How did Ernest Hemingway influence American literature?

Literature - Why Hemingway's Short Stories Are So Outstanding

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Ernest Hemingway is one of the most important writers of the 20th century; he is considered a master of the short story. The anthology “Snow on Kilimanjaro” has now been published in a new translation. The stories are so brilliant because they only contain what is necessary.

Don Siegel made the film, which uses Ernest Hemingway's best story as a template. "Die Killer" is the name of the film and "Die Killer" is the name of the story that Hemingway wrote in Paris in the late 1920s:

Two men walk into a fast food shop somewhere in the United States. They order something from the menu and they are waiting for someone. It takes a while to realize who they are waiting for. The man's name is Ole Andresen. He was a boxer in Chicago. Now he's lying on the bed in a hotel room and doesn't want to leave. He has a problem that he couldn't solve and now he doesn't want to leave. He won't come to the diner, but the two men will come to him.

A film tells what Hemingway is hiding

Lee Marvin plays one of the killers, Ronald Reagan, in his last role before entering politics, his client, Angie Dickinson, is his wife. The man in the hotel is shot and the killer is betrayed by their client.

In the end, everyone will be dead and the film has told its story - including the before and after, which Hemingway doesn't have. His short story stays in the bar and in the hotel, before the act - and yet everything is already there. Don Siegel's great film, made in 1964, only shows what Hemingway hides.

The iceberg theory

Ernest Hemingway wrote a masterpiece on just 24 printed pages. Actually only one scene, but it contains everything that distinguishes the writer and later Nobel Prize winner.

Lacony and fate and the power of words that owes to omission. Only ten percent should be visible, 90 percent should be under water, found Hemingway in his self-made iceberg theory.

It influenced everyone who wrote short stories in Anglo-Saxon literature after him. And of course it applies to all stories in this collection, which appears in the American original in 1961.

Almost only dialogues

“A clean, well-lit café” is another story. James Joyce praises it as a masterful work, one of the best stories ever written. It also consists almost entirely of dialogues. An old man and a waiter, then another. The old man is sitting on the terrace in the shade. They talk about him, whether he drinks, whether he will kill himself and why. A couple of questions, a couple of observations, late at night. The conversation becomes self-talk and self-talk leads him further into nothing, literally, «Nada»: «It was just that, and nothing more than light and a certain cleanliness and order were necessary."

Dignity and order, at least, that is the essence. You can't leave out more if you want to say something that goes beyond the "Daily News". What else? Scenes from Africa and the Normandy war, a boy in a clinic and a marriage out of bounds. A man sees his life pass by in a feverish dream and dreams of his salvation, which will not come.

A sad ending

When these great short stories came out in 1961, Hemingway had received electric shocks for depression, plagued by paranoid before the FBI and the tax authorities. He's an old, sick man. In July 1961, he shot himself with a shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. The legend of his life had long since begun.

Book reference

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Ernest Hemingway: “Snow on Kilimanjaro - Stories”, Rowohlt Verlag 2015.

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