How would people describe Hemingway's writing style?

Who Was Ernest Hemingway?

The life of Ernest Hemingway

Childhood and adolescence

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. In his comparatively short life of sixty years he packed as much into it as other people do not experience in ninety years. The tranquil Oak Park was a suburb of Chicago. There Ernest Hemingway was born into a good middle-class family. His father Clarence Edmond Hemingway was a doctor, his mother Grace Hall Hemingway a musician. Hemingway's parents were married in 1896 and were out of the marriage six children. Ernest was the second-born son who got his name in honor of his grandfather Ernest Hall, with whom his parents lived for a while. After Ernest there were four more girls, one sister, Marceline, was only a year older.

His mother gave young Ernest a musical education, he learned to play the cello, although he didn't feel like it. However, he later said that musical education his mother shaped and improved his writing style. Each summer the family vacationed in Windemere, on Walloon Lake, Michigan. Although he shared some of his mother's interests and traits, it was his father who taught him how to hunt and fish, two activities that would shape his later life and some of his most famous works.

From 1913 to 1917 Ernest Hemingway attended Oak Park High School. In general he was a good student, with particular interest in popular sports such as football, boxing, and water polo. With his sister Marcelline he played in the school orchestra for two years. After finishing school he worked like many other writers of his time as a journalist. He wrote for the Kansas City Star for six months. However, this short time was enough to make his to shape later writing style, which he characterized as follows: short sentences, also short first paragraphs introducing the topic, strong English, positive instead of negative formulations.

Ernest Hemingway during the First World War

In December 1917, when World War I had already been going on for three years, the American Red Cross was looking for volunteers. After long hesitation and the isolation policy that had been popular up until then, the USA decided to intervene in the war. Ernest Hemingway answered voluntarily as a driver. Originally, he had applied for the army, which rejected him due to severe ametropia. In May 1918, the young man crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Paris while the city was suffering from heavy air raids. In June he was deployed as a Red Cross driver on the Italian front. The writer dealt with one of his first experiences later in his novel “Death in the Afternoon”. The young driver was sent to an ammunition factory in Milan with several other helpers. This had previously exploded and now the task was to save so many of the female workers who worked there. For some, however, any help came too late and the sight was difficult to bear.

His other duties included the distribution of food rations to the soldiers at the front. During one of these missions, Ernest Hemingway was hit by a metal splinter, which resulted in a serious leg injury. He spent the next six months in a military hospital in Milan. There he met the seven-year-old nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, with whom he immediately fell in love. At first it looked like it would be Dream of a future together come true. She accepted his proposal. After his release, Hemingway returned to the USA, and Agnes would follow shortly afterwards. A few weeks after arriving in the United States, Ernest received a letter from Agnes stating that she was engaged to an Italian officer. Only later did it emerge that she would not marry him after all. Agnes devoted her whole life to her life as a nurse with great dedication. Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky never met again.

1920-1927: Realignment, Hadley Richardson and two sons

That great, broken love eventually led to one Kind of inability to have a relationship, because Hemingway wore out so many women and soon left them again, always afraid of being abandoned again himself. The young man worked as a journalist in Chicago for the first few years after the war. There he met his first wife, Hadley Richardson. The red-haired woman was eight years older than him, but significantly less adult and mature, so the age difference was not particularly noticeable. Ernest Hemingway spent most of the 1920s in Paris, where he matured as a writer and was promoted by Gertrude Stein. Erl got to know and love the art world and came into contact with bullfighting for the first time in Pamplona, ​​Spain. His son Jack was born in 1924. It was during this time that Hemingway got his popular nickname "Papa", presumably for his first wife, because he liked it when people looked up to him and he could help them. Even older companions use this name after all.

Paris, Havana and Key West

“The Sun Also Rises” was created during this phase and is considered one of his most important works. In Paris he met Pauline Pfeiffer, who worked for the fashion magazine Vogue. She became his second wife after his marriage to Hadley could no longer be saved. The couple married in May 1927. Hemingway had each other now established as a promising writer and published several short stories and short stories. The short story about a boxer entitled "Fifty Grand" was a critical hit. After Paris, Ernest Hemingway never lived in a bigger city. He spent most of the 1930s on Key West, where he and his wife moved into a neat little house. He also got to know and love Cuba, especially Havana. Here he rented a country estate. Hemingway kept coming back here until the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro took over the country. In one of the bars in the city center there is still a life-size bronze statue of the writer sitting at the counter. With Pauline, Ernst Hemingway had two sons, Patrick, born in 1928 and Gregory Hancock, born in 1931.

Martha Gellhorn: an impressive woman

Despite his tranquil life in these exotic locations, Hemingway was starting to get restless, even though he was enjoying family life with his three children. A ten-week safari took the writer and his wife Pauline to Africa, another country that would inspire two of his works, "The Green Hills of Africa" ​​and "Snow on the Kilimanjaro". Key West remained one of his favorite places to live, where he wrote "To have and have not". His third wife became Martha Gellhorn in 1940, whom he had met in Key West in 1936. The two began an affair while Hemingway was still married to Pauline Pfeiffer. Martha Gellhorn was way ahead of her time and asserted herself as a writer, journalist and war correspondent in a male domain. During her 60-year career, she reported from almost all war and trouble spots in the world. Gellhorn did not mother Hemingway in any way like his first two wives; on the contrary, sometimes he had to follow her and not she him. Through Gellhorn, Hemingway came to Spain in the late 1930s, where the civil war was raging. From 1937 to 1938 he reported on the civil war front on behalf of the Newspaper Alliance. Ernest Hemingway was one of the last reporters to leave the battlefield around the River Ebro. His novel "For whom the Bell tolls" was inspired by this war effort.

1945 to 1954: World War II, Mary Welsh and two prestigious awards

Ernest Hemingway spent the period from 1944 to the end of the war in May 1945 in Europe to report on the various theaters of war. His most important mission was the Allied landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his reporting. In London he met his fourth and last Mrs. Mary Welsh, also a reporter who covered the war from the British capital.

In contrast to Martha Gellhorn, Mary adapted very well to the difficult temperament of Hemingway, to which she said she wanted to look up, who would like to be stronger and smarter like her. Hemingway enjoyed this care and attention. Still, Mary Welsh was a companion on an equal footing. The marriage lasted without crises until his death. The couple lived from 1946 to 1959 in Havana, Cuba, and then moved to Ketchum, Idaho, after many stays in Europe and Africa. Hemingway had previously come to appreciate Wyoming's rugged beauty, which was ideal for his hunting activities. In 1953 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel "The Old Man an the Sea" (The Old Man and the Sea), in 1954 the Nobel Prize for Literature followed. In the same year, the writer in Africa considered two plane crashes on two consecutive days. Various Injuries and illnesses as well as his alcoholism increasingly influenced his health.

In previous years he had suffered from writer's block several times and was unable to finish various projects, a first sign of a serious mental disorder. In 1957 he began work on his autobiographical work “A movable Feast” (Paris, a feast for life) after many of the writings he had made during his time in Paris had reappeared. Health problems also accompanied the realization of this work. In 1960 he showed first signs of paranoiawhile his mental health turned worrying. He was concerned about his safety, his taxes, and his manuscripts left in Cuba in a bank box. The FBI had kept a file on him since World War II, and was followed by an FBI agent Ernest and Mary Hemingway in Havana. Eventually the writer was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Here he was treated with electrochemical therapy for severe depression and various illnesses. This mental state is presumably also due to various head injuries that he repeatedly suffered on the war fronts and in Africa.

July 1961: Hemingway's life ends in suicide

He was released in January 1961, and speculations about his state of health really grew. Nobody knew more. In the end, Mary could not help her husband either when he decided on the morning of July 2, 1961 to shoot himself with his favorite rifle. Mary Welsh Hemingway served as the administrator and editor of some of his posthumous works, including "A moveable Feast". After the nationalization of the Hemingway finca in 1961, US President John F. Kennedy stepped in and made it possible for Hemingway's widow to meet Fidel Castro to secure the estate of around 6,000 books and documents. In 1964, Mary Welsh Hemingway contacted Jaqueline Kennedy to donate the documented estate to the John F. Kennedy Library.

Pulitzer and Nobel Prize for Literature

Ernst Hemingway was one of the most successful writers of the 20th century and was awarded two of the most important international literary prizes: the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. The writer's life provided plenty of material for his novels and was certainly no less adventurous than that of his protagonists. In addition to his home country USA, the countries of southern Europe, Africa and Cuba were the main stops of his life. His life stood for irrepressible, albeit melancholy joie de vivre, which also surrounded his tragic characters in the novel. The works of Ernest Hemingway describe the fate of the so-called Lost Generationwho came to Paris during and after World War I, which also spawned many artists and writers. His characters try to manage their lives by making the most of the prevailing circumstances. They endure their fate with composure, with cynicism and irony. And yet there is always a good deal of drama and often a love story as well. Nevertheless, Hemingway managed the tight balancing act away from the typical love monzette with his short and not too emotionally charged writing style.

Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation

The fact that his characters and actions seem so real and not at all kitschy is also due to the writer's own experiences, which he processed in his novels. Most of the writers of the Lost Generation met in Paris, which for many of them became home for some time. About 30,000 US citizens lived in Paris at the time. The name of the Lost Generation was coined by Gertrude Stein.

During his time in Paris, Ernest Hemingway met the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was three years his senior and who, like himself, would become one of the most successful representatives of contemporary American literature. Like Hemingway, Fitzgerald struggled with alcohol problems and intermittent depression throughout his life. Up until Fitzgerald's death in 1940, a close friendship developed between the two writers, which is documented in Fitzgerald's work "We are damn lousy acrobats, a friendship in letters". Fitzgerald called Hemingway the better writer. He advised his friend to change his writing style because he was too affected. In contrast to Hemingway, Fitzgerald lived less the life of an adventurer between the continents, but with his wife Zelda the typical existence of the so-called "Roaring Twenties" in the upper class in New York, England, Italy and France. The gossip press, which documented the lavish life of the Fitzgeralds with relish, was always there.

Like the works of Hemingway, the works of Fitzgerald are also shaped by autobiography. While Hemingway sent his protagonists to the Spanish Civil War, to Africa on the big game hunt or to the bullfighting metropolises of Spain, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed the Roaring Twenties in the USA, which were caused by prohibition, the legendary speakeasies (illegal jazz bars serving alcohol), crime and economic growth and finally economic decline. These two writers now met at the art collector, writer and publisher Gertrude Stein. Her contemporary art salon was on Rue de Fleurus Attraction of well-known personalities the artistic avant-garde, which included not only writers, but also painters such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Henri Matisse, as well as musicians such as George Gershwin.

Gertrude Stein, promoter of young writers in Paris

Gertrude Stein's experimental writing style influenced young modern writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, born in 1876, lived the unconventional and non-conformist lifestyle of the Lost Generation. She encouraged the young Ernest Hemingway to quit his job as a journalist for the Toronto Star in Paris and to devote himself entirely to his potential as a promising writer. Nevertheless, Gertrude Stein criticized them quite a few times "Disrespect and excessive alcohol consumption" this young writer. Ernest Hemingway countered that most of them were already drunk by 11:00, which is why such “wonderful phrases” found their way into their own works.

Historians of the “lost generation” include Americans born between 1883 and 1900. Their children belonged to the G.I. generation, while the grandchildren are assigned to the Baby Boomers. The area around Rive Gauche, an urban area south of the Seine, had one special attraction to people of the most diverse art genres, because here they could live their lives free from the conventions and expectations of the good bourgeois society. In addition, life in Paris, which was largely destroyed by the war, was quite cheap with the strong dollar currency. In addition to Gertrude Stein's art and literary gathering, there were several other literary circles in which the aspiring young US writers met regularly.

While F. Scott Fitzgerald described the mood in Paris in the 1920s with the sentence: "All gods dead, all wars fought, all beliefs destroyed" In a nutshell, Ernest Hemingway spoke out in favor of living life with composure and recommended to his friend: "You have to be terribly hurt before you can write". While Fitzgerald regretted his life that he had not fought in any of the major theaters of war during the First World War, Hemingway came to the highly competitive Italian front at the age of 18 as a driver of the Red Cross, where he was badly injured by a steel splinter in his leg and spent six months in a hospital.

Ernest Hemingway, a complex and excessive character

Like all his life, the character of the writer was distinguished by extreme qualities.He embraced life and enjoyed it to the full, he was a self-confident man who was characterized by the typical chauvinism of his generation. And yet he was melancholy, at times depressed and loved the seclusion in his different phases of life in Europe, on Cuba, on Key West and finally in the tranquil town of Ketchum in the American Midwest. He drank too much and at times plunged into life too much, but it was precisely these qualities that made up most of the writers of his generation. Maybe he would be without this extraordinary living conditions been less successful.

Ernest Hemingway was not only fascinated by the full life, but also by death in the form of hunting, big game hunting, bullfighting and war. Even if his works certainly no longer correspond to today's zeitgeist, they are so closely linked to American cultural history that even the greatest critics from the nature and animal welfare scene can ignore this fact. If Ernest Hemingway were still alive, he would certainly receive numerous honors, acceptance speeches and celebrations. There was this one complex character a man of brief words not only in his works. This attitude ran through his entire life. He was of the opinion that "a writer should not say what he has to say, but write it down".

A man of simple and few words

It was therefore not surprising when he was not present in person for the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature. The honoree did not value the associated media attention and instead only had one short statement with an equally short acceptance speech prepared, which he had read out on his behalf. Since his suicide in July 1961, Ernest Hemingway has been repeatedly described as a mentally ill alcoholic, a loyal friend, but whose words could also be mercilessly directed against the people he called his family, friends, fellow writers. A certain arrogance was inherent in the writer, who finally rose to the top of the Paris literary scene in the 1920s. The at that time already successful writer Sherwood Anderson sent the penniless, but in his opinion quite talented young man to Paris in 1922, where he finally met his later mentor Gertrude Stein. Without these two people, Ernest Hemingway's life would probably have been different. Instead of saying thank you, Hemingway criticized Sherwood Anderson's work "Dunkles Lachen". His answer to that very successful work was the parodistic treatise "The Storm Tides of Spring". Not exactly what one might expect from a grateful foster son.

In his volume of short stories "Paris, a festival for life", Ernest Hemingway reports on his years in Paris. Many of his friends and colleagues at the time are reflected in these characters. In addition to numerous anecdotes and humorous incidents, the author also reports on the same-sex relationship between his mentor Gertrude Stein and her secretary and business partner Alice B. Toklas. The two women lived out their sexual orientation openlywhich was actually impossible for the time. In the liberal art scene, however, a lot more was possible than in the conservative bourgeoisie, as these two women would not have had a chance in whichever direction. However, the macho Hemingway also made fun of this incident. He accused his friend and colleague, F. Scott Fitzgerald, of fear of manhood.

The writer was only distinguished by his extraordinary literary talent, but always fell with him as a macho chauvinist tendencies out. His love for all forms of hunting, deep-sea fishing and bullfighting went well with this. Nowadays, when kings rush over pictures to hunt big game, the killing of big game was considered worthwhile for every man who was able to prove his courage and bravery and by the way impress the women. Hunters and bullfighters were considered intrepid heroes, strong men who would stop at nothing in life. Many a woman dreamed of such courageous and terrified heroes. Many of the adventure films and westerns made in Hollywood at that time put big game hunters, hunters and bullfighters in a correspondingly positive light.

Some of these films are based on the works of Hemingway, but also on stories and short stories that were mainly circulated in newspapers at the time. You are a Reflection of the society at that time. For today's readers, the success of such stories can only be explained if there is a willingness to deal not only with the story of Ernest Hemingway, but with that of an entire generation, with the history of the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War . Because these events not only influenced the life of Ernest Hemingway, but also that of a whole society, which finally accepted his works enthusiastically and made them a success.

Dealing with human weaknesses is difficult for Ernest Hemingway

His father, to whom Hemingway was actually fond of, did not do well in his work "The Doctor and His Wife". However, it becomes clear to the reader why the writer was a chauvinist and macho with an excessive thirst for life and adventure throughout his life. He couldn't understand that his father was unable to assert himself against his dominant mother. He says that he would have loved to punish his father for his weakness with death. Contemporaries and historians assumed that this weakness of the father provided the initial spark for the very life that Ernest Hemingway chose for himself. A classic father-son conflict, from which experience has shown that the sons usually emerge just as weak. But not Ernest Hemingway. As a big game hunter, deep sea fisherman, in the Spanish Civil War and as a war reporter, he was able to prove himself again and again and show the outside world that he was not afraid of anything or anyone. Although he was not active as a bullfighter himself, he repeatedly praised the “elegance, grace and fearlessness” of these protagonists in the arena and during the bull hunt in Pamplona in his works.

Presumably he was aware of his own weaknesses and fears of his own character, but he tried by all means to hide from his surroundings. For many Hemingway fans and historians it is clear that this is probably why he was so adamant with the people he was close to, to whom he owed a lot at times. It is often said that people reject precisely those characteristics in their fellow human beings that make them up themselves, but which are undesirable. This is probably why Ernest Hemingway was not prepared to accept weaknesses that he found in himself in his fellow men. Weaknesses that he knew how to hide from the outside for a long time, but which caught up with him at the end of his life and finally made him to put an end to one's own life. Ernest Hemingway once described his hunting friend, actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who played the leading role in the 1943 film adaptation of his work “Whom the Hour Takes”, as “the most beloved illiterate of his time”. However, this quote did not mean that Gary Cooper could not read and write, but that he was simply not interested in the world of art and literature and therefore offered Hemingway a perfect platform for its irony and ridicule. Although no friendships were irrevocably broken by this behavior, Ernest Hemingway's erratic behavior nevertheless offered himself a broad surface area to attack, from which he himself suffered, but which the macho never admitted.

Four wives and one great love

The writer was married four times and was a challenge for each of his wives, which they were ultimately not up to. As great love of his life is the nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, who nursed him in the hospital during the First World War after an injury on the Italian front. Although the two young people were fond of each other, Agnes did not reciprocate Ernest's love equally. He would have liked to have married her, but she had different ideas about life. It is said that Ernest Hemingway never got over this spurned love in his life. In contrast to some other writers of his time, Hemingway did not write romance novels and stories from the dazzling world of the beautiful and rich, but always adventure and short stories, which were, however, characterized by the realistic and autobiographical style, because he always left his personal ones in his works Influence experiences.

Hollywood knocks

Just as regularly, his protagonists did not have an easy fate and had to face numerous challenges, sometimes their lives ended in death, as in his story “Snow on Kilimanjaro. His protagonist, big game hunter Harry Street, could also be Ernest Hemingway in a camp at the foot of Kilimanjaro. While Hemingway left Harry Street to die in the end after an injury and the blood poisoning that went with it, a positive ending was chosen for the Hollywood film. The big game hunter not only gets well again, but also reveals himself to be purified of his own mistakes and weaknesses that he had shown in the past. Hemingway, on the other hand, was not only fascinated by life, but also by death and for some of his protagonists, who were desperate for life, preferred death to what he believed to be a positive but banal ending. While other writers of his time, as masters of the polished word and complex stylistic devices, used one to decorate their stories, Ernest Hemingway, who also did not excel as a frequent talker and polished chat in real life, chose one simple writing style, which was characterized by simply structured sentences.

Sometimes he had to put up with the accusation of the banal writing style, which however ran off him. The “soul landscape of his characters” and the description of the unbalance of nature and the events to which his protagonists were exposed was much more important to him than internal monologues and excessive explanations. Often he leaves his characters become one with naturethat helps to come to terms with the horrors of war or personal difficult experiences. However, his characters also repeatedly challenge nature, be it hunting big game, in the bullring or in the mighty waves of the sea as in his work "The Old Man and the Sea". He often lets his characters suffer and confronts them with insoluble conflicts, as in his novel “Fiesta” (The Sun also Rises), which was made into a film by Hollywood in 1957 under the title “Between Paris and Madrid”. The novel and the film depict the unfortunate love story between a reporter and a former nurse after the First World War in pleasure-addicted Paris. Two more friends complete the quartet. Bullfighting, the unfulfilled love for a bullfighter and jealousy among the three men who are all in love with the woman are further ingredients of this story.

Here Ernest Hemingway lets his experiences from the Paris of the post-war period flow in and also his unfulfilled love for the hospital nurse on the Italian front it is dealt with again. Its main actor Jake Barnes is not only a reporter, but also an honored US soldier who was once cared for by the main female character, Lady Brett Ashley, in the hospital during the First World War. Ernest Hemingway first worked on this unhappy love story in his only romance novel "In Another Land" (A Farewell to Armes) in 1929. How much this unfulfilled love and the rejection by the seven-year-old woman hit him shows that he lets his main character, a nurse in the First World War, die at the end of the story.

The writer incorporated his experiences in Key West and the Caribbean immediately before the outbreak of World War II into his work "To have and have not", which was filmed in 1944 with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. However, this story is characterized by witty irony and the relationship between the cynical and self-confident Harry Morgan and the young but no less self-confident Marie. This story also miraculously describes the Culture and way of life of the respective location, this time Key West and Martinique. This time the plot is less difficult and dramatic, but all the more political, spiced with fine irony and a witty exchange of blows between the two actors.

In the end, only death remains for a self-determined life

Often times, Hemingway chose death for his main characters at the end of his stories when they were unable to face a conflict in their life with strength because "At the end of all weaknesses there is always death"the writer once explained the motivation behind his stories. Nature, on the other hand, is infinite and will be there for a long time after man has long been gone. Nature defends itself against humans with elemental force. Nevertheless, Hemingway portrays humans as intelligent beings who are able to determine not only their lives but also their exit from that very life if they are unable to resolve conflicts to their satisfaction. Exactly these conflicts were numerous and insoluble for him in the last years of his life. On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway took the liberty of determining his life and death by putting a rifle to his head and pulling the trigger in his country house in Ketchum, Idaho.

Frequent questions and answers

Where did Ernest Hemingway die?

Ernest Hemingway died of suicide in Ketchum, Idaho.

When was Ernest Hemingway born?

Ernest Hemingway died on July 2, 1961.

Where did Hemingway live?

Ernest Hemingway lived in the city of Oak Park, Illinois, Kansas City (Kansas), Paris, Key West (Florida), Cuba and Ketchum (Idaho).

What is Hemingway's style?

Hemingway is known for his laconic, no-frills style. He developed a modern classicism based on the models of Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein. The style is characterized by a particular barreness. Hemingway uses short, concise main clauses with strong verbs and few adjectives.