Dive into the literary world of Ernest Hemingway, Novelist & Short Story Writer.

Ernest Hemingway, one of the most acclaimed American novelists and short-story writers of the 20th century, is renowned for his terse and direct prose style and his adventurous life, which often informed his works. Born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway's early experiences as an ambulance driver during World War I are mirrored in his novel "A Farewell to Arms." His time in Paris in the 1920s as part of the "Lost Generation," and his exploits in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and in Africa on safari also heavily influenced his writing. Some of his other famous works include "The Sun Also Rises," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "The Old Man and the Sea," the latter of which won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, followed by the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.❞ — Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway's fondness for reading was well-known, with his reading interests as robust and wide-ranging as his lifestyles. He was an avid reader of classic literature, poetry, and contemporary works, and he believed in the fundamental importance of reading for any writer. Hemingway often emphasized the need for writers to be well-versed in the literature of their predecessors and contemporaries, seeing this as crucial to honing their craft. His personal library included works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Flaubert, reflecting his respect for their literary techniques and their influence on his own style.

Ernest Hemingway's Favorite Books

Last Updated: June 2024

The Brothers Karamazov

This profound novel delves into the lives of the Karamazov family, focusing on their internal moral struggles, profound philosophical dialogues, and the search for faith and meaning amidst personal tragedy.

Joseph Andrews and Shamela

This novel presents a satirical look at contemporary novels of virtue and chastity through the adventures of Joseph Andrews, who starts as a footman and travels home to find his beloved, paralleled with "Shamela," a parody of Samuel Richardson's "Pamela," where Fielding humorously exposes the novel's moral pretensions.

The Open Boat by Stephen Crane

Based on Crane's own experience of surviving a shipwreck, this poignant naturalist story details the struggles of four men in a lifeboat battling the sea's wrath, highlighting their collective fight against nature's indifference to human suffering.

Dubliners

A collection of fifteen short stories that together paint an incisive portrait of Dublin life, capturing the mundane and dramatic moments of the city's inhabitants at the turn of the 20th century with sharp realism and deep empathy.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

This semi-autobiographical novel details the intellectual awakening of Stephen Dedalus as he grows up in Dublin, rejects his religious and cultural constraints, and dedicates himself to the pursuit of becoming an artist.

The Turn of the Screw

This ghost story narrates the chilling tale of a governess who, caring for two children at a remote estate, becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted and the children are being corrupted by supernatural forces.

Winesburg, Ohio

A pioneering work of modernist literature, this collection of interrelated short stories paints a portrait of the fictional town of Winesburg, exploring the personal tragedies, frustrations, and longings of its residents.

Wuthering Heights

This passionate and eerie novel explores the deep, destructive love between the tempestuous Catherine Earnshaw and the brooding Heathcliff, set against the bleak and windswept Yorkshire moors.

The Charterhouse of Parma

This novel tells the adventures of the young Italian nobleman Fabrizio del Dongo as he navigates the intrigues of the Napoleonic Wars and the Restoration period, seeking love and fortune, and ultimately retreating to the monastery of Parma.
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Mr. Midshipman Easy

This novel follows the nautical adventures and misadventures of Jack Easy as he joins the Royal Navy, where he confronts the harsh realities of naval discipline and espouses his father's eccentric philosophies to his shipmates.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain's seminal work chronicles the adventures of young Huck Finn and a runaway slave named Jim as they escape down the Mississippi River, confronting societal prejudices and forging a deep bond amidst their escapades.
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Dante's Inferno

The first part of Dante's epic poem "The Divine Comedy" describes Dante's journey through the nine circles of Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, as an allegorical account of the soul's journey towards God.

Napoleon's Invasion of Russia

Tarle's historical account provides a detailed analysis of Napoleon Bonaparte's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812, exploring the military strategies, political background, and the catastrophic consequences that led to the great retreat of the Grand Army.

Sentimental Education

The novel tells the story of Frédéric Moreau and his unrequited love for Madame Arnoux, set against the backdrop of the 1848 French Revolution, depicting his journey through the illusions of romance to the disenchantment of reality.

King Lear

This tragic play tells the story of Lear, an aging king who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters based on who loves him most, leading to betrayal, madness, and profound tragedy.

Peter Simple

Marryat's comedic novel follows the naive Peter Simple as he joins the Royal Navy and stumbles through various adventures, learning about life and the world through his interactions and misfortunes.

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Walden

Thoreau's reflective account of his two years of simple living in a cabin near Walden Pond focuses on the themes of self-sufficiency, the beauty of nature, and his philosophical musings on life and society.
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The Naval Officer

Based partly on Marryat's own experiences, this novel details the life and career of Frank Mildmay as he progresses through the ranks of the British Navy, facing battles, duels, and romantic entanglements.

La Reine Margot

Set against the backdrop of the French Wars of Religion, this historical novel follows Marguerite de Valois, known as Margot, and her tumultuous life involving political intrigue, forbidden love, and family betrayals during one of France's darkest periods.

Autobiographies: The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Volume III

This volume collects the autobiographical works of Yeats, offering insights into his personal life, his development as a poet and playwright, and his deep involvement in the Irish Cultural Revival and political events of his time.

The Portrait of a Lady

James's novel follows the spirited young American, Isabel Archer, who inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes entangled in disastrous romantic and personal relationships, ultimately confronting the limitations of her freedom.

The American

This novel tells the story of Christopher Newman, a wealthy American businessman who ventures to Europe to enter its social circles and navigates the complexities of aristocratic society with varying degrees of naivety and sophistication.

Fathers and Sons

Turgenev's novel explores the ideological conflict between the older generation, adhering to traditional Russian values, and the nihilistic youth of the 1860s, focusing on the character Bazarov, a radical who challenges the status quo but faces personal dilemmas and tragedies.

The Republic

Not to be confused with Plato's work of the same name, this book by Beard might examine American governance or political systems, considering Beard's reputation for analyzing the economic interests behind the U.S. Constitution (assuming the topic aligns with Beard's well-known historical and political analysis).

The Complete Poems of San Juan de la Cruz

This collection captures the mystical poetry of San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross), offering profound insights into his deep spiritual experiences and explorations of the soul's union with God.

The Gambler

Written under financial pressure, Dostoevsky's novel is a psychological exploration of the compulsive gambling Dostoevsky himself struggled with, portrayed through the character of Alexei, who falls in love with Polina, a woman equally trapped in the destructive world of roulette.

La Maison Tellier

A collection of short stories, the title story follows the madam of a small-town brothel who takes her employees on an outing to the countryside for a communion, exploring themes of hypocrisy, morality, and the contrasts between rural and urban life.

Ulysses

Joyce's groundbreaking modernist work chronicles the peripatetic appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 1904, weaving a dense tapestry of themes, techniques, and allusions.
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Madame Bovary

This landmark novel portrays the tragic life of Emma Bovary, a doctor's wife whose unfulfilled dreams and aspirations lead her into a downward spiral of adulterous escapades and financial ruin in her pursuit of a more passionate and luxurious life.

Far Away and Long Ago: A History of My Early Life

Hudson's memoir recounts his childhood experiences in the Pampas of Argentina, offering a lyrical, naturalistic account of the flora and fauna that sparked his lifelong passion for nature and influenced his future works as a naturalist and writer.

The Common Reader

This collection of essays by Woolf features her critiques and reviews of literature, providing insights into her reading philosophy and literary preferences, which emphasize the common experience of reading accessible to all.

Hail and Farewell: Vale

The final volume in Moore's autobiographical trilogy, this book provides a vivid, gossipy account of the Irish literary renaissance and his relationships with key figures of the era, blending personal reflection with cultural criticism.

Tom Jones

This picaresque novel follows the life of the foundling Tom Jones as he navigates a series of romantic adventures and misadventures through the English countryside, ultimately seeking redemption and his true identity.

In Search of Lost Time

Proust's monumental work, a seven-volume masterpiece of 20th-century literature, examines the intricacies of time, memory, and desire, chronicling the narrator's experiences in French high society and his quest to define himself and his past.
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