Readings that explore and celebrate the writer’s career.
By Peter Griffin
Peter Griffin dug through a mountain of then-new information provided by Hemingway’s family to construct a comprehensive portrait of the author’s early life, from his Illinois childhood, through his first job as a journalist in Kansas City, to his valiant service during World War I. Jack Hemingway, Ernest’s son, contributes a forward as well as five of his father’s previously unpublished short stories, making this the perfect companion to the Fince Vigia Edition of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.
Edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon
This stunning collection of personal correspondence is the closest thing to a Hemingway autobiography we have, humanizing the tough-guy image he fostered publicly. In these letters, readers can discover the roots of some of Hemingway’s most enduing work. Here is the doomed love affair with Agnes von Kurowsky, as well as a first hand account of Hemingway’s work as a Red Cross ambulance driver at the Italian front, where he took shrapnel in both legs and earned the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. Both experiences informed 1929’s A Farewell to Arms: much of Frederic Henry’s convalescence in an Milanese hospital mirrors the author’s own ordeal.
By James R. Mellow
A tribute not only to Hemingway and his outsize life, but also to the writers and artists who made Paris their headquarters during the 1920s and ’30s as the modern literary age gestated, awash in alcohol and steeped in post-WWI anomie. Mellow captures the era and Hemingway’s place in it with precision and gusto, mapping the complex rivalries and friendships, love affairs and professional allegiances Hemingway cultivated with his contemporaries. These are the same luminaries that filled the journals assembled into A Moveable Feast in 1964 (three years after Hemingway’s death) by his widow and fourth wife, Mary.
By Paul Hendrickson
Purchased just before his career’s meteoric ascent, Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, likely inspired whole passages of The Old Man and the Sea and stayed with him throughout his success, three of his four marriages, and on down into his alcoholism, depression, and eventual suicide in 1961. Hemingway frequently employed his characters’ relationships with their natural surrounding as metaphors for innocence threatened by the corrupting influence of human society. In Hendrickson’s revealing book we get to know the Hemingway who was in love with the ocean, sailing from Key West to Cuba, with Pilar serving as inspiration and refuge along the way.
By Michael Reynolds
In the final volume of his biographical trilogy, Reynolds chronicles the last two decades of the writer’s life — years marked by literary triumph, personal tumult, and increasing physical and psychological distress. Unable to disentangle himself from the myth of the adventurer and sportsman he had so assiduously cultivated, Hemingway grappled with paranoia and depression even as the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes cemented his literary stature. Portions of his 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in which Robert Jordan considers suicide to avoid capture, foreshadow Hemingway’s eventual self-destruction. The tragic arc of the writer’s twilight years has never been more movingly captured.