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Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days
     

Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days

by Scott Donaldson
 

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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,

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

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Library Journal

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 shared—they had the same publisher, came from the Midwest, battled alcoholism, and wrote articles for Esquire in the 1930s—but 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
Virginia Gazette
Two very influential American writers are made more approachable through the means of brilliant biography.

— Bill O'Donovan

Los Angeles Times
Splendid, erudite.

Hemingway Review
Provides an essential collection of essays for easy reference.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Review
Donaldson's work is impeccably researched and continually relevant to the critical conversations that swirl through Fitzgerald/Hemingway studies.

— Michael D. Dubose

American Literary Scholarship
As evidenced by Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days, Donaldson continues to show himself as a beacon in American literary scholarship, a major voice with 'an awareness of the interconnectedness between biography and criticism.'

— Joseph Fruscione

Jennie Kassanoff
Reading these learned and accessible essays, one is struck anew by Scott Donaldson's kinship with the authors he studies. From these great prose stylists, he inherits a gift for crisp, clear prose, wry humor, and an unerring eye for the telling anecdote. Few match either Donaldson's broad knowledge of his subjects or the affable critical clarity he brings to his readings of their lives and texts.

Jackson R. Bryer
What a pleasure it is to have Scott Donaldson's clear-eyed, insightful, and above all gracefully written essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway available in one volume. His many years as a careful and attentive reader, his knowledge of the relevant scholarship, and his command of unpublished manuscripts and letters are apparent on every page.

Virginia Gazette - Bill O'Donovan
Two very influential American writers are made more approachable through the means of brilliant biography.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Review - Michael D. Dubose
Donaldson's work is impeccably researched and continually relevant to the critical conversations that swirl through Fitzgerald/Hemingway studies.

American Literary Scholarship - Joseph Fruscione
As evidenced by Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days, Donaldson continues to show himself as a beacon in American literary scholarship, a major voice with 'an awareness of the interconnectedness between biography and criticism.'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231519786
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
08/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
520
File size:
1 MB

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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