Arthur Mizener (review date 18 October 1952)
SOURCE: Mizener, Arthur. “Prodigy into Peer.” Saturday Review of Literature 35, no. 42 (18 October 1952): 25.
[In the following favorable review of Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, Mizener contends that Baker succeeds in focusing on Hemingway's “essential character” and considers the study “a considerable accomplishment.”]
This first systematic study of Hemingway as a writer [in Hemingway: The Writer as Artist] is a fine, sensible book, and when you think of all the possibilities for going astray about Hemingway's work and of all the irrelevant things it would be easy to write about his personality, you feel, I think, very grateful to Professor Baker for having written the kind of book he has.
He is not trying to startle the reader with “Freudian fiddle-faddle” or another trick kind of interpretation; he is trying to give precise definition to what we can all see, if only vaguely. Consequently he fixes from the start on what is certainly the essential characteristic of Hemingway's work, the way he is able to embody a structure of values and feelings in a meticulously “true” representation of “the way it was.” Professor Baker makes us see how this central intention has governed Hemingway's work through all the changes and developments of the thirty years between Three Stories and Ten Poems and The Old Man and the Sea. It is a...
(The entire section is 572 words.)