Hemingway's confidence in his own work was sometimes misplaced, but not in the case of The Old Man and the Sea. Life magazine published the novella in toto in a single issue, and within forty-eight hours, all 5.3 million copies were snapped up. Interestingly enough, the Life publication did not lessen demand for the work in hardcover, and for six months it remained on the best-sellers' list. Perhaps most noteworthy, however, was The Old Man and the Sea's rapid acceptance into the canon of American classics.
The Old Man and the Sea, 1952
Image courtesy private collection