The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway

By Sara R.

Hemingway’s Spanish Sensibility – ‘The Killers’

  • In the second sentence of his last book, ‘ The Dangerous Summer’ , Hemingway claimed to like Spain better than any country except his own
  • According to Nick Adams, one of his most autobiographical characters, thinks in the story ‘The Killers’ that he ought to get out of town
  • Hemingway like his contemporary Faulkner distrusted modernity or progress
  • Hemingway stopped in the South of Spain on the way home from Italy and the war in January 1919.
  • In 1923, Hemingway visited Spain twice to watch corridas- In May and June and the second time in July to the attend the great fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona and Madrid
  • Spain was the only country that had not been shot to pieces- Italy was fascist, poor food and hysterics but Spain was ‘ The real old staff’
  • By April 1925, Hemingway decided to write a book where the thematic basis were ‘bulls’. On his first novels, his style was a representation of the revolutionary breakthroughs in Language and his first novel would change absolutely the English Language. He injected Spanish values –the values of tauromachy into American Literature
  • On July 2, 1961 Hemingway committed suicide with a shotgun
  • Scenes of war, a hanging, police brutality, political executions, and refugees- Themes of Hemingway’s novels
  • Juan Belmonte and Hemingway thought that ‘toreo’ was a spiritual exercise
  • Philosopher José Ortega y Gasset maintained that an understanding of the ‘corrida’ was essential to understanding Spanish history and culture.
  • The corrida provide us, with a pattern of experience and an archetype that recreates many of the persistent myths of antiquity
  • Hemingway wrote a lot about the Civil War – this was an interesting issue in his writings. Furthermore, his writing was a mirror
  • Hemingway declared himself an enemy of fascism
  • In the Vignettes from ‘ In our Time’ taurine Spain provided the raw and violent material that Hemingway was seeking. In the process of exploring that world for artistic purposes , he became fascinated by the spectacle- bitten by the gusano, the worm of afición or passion for the corrida
  • Hemingway was always involved with the sacred world of hunting and fishing, eating and drinking, the ritual sacrifice of toreo, love and ecstasy
  • Hemingway’s characters are primitive