The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952. Hardcover. 140 pages ; 21 cm. Book club edition.
The Old Man and the Sea
BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY
When a writer of world stature look beyond the conventional forms, improvising in effect his own new mode for a theme in fiction, the result sometimes is world literature. In that way some of the great classics have come into being; each one is like no other, each one is creation in the truest sense, and each sets a new pattern for generations of followers.
In the Old Man and the Sea a new classic emerges, a great book that is like no other. Shorter than the accepted novel, longer than what has come to be called the long story, the Old Man and the Sea cannot be classified, for it writes its own law in literature. It is simple, compelling, magnificent. Every word is right; not one word more is needed, and there should assuredly be no less, for the result is art.
One cannot hope to explain why the reading of this book is so profound an experience. Developed to its own perfect length, it can be read in an evening. At the end you have known a hero, an old man who embodies the essential nobility in human striving; you have known another veritable hero, a giant fish who is the embodiment of what is noble inanimate nature; for three days you have known another presence, vast, pervading but inanimate, the world of the Gulf Stream. You have lived a great tragedy, but a tragedy which, at the last, emerges without grief into beauty. And you are likely to feel that you have been changed by what you have read.
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