Ernest Hemingway Tragic Genius — страница 2

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meaning: "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kilts the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." In 1932 Hemingway published Death in the Afternoon, a moving study of bullfighting, a subject in which he had shown a constant interest both in his short stories and in The Sun Also Rises. "Bullfighting," he wrote, "is the only art in which the -3- artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to

the fighter's honor." From his home in Florida, Hemingway made many trips, including several safaris to Africa. Drawing on the experiences of these African trips, he wrote The Green Hills of Africa (1935), a nonfiction book about "pursuit as happiness," and two of his best short stories, The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1936) and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1938). It is for his short stories rather than his other works that Hemingway has received some of his highest praise. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Hemingway went to Spain to gather material for a film, The Spanish Earth, and returned to that country the next year as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Out of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War came a

play, The Fifth Column (1938), and his longest novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). The latter work emphasizes the oneness of humanity and the idea that a loss of liberty anywhere means the loss of liberty everywhere. This idea is well expressed by the hero, Robert Jordan, as he is dying: " I have fought for what I believed in for a year now. If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.... I wish there were some way to pass on what I've learned, though. Christ, I -4- was learning fast there at the end." Critics have described this novel as a study in "epic courage and compassion," and in it, according to some, Hemingway reached the peak of his creative skill. World War II saw

Hemingway serving again in the role of war correspondent. When the war ended, he settled in Cuba where he lived until 1959. During this period of his life at an old, somewhat dilapidated estate called Finca Vigia, he talked with many of the fishermen at nearby San Francisco de Paula. One of the stones he heard gave him the idea of his short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952). The novel tells of an old Cuban fisherman who, after a run of bad luck, hooks a giant marlin. The story of the old man's struggle with the fish, of his final victory which turns into defeat as sharks attack the catch and reduce it to a skeleton, ends with the words, "Man is not meant for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated." The novel led to Hemingway's receiving the Pulitzer Prize

given each year for distinguished American fiction. In 1954 the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature for "his powerful, style-forming mastery of the art of modern narration, as most recently revealed in The Old Man and the Sea." A portion of his acceptance speech summarized his attitude toward his work: "For he [the writer] does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer, each book should be a new -5- 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." During the last years of his life, Hemingway was a figure of heroic proportion. He had been honored internationally, and his rugged life which he had lived

presented the public with an image of a superman. Yet Hemingway suffered fits of depression made worse by an increasingly serious stomach ailment. Writing was becoming impossible as he realized his own human weaknesses and frailties. On July 2, 1961, firing both charges of a double barrelled shotgun, Hemingway committed suicide. The literary historian, Max J. Herzberg, offers his assessment of Hemingway: "...as the author's own life and personality begin to fade, as they must, from the public interest, it is highly doubtful that his work will fade with them. In all probability Hemingway's technical achievement has been great enough so that his better books would survive if only for the style in which they were written....His techniques, his attitudes, his sensitivity to the