|Author: Ernest Hemingway|
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Hemingway played football in high school and was a lifelong sportsman, obsessed from his youth with hunting and fishing, but had no formal education after Oak Park High. He drove an ambulance in France in World War I and also served (and was wounded) in the Italian army. After the war, he was a reporter for the "Toronto Star". In the 1920s, he settled in Paris as part of the group of American expatriates who formed Gertrude Stein's circle. She was an enormous influence on his writing, teaching the virtue of the simple declarative sentence. He was also influenced by Ezra Pound, whom he revered, and became friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald (a stormy friendship, which did not endure). His first American publication was the group of stories, "In Our Time" (1925), in which the concerns and values of the so-called "lost generation" were articulated for the first time: their postwar disillusionment; their cynical, stoic endurance in the face of pain; their brutal honesty; and their distance from emotional involvement. Hemingway moved back to the U.S. in the later '20s, and began to write novels; his first great success was "The Sun Also Rises" in 1926. He moved to Key West in 1928; from that base, he often visited Spain, where he became an aficionado of bullfighting, and went on safari in Africa. He covered the Spanish Civil War as a reporter, then moved to Cuba in the 1940s, where he kept an estate until a group of revolutionaries killed his beloved dog. Hemingway had four wives and fathered three sons. He became one of the century's most influential writers. (Nabokov once commented that Hemingway wrote about "bells, bulls, and balls.") His fame culminated in a 1952 Pulitzer Prize for "The Old Man and the Sea", and the Nobel Prize in literature in 1954. All his life, he had phobias about taxes, telephones, and speaking in public: He accepted the Nobel Prize in absentia. ("A writer should write what he has to say, not speak it.") A heavy drinker, Hemingway was ill, both physically and mentally, for several years at the end of his life; his debilitated physical state was worsened after a plane crash en route to his fifth African safari, in which he was seriously injured, including a ruptured liver and kidney, broken bones, a concussion, first-degree burns, and vision and hearing loss. Delusional and unable to write, he endured a variety of treatments, including shock therapy at the Mayo Clinic. Finally, depressed and frustrated, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a double-barreled shotgun weeks before his 62nd birthday.