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Ernest Hemingway - Biography

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Commentary by Karen Bernardo

On the surface, Ernest Hemingway may seem an unlikely candidate for a bestselling writer. He was an indifferent student in high school, excelling primarily in sports; he never went to college.

As an adult, Hemingway lived a life full of physical adventure: running with the bulls in Pamplona, shooting wild game on safari in Africa, deep-sea fishing off the coast of Florida, participating in WWI, the Spanish American War, and WWII. By all accounts, he was a hard-drinking man who loved women and hated weakness. He shot himself at the age of sixty-two rather than face the prospect of growing old.

But the distinctive types of male characters he created, in addition to his sparse, lean prose, struck a resonant chord with his contemporaries. Hemingway clearly saw his generation -- individuals who came of age on the killing fields of Europe during World War I -- as 'lost,' looking for identity in an world that no longer worked according to traditional expectations. Although today Hemingway is often seen as chauvinistic, we can still appreciate his characters as stoic, brave, and true to themselves in a world that was falling apart.

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