A HEMINGWAY TIMELINE:’ANY MAN’S LIFE, TOLD TRULY, IS A NOVEL’
HIGHLIGHT OF HIS LIFE
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954 was awarded to Ernest Hemingway “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”.
GRADUATES FROM HIGH SCHOOL, SUMMERS IN MICHIGAN.
OCTOBER: BEGINS WORK AS A CUB REPORTER AT THE KANSAS CITY STAR. LIVES WITH UNCLE, THEN AT A BOARDING HOUSE, 3733 WARWICK BLVD.
NOVEMBER: MOVES TO 3516 AGNES AVE., WHERE HE SHARES ROOM WITH MICHIGAN FRIEND CARL EDGAR.
JOINS 7TH MISSOURI INFANTRY, A TEMPORARY UNIT OF MISSOURI NATIONAL GUARD.
RECOVERING IN ITALY, 1918
APRIL 30: LEAVES KANSAS CITY FOR ITALY AND WORLD WAR I.
SERVES AS AMBULANCE DRIVER FOR AMERICAN RED CROSS AND IN THE CANTEEN SERVICE AT THE FRONT.
JULY 8: SERIOUSLY WOUNDED WHEN A TRENCH MORTAR SHELL EXPLODES THREE FEET AWAY, NEAR THE FRONT AT FOSSALTA. DURING RECUPERATION, HAS AN AFFAIR WITH NURSE AGNES VON KUROWSKY; RELATIONSHIP PROVIDED INSPIRATION FOR A FAREWELL TO ARMS.
RETURNS TO CHICAGO.IS HAILED AS WAR HERO.
BEGINS WRITING FOR THE TORONTO STAR. TAKES JOB IN CHICAGO WITH CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE.
SEPT. 3: MARRIES HADLEY RICHARDSON OF ST. LOUIS IN HORTON BAY, MICH.
OCTOBER: CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH CLOSES IN FINANCIAL SCANDAL.
DECEMBER: AT THE URGING OF SHERWOOD ANDERSON, THE NEWLYWEDS MOVE TO PARIS.
MARCH 8: THE HEMINGWAYS MEET GERTRUDE STEIN.
LATE SEPTEMBER: ERNEST TRAVELS TO CONSTANTINOPLE TO COVER THE WAR BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY FOR THE TORONTO STAR.
DEC. 3: HADLEY, ON HER WAY TO SWITZERLAND TO MEET ERNEST, LOSES A SUITCASE CONTAINING HIS MANUSCRIPTS IN A PARIS TRAIN STATION.
JULY: WITNESSES THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS AT PAMPLONA, SPAIN.
AUGUST: THREE STORIES AND TEN POEMS IS PUBLISHED BY A SMALL PRESS IN PARIS.
OCT. 10: BECOMES A PAPA WHEN SON JACK IS BORN IN TORONTO.
JULY: PAMPLONA AGAIN.
AUGUST: FINISHES SHORT STORY “BIG TWO-HEARTED RIVER.”
APRIL IN PARIS: MEETS F. SCOTT FITZGERALD SHORTLY AFTER HIS GREAT GATSBY IS PUBLISHED.
JULY: BEGINS WORKING ON THE SUN ALSO RISES, WHICH BY THE END OF THE NEXT YEAR ENSURES HIS FAME.
DIVORCES HADLEY, MARRIES PAULINE PFEIFFER.
MOVES TO KEY WEST,FLORIDA.
JUNE-JULY: IN KANSAS CITY FOR THE BIRTH OF SECOND SON, PATRICK.
DEC. 6: ERNEST’S FATHER, CLARENCE HEMINGWAY, COMMITS SUICIDE IN OAK PARK.
CAR WRECK IN MONTANA. ARM IS BADLY BROKEN.
OCT. 14: HEMINGWAYS ARRIVE IN KANSAS CITY.
NOV. 12: THIRD SON GREGORY IS BORN BY CAESAREAN SECTION IN KANSAS CITY.
HEMINGWAYS ON SAFARI IN AFRICA.
PILAR, HEMINGWAY’S FAMED FISHING BOAT, ARRIVES IN KEY WEST IN MAY. THAT SUMMER HEMINGWAY TAKES THE BOAT TO CUBA.
ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTS SELF IN THE LEG.
INTRODUCED TO JOURNALIST MARTHA GELLHORN IN KEY WEST.
FEBRUARY: BEGINS WORK AS A CORRESPONDENT COVERING THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR. HEMINGWAY AND PAULINE GO TO HOLLYWOOD LATER IN THE YEAR TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE SPANISH LOYALISTS.
OCT. 18: LIKENESS APPEARS ON COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE.
JUNE 22: IN NEW YORK TO WATCH THE JOE LOUIS-MAX SCHMELING HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT.
HEMINGWAY SHARES A HOUSE IN CUBA WITH MARTHA GELLHORN.
ERNEST AND MARTHA TOUR CHINA AS JOURNALISTS, WITNESS ITS WAR WITH JAPAN.
USES PILAR FOR ARMED PATROLS, SCOUTING FOR GERMAN SUBMARINES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.
MAY: IS IN A SERIOUS AUTO ACCIDENT SUFFERING A CONCUSSION AND SEVERE HEAD LACERATIONS.
ACCOMPANIES BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE ON MISSIONS OVER FRANCE AND GERMANY.
AUGUST: ACCOMPANIES THE 22ND INFANTRY REGIMENT NEAR RAMBOUILLET, FRANCE. LATER IS INVESTIGATED AND CLEARED BY ARMY INSPECTOR GENERAL ON ALLEGATIONS OF BEING ARMED CORRESPONDENT. ARRIVES IN PARIS FOR LIBERATION BY ALLIES.
MEETS WRITER MARY WELSH IN LONDON.
MARTHA GELLHORN DIVORCES HEMINGWAY.
MARRIES MARY WELSH.
AWARDED BRONZE STAR FOR SERVICE IN WORLD WAR II.
JUNE: MAX PERKINS, HEMINGWAY’S LONGTIME EDITOR AT SCRIBNER’S, DIES.
BECOMES INVOLVED IN A PLOT TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.
JUNE 28: MOTHER, GRACE HALL HEMINGWAY, DIES.
OCT. 1: PAULINE PFEIFFER DIES
WINS PULITZER PRIZE FOR THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.
LAST FOUR MONTHS OF THE YEAR ON SAFARI IN KENYA.
IN JANUARY, WHILE STILL IN AFRICA, THE HEMINGWAYS SURVIVE TWO PLANE CRASHES.
OCTOBER: AWARDED NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE.
WORKS ON THE SCRIPT AND FILMING OF THE MOVIE VERSION OF “THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.”
BEDRIDDEN WITH NEPHRITIS AND HEPATITIS FROM LATE NOVEMBER THROUGH JANUARY OF 1956.
TRAVELS TO SPAIN FOR BULLFIGHTING ARTICLES FOR LIFE MAGAZINE.
BUYS HOME IN KETCHUM, IDAHO.
UNDERGOES ELECTROSHOCK TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION AND PARANOIA. IS ALSO TREATED FOR LIVER DISEASE, HYPERTENSION AND DIABETES.
JULY 2: KILLS HIMSELF WITH FAVORITE SHOTGUN.
Read more here: http://www.kcstar.com/hemingway/ehtimeline.shtml#storylink=cpy
“I went out too far.”
The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway REVIEW
In 1950, Earnest Hemingway published his novel Over the River and Through the Trees. If the title is not familiar to you, you would not be alone. The novel was highly anticipated but profoundly dissatisfying to readers who expected another great work like For Whom the Bell Tolls or The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms. As one reviewer notes, Hemingway’s “popularity dwindled due to the quality of the work, not the quality of the writer.”
“Richard H. Rovere’s review in Harper’s Magazine, CCI (Sept. 1950), 104-106, was one of the commonly critical views of the book: “Ernest Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees is a disappointing novel. Though it has moments of strength and beauty, it also has moments of tawdriness. … It is an incredibly talky book. It is almost garrulous, a strange thing for a Hemingway novel to be. The reason, I think, is that Hemingway is here using dialogue not as a tool of narrative but simply as a means for the author to unburden himself of opinions.” (Pg. 425 -426)
“Lewis Gannett of the N.Y. Herald Tribune (Sept. 7, 1950), pg.23 has a similar, yet more subtle approach. “There are wonderful flashes of the old Hemingway in the book- the tacit understanding between the colonel and his American driver, for instance…. There is the old Hemingway passion for good shooting, and there is the dream-girl who is a dream of all fair women and never more than a dream, like almost all the Hemingway women. … Some of the book is Hemingway at his worst, and the whole does not add up to Hemingway as his best.” (Pg. 466)
“The overall consensus gives one the feeling that Across the River and Into the Trees is a bit below par for a Hemingway work.”
“Frankly,” we are told by another critic,
“Ernest Hemingway seems to have lost his focus. As a result, his work, Across the River and Into the Trees, suffered. Its best seller status seems to have come solely through anticipation of the book that was to follow For Whom the Bell Tolls. Unfortunately, the kindest critical reviews said nothing more than the book is ‘a little less than perfect.’”
It is in this context that Hemingway sets out to write The Old Man and the Sea a year later (1951). He is a hard living, risk-taking, fifty-one -year-old man who could be washed up and done. He is a man who, in his youth had great success with two or three novels but has gone for almost a decade without some new triumph. He has set out to write another great novel in Over the River and Through the Trees but it had failed miserably. As far as the critics are concerned anyway, it was not worth reading. Like the old man Santiago in Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway has gone for an insufferably long time without success (Santiago has not caught a fish in 84 days). Like Santiago, his latest Herculean attempt at greatness has been devoured by a feeding frenzy of sharks (critics). And like Santiago, he feels like he has been rewarded for his effort by being crucified.
“Hemingway purposefully likens Santiago to Christ, who, according to Christian theology, gave his life for the greater glory of humankind. Crucifixion imagery is the most noticeable way in which Hemingway creates the symbolic parallel between Santiago and Christ. When Santiago’s palms are first cut by his fishing line, the reader cannot help but think of Christ suffering his stigmata. Later, when the sharks arrive, Hemingway portrays the old man as a crucified martyr, saying that he makes a noise similar to that of a man having nails driven through his hands. Furthermore, the image of the old man struggling up the hill with his mast across his shoulders recalls Christ’s march toward Calvary. Even the position in which Santiago collapses on his bed—face down with his arms out straight and the palms of his hands up—brings to mind the image of Christ suffering on the cross. Hemingway employs these images in the final pages of the novella in order to link Santiago to Christ, who exemplified transcendence by turning loss into gain, defeat into triumph, and even death into renewed life.” (Spark Notes)
It is interesting to peel away the onion of meaning in Old Man and the Sea in this context. Santiago the fisherman is like Hemingway and like Christ. All three of them struggled to achieve something and failed, not because they could not do what they set out to do so much as because there were too many forces arrayed against them. When Santiago analyzes his failure, he says only that “he went out too far.” i.e. He aimed too high. No doubt this is how Hemingway explains the failure of his previous novel and how he would explain Jesus’ failure to gain acceptance as Messiah (they aimed too high).
It is difficult not to see in Santiago’s fight with the sharks, a thinly veiled reference to Hemingway’s battle to fend of critics of his writing. Indeed, it seems almost self-evident that there is a direct correspondence between Santiago’s fishing and Hemingway’s writing. Santiago asserts that he was “born to fish” – it is his calling. But throughout the story, he has to contend with cramps in his hand. His battle is with the great marlin but it is also, and more directly, a battle with his own disabled hand. Likewise, we can imagine Hemingway feeling “born to write” but suffering from a drought of success and a disabling “writers block.”
“When the first shark arrives, Santiago’s resolve is mentioned twice in the space of just a few paragraphs. First we are told that the old man “was full of resolution but he had little hope.” Then, sentences later, the narrator says, “He hit [the shark] without hope but with resolution.” The old man meets every challenge with the same unwavering determination: he is willing to die in order to bring in the marlin, and he is willing to die in order to battle the feeding sharks. It is this conscious decision to act, to fight, to never give up that enables Santiago to avoid defeat.” (Spark Notes)
The great irony is that Hemingway seems to have created a Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning masterpiece by simply describing, in metaphorical terms, the fight and failure of his previous attempt. In writing this novel, he is, I think, simply writing about what it was like to write his previous attempt to write a novel; What it was like to finally finish it and to watch it fail. He is writing about what it is like to try to do something truly great, by sheer force of will, in the face of adversity, while dealing with handicaps.
For Hemingway, success is not a requirement of greatness. Greatness is to be seen in the person who fights against odds, against great challenges, without necessary help, in spite of one’s deficiencies, regardless of the fatigue and weariness, no matter what the outcome.
I think this is why Santiago’s great hero is Joe Dimagio in the novel. In December 1951, Joe Dimagio retired from baseball having helped the Yankees to win ten pennants and nine World Series during his thirteen year career. “I feel like I have reached the stage where I can no longer produce for my club, my manager, and my teammates,” he said in his resignation at the end of that dismal year of statistical (for him) failure,
“I had a poor year, but even if I had hit .350, this would have been my last year. I was full of aches and pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game, and so, I’ve played my last game.”
No doubt, Hemingway, writing this novel during Dimagio’s last season, was feeling somewhat like him. He was a man with great prior success having his worst year (Dimagio’s 1951 season was as dismal a failure as Hemingway’s previous novel). Hemingway, like Dimagio, could have retired (eventually, as we know, Hemingway will commit suicide). But instead, he rows out into the deep and uses his failure to write one of America’s great novels about failure and success.
And, in the process, wins a Pulitzer Prize for literature. And a year later, the Nobel.
As with Santiago and Christ, failure is not necessarily defeat if there is still fight left in the old man. As Hemingway stated in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a writer (like the fisherman Santiago)
“does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. . . . For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed. . . . It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.”
Question for Comment: What has been the relationship between defeat and success in your life? How have you dealt with great failure in ways that have made those failures work for you not against you?
Ernest Hemingway never wrote drunk, says granddaughter Mariel Hemingway
Mariel Hemingway says that despite her grandfather’s reputation as a drinker, Ernest Hemingway never wrote while under the influence of alcohol.
“That’s not how he wrote,” the 51-year-old Manhattan actress says of The Old Man and the Sea author. “He never wrote drunk, he never wrote beyond early, early morning.”
She says he is often used to glamourize addiction. “So many writers glorify my grandfather’s way of living as much as they glorify his work. And so they try and mirror that,” she tells Interview Magazine. “I think it’s the misperception of addiction and living life on the edge, as if it’s cool.”
- Keypoints of “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway for Waec/neco Literature Exams (37) (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)
- Text of “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway for Waec/neco Literature Exams (36) (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)
- Waec/neco Literature Texts for 2011-2015 As Requested (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)