Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Hemingway's life is as interesting as his work. He loved hunting, fishing, bullfighting, wartime experiences, and much more of his writings deal with these topics. But his works are generally tragic, often ending in suffering, defeat and death, though with courage and intimate strength. Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His father (who eventually committed suicide) was a successful doctor, who loved hunting, fishing and the outdoor life and activities, pursuits which he shared with his son. The happiest part of Ernest's childhood was spent in Upper Michigan, on Lake Walloon, where the family had a summer house. There he fished and hunted, and mixed with the Indians who lived and worked around the lake. These early experiences were later to become one of the sources of his fiction. On finishing High School he took a job on the "Kansas City Star", a local newspaper. In June 1918, a fe months before the end of the World War I , he was sent to the Italian front as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. He was wounded and spent six months in the Red Cross hospital in Milan and fell in love with an American nurse, who refused his offer of marriage. The whole experiences became the material for two of his novels.
Back in the United States, he got a job as foreign correspondent for the "Toronto Star", and married the first of his four wives. The couple went to Paris, where they met Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and other important writers. By the end of 1923 Hemingway had made two trips in Spain and developed a lasting passion for the country. He gained a fair knowledge of the "art" of bullfighting and his first major novel, The Stan also Rises (1926), was not set during the Pamplona fiesta and made Hemingway's reputation as an author. The next seven years were extremely productive, with two collections of short stories and a second major novel, A Farewell to Arms, which was a best-seller. He was not wealthy from the success of the books and threw himself into an immense variety of pursuits, hobbies, pastime, sports, particularly hunting and fishing. Another of his enduring interests was war. When the Civil War broke out in Spain in 1936, he obtained accreditations as a war correspondent and went to Madrid, where he followed developments closely. The result was For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), dealing with the experiences of an irregular guerilla group fighting the Fascism behind enemy lines. During World War II he again found a newspaper to accredit him as a war correspondent and flew to London in time to experience the later stages of the Battle of Britain (1940). He also took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy (June 1944) with the Allied armies, and accompanied them on the advance toward Paris, finally taking part in the liberation of the city. After the war Hemingway lived mainly in Cuba. In 1953 he was badly hurt in Africa in a light plane crash and never fully recovered. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style". He spent his last years fighting against physical and mental problems. Realizing that all that lay ahead was the gradual decay of his strength and mental faculties , in 1961 he committed suicide.