Friday, September 3, 2010

Hunting Hemingway

Ernest "Papa" Hemingway is one of America’s most famous writers of the 20th century. A man of action himself, he wrote novels, short stories and articles about outdoors men, expatriates, soldiers and other men of action in a plain-spoken no-frill style of writing. Hemingway was a soldier, a big-game hunter, bullfighter, and a journalist (for the Toronto Star). During his lifetime he lived in Paris, Cuba and Key West. He was as well know for his activities as for his writing. In fact, upon winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, he wondered if the committee had given it to him out of sympathy because of his recent plane crash. Hemingway is also famous for the way he died. In the early morning of July 2, 1961 Hemingway shot himself with his favourite shotgun. Suicide, unfortunately, was common in his family. His father, two of his siblings and his granddaughter Muriel all committed suicide.

The Sun Also Rises was published 1926. Originally titled Fiesta, it appears that way in the foreign language editions. Focusing on expatriate Americans and British citizens, it shows Paris and Spain during the 1920's. This novel helped popularize the running of the bulls in Pamplona . Time magazine listed it in the 100 best English novels from 1923-2005.

A Farewell to Arms was published in 1929. Semi-autobiographical it is a tragic love-story between an American soldier and an English nurse during WWI. The typical Hemingway hero, Henry is a man who exhibits grace under pressure while confronting death all around him. He and Catherine have escapist love which leads to a tragic end.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, published in 1940, depicts an American professor, Robert Jordan. Jordan is an American in the International Brigades attached to a guerilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. Taking place in a space of four nights and three days, death is a major theme to this novel.

The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. The novel depicts the battle between a tired old Cuban fisherman, Santiago and a marlin. Literally a tug of war between man and nature. In the end nature wins, even though Santiago gets the fish, nature prevents him from bringing it to the shore.

If you want to know more about Papa check out these books written by his relatives:

Jack Hemingway's Misadventures of a fly fisherman: my life with and without Papa
Hilary Hemingway's (Leicester daughter) Hemingway in Cuba or her book Hunting with Hemingway:based on the stories of Leicester Hemingway.

As a strange footnote: Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter series, is Hiliary’s husband. Therefore, Lindsay is Hemingway’s nephew through marriage. I wonder how Papa may have influenced him!?

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