Academic journal article Notes on Contemporary Literature

Love on a Three-Day Shoot: Waller's Debt to Hemingway

Academic journal article Notes on Contemporary Literature

Love on a Three-Day Shoot: Waller's Debt to Hemingway

Article excerpt

In the more than fifteen years since it was first published in 1992, Robert James Waller's novella The Bridges of Madison County has been translated into twenty-five languages and has sold over twelve million copies. When it was first published, it made it to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for thirty-eight weeks and remained on the list for three years. In 1995 it became the all-time best-selling book of fiction, displacing Gone with the Wind--no mean feat. (www.madisoncounty.com/novel.html)

Oddly, then, that still unrecognized during this time is that Waller's book is heavily indebted to For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway's epic novel published in 1940, even though, it is likely that Clint Eastwood, who produced, directed and starred in the film version of The Bridges of Madison County, released in 1995, saw the resemblance between Hemingway's novel and Waller's novella when he cast himself as Robert Kincaid and Meryl Street as the love interest. It will be recalled that in the 1943 film version of For Whom the Bell Tolls Gary Cooper, certainly a forerunner of one of the Clint Eastwood types, plays Robert Jordan while the Swedish actor Ingrid Bergman plays the young Spanish woman.

But apart from the films, consider the parallels between the two books. …

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