At the age of twenty-two, Ernest Hemingway wrote his first short story, "Up in Michigan." Seventeen years and forty-eight titles later, he was the undisputed master of the short-story form and the leading American man of letters. The Short Stories, introduced here with a revealing preface by the author, chronicles Hemingway's development as a writer, from his earliest attempts in the chapbook Three Stories and Ten Poems, published in Paris in 1923, to his more mature accomplishments in Winner Take Nothing. Originally published in 1938 along with The Fifth Column, this collection premiered "The Capital of the World" and "Old Man at the Bridge," which derive from Hemingway's experiences in Spain, as well as "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," which figure among the finest of Hemingway's short fictions.
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About the Author
Ernest Hemingway did more to influence the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established him as one of the greatest literary lights of the 20th century. His classic novella The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He died in 1961.
Date of Birth:July 21, 1899
Date of Death:July 2, 1961
Place of Birth:Oak Park, Illinois
Place of Death:Ketchum, Idaho
Read an Excerpt
The first four stories are the last ones I have written. The others follow in the order in which they were originally published.
The first one I wrote was Up in Michigan, written in Paris in 1921. The last was Old Man at the Bridge cabled from Barcelona in April of 1938.
Beside The Fifth Column, I wrote The Killers, Today Is Friday, Ten Indians, part of The Sun Also Rises and the first third of To Have and Have Not in Madrid. It was always a good place for working. So was Paris, and so were Key West, Florida, in the cool months; the ranch, near Cooke City, Montana; Kansas City; Chicago; Toronto, and Havana, Cuba.
Some other places were not so good but maybe we were not so good when we were in them.
There are many kinds of stories in this book. I hope that you will find some that you like. Reading them over, the ones I liked the best, outside of those that have achieved some notoriety so that school teachers include them in story collections that their pupils have to buy in story courses, and you are always faintly embarrassed to read them and wonder whether you really wrote them or did you maybe hear them somewhere, are The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, In Another Country, Hills Like White Elephants, A Way You'll Never Be, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, and a story called The Light of the World which nobody else ever liked. There are some others too. Because if you did not like them you would not publish them.
In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.
Now it is necessary to get to the grindstone again. I would like to live long enough to write three more novels and twenty-five more stories. I know some pretty good ones.
"The Battler"; "Big Two-Hearted River: Part I"; "Big Two-Hearted River: Part II"; "Cat in the Rain"; "Cross-Country Snow"; "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife"; "The End of Something"; "Indian Camp"; "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot"; "My Old Man"; "Out of Season"; "Banal Story"; "A Canary for One"; "Hills Like White Elephants"; "In Another Country"; "The Killers"; "Now I Lay Me"; "A Pursuit Race"; "A Simple Enquiry"; "Ten Indians"; "Today Is Friday"; "The Undefeated"; copyright © 1927 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1955 Ernest Hemingway "The Alpine Idyll" copyright © 1927 The Macaulay Company; "Che Ti Dice Patria?" and "Fifty Grand' copyright © 1927 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1955 "On the Quai at Smyrna" and "Wine of Wyoming" copyright © 1930 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1958 Ernest Hemingway "A Natural History of the Dead" copyright © 1932, 1933 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1960 Ernest Hemingway; © 1961 Mary Hemingway "After the Storm" copyright © 1932 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1960 "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"; "A Day's Wait"; "Fathers and Sons"; "The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio"; "Homage to Switzerland"; "The Light of the World"; "The Mother of a Queen"; "One Reader Writes"; "The Sea Change"; "A Way You'll Never Be" copyright © 1933 Charles Scribner's Sons; "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" copyright © 1933 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1961 Mary Hemingway "The Capital of the World"; "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"; "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" copyright © 1936 Ernest Hemingway; "Old Man at the Bridge" and "Up in Michigan" copyright © 1938 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1966 Mary Hemingway "Capital of the World" was first published under the title "The Horns of the Bull." "The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio" was first published under the title "Give Us A Prescription, Doctor."
"The Revolutionist"; "Soldier's Home"; "The Three-Day Blow";
"A Very Short Story"; copyright © 1925 Charles Scribner's Sons;
renewal copyright © 1953 Ernest Hemingway
renewal copyright © 1955 Ernest Hemingway
renewal copyright © 1961 Mary Hemingway
renewal copyright © 1964 Mary Hemingway
"Banal Story"; "A Canary for One"; "Hills Like White Elephants"; "In Another Country"; "The Killers"; "Now I Lay Me"; "A Pursuit Race"; "A Simple Enquiry"; "Ten Indians"; "Today Is Friday"; "The Undefeated"; copyright © 1927 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1955 Ernest Hemingway
"The Alpine Idyll" copyright © 1927 The Macaulay Company;
"Che Ti Dice Patria?" and "Fifty Grand' copyright © 1927 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1955
"On the Quai at Smyrna" and "Wine of Wyoming" copyright © 1930 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1958 Ernest Hemingway
"A Natural History of the Dead" copyright © 1932, 1933 Charles Scribner's Sons; renewal copyright © 1960 Ernest Hemingway; © 1961 Mary Hemingway
"After the Storm" copyright © 1932 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1960
"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"; "A Day's Wait"; "Fathers and Sons"; "The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio"; "Homage to Switzerland"; "The Light of the World"; "The Mother of a Queen"; "One Reader Writes"; "The Sea Change"; "A Way You'll Never Be" copyright © 1933 Charles Scribner's Sons;
"God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" copyright © 1933 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1961 Mary Hemingway
"The Capital of the World"; "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"; "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" copyright © 1936 Ernest Hemingway;
"Old Man at the Bridge" and "Up in Michigan" copyright © 1938 Ernest Hemingway; renewal copyright © 1966 Mary Hemingway
"Capital of the World" was first published under the title "The Horns of the Bull."
"The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio" was first published under the title "Give Us A Prescription, Doctor."
Table of Contents
THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF FRANCIS MACOMBER
THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO
OLD MAN AT THE BRIDGE
UP IN MICHIGAN
ON THE QUAI AT SMYRNA
THE DOCTOR AND THE DOCTOR'S WIFE
THE END OF SOMETHING
THE THREE-DAY BLOW
A VERY SHORT STORY
MR. AND MRS. ELLIOT
CAT IN THE RAIN
OUT OF SEASON
MY OLD MAN
BIG TWO-HEARTED RIVER: PART I
BIG TWO-HEARTED RIVER: PART II
IN ANOTHER COUNTRY
HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS
CHE TI DICE LA PATRIA?
A SIMPLE ENQUIRY
A CANARY FOR ONE
AN ALPINE IDYLL
A PURSUIT RACE
TODAY IS FRIDAY
NOW I LAY ME
AFTER THE STORM
A CLEAN, WELL-LIGHTED PLACE
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
GOD REST YOU MERRY, GENTLEMEN
THE SEA CHANGE
A WAY YOU'LL NEVER BE
THE MOTHER OF A QUEEN
ONE READER WRITES
HOMAGE TO SWITZERLAND
A DAY'S WAIT
A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE DEAD
WINE OF WYOMING
THE GAMBLER, THE NUN, AND THE RADIO
FATHERS AND SONS
Reading Group Guide
Reading Group Guide for The Short Stories
In 1923 Ernest Hemingway published his first three short stories, "Up in Michigan" (p. 81), "Out of Season" (p. 171), and "My Old Man" (p. 189), in a slim volume entitled Three Stories and Ten Poems. Fifteen years later he published a collection of forty-nine stories, and by then he was the undisputed master of the short story form. Of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway Clifton Fadiman said in The New Yorker, "I don't see how you can go through this book without being convinced that Hemingway is the best short story writer...using English."
"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"
What are the causes of Francis Macomber's sudden conversion from fear to "the wild unreasonable happiness that he had never known before" (p. 32), what are the implications of his conversion for his and Margot's future, and what are the unanticipated consequences of Margot's killing Francis (p.36-37)?
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro"
How is neglect, the reason for Harry's gangrenous infection, also the cause of a second death for which Harry, the artist, expresses even greater regret (pp 59-60)? What does Harry mean when he says he has "traded" on his talent, and what were the specific temptations to which he admits succumbing at the cost of his artistic integrity?
"Big Two-Hearted River"
Is "Big Two-Hearted River" a story about Nick's testing and controlling his fragile emotions as well as about his setting up camp and catching trout? Why are the "known" and "unknown" so important to Nick, and why does he believe "the fishing would be tragic" in the swamp (p. 231)?
"A Clean Well-Lighted Place"
What does the old waiter reveal when he says he does not like to close up each night "because there may be someone who needs the café" or "a light for the night" (p. 382)? What is the "nothing" or "nada" that he, like the old man, "knew too well" (p. 383), and how could a clean, well-lighted café sometimes lessen "nada's" effect?
Is "The Killers" "an initiation story"? If so, to what is Nick Adams introduced? After Nick asks killer Max, "What's it all about" (p. 286), "it" appears very often (pp. 286-289), developing meaning incrementally in Nick's growing awareness. What does "it" mean by the time we read George's final line, "Well...you better not think about it" (p. 289)? What is implied by the "wall" to which Ole turns after Nick's warning?
After Reading the Stories
Your group might wish to read other stories from the Hemingway collection which focus upon similar concerns or themes found in the stories listed above. Marital tension and incompatibility are highlighted in "Cat in the Rain," "Out of Season," and with subtle irony in "A Canary for One." Because Nick in "Big Two-Hearted River" is often assumed to be a returning war veteran, "Soldier's Home" serves as an excellent companion piece. "Indian Camp" (p. 89), "The Battler" (p. 127), and "Ten Indians" are Nick Adams "initiation" stories and will complement "The Killers." The importance of the artist's getting the work done, the subject of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," is a dominant concern throughout Hemingway's fiction and more strongly emphasized in his posthumous novel The Garden of Eden than in any of the other short stories. The very brief story, "The Sea Change" however, (p. 397), should be read first as a stepping stone to that novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This collection of stories is wonderful. Hemingway was a master of the short story genre and one of the finest American writers ever. Ever word is meaningful and well crafted into extraordinary stories. "Hills Like White Elephants" is my absolute favorite of the bunch.
not any better than the novels. still very very boring.
Including my favorite story, "Hills like White Elepants", a masterful use of brevity.
This is a good collection of the author's short stories. If you want to read Hemingway, this is the place to begin. His writings are not the usual writings of most authors, so if you're looking for something different, this might be for you. A nice introduction to Hemingway.
Great collection of Hemingway's short stories. Fine arrangement and wonderful book to take on travels for those moments when one has 'just a little time' to do something rather than stare out of a window. What a Master!
These stories contain the best writing Hemingway was ever to do .They contain the essence of his literary genius .The Hemingway creed of grace under pressure is exemplified in them .So too is the whole Hemingway mode of perception,and unique style. Many of these stories are classics of the language. They tell many stories, but through them all runs one story ,that of the Hemingway hero who is wounded in his coming of age .That wounded Hemingway hero is contrasted with the code hero who does all right , and whose speech is always his action. Hemingway's abhorrence of abstraction and highflown thought , his great gift for precise observation and poetic description , his great Biblically modeled prose all are present here. It is possible to argue that Hemingway in his life was a braggart and chauvinist , but it is impossible to quarrel with the contention that in his short story writing he is a very great master indeed.
best collection of hemmingway's stories available.
This compilation of Hemmingway's short stories proves to be an excellent choice for a first time Hemingway reader. His eloquent, yet blunt writing style shines through the many stories; some of which are heart throbing, and enchanting. Hemingway himself writes an introduction with much insight on the many stories. This is a book everyone should read!