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The most important trend among the critical studies is indubitably biographical.Numerous acquaintance and family biographies have been published, too.2 Some of these are serious and helpful (Hotchner’s, for example), but most of them are trifling or self-centered.3 The regular output of biographies testifies to the attractiveness of Hemingway, whose adventurous life fascinated millions of people.4 What is of interest in the present essay is not the rich and appealing life of Hemingway, but, on the contrary, the damaging encroachments of the writer’s life and fame upon his fiction, not in his own works, but in the texts of his commentators.
Used as a pedagogical instrument to teach one’s own ideologies, viewed as a pre-text to value and confront the commentator’s theories on gender, race, religion, or sexuality, and not as a text belonging to the in-between space conjured up by the dynamic writer-reader dyad, the Hemingway text is inevitably subjected to the ideological changes that the American society has undergone in the last four decades, instead of being valued with the literary (linguistic, rhetorical, plastic, energetic…) matter it is made of, and the artistic attention and intentions it was written with: not to represent reality, but to create one.
Most of Hemingway criticism is ideologically based and heavily influenced by the accumulated knowledge about the life and work of the writer.
in 1986, Hemingway’s work has been discussed by most commentators within this consensual frame of reference.
It comes as no surprise then that even the philosophical studies devoted to the writer, such as John Killinger’s , should display the same concern for the heroism of his protagonists.
It may be urged either that we delve among the imaginary “contents” of Hemingway’s work and participate in the conflicting, overburdening and, inevitably, transient ideological debate about his relevance – here the social evolution of ideas is the yardstick against which the pertinence of the work’s signifieds is measured –, or that we usefully uncover the formal scaffoldings of the fiction, and reveal consequently its lasting artistic complexity, its robust syntactic carpentry sophisticated sub-textual lacework.
Engaging in ideological debates about Hemingway, who is usually interchangeable with his fiction in numerous critical comments, sheds no light on the writer’s creative and original work.Also included is a selected bibliography designed to direct readers to the most valuable resources for the study of Hemingway's short fiction.The introduction and four scholarly essays in this volume constitute an overview of Hemingway's career as a short story writer and offer an overview of practical problems involved in reading this work.A detailed look at ecological and Native American backgrounds is presented in Fathers and Sons, in the collection Winner Take Nothing; and Snows of Kilimanjaro is examined from a postcolonial perspective.The introduction and four original scholarly essays in this volume constitute an survey of Hemingway's career as a short story writer and offer an overview of practical problems involved in reading his work. 'Now I Lay Me': Nick's strange monologue, Hemingway's powerful lyric, and the reader's disconcerting experience James Phelan; 4.In much of the criticism that has been devoted to the writer’s life and work from the 1950s to the 2000s, there have appeared numerous and contradictory theories backing up an ideologically oriented interpretation of Hemingway’s work.5 One can even underline a persistent confusion between the false fiction Hemingway and his popular and academic admirers created, and the true fiction he wrote out of the intimate and precious parts of his being.Till the first half of the 1980s, the Hemingway protagonist as dealt with by most commentators is a full-fledged “white male,” supposedly the vehicle of American individualism, optimism, self-reliance, and manliness.Literary studies were on the whole dominated by this specific ideological vision, premised upon the Americanness of national literature.As Robert Spiller’s authoritative contends, American literature “is profoundly influenced by ideals and by practices developed in democratic living,” and “has been intensely conscious of the needs of the common man, and equally conscious of the aspirations of the individual.” According to Spiller, American literature is “humanitarian,” “optimistic;” it has been “made virile by criticism of the actual in comparison with the ideal” (Spiller ix-xx).Your reading intentions are private to you and will not be shown to other users.Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading.