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Great white hunter

Fifty years on from Ernest Hemingway’s death

By EL Doctorow   December 2011

Hemingway with wife number four, Mary Welsh, in 1959: “His values applied equally to birds, beasts, deep-sea fish and women”

We know too much about Ernest Hemingway to think of his work apart from his life. With the success of his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), he became a public figure. He worked, usually on a short lead time, from his own experiences: the places he’d been, the people he knew. If a novel encodes the writer’s life, Hemingway’s code is easily deciphered.

He was at home everywhere in the world except the provincial Illinois town where he…

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