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A complicated character

Ernest Hemingway has fallen out of literary fashion, perhaps as a reaction to the celebrity status he achieved in his lifetime. Today, the image of Hemingway as a gun nut who committed suicide tends to overshadow the tightly controlled prose that put For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea on required reading lists of high school English classes everywhere in the 1960s and '70s.

By JOHN FLEMING

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001


Ernest Hemingway has fallen out of literary fashion, perhaps as a reaction to the celebrity status he achieved in his lifetime. Today, the image of Hemingway as a gun nut who committed suicide tends to overshadow the tightly controlled prose that put For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea on required reading lists of high school English classes everywhere in the 1960s and '70s.

Hemingway: On the Edge, a one-man show written and performed by Ed Metzger, concerns the last two years of the writer's life.

"I got the feeling that Hemingway recognized his own demise, in a way," Metzger told the Tulsa World. "He would say his writing didn't have the rhythm, the fire, the feeling it had in the past."

Metzger portrayed Albert Einstein in another one-man show, but he found more dramatic material in the life of Hemingway. "On the one hand, he could be a bully and a braggart and completely obnoxious, but on the other hand he could be funny and tender and generous," he said. "He lived a life of adventure, but also was the most disciplined of artists. An actor can go all over the stage with a character like that."

Hemingway: On the Edge will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets: $11 and $13. (727) 942-5605.

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