Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hemingway & The Spanish Civil War


Hemingway has long been one of my favorite writers. His best work is stunning in its clarity and originality while his lesser work is, well, it is stunning in its awfulness. The bad stuff (Across the River, Dangerous Summer) is so bad that it is unintentionally funny, but the good stuff (Francis Macomber, Kiliminjaro, Farewell to Arms) is as good as American letters get.

Hemingway was apparently an absolute beast of a man. This article/book review paints a particularly nasty picture of Hemingway's destruction of a literary rival, Jon Dos Passos. The more I learn about Hemingway, such as the nastiness, the petty vindictiveness, the general bullshit he peddeld about his life, the less I think of him and it impacts what I think of his works. I still love the good stuff, but I cannot defend EH like I used to.

Another issue with EH, and other artists, is that no price has ever been paid for his support of Soviet communism. The name Ezra Pound is never mentioned without his support of Italian fascism being cited, and rightly so. Hemingway gave at least passing support to a much more vicious regime, yet it is passed off as idealism, if it is mentioned at all.

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