Thursday, 1 September 2011

On This Day in Literature

On this day (September 1st, 1952), Ernest Hemingway's seminal work, The Old Man and the Sea, appeared for the first time in Life magazine.

In what was an unusual move, the magazine featured the story in its entirety, a week before the book was officially published.  The gamble paid off - over 5 million copies of the magaizine sold in the first two days, and the book's first print run of 50,000 copies quickly sold out.

The Old Man and the Sea, which was written during the author's sojourn in Cuba, brought Hemingway the international acclaim he craved - the novel won the Pulitzer Prize in May of that year, and was given special mention when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

The success of this novel provoked a critical re-examining of his earlier work, with many readers gaining a new appeciation for the author's uniquely sparse writing style.  However, despite its success, The Old Man and the Sea was to be the last piece of work Hemingway would see published.  His final offering, A Moveable Feast, was published posthumously in 1964, three years after he committed suicide at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

"To hell with luck. I'll bring the luck with me."
Ernest Heminway, The Old Man and The Sea, 1952.

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