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Hemingway Adventure


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Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureWhen I first heard of Ernest Hemingway I was a teenager living in Sheffield, an uncompromising industrial city without a hint of glamour, until recently, when the demise of its industry became the subject of a film called The Full Monty. A few days before my thirteenth birthday I was sent to a boarding school at Shrewsbury. When the time came to take my ‘A’ level examination in English, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea were the most, indeed only, modern works offered on the course. My teacher recommended them and, as a taster, I took them with me on the annual summer holiday to Southwold.

As the grey North Sea rolled on to the wind-swept Suffolk beach I trudged through the unfamiliar prose but at night I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

The sense of place, the intensity of smell and sound, the sheer physical sensation of being taken somewhere else was fresh and powerful and exhilarating.

I would lie in bed and follow retreating armies down dusty Italian roads and feel the heat of Spanish squares and stare up into the wide skies of Castile and sense the cold at night in a pine forest.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Introduction
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: London
  • Book page no: 8

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