Books and stores by Hemingway are well known to Soviet readers. Ernest Hemingway was recognized everywhere during his lifetime, and was announced in 1961, many Soviet readers and literary critics felt that the world had lost one of the leading writers of the 20th century.
Hemingway’s works have appeared in very many countries; millions of Germans, Americans, Italians, Russians, Englishmen have read his stories again and again. There are so many books and articles devoted to Hemingway in different languages that they could probably fill a hall in a large public library. His influence on other writers has been very great, and his name is dear to people everywhere in the world. “There is nothing more difficult than to write a simple honest story about a man” Hemingway said. “First, you must study what you are writing about, and then you must learn to express it in writing. It takes a whole lifetime to do these two things.
Hemingway studied people and life all over our planet. He looked for moments that demand a man’s greatest effort, moments in which a man must win or die, in which everything fine and beautiful in a man or everything bad in he can be seen. Hemingway’s stories are worth reading, because he finds these moments in the lives of his characters.
Hemingway had his own way of writing. His stories seem very simple, often there are few events. But we feel that there is very much behind the event that he describes, that the whole life of a character leads to this event.
“A writer must know more, much more about his characters than appears in the story, Hemingway pointed out. “That is the idea of Stanislavsky: An actor who says only two words on the stage must know everything about the character whose role he’s playing. A story can be compared to an iceberg. People see only part of it, the other part, seven time as big, is under the water. But it is the part that can be seen. The more you know about the characters, the greater the part ‘under the water’, the more powerful your iceberg will be”.
It is not often that even the best writers are like their best characters. But Hemingway was. He was strong and honest and courageous; he was a brave soldier, a skillful hunter, a fearless boxer and a enthusiastic fisherman. He wrote about serious things, but he loved fun. Like Mark Twain he often tolled funny stories about himself. Hemingway carried arms and was wounded in Italy during World War I, he shot the big animals of Africa and caught the big fish in the ocean near Cuba. He saw the failure of the Spanish revolution, the blood and tragedy of Spain in 1936. He never tried to avoid danger and more that once the newspapers published news of his death
More than anything else, Hemingway hated war and fascism. It was because he hated them that he took part in almost all the wars of the first half of the 20th century, as a soldier or as a war – correspondent he made friends with fighter of all kinds and all ages with matadors, hunters, fishermen, workers, sailors, because he was a fighter himself.
For many years Hemingway lived in Cuba. He was a friend of Fidel Castro and the people of the beautiful island of freedom. Today his home in Cuba is a museum. Hundreds of Cuban and visitors to Cuba go there to see the place where Hemingway wrote so many of his unforgettable books.
The world Hemingway lived in was not happy or peaceful. He lived in a world where man is lonely and unhappy. It is not his fault that so many of his novels and stories are full of sadness, that his heroes – real people who deserved the happiness they wanted for themselves and other – so often die.
Hemingway one said: “The critics of one’s work are the mind and the heart. Perhaps the heart even more that the mind…because the mind can sometimes agree to a compromise, but the heart – never!”
And he adds: “The truth – only the truth – that is what one must write.”
Hemingway’s stories have great truth in them; truth about people and the world around them. He never avoided or changed the truth; his works were born in the mind and in the heart of a man who devoted all his life’s energy to understanding the wotld and explaining it to others.