Ernest Hemingway

Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

On this segment of HarperAudio!, we hear Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) giving his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, recorded by a Havana, Cuba radio station in 1954. It is followed by a speech Hemingway gave to introduce a production of his play "The Fifth Column." The play is set in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, where Hemingway served as a war correspondent. In both these excerpts, Hemingway displays in speech the economy of style and almost staccato structure that made him one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century.

"In Harry's Bar in Venice"

Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway describes the plot of a novel set "In Harry's Bar in Venice." Taped with a transistorized pocket recorder sometime in the late 1950s, this speech displays Hemingway's aggressive, and in this recording somewhat inebriated, personality and style. His terse sentences and economy of description have made him one of the most important and most widely imitated American writers of the 20th Century.

Work in Progress

Author Ernest Hemingway reads a gripping segment from an untitled "work in progress." Hemingway, who started his career as a newspaperman and foreign correspondent, often set his stories in exotic locations. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. This fragment, taped with a wire recorder or transistorized pocket recorder sometime in the late 1950s, is one of the few examples of Hemingway reading his own work. The story typifies Hemingway's fascination with violence and its aftermath and shows the masterful story-telling technique that has made him one of the 20th century's most widely imitated writers.

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro"

Actor Charlton Heston reads "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," a short story by Ernest Hemingway originally published in 1938. The story takes place in Africa, which Hemingway knew and enjoyed visiting as a big game hunter. As the scene opens, Harry, a writer, is stranded with his wife and their safari party in the African bush. Their truck has broken down and Harry's leg has developed gangrene which grows progressively worse.

Throughout the story, Harry recalls scenes from his past. The scenes Hemingway describes clearly stem from his own life; he spent summers as a child in the wilderness of upper Michigan, was wounded and decorated for bravery during the First World War, and lived in Paris between the wars. The story's theme of a writer struggling with his talent resembles Hemingway's own struggles and self-questionings.

Charlton Heston won an Academy Award in 1959 for his performance in the title role of "Ben-Hur." The story is presented in four segments and has been edited for length.

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