Regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time, it is no wonder that Ernest Hemingway has not only a catalogue of great books he has written, but also individual quotes that are considered great too.
Today, we’ll be sharing 26 of the greatest Ernest Hemingway quotes, ranging from his takes on writing and literature to life death.
On Writing and Literature
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Writing is a raw and cathartic process that demands emotional investment.
“The first draft of anything is shit”
The initial version of any creative work is often imperfect and requires refinement.
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you finish reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.”
Great literature captures universal truths, resonating with readers as authentic experiences.
On Life and Experience
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
Adversity is a common experience, but resilience and strength can emerge from hardships.
“Courage is grace under pressure.”
True bravery is displayed in maintaining composure and dignity during challenging moments.
“But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”
When faced with minimal stakes, life becomes more manageable.
“The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Human interactions can be both a source of happiness and a potential hindrance to it.
On Love and Relationships
“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”
Overcommitment in love can lead to self-neglect and personal loss.
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
True understanding requires active and thorough listening.
On War and Conflict
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”
War, even when deemed necessary, is inherently destructive and carries moral implications.
“In modern war you will die like a dog for no good reason.”
The harsh realities of modern warfare often involve senseless and unjustifiable deaths.
“War is not won by victory.”
The consequences of war extend beyond the immediate triumphs or defeats.
On Death and Existence
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
Death is inevitable, and one’s legacy is shaped by how they lived..
“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”
Despite the hardships, life is precious and worth preserving.
On Truth and Honesty
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
The essence of good writing lies in capturing a single, authentic thought.
“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
Traveling with loved ones enhances the experience and creates lasting memories.
On Nature and the Outdoors
“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty four days now without taking a fish.”
The loneliness and determination of the old man in “The Old Man and the Sea” reflect the human spirit.
“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”
Africa holds a special place in Hemingway’s heart, evoking consistent joy.
On Art and Creativity
“An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn’t know why they chose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why.”
Creativity often stems from a relentless inner drive or passion.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
True nobility lies in personal growth and self-improvement, not in comparison with others.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody, is to trust them.”
Building trust involves taking the initial step of trusting others.
On Time and Simplicity
“Time is the least thing we have of.”
Time is a limited and precious resource.
“Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit of experience and the last effort of genius.”
Achieving simplicity in expression or lifestyle is a challenging but worthwhile endeavor.
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
Writing should aim to convey genuine thoughts and emotions in the simplest manner.
“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling a rock and then blasting it out with charges.”
Writing has no fixed rules; it can be a diverse and individualized process.
“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
Preserve creativity by stopping before exhaustion and allowing inspiration to replenish.