Hemingwayby Michael S. Reynolds, Michael Reynolds, Micahel Reynolds
This new biography focuses on the maturing Hemingway when fame is hitting fullforce the years between A Farewell to Arms and the writing of For Whom the Bell Tolls. During the bleak years of the thirties, Ernest Hemingway matured as a writer against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution, African game trails, Key West impoverishment, and the Spanish Civil War. Reaching for a prose not yet written, he experimented in fiction and nonfiction, pushing his limits as a writer. In a sympathetic narrative, Michael Reynolds creates a rich map of Hemingway's journey from promising young novelist to literary lion. He gives us the look and feel of the times and the people, as well as the give and take of literary life. We come away from this book knowing more about what Hemingway wrote and why. We also know more about where we as a people have been, for Hemingway explored every element of this decade with the intensity of a natural historian. Drawing on a wealth of new material and period documents, Reynolds adds a human touch to a writer too often seen only in caricature. Hemingway: The 1930s illuminates a time, a place, and a man that have captured the American imagination and have defined the American experience.
As in his previous volumes (Hemingway: The Paris Years, 1989; Hemingway: The American Homecoming, 1992), this one focuses on both Hemingway's life and American cultural history, in this case during the 1930s. The approach not only suits a subject so prominent in his time, but lifts the view of Hemingway beyond the familiar outline: the friendships, the mood swings, the writing schedule, the aggressively masculine lifestyle, and the oft- repeated premonitions of death (though all are here, in moderation). Also well presented are Hemingway's two women: his prim, devoted wife, Pauline, who made "her husband her life's work," and his lover Martha Gellhorn, whose beauty, political activism, and "footloose idealism" drew him away. Reynolds's careful explanations of the genesis and meanings of such landmark stories as "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and his careful examination of Hemingway's ambivalence about Catholicism, are all fresh, impressive, and useful. Concerned about the apparent divide between his beliefs and his fiction, Hemingway told Pauline that he was constantly struggling to separate "Hemingway the writer from Hemingway the private man"the former a man with "no politics nor any religion," the latter a parishioner, almsgiver, and penitent. Deftly woven into the narrative are striking words and images from the decade, reminding one of the turbulent context in which Hemingway worked.
Aside from occasional slips into floridity, this is a steady, dramatically satisfying, even enlightening look at a major talent and his times.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.37(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.40(d)
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