On March 4th 1952, Ernest Hemingway completed his short novel The Old Man and the Sea. He wrote his publisher the same day, saying he had finished the book and that it was the best writing he had ever done. The critics agreed: the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and became one of his best selling works.
The novella, which was first published in Life magazine, was an allegory referring to the writer’s own struggles to preserve his art in the face of fame and attention. Hemingway had become a cult figure whose four marriages and adventurous exploits in big-game hunting and fishing were widely covered in the press. But despite his fame, he had not produced a major literary work in a decade before he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. The book would be his last significant work of fiction before his suicide in 1961.
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