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Journalism Award Papa Ernest Hemingway | Papa Award
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No matter what form, journalism, poetry, novels or any other literary expression, the joining link, the key element of Hemingway’s creativity is writing.


Papa, born on 21 July 1899 in Oak Park, near Chicago, became aware of the power of his “weapon” in the first years of high school: he wrote for the school magazine drawing inspiration from Ring Lardner, a writer from Chicago, and started with sport news and satirical articles.


His cultural baggage came not only from this profession, one he would stitch on himself for the rest of his life, but also by the numerous dramas, operas, concerts, conferences and all those events he attended with his mother, who used to go there regularly. In high school he made the first efforts in the world of journalism, but he officially started his career after deciding not to go to college, despite the opposition of his family.


Papa wanted to work his way up the ladder and in summer 1917 he left for Kansas City, where he was hired by the “Kansas City Star”, experiencing a full immersion in the world of journalism from October 1917 to spring 1918. Here he assimilated the the style of the “Star”, characterised by simple sentences and paragraphs, with no long digressions and artificial lexical devices, and the characters he talked about in his articles, real people of many different social classes, have inspired his stories.


The “Star” experience ended when he joined the Red Cross as ambulance driver, a commitment that led him to the front: fascinated by the idea of the war and deeply certain that such an experience would reward him with otherwise unexpected results, he came back from the hospital with clear psychological and physical repercussions, after he had been seriously injured on 8 July 1918.


The professional turning point occurred in 1920, in Michigan, where Papa spent a lot of time in the cottage his family had rented, where he could concentrate on writing. But as the cold started biting he rented a room in the house of the Potter family in Petoskey, in Emmet County, at 602 State Street. Here he met many people, friends and acquaintances of the Potters, as well as a group of women of the local community who were fascinated by his figure of war veteran. In particular, Ms. Harriett Connable from Toronto, very impressed by the young writer and journalist, asked him to take care of her son Ralph, in the first place, and then, thanks to her husband, the director of the Canadian branch of F.W. Woolworth, introduced him to the editor-in-chief of the “Star Weekly” of Toronto, for which Hemingway started writing, collaborating with its affiliated newspaper “Daily Star” as well.

EH 7743P  15 February 1916  Portrait of Ernest Hemingway as a young man.  Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH 5529P  circa 1920  L-R: Carl Edgar, Katy Smith, Marcelline Hemingway, Bill Horne, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Hopkins. Michigan, Walloon Lake/Petoskey area, circa summer 1920. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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EH 2871P  November 1946  Ernest Hemingway and sons Patrick (left) and Gregory, with cats Good Will, Princessa, and Boise. Finca Vigia (Hemingway home), San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

He worked in Toronto until May of the same year and then moved to Michigan again, where he lived a sorrowful period because of the tensions with his parents and especially with his mother, Grace. In autumn he left for Chicago, where he lived an extremely intense love story with Hadley Richardson, while looking for a job.


Just married, in 1921, the couple moved to Paris, where Hemingway found the ideal environment for his literary production, although it was a very difficult period on a financial point of view, a time full of sacrifice made to live with dignity: depriving himself of all ambition of trendiness, the writer used to wear second-hand clothes typical of the “poor” social classes, careless of any appearance.


Then Papa left for his journeys and his job kept the couple separated. He was often helped by his colleagues, like Paul Scott Mowrer, who allowed him, in 1921, to charge on the account of the “Chicago Daily News” the expenses of his journey to Genoa, where he attended a very important economic conference.


The key episode of his career in journalism took place as he got back to Paris from Italy: he was hired as European correspondent by the “Toronto Star”, for which he wrote a number of articles mentioning his Italian experience, the war, the almost tragic events of Fossalta and so on. Invited in Lausanne, in Switzerland, he followed the peace conference between Turkey and Greece and wrote – not for the first time – about Mussolini, for whom he certainly has no sweet words.


For this reason he was censored in Italy, but at the same time this period marked a positive turning point in Hemingway’s economic situation, though the change had negative consequences on the relationship between him and his wife, who gradually lost their dimension of “togetherness”. Journalism became an essential part of Papa’s life, especially when conflicts, wars and tragic events occurred, and became intertwined with the love stories he had with different women. Writing was an exhausting activity, which he started in Paris, so he threw himself headlong into journalism writing for “Esquire” about big game fishing, Cuba, Key West, the safaris he had made in Africa when he was married with his second wife, Pauline, while he followed the Spanish Civil War and World War II for “Collier’s” when he had already married his third wife, Martha Gellhorn.


As far as Papa’s relationship with journalism is concerned, it is certainly true that – though being a great narrator, attentive to details, who did credit to a profession that had brought great satisfaction to him, to begin with the subscription of the first really profitable contract with the “Toronto Star” – he had started to regard journalism as a job that was actually noble, but which was also a way, made easier by talent, to lead a fairly wealthy life thanks to the considerable salary.


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015


United States of America, a fatal attraction


Hemingway had a special relationship with his homeland, on the edge between the love for its landscapes, the passions to which he dedicated much of his time and the controversies arising from his ideals.


In a letter to Mary Pfeiffer, the mother of Pauline, his second wife, he said that after spending just two weeks in Spain in 1937 he had become a different person: he was no longer a simple father and a husband, he was part of the “loyalist fighting machine” and he valued nothing else, he had lost his fear of death and had realised that worrying about any personal future while the world was collapsing was “pure selfishness”. This controversial relationship with the States was confirmed and culminated in the last years of life of the writer and journalist.


Papa was obsessed by the firm belief that the intelligence was keeping him under surveillance: although his clarity of mind was already unstable, the fact turned out to be true. After a petition on freedom of information, the FBI released the file about Hemingway and admitted he had been put under control in 1940 by order of J. Edgar Hoover.


Except for these facts, occurred in the last part of his life, the journalist-writer’s continuous roaming reveals a condition of anxiety towards his homecountry: beyond the simple desire to travel and see the world out of the land boundaries that surrounded the country, he may wanted to run away from it to go back to it with nostalgic eyes. The years he spent in the States were, after all, the fundamental pillars of all his literary activity and production, from the education received by his family to the newsroom training which made he familiar with the tools of the trade: his homeland saw the best part of his career as a journalist and especially his correspondence from war theatres all around the world.


Africa, a wild land of hunting


Africa was one of the most intriguing destinations for Hemingway, maybe because he made just few journeys there. Wild land and natural theatre of one of his greatest passions, hunting: he went there with Pauline for the first time, between the end of summer 1933 and spring 1934 and the journey was planned in every single detail: Papa wanted to write about this adventure, as he did in Green Hills of Africa.


He went back there with Mary, his fourth and last wife. In 1953 they had two plane accidents, flying to Congo and to Entebbe, in which Hemingway was seriously injured. For this reason he was kept away from his usual activities and feared he would not be able to write again.

Cuba, a flourishing literary production


Cuba was one of Hemingway’s main locations of artistic production, as he worked generally in the Finca Vigía, with just few seldom, quick visits to Key West. During the second wedding with Pauline, he started a fruitful collaboration with the Esquire, writing articles about big game fishing, marlins and their habits and reproduction periods, as well as Key West, Cuba or Bimini and he also reported about his safaris in Africa. In Cuba he also passed some of the most peaceful moments of his life, as he could fully appreciate his married life without falling into adultery love affairs or other forms of mental fragility. In Cuba, between 1950 and 1951, he also spent a few months with Adriana Ivancich, the muse of Across the River and Into the Trees.

Spain, the regime of Franco


In 1940 Papa was in Spain as war correspondent and saw with his own eyes the brutality of the Spanish Civil War, handling his never-concealed hostility towards Franco and Francoism and the adhesion to the Popular Front, which would inspire some of the films related to the American writer, along with John Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman and Archibald MacLeish. Not only was Spain a foreign land to report about in war time, but it also inspired Hemingway’s novels. The idea of Death in the Afternoon came in 1925 from a journey to Pamplona for the “fiesta” of San Fermín.

France, the encounter with Gertrude Stein


Soon after the wedding with Hadley, in 1921, the couple moved to Paris, following Hemingway’s ambition of becoming writer and experiencing the clash of two opposite situations: Paris was a perfect place for Hemingway to grow his talent, mixing it with the talent of other successful writers and living immersed in an extremely fervid cultural environment; on the other hand, though, the newly-married couple was haunted by the ghost of financial trouble. As often happens to people, but them in particular, money was not enough and they had to resort to various devices and make several sacrifices.


Life in Paris provided Hemingway with a fundamental literary baggage and with the unconditional support of Gertrude Stein and other important writers of the 20th century. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to the help of Ezra Pound in the editing process and Stein’s advice, generally concerning the need to catch emotional conditions, that Papa could “polish” his stories form the most conventional features, creating a new concept of writing, which was innovative as much as misunderstood from the vast majority of writers and artists: he regarded this as the main stylistic accomplishment in Paris.


His change was also determined by James Joyce, who contributed, along with other intellectuals, to the writer’s personal and artistic growth and started a great friendship with him.


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015

EH 5738P  Ernest Hemingway, Paris, circa 1924. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.
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Papa Ernest Hemingway wanted to see the war horrors and give evidence of them through correspondences that sounded like tales. His kind of writing tells different stories, describes characters, introduces moral issues, covers the events with an aura of romanticism

World War I: the wounding in Fossalta di Piave


Hemingway decided, in 1918, to apply to the American Red Cross to become an ambulance driver in the battlefields. He did not get directly to the front: it is well known that Papa was not in the war places he perfectly described in the novel A Farewell to Arms, neither in 1917, during the Battle of Caporetto, nor in the first months of 1918.


Before he arrived there in June 1918, Hemingway arrived in Schio and then stopped in Vicenza, both places he mentioned in the book Three Stories and Ten Poems.


A Farewell to Arms is therefore inspired by the writer’s experience in Fossalta di Piave and tries to highlight what those who did not live the war could never understand.


He was really strained by the war: in hospital, after being injured in Fossalta di Piave on 8 July 1918, he suffered a lot from physical and psychological wounds, as he was diagnosed with a post-war trauma, which used to be simply and rarely recognised as a “combat stress”. Papa had problems in his every-day life, refused to work and not just on a whim, but because he was actually unable to undertake any kind of job.

EH 10042P  Ernest Hemingway in an American Red Cross Ambulance in Italy, 1918
Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

World War II: the Normandy Landings


During the second world conflict, Papa married Martha Gellhorn, journalist of Collier’s, a prestigious magazine for which Hemingway worked as correspondent from 1944. Not only did Papa report on the war, but he lived the conflict as soldier-correspondent following the RAF, the British military air force.


In particular, on 6 June 1944, he took part in the Normandy Landings, failing to comply with his compulsory condition of non-fighter: as a matter of fact, he created a sort of small “army”, a group of partisans who took part with him to the liberation of Paris, and he also entered a private unit of the intelligence. During the war, he was allowed to turn his 12-meter yacht “Pilar” in an anti-submarine boat, on board of which, off the coast of Cuba, he took part in the conflict through the interception of coded messages.


He also predicted the second World War: in September 1935 he published an article on “Esquire” with the title “Notes on the Next War: a Serious Topical Letter”, which was completely different from his usual reports. The piece predicted that World War II would begin by 1937 or 1938 due to the greed of capitalism and the propaganda it fuelled.

Sino-Japanese War, the power of the East


Martha Gellhorn and Hemingway, just married, in 1941, flew to the Far East to follow the Sino-Japanese War, sharing at the same time their professional efforts. The war started on 7 July 1937 and lasted until 2 September 1945, when Japan surrendered unconditionally, marking the end of World War II. This was the greatest conflict ever between the Chinese Republic and the Japanese Empire as well as the biggest Asian conflict of the 20th century.


Papa and all the American and European correspondents left to follow the conflict well after the beginning of the war. The reason was the Pearl Harbor attack, after which the US and the Soviet Union sided with China, leading Japan to surrender and putting an end to world hostilities.


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015

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He started writing novels when he was very young and as in all fascinating stories he had to deal with a desperate need of money and great disappointment: in 1923 Bill Bird published Three Stories and Ten Poems, the first of Hemingway’s works, which sold almost no copies. The journalist-writer tried to recover, by the end of the year, with the even weaker In Our Time, with very similar results.


The first success arrived in 1926 with The Sun Also Rises, more commonly known in Europe as Fiesta: the Sun Also Rises. On the long wave of this success, three years later, on 27 September 1929 he published another masterpiece novel which would be remembered as one of the best literary descriptions of World War I: A Farewell to Arms. The novel draws inspiration from the writer’s first stay on the front and he tries to explain the war to those who never lived it, telling the story of a common soldier.


Galvanised by the success of A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway got back to Pamplona in summer 1929 to re-immerse himself in a passionate environment which stimulated his creativity. The bullfighting inspired the next novel, Death in the Afternoon, published on 23 September 1932 after the author had started a partnership with the publishing company Scribner’s. The work can be considered the first of Papa’s “books of despair”. He flopped again with Green Hills of Africa (1935), which reported the safari he had made in Africa with his wife Pauline, and To Have and Have Not, a collection of different short tales, released in 1937.

Despite his long-time rude style, he ended up founding gratification in the so-called “beautiful writing”, well aware that his style had changed. At this point his started collaborating with Esquire and Cosmopolitan, providing several war tales such as The Butterfly and the Tank, Night Before the Battle, Under the Ridge and Nobody Ever Dies.


In this period he started working on what would become one of his greatest masterpieces, For Whom the Bell Tolls, rediscovering the creativity and brilliance he had lost in a sea of insecurities. He finished the novel in 1940 and the book was released for the first time in October: set in Spain, in the wooded areas of Sierra de Guadarrama, between El Escorial and Segovia, its protagonists are some republican partisans at work in the last week of May 1937.


For Whom the Bell Tolls marked a kind of setback in Hemingway’s novel production. In the following ten years he wrote no other long and demanding books, sitting back in the Cuban atmosphere of Finca Vigía and Key West and then going back to Italy. What was supposed to be a short transitional visit became a winter and spring passed in Veneto, between Cortina, where the couple rented Villa Aprile, Venice, at Gritti Palace Hotel, and then Torcello, Fossalta di Piave and Caorle, where he used to hunt ducks with his host Baron Franchetti and go fishing with Lino Benatelli, known as Nino Beo.

In Caorle, he started writing Across the River and Into the Trees, a novel with clear autobiographical references, published by the end of 1950, based on a tale about duck hunting in Europe and developed with a plot that mixed war events with the love story with Renata, inspired by the platonic, almost fatherly love of Papa for Adriana Ivancich.


The unanimous acknowledgement of Hemingway’s genius arrived after the draft of his last novel The Old Man and the Sea. He started working on it in 1951 and the book was published in the autumn of the next year: he certainly could not imagine that the novel would change his life. As a matter of fact, it was a world success, both for critics and readers. It is estimated that the edition of “Life”, where the novel was published in full, sold 5 million copies in two days.


The novel talks about an old fisherman, Santiago, who has a tenderly affectionate relationship with the young fisherman Manolin. For this book, Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Papa remained simple and modest, as he learned the news, and even missed out the prize giving ceremony, also due to the worsening of his emotional and physical condition. The Old Man and the Sea is the last of the novels he published.


Others, more or less known, were published posthumously: A Moveable Feast (1964), Islands in the Stream (1970), The Garden of Eden (1987), True at First Light (1999).


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015


“… a hobby, a means to express passing sensations and feelings… notes, impressions, small annotations, tiny letters that were never sent”. This is how Vincenzo Mantovani described what poetry meant to Hemingway. A kind of emotional shelter, a honest, pure outburst he used to channel his “stream of consciousness”, simple in its form and heavily light or lightly heavy depending on the subjects.


Lyrically speaking, the most significant of Hemingway’s works is the collection 88 Poems, published posthumously in 1979 and divided into four parts: Juvenilia (1912-1917), Wanderings (1918-1925), A Valentine and other offerings (1926-1935), Farewells (1944-1956).

As suggested by the time-based division, the style, the word choice and the themes of his poetry have gone hand in hand with the events and places he experienced in his life: his early works are characterised by harsh images, dry, violently short and rough sentences, naturally born from Hemingway’s war experience. Subsequently, the atmosphere of Paris and the support of Gertrude Stein softened his writing, introducing warmer and more comforting subjects.


The numerous poems of World War II address macabre themes, words are sad, almost depressing, due to Papa’s worsening psychophysical health: these poems are characterised by wide reflections about death, disillusion and the resulting sorrow, maybe early symptoms of what the writer and journalist would later regard as the best way to leave the stage.


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015

Papa used to adulate and flatter women, the time of his life was beaten by amorous events and his life was represented by a number of women. Some of them occupied a corner of his fantasy, they made him spill some ink and write verses about them. Some relationships were friendly, loving or sentimental, at times promiscuous, an indelible mark of his nature of ladies’ man

He had his first love affair during World War I, in a hospital in Milan, where he met the American nurse Agnes Von Kurowsky. It was love at first sight, with a woman who was eight years older than him, a love story that left a mark on the young Papa.


Hemingway had a soft spot for more “mature” women: back to his homecountry he met Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, who was six years older, who would become, in 1921, the first Mrs. Hemingway. Together, they planned to move to Italy, but the writer Sherwood Anderson pushed them to go to Paris, where Papa lived in a literary world that determined his writing style. Hadley was the wife he loved the most, but the strength of the feeling was not enough. As a matter of fact, three years later, when The Torrents of Spring, The Sun Also Rises and Men Without Women were published, they divorced.


It was a very successful period for Papa: his works met with wide consideration and praise both from the public and the critics. It was a brilliant period of Papa’s life which culminated with his second wedding: in 1928 Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer, a charming four-years-older journalist and former fashion editor of “Vogue”. Just married, they moved back to America, in Key West. In view of Hemingway’s average married life, their story was quite long, they went “as far as” 1940. They made long journeys together, with even serious accidents and war experiences which Papa observed directly and described accurately.


In the emotional whirlwind of Hemingway’s amorous chaos there was space enough for an affectionate bond which is generally underestimated, between opposite-sex people, though it often lasts very long: friendship. On the ship that was bringing the couple back home from a safari in Africa, he met Marlene Dietrich, then famous Hollywood star, German native and naturalised American citizen, who would long remain a dear friend of the writer.

EH 6949P  Pamplona, Spain, summer 1926. L-R (at table): Gerald Murphy, Sara Murphy, Pauline Pfeiffer, Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Hemingway. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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EH 2263S  Luncheon at La Consula, Malaga, Spain, 1959. L-R: Bill Davis, Rupert Belleville, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Hemingway, Juan Quintana. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

1940 is the year of the second divorce: Hemingway was in Spain, as civil-war correspondent. In Madrid he met Martha Gellhorn, who he had already met in the States, to whose attractiveness he was not able to resist. They shared their professional efforts and got married.


But the story would soon end with Martha as well: in London he met Mary Welsh, journalist of the “Daily Express”, from Minnesota, and became infatuated with her. After courting the new flame for some time, while facing the rancour of his wife, he divorced in 1945 and married Mary the next year. With her, his fourth wife, he made numerous travels and went back to Africa and Italy, but he would always be a victim of the need to escape from steady relationships.


These years were very complicated for Hemingway and full of emotional disorder: his happiness for being awarded the Nobel Prize for The Old Man and the Sea in 1954 was combined with increasingly serious psychophysical health conditions and, according to the reports of the time, he lived in a state of paranoia. This did not stop him from writing, though he feared that soon he might no longer be able to do so. This was his most mature literary period, during which he was awarded the Nobel Prize.


A few years back, the lagoon of Caorle offered Hemingway not only the view of its landscapes, widely reciprocated affection, places and people who would always remain icons of joyful memories in some corner of his heart, but also a doubtfully interpretable love relationship with yet another woman. The young lady was Adriana Ivancich, who was 19 year old when he first met her. Though being married with Mary, he started a kind of platonic courtship towards Adriana, the muse of the novel Across the River and Into the Trees.


Source degree thesis “Ernest M. Hemingway: a journalist and writer, citizen of the world”
by Luca Tarable, finalist of Papa Award 2015