In this collection of 24 essays written during a long career as a literary biographer (Archibald MacLeish), Donaldson analyzes numerous aspects of the careers and lives of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The volume serves as an unconventional dual biography for serious readers of the two writers, both of whose lives have previously been exhaustively chronicled and dissected. Donaldson moves effortlessly between the "works" and "days"-a pair of essays highlights the materialism of The Great Gatsby and the snobbery of Nick Carraway; immediately following is a piece that lays bare the confluence of these factors in the writer's own life. Meanwhile "The Crisis of 'The Crack-Up'A " traces the genesis and aftermath of Fitzgerald's pioneering confessional essay. Donaldson's selection of essays about Hemingway is no less generous, tracing his evolution as a reporter for the Toronto Daily Star and Star Weekly, evaluating the significance of the sums of money owed and exchanged in The Sun Also Rises and charting Hemingway's passionate support of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The last two essays in the book, on Hemingway's relationship with fame and his suicide, are a sad coda to an exemplary selection. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Daysby Scott Donaldson
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway might have been contemporaries, but our understanding of their work often rests on simple differences. Hemingway wrestled with war, fraternity, and the violence of nature. Fitzgerald satirized money and class and the never-ending pursuit of a material tomorrow. Through the provocative arguments of Scott Donaldson, however,
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F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway might have been contemporaries, but our understanding of their work often rests on simple differences. Hemingway wrestled with war, fraternity, and the violence of nature. Fitzgerald satirized money and class and the never-ending pursuit of a material tomorrow. Through the provocative arguments of Scott Donaldson, however, the affinities between these two authors become brilliantly clear. The result is a reorientation of how we read twentieth-century American literature.
Known for his penetrating studies of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Donaldson traces the creative genius of these authors and the surprising overlaps among their works. Fitzgerald and Hemingway both wrote fiction out of their experiences rather than about them. Therefore Donaldson pursues both biography and criticism in these essays, with a deep commitment to close reading. He traces the influence of celebrity culture on the legacies of both writers, matches an analysis of Hemingway's Spanish Civil War writings to a treatment of Fitzgerald's left-leaning tendencies, and contrasts the averted gaze in Hemingway's fiction with the role of possessions in The Great Gatsby. He devotes several essays to four novels, Gatsby, Tender Is the Night, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms, and others to lesser-known short stories. Based on years of research in the Fitzgerald and Hemingway archives and brimming with Donaldson's trademark wit and insight, this irresistible anthology moves the study of American literature in bold new directions.
Donaldson has authored numerous literary biographies, including Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poet's Life as well as other books about Fitzgerald and Hemingway (e.g., Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald and By Force of Will: The Life and Art of Ernest Hemingway). Split into two sections for each author, his latest exploration of these two writers contains 24 essays that provide both biographical information and literary criticism, mainly focusing on short stories and major novels (including The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises). One is struck by the numerous similarities the writers sharedthey had the same publisher, came from the Midwest, battled alcoholism, and wrote articles for Esquire in the 1930sbut Donaldson succeeds in demonstrating that their similarities pale in comparison to their differences. Critiquing and discussing each author and his work separately, Donaldson cleverly allows readers to discover these differences themselves. VERDICT This well-researched and masterfully written work is suitable for college students majoring in literature and general readers interested in American literature.Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Media, PA
Erica Swenson Danowitz
Michael D. Dubose
- Columbia University Press
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Meet the Author
Scott Donaldson is one of the nation's leading literary biographers. His books include the acclaimed Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poet's Life and Archibald MacLeish: An American Life, which won the Ambassador Book Award for biography. His other works are Poet in America: Winfield Townley Scott; By Force of Will: The Life and Art of Ernest Hemingway; Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald; John Cheever: A Biography; and Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship.
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