When Ernest Hemingway arrived in Paris late in 1921 to take up residence in the Anglo-American enclave of avant-garde artists and intellectuals there, his literary aspirations were purely speculative. Yet at twenty-two, this would-be writer somehow engendered credibility; even before he published anything major, many of the enclave's expatriate literati, among them Ezra Pound and Ford Madox Ford, regarded him as a significant talent. The belief in him proved well founded. With the publication of his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1926, Hemingway emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation. Over the next several decades, many of his short stories and novels would be embraced as classics almost overnight.
In his own lifetime, Hemingway's fame rested nearly as much on his personality as it did on his art. Between his expertise as an outdoor sportsman, his stints as a war correspondent, and his enthusiasm for bullfighting and boxing, he became a symbol of virile glamour, and his celebrity even among those who never read his books was a phenomenon unique in American letters. His most enduring legacy, however, is his crisp, direct storytelling prose, which has been a shaping influence for countless writers of the twentieth century.