Ernest Miller Hemingway, born in this house in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, became one of the greatest American novelists and short story writers of all time.
Beginning his career as a journalist for the Kansas City Star, Hemingway chose the newspaper instead of pursuing a college career, and although he only stayed with the Star for a mere six months (October 17, 1917-April 30, 1918), he used the newspaper’s style guide as a foundation for his writing. "Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative." Later, The Star named Hemingway its top reporter for the last hundred years.
Unable to pass the physical examination due to poor vision, Hemingway could not join the United States Army as his father had hoped. Instead, he chose the Red Cross Ambulance Corps and served on the Italian front. One of his first short stories entitled, A Natural History of the Dead was written after witnessing the brutalities of war. After a war injury, a romantic relationship with one of his nurses spurred the writing of A Farewell to Arms and A Very Short Story.
After the war, Hemingway returned to newspaper work with the Toronto Star, as a freelancer, foreign correspondent, and staff writer. In 1921, he married his first wife and they eventually moved to Paris and then to Canada where his first son was born. During this time period, Hemingway wrote some of his greats such as The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, A Moveable Feast, and In Our Time.
In 1927 Hemingway divorced Hadley Richardson and married Pauline Pfeiffer. In 1928 the newlywed couple moved to Key West to start a new life together. That same year saw the tragic death of Hemingway’s father who had lost his fortune in the real estate bubble of Florida as well as the birth of his second son. His third son was born a few years later.
The rest of his life contained triumphs such as For Whom the Bell Tolls, the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, as well as extreme tragedies in his personal life. Later it was proven that Ernest Hemingway suffered from severe bouts of depression, alcoholism, and manic depressive episodes due to a hereditary disease known as bronze diabetes, in which excessive iron levels concentrate in the blood causing damage to the pancreas as well as instability in the cerebrum.
Hemingway attempted suicide in the spring of 1961. On the morning of July 2, 1961, he died at his Idaho residence, the result of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. Judged to be not mentally responsible for his final act, he was buried in a Roman Catholic service. This was a tragic end to the life of a literary genius. More can be learned about Hemingway by using the following links:
Links and Resources:
Ernest Hemingway Nobel Prize A detailed summary of Ernest Hemingway's life and works with links to audio presentation speeches
Today In Literature Biography Complete biography with many additional resources
Timeless Hemingway Excellent site with a wealth of Hemingway information