Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Alba Amoia; Bettina L.Knapp | Go to book overview
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ERNEST HEMINGWAY

(1899-1961)

Lucille Frackman Becker


BIOGRAPHY

Ernest Hemingway, novelist, short-story writer, and essayist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, an upper-middle-class, predominantly Protestant suburb of Chicago. He was the second of the six children of Dr. Clarence and Grace Hall Hemingway. His mother, an accomplished singer who had given up a professional career for marriage, fostered his love of art and music; his father, who took him hunting and fishing, imparted to him a love of nature and of the outdoors that remained with him throughout his life.

Hemingway attended the public schools in Oak Park. When he graduated in 1917, he went to work as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star, where he learned the rules of concision and clarity that would characterize his writing style. Because his poor vision prevented him from enlisting in the army, he joined the American Red Cross ambulance corps in Italy, where he received serious leg wounds from shrapnel; he was subsequently decorated by the Italian government. His recovery at a hospital in Milan and his affair with his nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, inspired his novel A Farewell to Arms (1929). His inability to readjust to civilian life after his war experiences, not uncommon among men returning from the front, is the subject of the short story “Soldier's Home.”

After the war he worked as a journalist in Toronto and then in Chicago, where he met and married Hadley Richardson in 1921. They soon left for Paris, where Hemingway took up his position as European correspondent for the Toronto Star. A Moveable Feast (1964, posthumous) is made up of twenty sketches that constitute a memoir of his years in Paris (1921-26). His reporting covered the most important events of the time, including the Greco-Turkish War. At the same time, under the guidance of writers like Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitz-

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