American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway was born July 21, 1899. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature.
Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school he reported for a few months for The Kansas City Star, before leaving for the Italian front to enlist with the World War I ambulance drivers. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. In 1922, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent, and fell under the influence of the modernist writers and artists of the 1920s “Lost Generation” expatriate community. The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway’s first novel, was published in 1926.
After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer. They divorced after he returned from the Spanish Civil War where he had acted as a journalist, and after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. Martha Gellhorn became his third wife in 1940. They separated when he met Mary Welsh in London during World War II; during which he was present at the Normandy Landings and liberation of Paris.
Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain or ill-health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway had permanent residences in Key West, Florida, and Cuba during the 1930s and 1940s, but in 1959 he moved from Cuba to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide on July 2, 1961.