Posted on: July 18, 2021 Posted by: Stuti Shiva Comments: 3
Ernest Hemingway

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“The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener, the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed.”

Excerpt From: Robert Wheeler. “Hemingway’s Paris

Ernest Hemingway and Henry Strater, Bahamas, 1935.

Years ago, when I read for the first time Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, in my mind’s eye, his story presented itself in lonely vignettes of black and white. The sea itself was a strange and fascinating object, having lived my life in a sea-less town.

Years later, when I had the good fortune of living in Cyprus , in the midst of the Mediterranean , I try to discover the sea that shaped Hemingway’s writing style. With each trip , I moved closer to seeing Hemingway’s sea and closer to understanding this complex man and iconic figure.In “The Old Man and the Sea ” the author examines ideas about what it means to be victorious and the way in which man is able to fight to achieve transcendence. It is a work that chronicles human bravery and endurance, and how the inevitability of destruction does not render a man defeated..

“The magazine in which the novel first appeared”

First appearing on 1 September 1952 in Life magazine, this famous novella was illustrated by Noel Sickles.

The Old Man and the Sea was immediately successful, as Life sold 5.2 million magazines in two days, while the first edition print run of the book was more than fifty thousand copies.

The Old Man and the Sea was largely received enthusiastically by critics and was awarded the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, while also playing a significant part in the author receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

American Author Ernest Hemingway with then-wife Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and son John Hadley Nicanor “Jack” Hemingway (aka “Bumby”) in Schruns, Austria

Hemingway’s final act in his prolific life was the writing of A Moveable Feast, his memoir. A memoir filled with clarity yet deeply shrouded in despair. This would be the final piece of writing he would work on before taking his life on July 2, 1961. In Feast, Hemingway returned to the city he loved most, Paris. It returned him to the friends and influences who helped form his modernist sensibilities, and it returned him to a time in his life that, more than any other, inspired him to create. It was Paris, too, that returned him to the woman he loved most, Hadley.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived
in Paris as a young man, then wherever you
go for the rest of your life, it stays with
 you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

               to a friend, 1950”

Hemingway and Bullfighting

Bull fighting by Petr Konchalovsky

Death in the Afternoon was first published on 23 September 1932. It is a work of non-fiction, detailing Hemingway’s interest and passion for bullfighting, and the importance he places on it as a practice that illuminates vital aspects of human nature and life itself. Hemingway delves deep into the aesthetic and cultural components of the spectacle as he explains why he finds it so engaging. He explains that it is the only ‘art’ form where the artist is in actual danger of losing his life, and that the ‘degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honour’. The author acknowledges that while he was entranced with bullfighting, he knew it was a form of entertainment despised by others, as he believes, ‘anything capable of arousing passion in its favour will surely raise as much passion against it.’

Hemingway had fought in the First World War and knew the horrors and senseless blood-letting of the conflict. However, the author retained an interest in violence and death, viewing bullfighting as a war with rules; a confrontation with death which is only ever seconds away. He believed that to become a truly good writer he needed to understand the ‘simplest things, and one of the simplest things of all and the most fundamental is violent death’. It is this fascination with death that primarily fuels his interest in bullfighting; Hemingway suggests that there is a sense of transcendence and beauty in the matador repeatedly being on the brink of death in every performance. It is the proximity to harm that is a central element in determining the skill and honour of the matador; he must be one hair’s breadth away from being killed and the crowd should be able to feel the terror of death.

Quoting Hemingway

Hemingway posing with a cape buffalo while on safari in Africa in 1953-1954

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

“Before you talk: Listen; Before you react: Think; Before you spend: Earn; Before you quit: Try.”

“Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.”

“Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

 “But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.”

“I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” 

“I don’t like to write like God. It is only because you never do it, though, that the critics think you can’t do it.”

When Truth is more Strange than Fiction

Before Ernest Hemingway turned to writing fiction, he already had become one of the great reporters of our time.
Here — in the inimitable Hemingway style — is Paris at her most glorious… Italy and Germany in their darkest hours… the bloody birth pangs of new nations in the Near East… the explosive excitement of Pamplona and the stark drama of the bull ring… the virile pleasures of fishing and hunting in the American north woods… and much, much more. Here it all is. All very fresh. All very good. All — HEMINGWAY

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