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The Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, known as 'the running of the bulls' or 'el encierro', circa 1930
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The festival of San Fermin has been held in Pamplona, Spain, for centuries and the annual event is still the area’s claim to fame. Of the many components of the days-long event, which begins on Monday this year, the running of the bulls (which starts Tuesday) is the most famous part—and, thanks to Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, the early 20th century is perhaps its most famous era.

The novel concerns—as TIME phrased it in the original 1926 book review—the”semi-humorous love tragedy of an insatiable young English War widow and an unmanned U. S. soldier” and takes place in “prizefights, bars, bedrooms, [and] bullrings in France and Spain.”

In 1932, TIME covered the running (or, rather, “driving”) of the bulls. Though the magazine didn’t employ Hemingway’s terse declarations or calculated repetition, it painted a picture of the world that inspired the author’s story:

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: Pamplona’s Encierros

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Write to Lily Rothman at

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