'Death In The Afternoon' Is Published

Death in the Afternoon (1932) marked a departure from the fiction-writing career of Ernest Hemingway.

A study of the Spanish bullfight, the book grew out of the author's keen interest in an event that he insisted was a tragedy, not a sport. By the time he began work on Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway had already published a lengthy short story, “The Undefeated”, and a novel, The Sun Also Rises, both of which drew upon his considerable knowledge of the corrida de toros. The new book was intended to follow up an early article Hemingway had published in the Toronto Star Weekly which explained the bullfight to an English-speaking audience.

“The spectator going to a bullfight for the first time cannot expect to see the combination of the ideal bull and the ideal fighter for that bull which may occur not more than twenty times in all Spain in a season and it would be wrong for him to see that the first time. He would be so confused, visually, by the many things he was seeing that he could not take it all in with his eyes, and something which he might never see again in his life would mean no more to him than a regular performance. ”

— Ernest Hemingway

Though a non-fiction book, Death in the Afternoon does codify one of Hemingway’s literary concepts of the stoical hero facing deadly opposition while still performing his duties with professionalism and skill, or "grace under pressure," as Hemingway described it. Many critics took issue with an apparent change in Hemingway from detracted artist to actual character in one of his own works. They disliked a blustery tone Hemingway drifted into , particularly when discussing writers, writing and art in general. It was the genesis of the public "Papa" image that would grow over the remaining 30 years of his life, at times almost obscuring the serious artist within.