Death in the Afternoon


Death in the Afternoon is a renowned literary work written by Ernest Hemingway, an American writer and journalist. Published in 1932, this non-fiction book delves into Hemingway’s fascination with bullfighting, offering a unique perspective on the sport and its underlying culture. The title refers to the traditional Spanish bullfighting spectacle that takes place in the afternoon, combining danger and artistry.

The Story

Death in the Afternoon weaves together various aspects related to bullfighting, capturing the essence of the sport while providing historical and cultural context. Hemingway takes readers on a journey, describing his personal experiences attending bullfights in Spain and dissecting the rituals, techniques, and traditions associated with the spectacle. Through his vivid descriptions, readers can immerse themselves in the colorful world of Spanish bullfighting.

The book also explores the motivations and psychology behind bullfighters, known as matadors, shedding light on their intense training and the risks they face in the ring. Hemingway reflects on the physical and mental demands of bullfighting, painting a nuanced picture of this dangerous but captivating activity.

Awards, Criticism, and Praise

Death in the Afternoon has received both acclaim and criticism since its publication. While some literary critics praised Hemingway’s exploration of the art of bullfighting and the depth of his research, others found fault with his writing style and personal biases. Despite the mixed reviews, the book remains a significant contribution to the literature on bullfighting and continues to captivate readers interested in the subject.

This work has not received any major awards, but its influence on subsequent literature and bullfighting scholarship cannot be overlooked. Hemingway’s unique perspective and immersive storytelling have made Death in the Afternoon a classic piece of literature in its genre.

Key Characters

Throughout Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway introduces readers to several influential personalities within the bullfighting world. These include famous matadors, colorful spectators, and renowned bull breeders. Some of the notable figures mentioned in the book are:

1. Cayetano Ordóñez: A well-known Spanish bullfighter who captivated Hemingway with his incredible skills and daring techniques.

2. Juan Belmonte: Considered one of the greatest bullfighters in history, Belmonte’s innovative style and fearless approach revolutionized the sport.

3. Gregorio Corrochano: A prominent Spanish sports journalist known for his insightful commentary on bullfighting. Hemingway quotes Corrochano extensively throughout the book, offering readers valuable insights.

4. Pedro Romero: A fictional character from Hemingway’s novel “The Sun Also Rises,” Romero personifies the essence of the ideal young bullfighter and serves as a point of reference in Death in the Afternoon.


Death in the Afternoon is a captivating exploration of bullfighting, written with Hemingway’s characteristic power and attention to detail. Its rich descriptions and insights make it a must-read for anyone interested in the world of bullfighting or seeking a deeper understanding of Spanish culture. With its powerful storytelling and expertly crafted glossary, this book stands as a testament to Hemingway’s ability to engage readers in any format, be it print, audiobook, e-book, or podcast.

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