Ernest Hemingway is nearly synonymous with 20th century American literature. Born in a suburb of Chicago on July 21, 1899, Hemingway was raised in a conservative and staunchly Protestant family. His father Clarence was a successful country doctor, and his mother, an aspiring opera singer, offered her talents as a music instructor to local children. Hemingway's upbringing profoundly influenced his later life and career; for instance, his childhood taste for the outdoors inspired his lifelong love of fishing, other outside pursuits, and exploring in solitude. During high school, his strongest subject was English along with athletics, and although he excelled in school, he chose not to continue his education at the college level. Instead, in 1917, Hemingway embarked on his brilliant writing career, beginning as a journalist for The Kansas City Star. Now that America was in the thick of World War I, Hemingway found himself on the front lines as an ambulance driver, since his poor vision disqualified him from actual enlistment. Stationed in Italy, he won a medal of valor for rescuing a comrade from a frontlines explosion whilst sustaining very serious injuries himself.
After his recovery in Italy, Hemingway went back to his family in Chicago, where, haunted by war, he found it difficult to live at home. He continued as a journalist, married Hadley Richardson in 1921, and moved to Paris that same year. In Paris Hemingway became part of the circle of expatriots known as the Lost Generation, a group which included Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. From his newfound Parisian life he honed his writing skills and switched his focus to literature, making his debut with short stories. In the short time between 1928 and 1929, Hemingway released two of his landmark novels, The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, the latter inspired by his brief involvement in World War I. Hemingway now held the attention of the literary world. The author of immensely popular works and praised for the minimalism of his style, he charged ahead, constantly retelling on paper some new experience or exploration. In his unending portfolio of short stories can also be found classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, and The Old Man and the Sea. While a phenomenon as a writer, a winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, Hemingway's personal life was one fraught with ill health, romantic turmoil, and a reckless attitude that sometimes damaged his writing. His perpetual drinking turned him alcholic, and he married four times. Plagued by paranoia as well as severe injuries from a plane accident, Hemingway succumed to shock therapy which reputedly impaired his memory, his once faithful source for all of his work. Unable to accept his diminished state, Hemingway tragically took his own life on July 2, 1961.
Did you find this review helpful?