July 2, 2010

A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway

Rain – Speaking during the Chicago Humanities Festival a few years back, Tobias Wolff summarized Ernest Hemingway’s influence on American writing this way: If you are writing today, Wolff noted, you are either trying to write like Hemingway or trying not to write like Hemingway. This 1929 novel features all of the classic Hemingway trademarks: the stoic male, the tough female, love, lust and action against the messy backdrop of war, punchy dialogue, and bucketfuls of rain.


Anonymous Mark Wukas said...

And it's garbage for the most part. The opening paragraph is brilliant, as EH tried to do in words what Cezanne did on a canvas, but Catherine Barkley is laughable as a heroine. Reading Hemingway in one thing, but watch the movie with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes and listen to them recite Hemingway dialogue. It makes me cringe with embarrassment.

Hemingway's greatest creation was his own "Papa" person. His antagonist, Zelda Fitzgerald, had him right on when she called him a big bullshitter, just as he nailed her when he thought her crazy. I am not saying that EH was a bad writer: Indeed, his short stories and The Sun Also Rises, are brilliant, but after the early 1930s, he loses his shit completely. I think AFTA is the first sign of it as it mostly deals with his score-settling with Agnes von Kurowsky.

But I digress...

September 01, 2010  

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