Ernest Hemingway's short story first appeared in Esquire Magazine in August 1936. The Snows of Kilimanjaro is one of the best known and loved collections of stories by one of the greatest literary novelists of the twentieth century.


The Snows of Kilimanjaro is the story of Harry, a writer on safari in Africa who has suffered an infection in a slight leg wound and now lies dying. Harry spends his last hours blaming his female companion, Helen, for his slide into decadence and apathy. He laments not spending his life writing, questioning his identity. In the end he slips into a coma and experiences a vision of being taken to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro by a plane.

Where most of Hemingway's stories feature protagonists who speak little and reflect nothing at all about their motivations and inner lives, in this story, the main character "sees his life flash before his eyes" as he realizes that he is dying. Many readers have seen Harry as a self-portrait of Hemingway himself. Reading the story this way, the reader can look into Hemingway's struggles with himself: his insecurities, his machismo, his need and disdain for women. But it is not necessary to read the story through the lens of Hemingway's biography. The story is a gripping look at a man who is facing death and regretting many of the choices he has made in his life, as well as being a memorable glimpse inside the head of a writer who is reflecting on his craft and the demands it has made on him.


Ernest Hemingway was born in Chicago in 1899, the second of six children. In 1917, he joined the Kansas City Star as a cub reporter. The following year, he volunteered as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, where he was badly wounded but decorated for his services. He returned to America in 1919, and married in 1921. In 1922, he reported on the Greco-Turkish war before resigning from journalism to devote himself to fiction. He settled in Paris, associating with other expatriates like Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. He was passionately involved with bullfighting, big-game hunting and deep-sea fishing. Recognition of his position in contemporary literature came in 1954 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, following the publication of The Old Man and the Sea. He died in 1961.


Hemingway’s Novels
(1926) The Torrents of Spring
(1926) The Sun Also Rises
(1929) A Farewell to Arms
(1937) To Have and Have Not
(1940) For Whom the Bell Tolls
(1950) Across the River and Into the Trees
(1952) The Old Man and the Sea
(1970) Islands in the Stream
(1986) The Garden of Eden
(1999) True at First Light

Hemingway’s Collections
(1923) Three Stories and Ten Poems
(1925) In Our Time
(1927) Men Without Women
(1933) Winner Take Nothing
(1936) The Snows of Kilimanjaro
(1938) The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories
(1969) The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War
(1972) The Nick Adams Stories
(1987) The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
(1995) Everyman’s Library: The Collected Stories

(1932) Death in the Afternoon
(1935) Green Hills of Africa
(1962) Hemingway, The Wild Years
(1964) A Moveable Feast
(1967) By-Line: Ernest Hemingway
(1970) Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter
(1981) Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917–1961
(1985) The Dangerous Summer
(1985) Dateline: Toronto
(2005) Under Kilimanjaro

About Kilimanjaro

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