The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 5, spanning 1932 through May 1934, traces the completion and publication of Death in the Afternoon and Winner Take Nothing. During this intensely active period, Hemingway hunts in Arkansas and Wyoming, fishes the waters off Key West and Cuba, revisits Madrid and Paris, and undertakes a long-anticipated African safari. He witnesses transitions at home and abroad: the deepening Great Depression, Prohibition-era rumrunning, revolution in Cuba, and political unrest in Spain. His readership and celebrity continue to expand as he begins writing for the new men's magazine Esquire. As the volume ends, Hemingway has just acquired his beloved boat, Pilar. The letters detail these events as well as his relationships with his family, friends, publishers, critics and literary contemporaries including editor Maxwell Perkins, Archibald MacLeish, John Dos Passos, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Together the letters paint an intimate self-portrait of this multi-faceted, self-confident, energetic artist in his prime.
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature.
Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and after high school he reported for a few months for The Kansas City Star, before leaving for the Italian front to enlist with the World War I ambulance drivers. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. In 1922, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent, and fell under the influence of the modernist writers and artists of the 1920s "Lost Generation" expatriate community. The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel, was published in 1926.
After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer. They divorced after he returned from Spanish Civil War where he had acted as a journalist, and after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. Martha Gellhorn became his third wife in 1940. They separated when he met Mary Welsh in London during World War II; during which he was present at the Normandy Landings and liberation of Paris.
Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two plane crashes that left him in pain and ill-health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway had permanent residences in Key West, Florida, and Cuba during the 1930s and 1940s, but in 1959 he moved from Cuba to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.
Volume 5 continues the same academic precision of the first four. An intimate view of Hemingway in his early 30s with and without his prejudices and personal, often petty, concerns. At times thin-skinned but always generous with his time and money. The actual content of volume five covered years of less interest to me in terms of Hemingway's life and creativity--hence the three stars.