“Why has it taken so long for Hemingway criticism to approach his writing more from philosophical positions than from narrowly biographical-psychological ones? In this well written study encompassing much of Hemingway's writing, both fiction and especially non-fiction, Donald Bouchard raises new questions and shows us new ways of understanding Hemingway the author-thinker whose ‘simple’ style and superficially transparent thought have misled if not deceived some critics.”
—Robert W. Lewis, editor of North Dakota Quarterly, co-editor of Hemingway's Under Kilimanjaro, author of A Farewell To Arms: The War Of The Words, and editor of the Kent State University Press Reading Hemingway series
Ernest Hemingway has long been recognized as one of the most important and influential fiction writers of the twentieth century. Despite receiving many accolades during his lifetime, including the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, his work also attracted a good deal of criticism. Some critics felt that his characters lacked depth; others, especially feminists, objected to his emphasis on hyper-masculine subject matter, such as warfare, bullfighting, and hunting.
In this fresh reevaluation of Hemingway’s career, literary critic Donald Bouchard takes a new and different perspective from that of traditional Hemingway critics. He draws on the postmodernist writings of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Edward Said (who was greatly influenced by Foucault’s thought). From this perspective, Bouchard underscores Hemingway’s self-conscious focus on his career as a writer, and the ways in which he addressed critical responses to his works. He makes frequent reference to Hemingway’s correspondence to highlight key turning points in Hemingway’s career, takes issue with the early tendency to reduce Hemingway’s works to the “biographical,” and shows how Hemingway’s innovations resulted from a variety of factors, most notably his preoccupation with his literary career.
The early chapters trace Hemingway’s specific view of literary modernism and its effect on his writing. The later chapters show how he disowned his earliest allegiance and developed a distinct “political” point of view—not one to be confused with party affiliations or political slogans but his own individualistic point of view.
In addition, Bouchard pays more attention than most critics have to those works that were largely ignored or devalued when published, especially Death in the Afternoon and Across the River Into the Trees.
This thoughtful, in-depth study of the career of a 20th-century literary icon shows that there is still a great deal in Hemingway’s work that deserves serious critical reflection.
Binding: Paperback190 pages
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Donald F. Bouchard (Albuquerque, NM), now retired, was an associate professor of English at McGill University for sixteen years and vice president for sales and marketing for Khoral Research, Inc. He is the author of Milton: A Structural Reading and the editor of Language, Counter-memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault, currently in its seventh printing.