, including Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Picasso, and F Scott Fitzgerald, with whom he shared a friendly rivalry. This also contributed to his life long problem with alcohol, because they were mostly alcoholics. In 1928, Ernest's father committed suicide, which Ernest reflected, "I'll probably go the same way."

Hemingway with Col. Charles Lanham, Germany, 1944

During World War II, Hemingway led a resistance militia in Rambouillet, outside of Paris. This was against the Geneva convention, as he was a journalist, but he avoided prison by claiming he only offered advice. After the war, he traveled to Cuba, supporting Fidel Castro, and was investigated by the FBI.
Hemingway with 4th wife, Mary, in the Congo, 1953
In 1952 Hemingway went on safari in Africa, almost dying in two different plane crashes, and giving him the chance to read his own obituaries (nekrológy), when newspapers assumed he'd died. These and many other accidents left him in pain and ill health for the remainder of his life, causing him to drink even more, and leading to depression, for which psychiatrists gave him electroshock therapy, and suicide in 1961.

No comments:

Post a Comment