Ernest Hemingway

A New Life

Hardback or cased
James M. Hutchisson
Published 13 Jul 2016
List Price £26.95



“The best single-volume Hemingway biography now available. Summing up: Essential.”

—S. Miller, Choice

“Toward the end of James J. Hutchisson’s deftly written biography of Ernest Hemingway, we are reminded to ‘remember how difficult it was for him to be “Ernest Hemingway.”’ That’s something no reader of this well-researched book is likely to forget. Chapter after chapter, we see Hemingway in splendid complication as both the man and the artist.”

—Sibbie O'Sullivan, Washington Post Book World

“Written in graceful, jargon-free prose, this compact biography will appeal broadly to general readers, students, and scholars.”

—William Gargan, Library Journal

“Lovingly detailed. . . . Hutchisson celebrates Hemingway’s many career triumphs, but pays at least as much attention to his troubles.”

—Robert Fulford, National Post

“Hutchisson has done the impossible: He has made an original contribution to the literature about the most written-about author in American letters.”

—Ron Capshaw, National Review

“A perception exists that everything we need to know about the author of A Farewell to Arms and A Moveable Feast (among so many other great works) has been said ad infinitum. James M. Hutchisson’s Ernest Hemingway: A New Life proves how untrue that thought is. Nearly thirty years after a revisionary wave of biographies reimagined the man, Hutchisson arrives to reset the scales once more, giving us a fuller, more nuanced portrait than we’ve ever enjoyed. Every generation deserves its own Hemingway, and this is ours.”

—Kirk Curnutt, board member of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society and author of Reading Hemingway’s “To Have and Have Not”: Glosses and Commentary

“A work of mature judgment and rigorous scholarship, lucidly, often elegantly written.”

—Matthew Stewart, American Studies

“Building on newly available letters and other sources, this first new Hemingway biography in twenty years probes the author’s complicated relationships with his family, mentors, wives—and other women. Readers will appreciate this documented account of Hemingway’s fascinating life; those familiar with earlier biographies will find much fresh material in this accessible volume.”

—Ellen Andrews Knodt, Pennsylvania State University, Abington

Ernest Hemingway: A New Life marks a refreshing change in approach. With the exception of Michael Reynolds’s multivolume biography, biographers since Carlos Baker have viewed Hemingway through various limited critical perspectives, resulting in life stories that differ markedly from one another. James Hutchisson’s A New Life offers an unbiased view of a complex personality.”

—Robert E. Fleming, author of The Face in the Mirror: Hemingway’s Writers

“Like a masterful visual artist who takes a familiar subject and makes it fresh and interesting, James Hutchisson gives us an original and compelling biographical portrait of Ernest Hemingway. By examining patterns in Hemingway's life and providing additional context, Hutchisson enables us to see aspects of the writer’s life and art in a new light. The result is a balanced (if somewhat more sympathetic) view of Hemingway and a worthy counterpoint to previous biographies.”

—Ruth Hawkins, author of Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage

“In the first Hemingway biography in two decades, Hutchisson draws on recent scholarship, newly available family and medical histories, and expanded editions of posthumous works to craft a balanced and lucid treatment of Hemingway that deftly charts his spatial and sexual geographies. Hutchisson remains attuned to the patterns in Hemingway’s life without sacrificing Hemingway’s complexity. He probes Hemingway’s contradictions without seeking to resolve them. This biography offers an invaluable aid to scholars of the frequently misunderstood late and posthumous works by examining Hemingway’s continuing efforts to transcend the boundaries of the styles and forms his critics had come to expect. This portrait of Hemingway shows a writer who never ceased to evolve.”

—Julieann Veronica Ulin, Florida Atlantic University

“Hutchisson is extremely good at describing the demons that rode [Hemingway] and the suffering they caused him, and he strikes an admirable balance between excuse and generous empathy that culminates in his treatment of Hemingway’s final desperate act early on the morning of July 2, 1961.”

—Chilton Williamson, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

To many, the life of Ernest Hemingway has taken on mythic proportions. From his romantic entanglements to his legendary bravado, the elements of Papa’s persona have fascinated readers, turning Hemingway into such an outsized figure that it is almost impossible to imagine him as a real person. James Hutchisson’s biography reclaims Hemingway from the sensationalism, revealing the life of a man who was often bookish and introverted, an outdoor enthusiast who revered the natural world, and a generous spirit with an enviable work ethic.

This is an examination of the writer through a new lens—one that more accurately captures Hemingway’s virtues as well as his flaws. Hutchisson situates Hemingway’s life and art in the defining contexts of the women he loved and lost, the places he held dear, and the specter of mental illness that haunted his family. This balanced portrait examines for the first time in full detail the legendary writer’s complex medical history and his struggle against clinical depression.

The first major biography of Hemingway in over twenty years, this monumental achievement provides readers with a fresh, comprehensive look at one of the most acclaimed authors of the twentieth century.


List of Figures



1 The Midwest: Childhood and Youth

2 Italy and Agnes von Kurowsky

3 Michigan, Chicago, and Hadley

4 Paris

5 Duff Twysden and The Sun Also Rises

6 Pauline, Key West, and A Farewell to Arms

7 Spain and Death in the Afternoon

8 Jane Mason and Africa

9 Martha Gellhorn and the Spanish Civil War

10 Cuba and For Whom the Bell Tolls

11 China and World War II

12 Mary, Adriana, and Across the River and into the Trees

13 Revisiting the Past: Africa and Paris

14 Dangerous Summers: Spain, Cuba, Idaho


Selected Bibliography


James M. Hutchisson is Professor of American Literature at The Citadel and the author of The Rise of Sinclair Lewis, also published by Penn State University Press.

A biography of Ernest Hemingway that places his life and art in the defining contexts of the women and places that were important to him, and the pattern of mental illness and suicide in his family.