Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice

Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice

Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice

Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice

Synopsis

Female scholars reevaluate gender and the female presence in the life and work of one of America's foremost writers. Ernest Hemingway has often been criticized as a misogynist because of his portrayal of women. But some of the most exciting Hemingway scholarship of recent years has come from women scholars who challenge traditional views of Hemingway and women. The essays in this collection range from discussions of Hemingway's famous heroines Brett Ashley and Catherine Barkley to examinations of the central role of gender in his short stories and in the novel The Garden of Eden. Other essays address the real women in Hemingway's life-those who cared for him, competed with him, and, ultimately, helped to shape his art. While Hemingway was certainly influenced by traditional perceptions of women, these essays show that he was also aware of the struggle of the emerging new woman of his time. Making this gender struggle a primary concern of his fiction, these critics argue, Hemingway created women with strength, depth, and a complexity that readers are only beginning to appreciate."The authors focus on women connected to Hemingway in life, specific female characters, and issues of gender and sexual ambiguities and crossings embodied or enacted by male and female characters. Topics range from reading the feminine in nature to expanding the concept of the code hero to include major female characters."-American Literature"Exceptionally thorough... this collection is impressive and unflinching in its exploration."-Ruth Prigozy, Hofstra UniversityLawrence Broer is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of South Florida and author of a number of books on American literature, including Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut and Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Upike's Rabbit Novels. Gloria Holland is Adjunct Instructor in English at Hillsborough Community College and has coauthored papers with Lawrence Broer on Hemingway, Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Excerpt

Susan Beegel informs us that of the seventeen women writing about Ernest Hemingway in the decade following his death, only Naomi Grant, a 1968 graduate student, discussed Hemingway's female characters, daring to challenge the “male-oriented” focus of early male critics (276) . But the number of notable women Hemingway scholars doubled in the 1970s, doubled again after the publication of The Garden of Eden in 1986, and today accounts for nearly one-third of Hemingway criticism (Beegel, “Conclusion” 282, 290) . More than numbers, it is the salubrious impact of these women upon Hemingway studies—what Debra Moddelmog calls “the most extensive reevaluation” of a writers reputation and life “ever undertaken” (“Reconstructing” 187)—that we wish to acknowledge here. Just as Philip Young's concept of the code hero made it hard for subsequent critics to approach Hemingway in any other fashion, so the challenge by these women to forty years of often superficial or misguided interpretations of Hemingway's treatment of women and gender has infinitely deepened and expanded our understanding of the ways these complicated subjects function in Hemingway's novels and stories.

Whatever other forces have attracted some of the brightest women scholars to Hemingway, the authors of these essays generally agree that the appearance of The Garden of Eden was their entree to “el nuevoHemingway” (Comley and Scholes 146), a writer whose androgynous impulses not only contradict the machismo Hemingway of myth but also whose complex female protagonists and problematic treatment of gender rela-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.