Hemingway has left us plenty of lessons, but this is one of the most enduring: embrace the world. I’ve been in Europe for the past three weeks walking in the footsteps of Hemingway, exploring how these places have changed since Hemingway’s day.
To see what Hemingway can tell us about these places, and what these places can tell us about Hemingway.
I’ve found myself drawn to Hemingway through place. Hemingway’s places led me to the writer. The writer led me to the tragic puzzle of a man: a Chablis-swishing great white hunter with a thing for housecats.
Here was a man born in the waning days of the 19th century, an age of exploration succumbing to machine modernity, who seemed ill fit when the world turned to Technicolor. Hemingway killed himself before the Sixties became the decade of Martin Luther King, the Beatles and Vietnam. He lived and died before the cultural drift that still rips the country apart.
So in Ernest Hemingway, there’s something we can all claim. He was a freedom-loving, communist-loving, red-white-and-blue, gun-toting nature lover who almost assuredly ate quiche.