Hemingway premieres Monday, April 5.

By Meghan Overdeep
April 02, 2021
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From the man who brought us Country Music and The Civil War comes a penetrating look at the complicated life of America's greatest novelist, Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway, a new three-part, six-hour documentary series from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the life and work of the legendary writer largely through the lens of the women in his life: his mother, sisters, and four wives.

Meryl Streep shines as the voice of Hemingway's third wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. The writer's other wives are given voice by Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker, and Patricia Clarkson. Hemingway himself is voiced by Emmy-winning actor Jeff Daniels.

Speaking at the PBS Winter Press Tour session in February, Burns told Deadline that the series deconstructs Hemingway's image as a "hyper-masculine" archetype.

"We were drawn at trying to get at a real Hemingway and I think the persona of the wild man, the drunk, the bar guy, the big game hunter, the big sea fisherman is sort of what we inherit, the baggage we carry," he explained. "But almost immediately we began to see how thin and frail that was, not just for him but in fact."

Episode one of Hemingway, titled "A Writer," premieres on PBS on Monday, April 5. The two-hour episode covers the first 30 years of Hemingway's life, including his childhood in Chicago and his work as a reporter at the Kansas City Star.

Episode two, "The Avatar," premieres on PBS the following day, Tuesday, April 6. It examines Hemingway's life between 1929 and 1944, as he becomes the most famous and successful author in America and takes up residence (and deep-sea fishing) in Key West, Florida.

The final episode, "The Blank Page," which airs on Wednesday, April 8, chronicles Hemingway's final two decades, marked by worsening alcoholism and severe depression.

All three episodes will be available to stream at PBS.org/Hemingway starting April 5 at 8pm ET.

You won't want to miss this one.