Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

Synopsis

-- Presents the most important 20th-century criticism on major works from The Odyssey through modern literature

-- The critical essays reflect a variety of schools of criticism

-- Contains critical biographies, notes on the contributing critics, a chronology of the author's life, and an index

Excerpt

Hemingway freely proclaimed his relationship to Huckleberry Finn, and there is some basis for the assertion, except that there is little in common between the rhetorical stances of Twain and Hemingway.Kipling's Kim, in style and mode, is far closer to Huckleberry Finn than anything Hemingway wrote. The true accent of Hemingway's admirable style is to be found in an even greater and more surprising precursor:

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

Or again:

I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore drips, thinn'd with the
ooze of my skin,
I fall on the weeds and stones,
The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close,
Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with
whip-stocks.
Agonies are one of my changes of garments,
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become
the wounded person,
My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.

Hemingway is scarcely unique in not acknowledging the paternity of Walt Whitman; T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens are far closer to Whitman than William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane were, but literary influence is a paradoxical and antithetical process, about which we continue to know all too little. The profound affinities between Hemingway . . .

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