Yet while his war experience had changed him dramatically, the town he returned to remained very much the same.Two short stories (written years later) offer insights into his homecoming and his understanding of the dilemmas of the returned war veteran.
"Then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red," he recalled in a letter home. Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you.
Despite his injuries, Hemingway carried a wounded Italian soldier to safety and was injured again by machine-gun fire. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it." Recuperating for six months in a Milan hospital, Hemingway fell in love with Agnes von Kurowsky, an American Red Cross nurse.
In the early 1920s, in reaction to their experience of world war, Hemingway and other modernists lost faith in the central institutions of Western civilization. Nineteenth-century novelists were prone to a florid and elaborate style of writing.
Hemingway, using a distinctly American vernacular, created a new style of fiction "in which meaning is established through dialogue, through action, and silences—a fiction in which nothing crucial—or at least very little—is stated explicitly." "Hemingway was at the crest of a wave of modernists," noted fellow centennial panelist and book critic Gail Caldwell, "that were rebelling against the excesses and hypocrisy of Victorian prose.
Hemingway was committed above all else to telling the truth in his writing.
To do so, he liked being part of the action, and the power of his writing stemmed, in part, from his commitment to witness combat firsthand.
Kennedy Presidential Library primarily to examine Ernest Hemingway's original manuscripts and his correspondence with family, friends, and fellow writers.
1 Researchers come to the Hemingway archives at the John F.
Initially working as a correspondent for the while living in Paris he grew into a novelist with the encouragement of such Left Bank notables as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer described Hemingway's motivation to return to Europe as an expatriate this way.
After the war, "Hemingway never really came home again." Yet unlike other expatriate writers who were forced to leave their native lands in the face of political persecution, he left the United States of his own volition fueled, in Gordimer's words, by "the beginnings of a broader human consciousness beyond nationalistic operatives, good or bad.