Hemingway's life, not suicide, celebrated

May 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM
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OAK PARK, Ill., May 31 (UPI) -- American novelist Ernest Hemingway's life will be the focus of celebrations this week, not the 50th anniversary of his suicide, various foundations say.

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, Ill., which oversees a Hemingway museum, tours of his birthplace home and other events, said it will allow the author's suicide on July 2, 1961, in the foyer of his Ketchum, Idaho, residence to pass with as little fanfare as possible, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

"We don't consider that a particularly big event for any number of reasons," said Allan Baldwin, a former Oak Park foundation chairman. "We really don't get into those types of things."

Other societies -- from Key West, Fla., to northern Michigan and from Massachusetts to Idaho -- are taking the same approach.

"I think when you look at the prose in his stories, it's so delicate and so crafted that it just doesn't go out of style," said Michael Federspiel, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society, which promotes the vagabond author's childhood link to the Petosky area.

Winner of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, "Papa Hemingway" is 34th on the U.N. list of the world's 50 most translated authors. Nearly two dozen of his works were made into movies, including "The Old Man and the Sea," "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Killers."

Hemingway's larger-than-life adventures play into his enduring appeal, scholars say. He was on the front lines in five wars, hunted in Africa, covered bullfights in Spain, survived two plane crashes and four car wrecks, and had four wives.

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