Thursday, July 2, 2009

ernest hemingway took his own life 48 years ago today

on july 2, 1961, ernest hemingway, one of america's greatest writers, committed suicided by a shotgun blast to his head - he was 3 weeks shy of his 62nd birthday. hemingway as a central character of the lost generation of writes (american expatriates in the 1920's), precursors to the beats. jack kerouac was a fan of, and influenced by hemingway's work.

while i was never a huge fan of hemingway, i count two of his works among my favorite books: the novel, "the sun also rises" and the posthumously published memoir, "a moveable feast." both focus on expatriate americans in europe (principally france and spain) during the 1920's. they are, along with henry miller's treatment of americans in paris the following decade (in his "tropic" novels), some of the best writings on the literary bohemians of that era.

"a movable feast," is memoir well-worth reading as a primer on hemingway - despite the controversy that surrounded its posthumous publication (or rather compilation, by his 4th and final wife), and its revised republication by his grandson almost 3o years later! hemingway had written the material well before his death - but specifically instructed his editors that he didn't want it published (and it didn't have an ending). in spite of his protests, it's some of his best writing - and we're all much richer with it published.

that said, it's probably time to reread it :D

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