Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899. The winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, Hemingway can be seen as the progenitor of a uniquely minimalistic style that made a distinct impact on twentieth-century fiction and would later influence fellow Americans Raymond Carver, Joan Didion, and many others. Among his most famous works are the novels The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and The Old Man and the Sea (1952). Following long stints abroad over the course of his life, in France, Spain, Cuba, and elsewhere, he settled in Ketchum, Idaho in 1959 and committed suicide there in 1961.

Photo by Lloyd Arnold, Wikimedia Commons


The Art of Fiction No. 21

From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows?


Titres Manques

  When asked in his 1958 Paris Review interview with George Plimpton about choosing titles, Hemingway said, “I make a list of titles after I’ve finished the story or the book — sometimes as many as one hundred. Then I start eliminating them, sometimes all of them.” Three years later he struggled with the list you see below—possible titles for a book about his early Paris days, a book which he said probably should not be published because of potential libel suits. 

The Art of the Short Story

In March, 1959, Ernest Hemingway’s publisher Charles Scribner, Jr. suggested putting together a student’s edition of Hemingway short stories. He listed the twelve stories which were most in demand for anthologies, but thought that the collection could include Hemingway’s favorites, and that Hemingway could write a preface for classroom use. Hemingway responded favorably. He would write the preface in the form of a lecture on the art of the short story.