A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is a short story by American author Ernest Hemingway, first published in Scribner's Magazine in 1933; it was also included in his collection Winner Take Nothing (1933).

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"
AuthorErnest Hemingway
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Short story
Publication typePeriodical
Media typePrint
Publication date1933

Plot synopsis

Late at night, a deaf old man is the sole patron in a cafe. Nearby, two waiters, one young, the other older, talk about him. When the old man orders another brandy, the young waiter purposely overfills his glass. The waiters speculate about the old man's recent suicide attempt. The young waiter wants the patron to go home, and complains that he never gets to bed before three o'clock, while the older waiter is more understanding of the old man's plight. Again the old man asks for another brandy, but this time the young man tells him the cafe is closed. After he leaves, the waiters resume their discussion. The young waiter wants to hurry home to his wife; the older waiter is more thoughtful. He muses on youth and observes that he is now one "of those who like to stay late in the cafe," likening himself to the old man. He mentions the importance to some people of having "a clean, well-lighted place" in which they can spend time. After the young waiter leaves, the older waiter reflects on the emptiness of his own life and returns to his home and his insomnia.

Historical reaction by other authors

James Joyce once remarked: "He [Hemingway] has reduced the veil between literature and life, which is what every writer strives to do. Have you read 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place'?...It is masterly. Indeed, it is one of the best short stories ever written..." [1]


  • In A.E. Hotchner's biography Papa Hemingway, Hemingway is quoted saying that this might be his favourite story. [2]


  1. ^ "Lost Generation"
  2. ^ Hotchner, A.E. (1966). Papa Hemingway. London: Mayflower Books. p. 141.

External links

88 Poems

88 Poems is a book of the collected poetry of author Ernest Hemingway, published in 1979. It includes a number of poems published in magazines, the poems which appeared in Hemingway's first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems, and 47 previously unpublished poems that were found in private collections and in the Hemingway papers held by the Kennedy Library.

A Day's Wait

"A Day's Wait" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway published in his 1933 short story collection Winner Take Nothing about a nine-year-old boy who is sick during a cold winter.

The story mainly signifies the boy's misunderstanding leading to many changes in his own mind.

A Way You'll Never Be

"A Way You'll Never Be" is a 1933 short story by Ernest Hemingway, published by Charles Scribner in the short story collection Winner Take Nothing. It features the character Nick Adams as he recovers from a traumatic head wound.

Che Ti Dice La Patria?

"Che ti dice la Patria?" is a short story by American author Ernest Hemingway set in Italy. The Italian title may be translated as "What does the homeland say?"


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In Another Country

"In Another Country" is a short story by American author Ernest Hemingway.

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Judson Jerome

Judson Jerome (February 8, 1927 in Tulsa, Oklahoma – August 5, 1991 in Xenia, Ohio) was an American poet, author, and literary critic, perhaps best known for having written the poetry column for Writer's Digest for over thirty years, beginning in 1959. He also taught poetry at Antioch College, where his students included Gregory Orr and Mark Strand.Jerome is involved in the scholarly conversation surrounding a controversial amendment to Ernest Hemingway's 1933 short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: in 1956, Jerome — then an assistant professor of English at Antioch College — wrote to Hemingway to inquire about a section of dialogue which he saw as problematic. Hemingway responded to Jerome with the thirteen words "I just read the story and it continues to make sense to me."; however, when A Clean, Well-Lighted Place was republished posthumously in Scribner's Magazine in 1965 and in all future editions, the passage in question had been changed to address the concern Jerome and other scholars had raised. Whether Scribner's was correct in making the emendation remains a subject of debate among Hemingway scholars, with the note to Jerome serving as evidence against the emendation.

Mr. and Mrs. Elliot

"Mr. and Mrs. Elliot" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. The story was first published in 1924 in Ford Madox Ford's literary magazine Transatlantic Review in Paris and republished by Boni & Liveright in Hemingway's first American volume of short stories In Our Time in 1925.The story is about a 25-year-old Harvard student who follows a "clean" life. He marries a 40-year-old clean Southern woman and the two try very hard to have a baby. Eventually both become disenchanted with each other, and the wife's girlfriend moves in to live with her.

The Battler

"The Battler" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway, published in the 1925 New York edition of In Our Time, by Boni & Liveright. The story is the fifth in the collection to feature Nick Adams, Hemingway’s autobiographical alter ego.

The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War

The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War is a collection of works by Ernest Hemingway. It contains Hemingway's only full length play, The Fifth Column, which was previously published along with the First Forty-Nine Stories in 1938, along with four unpublished works about Hemingway's experiences during the Spanish Civil War.The four stories are about the Spanish Civil War: "The Denunciation," "The Butterfly and the Tank," "Night Before Battle," and "Under The Ridge". Chicote's bar and the Hotel Florida in Madrid are recurrent settings in these stories.

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories is an anthology of writings by Ernest Hemingway published by Scribner's on October 14, 1938. It contains Hemingway's only full-length play, The Fifth Column, and 49 short stories.

Many of the stories included in the collection appear in other collections, including In Our Time, Men Without Women, Winner Take Nothing and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Some of the collection's important stories are rather short. It also includes some longer stories, among them "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber".

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (short story collection)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1961. The title story is considered by some to be the best story Hemingway ever wrote. All the stories were earlier published in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories in 1938.

The collection includes the following stories:

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro"

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"

"A Day's Wait"

"The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio"

"Fathers and Sons"

"In Another Country"

"The Killers"

"A Way You'll Never Be"

"Fifty Grand"

"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

The Sun Also Rises (opera)

The Sun Also Rises is a one-act opera by Webster A. Young, based on Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. It is one of a pair of Hemingway works that Young adapted into operas. The opera's libretto is by the composer, and includes direct quotations from the novel. It premiered on May 7, 2000 at the Long Island Opera.

The Three-Day Blow

“The Three-Day Blow” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway, published in the 1925 New York edition of In Our Time, by Boni & Liveright. The story is the fourth in the collection to feature Nick Adams, Hemingway’s autobiographical alter ego.

The Undefeated (short story)

"The Undefeated" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway featured in Men Without Women. The main character, Manuel Garcia, is a bullfighter who recently got out of the hospital and is now looking for work. After an old promoter, Retana, hires him for a fight on the following evening, he enlists the help of an old friend to be his picador. Although Zurito, his picador, strongly discourages Manuel, Manuel proceeds and is injured while fighting his first bull of the night.

Three Stories and Ten Poems

Three Stories and Ten Poems is a collection of short stories and poems by Ernest Hemingway. It was privately published in 1923 in a run of 300 copies by Robert McAlmon's "Contact Publishing" in Paris.The three stories are:

"Up in Michigan"

"Out of Season

"My Old Man"The ten poems are:



"Oily Weather"



"Champs d'Honneur"

"Riparto d'Assalto"


"Along With Youth"

"Chapter Heading"

Winner Take Nothing

Winner Take Nothing is a 1933 collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway's third and final collection of stories, it was published four years after A Farewell to Arms (1929), and a year after his non-fiction book about bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon (1932).

Short stories
Short story
Story fragments
Letters and
See also

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