The Sun Also Rises (First Edition) by Ernest Hemingway



2015-06-26 10:26:49

The Sun Also Rises is the first novel by American author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). The first edition of this work was published in 1926 by Scribner’s, New York. Background

Hemingway began this novel on his 26th birthday, and finished it in two months. It was based on a trip he had himself made to Spain from Paris in 1925, and the characters are based on the people he was with at the time: the novel is a roman a clef. Hemingway wanted to combine his own experiences with fictional description to produce something more real than real, to take his journalistic experience one step further.

The novel was published by Scribner’s New York in 1926, with a first run of 5090 copies. Two months later, a second run consisting of 7000 copies was ordered. A year later in 1927, the London publishing house Jonathan Cape published the novel under the title Fiesta.

Plot, Characters, Themes

The novel features a group of British and American expatriates living in Paris in the mid 1920s, and goes on to describe a trip to Pamplona in Spain for the bullfights and the running of the bulls at the Festival of San Fermin. At the time, there were thousands of English speakers living in Paris. For writers it represented greater artistic freedom. There is a love story at the centre of the novel. Themes include love, death, the nature of masculinity, and the idea that the damaged youth of World War I, the ‘Lost Generation’, are in fact strong and resilient.

It is an early modernist novel, thought by many to be Hemingway’s greatest. It uses his famous Iceberg Theory in its style, not revealing the true meaning of the work in the surface story but letting the reader deduce it within the subtext, below the surface, through the tactical use of omission.


American author Ernest Hemingway had a significant influence on 20th century fiction, particularly American literature. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

Sothebys New York sold first editions for $92,500 in October 2011, $110,500 in December 2011, and $60,000 in June 2007.

Christie’s New York sold a first edition for $91,000 in December 2007.

First edition copies are worth infinitely more in their original cloth bindings and dust jackets, especially when these are in good condition. This particular one was designed by Cleonike Damianakes, and features a Hellenic design.

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