(from The Oxford Companion to American Literature, by Hart and Leininger)
HEMINGWAY, ERNEST [MILLER] (1899-1961), born in Illinois, while attending school made frequent hunting and fishing expeditions in Northern Michigan, which helped condition his later primitivistic attitude. After working as a Kansas City reporter, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in France, then transferred to the Italian infantry until the close of World War I, after which he reported battles in the Near East for the Toronto Star, and settled in Paris as a member of the expatriate group.
Influenced by Ezra Pound and particularly by Gertrude Stein, wholse style strongly affected him, he published Three Stories & Ten Poems (Paris, 1923) and *In Our Time (U.S. 1925). Thse early stories already exhibited the attitude of mind and technique for which he later became famous. As the leading spokesman for the "lost generation" he expressed the feelings of a war-wounded people disillusioned by the loss of faith and hope, and so thoroughly defeated by the collapse of former values that, their atrophied nerves not permitting them to attack their betrayers, they could turn only to a stoic acceptance of primal emotions. The stories are mainly concerned with "tough" people, either intelligent men and women who have dropped into an exhausted cynicism, or such primitives as frontiersmen, Indians, and professional athletes, whose essential courage and honesty are implicitly contrasted with the brutality of civilized society. Emotion is held at arm's length; only the bare happenings are recorded, and emphasis is obtained by understatement and spare dialogue.
After Hemingway returned to New York and wrote the lesser satirical novel The Torrents of Spring (1926), he carried the style and attitude of his short stories into the novel *The Sun Also Rises (1926), which tells of the moral collapse of a group of expatriated Americans and Englishmen, broken by the war, who turn toward escape through all possible violent diversions. Success in fictional craftsmanship and in portraying the mind of an era was again achieved in *A Farewell to Arms (1929), the poignant love story of an English nurse and an American ambulance lieutenant during the war. Besides further distinguished collections of short stories, *Men Without Women (1927) and *Winner Take Nothing (1933), he wrote only two lesser books during the next few years, although his work continued to exercise a great influence on the literature of the period. *Death in the Afternoon (1932), a book on bullfighting, and Green Hills of Africa (1935), an account of big-game hunting with digressions on literary matters, show a further cultivation of the primitive and brutal levels, contrasted with the hollow culture that had cheated his generation.
In *To Have and Have Not (1937). Hemingway for the first time showed an interest in a possible solution of social problems though collective action. This attitude continued in newspaper articles from Spain about its civil war, whose espionage was the subject of his realistic play, The Fifth Column, adapted fro the stage (1940) by Benjamin Glazer, and printed in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938), in which appeared two of his finest stories, *"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and *"The Snows of Kilimanjaro". *For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), his longest novel, on an incident in the Spanish Civil War, has universality in its thesis that the loss of liberty in one place means a loss everywhere. He edited an anthology, Men at War (1942), but issued no new novel until Across the River and into the Trees (1950), which was considered to show that Hemingway had become bitter and defeatist like his tale's protagonist, and aging colonel. With *The Old Man and the Sea (1952), a parable of man against nature in a poignant novelette, he recaptured his xritical acclaim, recognized in a Nobel Prize (1954).
In his last years he published nothing, and he had been seriously ill for some time before his death as a suicide by gunshot. However, several posthumous works followed, most notably *A Moveable Feast (1964), sketches of his life and acquaintances in Paris, 1921-1926, and Islands in the Stream, (1970), a novel in three parts about a painter's unhappy marriage, his affection for his sons, their deaths, his bravery in war, his pleasure in deep-sea fishing, and his loneliness. Another novel, wirrten in the 1940s, edited and published in 1986, The Garden of Eden, begins with the honeymoon of an enticing young couple, David and Catherine Bourne, he a good wirter, she an heiress, who break up over serious sexual differences. Later compliations include The Wild Years (1962), his journalism for the Toronto Star; By-Lines (1967), selected journalism of four decades; The Nick Adams Stories (1972), eight of them previously unpublished; and three collections of verse, the last and most inclusive being 88 Poems (1979). Selected Letters was issued in 1981.
In Our Time, 15 short stories by *Hemingway withe vignettes serving as interchapters, published in the U.S. in 1925. In Our Time (Paris, 1924) contains only the vignettes. Most stories treat life in the Middle West, but the interpolated sketches describe war in Europe and bullfights.
"Indian Camp." "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "The Three Day Blow," and others tell of the boyhood experiences of Nick, the author's counterpart, who grew up in the Great Lakes region, learning the bitter as well as the beautiful facts of existence through the work of his father, a physician, and through his association with Indian guides and their families. Such stories as "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot," "Out of Season," and "Cross Country Snow" are brief, poignant tales of American expatriates in Europe and their complex loves and friendships. "My Old Man" is the story of a boy's loyalty to his father, an American jockey forced to work in Europe because of unsportsmanlike conduct at home, and of the boy's disillusion following his father's death. The author's enthusiasm for sport and the American wilderness is shown in "Bit Two-Hearted River," an account of a trout-fishing expedition.
The Sun Also Rises, novel by *Hemingway, published in 1926. The title is derived from a pessimistic passage in Ecclesiastes, expressing a cynical disillusion in keeping with the postwar attitude. The English title of the work is Fiesta.
Lady Brett Ashley, "as charming when she is drunk as when she is sober," is traveling on the continent, waiting for a divorce in order to marry Michael Campbell. Among her other satellites are Jake Barnes, an American newspaper correspondent; his friend Bill Gorton; Robert Cohn, an American Jewish novelist; and an eccentric Greek count. Cohn is weary of his mistress, Frances Clyne, and falls in love with Brett, although neither she nor his other acquaintances feel any real affection for him. The group leave Paris for an excursion in Spain, where they visit the fiesta at Pamplona. They are enthusiastic fans of the bullfights, finding in the ritualistic spectacle a mysterious beauty of precision. Brett and Jake are in love, but unahppily, because a wartime injury has emasculated him. She falls in love with a young bullfighter, Pedro Romero, with whom she elopes; and Cohn departs, expressing his anger by beating Jake, Michael, and Romero. When Romero wants to marry her, Brett decides to return to Michael, who is one of her own kind. She tells Jake, "We could have had such a damned good time together," and he concludes, "Yes. Isn't it pretty to think so?"
A Farewell to Arms, novel by Hemingway, published in 1929, and dramatized by Laurence Stallings (1930).
Frederic Henry, an American lieutenant in the Italian ambulance service during World War I, falls in love with an English nurse, Catherine Barkley. She returns his feeling, and when Herny, wounded during a bombardment, is sent to a hospital at Milan, Catherine comes to nurse him. They spend a happy summer together while he recuperates, and in the autumn Catherine confesses that she is pregnant, but will not marry him, fearing to be sent back to England. Henry returns to his post, finds his comrade Rinaldi depressed by the monotonous horros of the war, and shares the suffering during the disastrous retreat from Caporetto. He deserts, learns that Catherine has been transderred to Stresa, and joins her there. Although he is in civilian clothes, he is suspected, and forced to flee with Catherine to Switzerland. They go to Lausanne for the birth of their child, but both mother and baby die, leaving Henry desolate and alone in a strange land.
Men without Women, 14 short stories by *Hemingway, published in 1927.
"The Undefeated" tells of the futile heroism of Manuel Garcia, a Spanish bullfighter just released from a hospital, who stubbornly refuses to retire, secures an ill-paid "nocturnal" engagement, and gives an adequate performance before an appreciative audience, but is seriously injured and returned to the hospital. "The Killers" describes the tense atmosphere in a small-town lunchroom, when two Chicago gangsters enter to await Ole Andreson, whom they have been paid to murder. He fails to arrive, and they finally leave. Nick, the waiter, goes to Andreson's room, and finds the victim aware of his impending doom but paralyzed by fear and unwilling to attempt escape. "Fifty Grand" is the story of a champion prizefighter, Jack Brennan, and his bout with the condender Walcott. The midde-aged champion, worried by his responsibilities, cannot train properly, decides that he is bound to lose, and bets $50,000 on his own defeat. He fights well for several rounds, until brutally fouled by his opponent. Insisting that this was an accident, he continues with difficulty, then suddenly ends the matter by an obvious foul on Walcott. "'It's funny how fast you can think when it means that much money'", he says.
Winner Take Nothing, 14 sotires by *Hemingway, published in 1933.
"The Light of the World," set in a small town in the Middle West, has for its chief character a fat, blonde prostitute, who recalls nostalgically the prizefighter who furnished the one rudimentary romantic episode of her life. *"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" portrays the desolate lives of a writer and a customer of a Spanish café.
At a sidewalk table of a Spanish café an old, deaf man sits drinking brandy late at night as the two waiters discuss him, the older one with sympathy because he too is lonely, fearful, confident of nothing, and also in need of the security of a clean, well-lighted place.
"The Sea-Change" tells of the tragic separation of a young couple, when the girl drifts into a homosexual relation with another woman. "A Way You'll Never Be" describes the hysterical reaction of a young American officer in the Italian army, when he is relieved from active duty and thus has time to become aware of the significance of the war. "Homage to Switzerland" contains three vignettes of fatuous middle-class American tourists in Europe. "A Natural History of the Dead" is a bitter satire on the results of modern warfare. "The Gmbler, the Nun, and the Radio" is concerned with two hospital patients, a Mexican gambler and an author, and the way in which the writer cynically plays upon the phrase "the opium of the people."
Death in the Afternoon, discursive work by *Hemingway, published in 1932. In it he describes the rearing and fighting of bulls in Spain, and depicts the bullfight as a kind of microcosmic tragedy, in which the death of the bull is inevitable but must be achieved by the observance of ritual, which gives the animal a maximum chance to destroy the matador. The discussion includes lengthy digressions, in the form of conversations between the author and an old lady, presenting his philsophy through the discussion of various aspects of life and death.
To Have and Have Not, novel by *Hemingway, published in 1937.
Harry Morgan, a tough "conch," as natives of Key West, Fla., call themselves, has devoted his life to the single-minded effort of keeping himself, his wife, and his children on the upper fringe of the "have-nots." He hires out his powerboat to wealthy men for fishing trips, but, when the Depression destroys this source of income and a rich tourist welshes on payment for lost fishing tackle, he is obliged to turn to illegal activities. He contracts to smuggle Chinese from Cuba into the U.S., but, taking their money, murders their leader and abandons the others. While smuggling illegal liquor, he is captured in a gun battle by federal officers, loses an arm, and has his boat confiscated. In a last desperate attempt to obtain money, he aids in the escape of four bank robbers, although realizing that unless he kills them they will kill him. This he does, but they wound him fatally. Picked up by the Coast Guard and accused of being a member of the gang, he stammers, "'A man . . . ain't got no hasn't got any can't really isn't any way out . . . One man alone ain't got . . . no chance.' He shut his eyes. It had taken him a long time to get it out and it had taken him all his life to learn it."
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, short story by Ernest *Hemingway, published in Cosmopolitan (Sept. 1936) and collected in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).
An American couple on a safari in Kenya, the Macombers have long given the impression of a glamorous and comparatively happy marriage, although the basis for their union is that "Margot was too beautiful for Macomber to divorce her and Macomber had too much money for Margot ever to leave him." The marriage comes to a new straining point when in cowardice he runs from a wounded lion that he has shot badly, and she, in disgust, gives herself that night to the professional hunter and guide, the sturdy Englishman Robert Wilson. The next day, in a surge of excitement, Macomber discovers self-confidence and happiness as he shoots three wild buffalo, but Margot is suddenly made insecure as she sees him at last as a man who will dominate their marriage. Forced to go into the hiding place of one of the animals he has only wounded to administer the coup de grâce, Macomber seems about to be gored by the buffalo when from the car Mrs. Macomber shoots at the beast and kills her husband instead, after which Wilson says wryly, "Of course it's an accident. I know that."
The Snows of Kilimanjaro, story by *Hemingway, published in Esquire (Aug. 1936) and collected in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).
Dying with "a great tiredness and anger" of blood poisoning from his gangrenous leg, the novelist Harry lies in camp on his African safari, accopmapnied by his wife and native attendants, waiting for a rescue plane that he knows will arrive too late, and remembers experiences that were to have served as subjects of stories when he knew enough to write them well. But he realizes too that he has destroyed his talent by sloth, by enjoyments such as the marriage with his rich wife could bring, and that he hates himself as he vents his cruelty on her. As he knows he will die that night, he tries to write, but vividly he feels and sees and smells death as he drops off, dreaming that the plane has come and taken him not to a hospital but to the very top of Kilimanjaro, said to be the highest mountain in Africa, where, according to the story's epigraph, close to the summit that is called teh House of God "there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude."
For Whom the Bell Tolls, novel by *Hemingway, published in 1940. The title is derived from a sermon by Donne: "No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent . . . And therefore never send to know for whom the bell toll; it tolls for thee."
Robert Jordan, an American, has entered the Loyalist army during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and has been sent to join a guerrilla band in the mountains near Segovia to blow up a strategic bridge at the exact minute that will help a Loyalist advance. During the three days and nights that he spends in the guerrilla's cave, he awaits with a romantic opposition to heroism what he suspects will be his own destruction and that of his companions. He falls in love with Maria, daughter of a Republican mayor, who has seen her parents killed and was herself raped by Falangists. Her close-cropped hair is a symbol of her tortures; Jordan helps her to regain her desire to live. Their passioinate love is abetted by the powerful woman Pilar, who dominates the group by her force of character, gusto, and love of the Republic. Her man Pablo is wily but lacks belief and hence courage. The others include foul-mouthed Agustín; pedantic, dignified Fernando; the gypsy Rafael; and the adoring Andrés. A sense of impending disaster develops, with smolering opposition within the group, a Falangist attack on the guerrilla leader El Sordo on a neighboring hill, acts of cowardice by Pablo, and a mission by Andrés to Loyalist headquarters to carry a note from Jordan saying the advance is likely to fail, with the messenger impeded by the Communists' bureaucracy and suspicion. The generals finally realize they should have cancelled the attack, but it is too late. Leaving the retreat, Jordan successfully blasts the bridge. In the attempt to flee he is wounded, and forces the others to leave hism. He lies on the hillside almost delirious, restraining himself from suicide so that he may shoot the leader of the Fascists, and thinks, "I have fought for what I believed in for a year now. If we win here we will win everywhere. . . ."
The Old Man and the Sea, novelette by *Hemingway, published in 1952.
This parable of man's struggle with the natural world, of his noble courage and endurance, tells of the Cuban fisherman Santiago, who for 84 luckless days has rowed his skiff into the Gulf Stream in quest of marlin. At first accompanied by the boy Manolin, with whom he talked of better days and about the great sport of baseball, he is now alone. Aged and solitary, he goes far out and hooks a great fish that tows his boat all afternoon and night and into the next day as he pits his skill and waning strength against it the way he once did as a wrestler called "El Campeón." As the second night turns to dawn he finally harpoons his catch, lashes it to his small boat, and makes his weary way home. As he sails down to port sharks attack his catch and he fights them as best he can with a knife lashed to the tiller gripped in raw hands. Whan he makes land his marlin is but a skeleton. Proud in defeat, Santiago furls his sail and staggers to his shack to be found by the boy and other fishermen, who marvel at his catch, while the spent man sleeps and dreams of past experience.
A Moveable Feast, memoir by *Hemingway of his life in Paris (1921-26), published in 1964. In brief sketches the work summons up the sense of what Paris meant to him as a writer beginning a career and to other expatriate Americans. It tells how Gertrude Stein came to employ the term "lost generation" and of his friendship and falling out with her, of Pound, Fitzgerald, and other associates.