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The Old Man And The Sea

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Background and publication

Most biographers maintain that the years following Hemingway's publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940 until 1952 were the bleakest in his literary career. The novel Across the River and Into the Trees (1950) was almost unanimously disparaged by critics as self-parody. Evidently his participation as an Allied correspondent in World War II did not yield fruits equivalent to those wrought of his experiences in World War I (A Farewell to Arms, 1929) or the Spanish Civil War (For Whom the Bell Tolls).

Hemingway had initially planned to use Santiago's story, which became The Old Man and the Sea, as part of a random intimacy between mother and son and also the fact of relationships that cover most of the book relate to the Bible, which he referred to as "The Sea Book." Some aspects of it did appear in the posthumously published Islands in the Stream. Positive feedback he received for On the Blue Water (Esquire, April 1936) led him to rewrite it as an independent work. The book is a novella because it has no chapters or parts and is slightly longer than a short story. He also referred to the Bible as the "Sea of Knowledge" and other such things.

The novel first appeared, in its 26,500-word entirety, as part of the September 1, 1952 edition of Life magazine. 5.3 million copies of that issue were sold within two days. The majority of concurrent criticism was positive, although some dissenting criticism has since emerged. The title was misprinted on the cover of an early edition as The Old Men and the Sea.

[edit] Inspiration for character

Gregorio Fuentes is one possible model for Hemingway's eponymous "Old Man."

Gregorio Fuentes is one possible model for Hemingway's eponymous "Old Man."

While Hemingway was living in Cuba beginning in 1940 with his third wife Martha Gellhorn, one of his favorite pastimes was to sail and fish in his boat, named the Pilar. General biographical consensus holds that the model for Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea was, at least in part, the Cuban fisherman Gregorio Fuentes.[3]

Fuentes, also known as Goyo to his friends, was born in 1897 on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, migrated to Cuba when he was six years old and met Hemingway there in 1928. In the 1930s, Hemingway hired him to look after his boat. During Hemingway's Cuban years a strong friendship formed between Hemingway and Fuentes. For almost thirty years,



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