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Relive the adventures of Hemingway

by Peter Diem

The tragedy of heroic death throes

Like Diem, Hemingway has been affected with a swirling energy from a young age. It’s 1917. Instilled with a fighting spirit, the barely 18-year-old writer wants to go to battle at the front in Europe. Declared unfit because of his bad eyesight, he ultimately ends up being a medic in a Red Cross ambulance in Italy.

Together with American painter Waldo Peirce, who is already renowned by then, he pulls lifeless, blood-covered bodies out of the European battlefield’s mud. Atrocious images are forever etched in his mind’s eye.

Yet this doesn’t stop him.

After the last bullet has been fired and the gun smoke has lifted, the future winner of both the Nobel Prize in Literature and the prestigious Pulitzer Prize continues his quest. He looks for new places where fights to the death occur. One of these places is the Spanish arena with its roaring bulls. Fascinated, Hemingway follows the colossus’s death throes for hours.

The penetrating images of the battlefield have shaped and forever interconnected the writer and the painter.

Waldo Peirce has found his equal in his war comrade Hemingway.

The special duo meets again and goes on trips to Key West in Florida between 1928 and 1936. Hours-long battles are fought with sharks and tunas on the open sea. Strong alcohol and tall tales flow abundantly on the gangways. Hemingway is in his element.

Remarkably, Peirce also found time to take pictures of the trip – unique images that have been preserved as if by miracle and that ultimately ended up in Peter Diem’s possession.

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