The Influence of Ernest Hemingway
The Influence of Ernest Hemingway
See also, A Farewell to Arms Criticism.
The 1999 centennial of Hemingway's birth was celebrated in Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Illinois, as well as Cuba, Italy, France, Spain, China, and Japan. The event was commemorated with literary conferences devoted to his life and work, with public festivities, with the posthumous publication of an unfinished manuscript, True at First Light (1999), and with a great deal of media attention that focused as much on his iconic persona as on his contributions to American literature. Biographer Michael Reynolds has noted that although “Hemingway's short fiction is what changed American fiction,” particularly in the way subsequent authors wrote dialogue, “there are people who venerate Hemingway who have never read Hemingway.” Despite his reputation as a serious artist—he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954, and his novels The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) were included on a 1998 list of the top one hundred novels of the twentieth century—Hemingway has been commodified, or, in author Justin Kaplan's words, “Elvisized.” Hemingway's emblematic American masculinity is used to market everything from tourism to cookbooks to a line of furniture, and his minimalist writing style has been the subject of a yearly “International Imitation Hemingway Competition,” with the winners published in a book series entitled Best of Bad Hemingway.
Although Hemingway's larger-than-life presence—both in life and after his dramatic suicide in 1961—has often threatened to overshadow his work, it is generally agreed that Hemingway is, in James Nagel's words, “one of the finest prose stylists in English,” an author whose work “gave rise to the minimalist movement in American fiction, to the work of Raymond Carver and Susan Minot,” as well as many others, including Richard Ford. The presenter of the 1954 Nobel Prize in literature said: “With masterly skill [Hemingway] reproduces all the nuances of the spoken word, as well as those pauses in which thought stands still and the nervous mechanism is thrown out of gear. It may sometimes sound like small talk, but it is not trivial when one gets to know his method. He prefers to leave the work of psychological reflection to his readers and this freedom is of great benefit to him in spontaneous observation.” In his book, Genius, Harold Bloom pronounced Hemingway a “minor novelist with a major style”; in The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story, Peter Mascuch called him “one of the great innovators of twentieth-century form.” At the Hemingway Centennial celebration at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, essayist Joan Didion declared, “This was a writer who had in his time made the English language new, changed the rhythms of the way both his own and the next few generations would speak and write and think.” At the same conference, poet Derek Walcott called the best of Hemingway's prose “an achievement superior to anything in poetry.” In a centennial article by Steve Paul, a journalist with the Kansas City Star (where Hemingway was a cub reporter from 1917-1918), author Russell Banks praised “the sheer beauty of [Hemingway's] sentences.” Charles Johnson told Paul, “I think it is impossible not to work in Hemingway's shadow, either as an imitator of his approach to prose writing or in strong reaction against it.” In a keynote address at the Seventh International Hemingway Conference, Terry Tempest Williams stated: “Hemingway has been a powerful mentor, in terms of what it means to create a landscape impressionistically on the page, to make it come alive, pulse, breathe, to ‘make the country so that you could walk into it.’” Novelist E. Annie Proulx, who confesses she is not a fan, nevertheless called Hemingway's work “important”: “It cast a shadow over nearly forty years of American literary history and set countless imitators a-scribbling, liberated writers from nineteenth-century sentence styles as tightly packed and convoluted as intestines in a hog.”
Although recognized primarily as a stylist and innovator of form, Hemingway also embraced a distinctly modern, existentialist worldview that influenced twentieth-century literature. Novels such as The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms are populated by men who are, in Hemingway's words, “hurt very badly; in the body, mind, and spirit, and also morally.” In these works, World War I casts a shadow over characters who, no longer believing in the traditions and values of the nineteenth century or in the goodness of government, are disillusioned idealists who reject nationalist propaganda and easy sentimentality. Nevertheless, the Hemingway hero struggles to make his own meaning in a world filled with cynicism and war. According to Philip Young, the “Hemingway code”—exemplified by Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises, Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms, Robert Jordan in For Whom The Bell Tolls (1940), and the fisherman Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea (1952)—involves qualities of stoicism, courage, honor, endurance, and self-control. In his interview with the Kansas City Star, Banks described the Hemingway hero as a “sort of existential hero” who reflects the “romantic alienation that [Hemingway himself] seemed to be emblematic of and that he manifested in his style as well.” Critics have also remarked upon the psychological effects of violence depicted in Hemingway's novels and short fiction, which is ever-present in his descriptions of war, bullfighting, big-game hunting, and surviving in the wilderness. Hemingway's fiction is at its strongest in its portraits of male characters struggling to define their identities and find honor in a chaotic world. For half a century, critics have generally agreed with Leslie Fielder's 1955 contention that “Hemingway is always less embarrassing when he is not attempting to deal with women.”
At the centennial of Hemingway's birth, noted Linda Wagner-Martin, the editor Ernest Hemingway: Seven Decades of Criticism, the question was “why his writings last so well. … [What] else besides nostalgia does it provide the reader here at the very end of that twentieth century?” She noted that over the past seventy years, as views of heroism have changed, so too have critics' views of Hemingway. Rather than writing about “the code hero” much celebrated in the 1950s and 1960s, critics have become interested in the full variety of characters portrayed by Hemingway, including in his female characters. Contemporary critics are now exploring Hemingway's representation of nature, identity, and sense of place, as well as his handling of issues of race, gender, and sexual identity. With the posthumous release of The Garden of Eden (1987) and True at First Light, Hemingway's literary legacy promises to last as long as and run more deeply than his cult of personality. As Jim Windolf in the New York Observer concluded, Hemingway the icon has “very little to do with the perfect first paragraph of A Farewell to Arms and a number of indestructible short stories.”
Three Stories & Ten Poems (short stories and poetry) 1923
in our time (short stories) 1924; revised edition published as In Our Time, 1925
The Sun Also Rises (novel) 1926; also published as Fiesta, 1927
The Torrents of Spring (novel) 1926
Men without Women (short stories) 1927
A Farewell to Arms (novel) 1929
Death in the Afternoon (nonfiction) 1932
Winner Take Nothing (short stories) 1933
Green Hills of Africa (nonfiction) 1935
To Have and Have Not (novel) 1937
The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories (play and short stories) 1939
For Whom the Bell Tolls (novel) 1940
Across the River and into the Trees (novel) 1950
The Old Man and the Sea (novel) 1952
The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories (short stories) 1961
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and Other Stories (short stories) 1963
A Moveable Feast (memoir) 1964
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades (journalism) 1968
Islands in the Stream (novel) 1970
(The entire section is 181 words.)
SOURCE: Knott, Toni D. “The Critical Reception—Through Time.” In One Man Alone: Hemingway and To Have and Have Not, edited by Toni D. Knott, pp. 11-39. Latham, N.Y.: University Press of America, 1999.
[In the following essay from an anthology celebrating Hemingway's centennial, Knott reviews responses to the author's controversial novel To Have and Have Not.]
Manning: “Is there anything you've written that you would do differently if your could do it over?” Hemingway: “Not yet.”
“Hemingway in Cuba,” from Bruccoli's Conversations
Lionel Trilling's 1937 statement sounds a ring of truth today: “More than any writer of our time he has been under glass, watched, checked up on, predicted, suspected, warned” (62). By the time The Sun Also Rises (TSAR) was published in 1926, the seeds of the Hemingway legend were firmly planted, and the accompanying stream of criticism with its penchant for entanglement in E. H.'s life had begun. Edmund Wilson described the situation in 1927: “The reputation of Ernest Hemingway has, in a very short time, assumed such proportions that it has already become fashionable to disparage him” (Shores 339).
From that time and into the present, a great deal of criticism on E. H.'s works has focused on linking...
(The entire section is 11101 words.)
SOURCE: Freedman, Morris. “Disparaging Hemingway.” Virginia Quarterly Review 77, no. 1 (winter 2001): 76-82.
[In the essay below, Freedman speculates to what extent the media's fascination with and exploitation of the cult of personality in the case of Hemingway affects considerations of his writing and whether or not this may be justified.]
In introducing his less than admiring review of Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees, in The New York Times Book Review, John O'Hara referred to him as the greatest writer since Shakespeare. O'Hara wasn't simply being contrarian; I'm sure he could have reasonably justified the hyperbole. As a fellow professional writer, he understood that if Hemingway had not written much that was indifferent or inferior, like the book under scrutiny, as Shakespeare and O'Hara himself had done, Hemingway might not have written so much that was great.
O'Hara's intent was certainly not to set Hemingway up so as to level him in the rest of the review, in what seems to have become a Western tradition. Someone at some point thought it necessary to observe that even Homer nodded. Ben Jonson sniffed that Shakespeare had small Latin and less Greek; John Milton condescendingly spoke of him “warbl[ing] his native wood-notes wild” (my emphasis). The devaluation of Shakespeare reached lunatic proportions in later efforts to...
(The entire section is 2374 words.)
SOURCE: Bloom, Harold. “Ernest Hemingway.” In Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, pp. 569-574. New York: Warner Books, 2002.
[In the following essay, Bloom argues that although Hemingway is better known for his life and personality than for his literary production, Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises is an important contribution to literary and cultural history.]
They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.
In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.
That is the conclusion of “Indian Camp,” one of the Nick Adams stories, in which Nick is a version of the young Hemingway. William Hazlitt, superb English critic, observed that no young man believes he will ever die. Hemingway possessed a particular poignance in the study of death; like his own father, he forestalled death by suicide.
Notoriously, we celebrate Hemingway for his stance and style, as manifested in his prose and his life. Like Byron, Whitman, and Wilde, Hemingway has become a mythical personage. His highly...
(The entire section is 1814 words.)
Criticism: Writers On Hemingway
SOURCE: Banks, Russell, Charles Johnson, Michael Ondaatje, E. Annie Proulx, Bob Shacochis, Robert Stone, Terry Tempest Williams, and Steve Paul. “On Hemingway and His Influence: Conversations with Writers.” The Hemingway Review 18, no. 2 (spring 1999): 115-32.
[In the following article, Paul interviews several well-known and highly respected writers concerning Hemingway's influence on their own work and what they find most compelling about Hemingway.]
Is it possible for an American writer, on the eve of the 21st century, to write outside the shadow of Ernest Hemingway?
Well, yes and no. For some the shadow receded long ago; for others it was never there. But for many American writers of the generations since Hemingway, the shadow dapples the landscape. It's there in fragments, in memory. It's ephemeral. Sometimes it looms large. And just as Hemingway can suggest different meanings to different readers, he speaks differently to each writer: He can teach one to see, another to hear. He carries the weight of history or the weight of his own appetites.
In order to find out how present Hemingway was in the lives and minds of contemporary writers, we talked to a few of them, interviewing them by phone, e-mail, fax and in person. Participating were Russell Banks, Charles Johnson, Michael Ondaatje, E. Annie Proulx, Bob Shacochis, Robert Stone, and Terry Tempest Williams....
(The entire section is 7405 words.)
SOURCE: Walcott, Derek. “Hemingway Now.” North Dakota Quarterly 68, nos. 2-3 (spring-summer 2001): 6-13.
[In the following essay, originally given as the keynote address for the Ninth International Hemingway Conference in 2000, Walcott, a Nobel Prize-winning poet, recounts how, as a young writer growing up on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Hemingway's precise descriptions of geography and light were critical to his own development as a poet.]
As I write this in the Santa Cruz valley in northern Trinidad, I think I hear what sounds like the echo of collected rain on the thick, rich forests that cover the hills, the sounds of rain either going or coming, a sound that is like far traffic or the sea in the rainy weather that comes with the turn of the year. I have been reading the grateful and bountiful book by V. S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival, which catches his pain and marvel at the English countryside, and line by line along the progress of this passage on Hemingway, that sound and echo that I hear is the sound of great prose, as great in its prediction as in its echo, nourishing, real, cherished, and, to be deliberately archaic and provoke dismissal, sacred because there is very little left of that around us now, yet it is here in the rain-echo in the wet Santa Cruz hills. When a writer like Naipaul, archaic in his veneration of a fabled, faded England, brings his pages as close as the...
(The entire section is 4237 words.)
SOURCE: Vargas Llosa, Mario. “Extemporaneities.” Salmagundi, nos. 128-129 (fall-winter 2000-01): 42-7.
[In the following essay, Vargas Llosa, one of Latin America's best-known writers, reflects on the archetypal qualities and origins of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.]
When his mediocre novel Across the River and into the Trees was savaged by critics, few would have predicted the comeback Hemingway would make with The Old Man and the Sea, an exemplary, concise modern classic about courage that may well have assured his reputation and won him the Nobel Prize. The plot of the 1952 novel is simple: an old fisherman, eighty-four days without a catch, captures a huge fish in a titanic two-and-a-half day struggle; he ties it to his small skiff, only to lose it again, after a second heroic fight, to the jaws of Caribbean sharks. It is a characteristic Hemingway fiction: a man's confrontation with an implacable adversary raises him, irrespective of triumph or defeat, to a higher plane of dignity and pride. In none of his previous novels or short stories does this recurring theme come through with such sharpness. Written in Cuba in 1951, stylistically diaphanous and impeccably structured, this work carries a load of allusions and meanings comparable to any of his longer novels. The book, for all of its richness, appears to be clean and clear, but, like some biblical parables or Arthurian...
(The entire section is 1718 words.)
Criticism: Hemingway's Evocation Of Place
SOURCE: Stoneback, H. R. “Freedom and Motion, Place and Placelessness: On the Road in Hemingway's America.” In Hemingway and the Natural World, edited by Robert E. Fleming, pp. 203-19. Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1999.
[In the following essay, Stoneback meditates upon Hemingway's use of geography and myth in his short fiction.]
The center line of highways was the boundary line of home.
Ernest Hemingway, “The Strange Country”
This essay is concerned with Hemingway's American landscape, actual and symbolic, natural landscape and paysage moralise, and with the roads that wind through it, the roads he figures in his fiction, the roads he follows in fact. One striking pattern in Hemingway's fiction, rarely if ever mentioned in critical commentary, is that so many of his stories begin on the road. For example, the first sentences of “Fathers and Sons” and “Wine of Wyoming” evoke roads and cars, and the first paragraphs foreground the road-and-car imagery. Other stories begin with roads and cars (e.g., “Che Ti Dice La Patria”) and at least one story, “The Strange Country,” is centrally concerned with the road, the act of driving, and the symbolic significance of roads and cars.
All too often, it seems, the Hemingway stories we remember best, those which are...
(The entire section is 7759 words.)
SOURCE: Whitley, Edward. “Race and Modernity in Theodore Roosevelt's and Ernest Hemingway's African Travel Writing.” In Issues in Travel Writing: Empire, Spectacle, and Displacement, edited by Kristi Siegel, pp. 13-29. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2002.
[In the following essay, Whitley suggests that Hemingway's depiction of Africa and Africans in The Green Hills of Africa was informed by the travel writing of the adventurer Theodore Roosevelt, who promulgated the legend of the great white hunter in Africa.]
Coming on the heels of Theodore Roosevelt's return from his 1909 East African hunting safari, the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times ran an editorial cartoon showing how both the people and animals of Africa had been forever changed by their encounter with the former president. Lions, snakes, birds, tigers, monkeys, and Africans in caricature all wear wire-rim glasses and big, toothy, Rooseveltian grins. “Gone, but not forgotten,” reads the caption, while a bow-tied raccoon in the lower corner—spokesman for Gazette-Times cartoonist “Ole May”—says respectfully of T. R.'s influence, “Some men always leave their impress” (Gros 307). The impression this American cartoonist depicts Roosevelt as leaving on Africa is nothing compared to the impression Africa made on American readers in African Game Trails, Roosevelt's two-volume travel/hunting narrative...
(The entire section is 6743 words.)
SOURCE: Love, Glen A. “Hemingway among the Animals.” In Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology and the Environment, pp. 117-81. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003.
[In the following excerpt, Love draws upon the diverse fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, psychology, and literary theory to explore the importance of humanity's relationship to the natural world in Hemingway's short novel, The Old Man and the Sea.]
Do you know the sin it would be to ruffle the arrangement of the feathers on a hawk's neck if they could never be replaced as they were?—
Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
Watch how a man plays a game, says the regimental folklore, and you'll see what sort of man he is. For Ernest Hemingway, whose regimental credentials are second to none, the connection between sports and life has always been central to both the writer and the man. From even a cursory examination of the Hemingway canon and its critical commentary, one is sure to learn that Hemingway's fictional sports are stages for ritualized conflict wherein the hero is tested for his behaviour under extreme physical and psychological pressure.
The blood sports, such as hunting and fishing and boxing and bullfighting, are to be preferred. Their violence takes one to the confrontive edge. They resemble warfare...
(The entire section is 9276 words.)
Criticism: Gender And Identity
SOURCE: Strychacz, Thomas. “Dramatizations of Manhood in In Our Time and The Sun Also Rises.” In Hemingway's Theaters of Masculinity, pp. 53-86. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003.
[In the following excerpt, from an essay that was origingally published in 1989, Strychacz discusses the ways in which Hemingway's characters enact masculine identity and explores the meanings and difficulties of masculinity in In Our Time and The Sun Also Rises.]
In the bullring, men are made or unmanned. The “kid” in the first bullfight vignette of In Our Time submits to the code of the ring and, by killing five times, reaches his majority. Then, remarks the narrator, he “sat down in the sand and puked and they held a cape over him.”1 Such modest concealment does not satisfy the delighted crowd, which “hollered and threw things down into the bullring,” recognizing that this kid has “finally made it” to manhood. Villalta, the matador at the height of his powers, plays to the crowd more deliberately. His killing becomes a test of intense watching as he “sighted” the bull along the sword blade with the bull “looking at him straight in front, hating.” With Villalta's life and manhood on the line, the crowd watches and roars with every pass of the muleta. The vignette refers repeatedly to the spectacle of the bullfight. “If it happened right...
(The entire section is 14994 words.)
SOURCE: Beegel, Susan F. “Santiago and the Eternal Feminine: Gendering La Mar in The Old Man and the Sea.” In Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, edited by Lawrence R. Broer and Gloria Holland, pp. 131-156. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2002.
[In the following essay, Beegel draws upon Catholic iconography, the work of environmentalist Rachel Carson and others, and the writings of Herman Melville to consider the ways in which the sea takes on a complex, gendered persona in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.]
“Hemingway is always less embarrassing when he is not attempting to deal with women,” Leslie A. Fiedler writes, with some smugness, of The Old Man and the Sea, “and he returns with relief (with what we as readers at least feel as relief) to that ‘safe’ American Romance of the boy and the old man” (“Adolescence” 108). Like Fiedler, most critics of this novella overlook the fact that The Old Man and the Sea has a powerful feminine persona in a title role. Hemingway tells us that Santiago “always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman” (29). If the novella is an “American Romance,” it is not the love story of Santiago and Manolin but of the old man and...
(The entire section is 12144 words.)
SOURCE: Moddelmog, Debra A. “Queer Families in Hemingway's Fiction.” In Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, edited by Lawrence R. Broer and Gloria Holland, pp. 173-89. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2002.
[In the following essay, Moddelmog examines In Our Time, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and The Garden of Eden through the lens of queer theory to argue that although Hemingway did not depict many stereotypical nuclear families, his fiction is nevertheless deeply concerned with kinship.]
… even when you have learned not to look at families nor listen to them and have learned not to answer letters, families have many ways of being dangerous.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Over the years, a number of critics have noted the lack of traditional families and stable home life in Hemingway's fiction.1 As Frank Shelton put it as early as 1974, “Hemingway's books may seem to lack entirely that most primary group to which every individual belongs, at least initially, the family” (303). Two years later, Roger Whitlow wrote, “It is interesting to observe in the fiction of Ernest Hemingway the virtual absence of an organically successful family relationship” (“Family Relationship” 5). More recently, Michael Reynolds has taken up this same...
(The entire section is 8257 words.)
SOURCE: Comley, Nancy R. “The Light from Hemingway's Garden: Regendering Papa.” In Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, edited by Lawrence R. Boer and Gloria Holland, pp. 204-17. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2002.
[In the following essay, Comley discusses how Hemingway's works, particularly their depiction of gender, contributed to her development as a teacher and scholar.]
The road to my present identity, a woman scholar writing on Hemingway, began with Brett Ashley. This is not surprising, of course, for Brett, until Catherine Bourne was unearthed, was the most interesting woman character in a Hemingway text. In addition, for me, Brett and the novel in which she figured were tinged with the glamor of the 1920s, and of the expatriate life in Paris. That's one of the reasons why, as a graduate student, I chose The Sun Also Rises as one of the key texts to be considered in my dissertation, which was also concerned with Henry Adams's legacy to American modernist writers. During the research and writing of this dissertation I began to define myself as a feminist critic, prompted in part by my reactions to the male writers I was dealing with (Adams, Anderson, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Pynchon), but perhaps to an even greater extent by their (primarily male) critics.
At the time—the mid-1970s—Hemingway criticism was indeed...
(The entire section is 5712 words.)
Criticism: Hemingway And The Quest For Meaning
SOURCE: Nakjavani, Erik. “Hemingway on War and Peace.” North Dakota Quarterly 68, nos. 2-3 (spring-summer 2001): 245-73.
[In the following essay, Nakjavani draws upon philosophy, military history, psychoanalysis, and literary theory to consider Hemingway's treatment of the metaphysics and psychology of war in A Farewell to Arms and other works.]
You had read on and studied the art of war ever since you were a boy and your grandfather had started you on the American Civil War.
—Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (335)
We know that Ernest Hemingway considered the Prussian warrior-philosopher General Karl von Clausewitz the “old Einstein of battles” (By-Line 291). From Hemingway's perspective Clausewitz, the author of On War (1832), a treatise on the theoretics and pragmatics of war, was “the most intelligent writer on the metaphysics of war that ever lived” (Men at War xiv). That is high praise, couched in simple, confident, and knowledgeable language. What we do not know is the basis of Hemingway's superlative comparison and his judgment. In his personal library at his home La Finca Vigía in San Francisco de Paula near Havana, Cuba, the wide array of books on the American Civil War, military history, strategy, and war narratives in several...
(The entire section is 14262 words.)
SOURCE: Berman, Ronald. “Hemingway's Questions.” In Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and The Twenties, pp. 132-48. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2001.
[In the following excerpt, Berman considers Hemingway's interest in and relationship to religion and philosophy, with particular attention to his novel A Farewell to Arms.]
Throughout Hemingway's work is the evidence of his interest in both religious and secular dogma. “Soldier's Home” is about the social gospel of the early twenties; The Sun Also Rises deals not only with Catholicism but also with Robert Cohn's vague and wistful philosophy of self-change; A Farewell to Arms begins with the advice of a priest to Frederic Henry on the good life and ends with the denial of existential meanings. A Farewell to Arms may be said to debate the conflicted nature of things, raising questions that do not have answers.
By 1929, a matrix had been constructed for such questions. Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Alfred North Whitehead had begun to rethink the idea of conventional systematic explanation. They had been preceded by William James, whose Pragmatism undercut the inherently religious impulse to unify ideas, provide causes, unify social life. Hemingway's work is in some ways a mirror of this kind of thought. If the following had been asked of Hemingway, it might have made perfect critical...
(The entire section is 7271 words.)
SOURCE: Gajdusek, Robert E. “Harder on Himself Than Most: A Study of Hemingway's Self-Evaluation and Self-Projection in His Work.” In Hemingway in His Own Country, pp. 357-67. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002.
[In the essay below, Gajdusek explores how some of the characters in Hemingway's fiction represent a “self-projection” of the author's own history and background, asserting that Hemingway “lets himself … stand in for the failures and delinquencies of twentieth-century man,” and “descends into his own unconscious to gain what insight he has into and what evidence he has for the basic moral failure of his age.”]
It would be too great fortune to have the time here to go through a rereading of stories from In Our Time, one in which I would emphasize the ironies and judgmental overtones that go into the moral groundwork of a Hemingway portrait. I would like to do so to suggest the moral persuasion that a character in a Hemingway work bears and especially the way the moral energy of a Hemingway work derives from the character most invested with Hemingway's own background and history. Of course, any character in a literary work is fiction—art is not mirror—but some characters strongly gather to themselves significant aspects of the author and his or her story. I will call such a character a self-projection.
What is abundantly clear in...
(The entire section is 4305 words.)
Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald-Wilson-Hemingway: Language and Experience. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2003, 125 p.
Contains two chapters on how Hemingway's innovative use of language conveys a modern sense of reality.
Broer, Lawrence R. and Gloria Holland, eds. Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2002, 344 p.
A collection of diverse and provocative essays that explore the complicated roles that both gender and gender identity played in Hemingway's life and work.
Fleming, Robert E., ed. Hemingway and the Natural World. Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1999, 276 p.
Anthology of wide-ranging essays from the Seventh International Hemingway Conference. Topics include Hemingway's portrayal of Native Americans in his fiction, and myth and gender in Hemingway's vision of nature.
Hemingway Review 18, no. 2 (spring 1999).
Special issue of the official publication of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, marking Hemingway's centennial with reminiscences from those who knew him best.
Moddelmog, Debra A. Reading Desire: In Pursuit of Ernest Hemingway. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999, 240 p.
Psychoanalytic study of the...
(The entire section is 722 words.)