Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899.
Indeed, it might be said that for some portion of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway was the most famous person on Earth.
To some extent his stature in the public imagination has only increased since his death, a suicide interpreted as the culmination of his belief in taking responsibility for his own life, even the termination of it. No one has replaced Hemingway as the emblem of American rugged individualism.
No one has rivaled Hemingway in presenting a cultural image that conjoins the traditional masculine virtues of strength, integrity, and determination with a commitment to art, for his life exhibited an uncompromised devotion to literature, to the honesty of his craft, to the writing of a kind of fiction that captured the sensations of experience in prose that was simple, direct, unpretentious, and aesthetically elegant.
In some ways, it is Hemingway's style that has had the most influence on American life, for American newspapers and magazines in the last half of the century reflect the controlled and understated prose that Hemingway learned to write as a cub reporter at the Kansas City Star in 1917, a style that he utilized throughout his life in the best of his work.
Hemingway seldom used metaphors, comparing things to other things; his prose captures the essence of the thing itself, and it does so beautifully and precisely.
His portrayal of the nature of modern life has also been influential, for he depicts a world of insensitivity and violence, of domestic conflict and brutal war among nations that takes its toll on the mental states of his major characters.
Indeed, central to his work is the theme of the psychological effects of violence, the consequences of personal and political greed for...