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Ernest Hemingway: Tragic Genius - Реферат

Министерство образования РФ


Реферат на тему:

Ernest Hemingway:

Tragic Genius


студент группы 022.3

Полканов В.


Томск - 2003

The reason that Hemingway meant so much to us," Archibald MacLeish, the American poet, once observed, "was that his work reflected truthfully and without rhetoric the faults and virtues and the essential humanity of the people among whom he lived and that the power and vividness of his writing was such that his work could and did break through barriers of language and fogs of misrepresentation to touch men everywhere."

Reporter, soldier, short-story writer, novelist, playwright, deep-sea fisherman, and big game hunter, Hemingway was a man whose unique mastery of the art of writing influenced the style of an entire generation of writers. That influence spread far beyond the borders of the United States and far beyond the English language. It is an influence that persists today.

Ernest Miller Hemingway, one of six children, was born into the family of a small town doctor at Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899. He was active in sports; and under the guidance of his father, he came to love the outdoors, becoming an excellent hunter and fisherman. His parents wanted him to become a doctor or a musician, but after graduation from high school, he began his writing career as a sports reporter for the Kansas City Star.

When the United States entered World War I, Hemingway left his job and tried to enlist in the army. After repeated rejections because of his youth, he was finally accepted as an ambulance


driver with the Red Cross in Italy. Shortly before his 19th birthday, he was badly wounded by enemy fire and spent several weeks in a hospital in Milan. This experience would provide material for his future novel A Farewell to Arms. After leaving the hospital, he enlisted in the Italian Arditi, an infantry unit, and served until the Armistice on November 11, 1918.

Hemingway returned to Chicago in 1919 and then went to Toronto, Canada, where he worked for the Toronto Star. Two years later, he was appointed to the Sfar's international news bureau and was assigned to Paris. From 1921 to 1927, he lived in Europe where he worked hard at realizing his ambition to become a writer. Joining the literary circle of expatriate American writers brought together by poet, author Gertrude Stein, Hemingway profited from his association with writers like her, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote his first three works: Three Short Stories and TenPoems (1923); In Our Time (1925), a collection of short stories; and The Torrents of Spring (1926), a novel, which went unnoticed by the public.

With the publication of The Sun Also Rises in 1926, Hemingway's first major success, his reputation as a novelist was established. This novel is considered by many critics to be his finest work. The hero of the story, Jake Barnes, his sexual powers destroyed by a war wound, faced, under unusually poignant circumstances, the problem which was to be the theme of much of Hemingway's


later work: how man proves his manhood. Written in an original style, the novel quickly influenced other writers. Keeping emotion restrained, Hemingway emphasized his ideas through understatement. The American novelist, James T. Farrell, credited Hemingway with contributing "toward making the American •idiom the language for the evocation for sensitive and complicated feelings."

In 1927 Hemingway published a collection of short stones called Men Without Women. The following year he returned to the United States, where he lived off and on for the next ten years at Key West, Florida. There he worked on A Farewell to Arms (1929). The following passage from the novel has often been pointed out as a statement of Hemingway's world view as well as the key to the novel's 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


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


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." Aportion 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


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 spirit of the age, and to violence, which has played such a role in it, conspired to establish him as one of the greatest of modern writers, and the best of his work seems likely to secure him a permanent and prominent place in the history of American letters."


Key words

Achievement - достижение

Emphasizes – выразительный

Honor – отвага

Humanity – гуманный

Influenced – влияние

Outstanding - выдающийся

Rugged – суровый

Struggle – бороться

To trip – путешествовать

Writer – писатель



Thomas Kral "Portraits in words". Washington D. C. 1992.