Hemingway and the Black Renaissance

Hemingway and the Black Renaissance

by Gary Edward Holcomb, Charles Scruggs


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 Hemingway and the Black Renaissance, edited by Gary Edward Holcomb and Charles Scruggs, explores a conspicuously overlooked topic: Hemingway’s wide-ranging influence on writers from the Harlem Renaissance to the present day. An observable who’s who of black writers—Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, Chester Himes, Alex la Guma, Derek Walcott, Gayl Jones, and more—cite Hemingway as a vital influence. This inspiration extends from style, Hemingway’s minimalist art, to themes of isolation and loneliness, the dilemma of the expatriate, and the terrifying experience of living in a time of war. The relationship, nevertheless, was not unilateral, as in the case of Jean Toomer’s 1923 hybrid, short-story cycle Cane, which influenced Hemingway’s collage-like 1925 In Our Time.

            Just as important as Hemingway’s influence, indeed, is the complex intertextuality, the multilateral conversation, between Hemingway and key black writers. The diverse praises by black writers for Hemingway in fact signify that the white author’s prose rises out of the same intensely American concerns that their own writings are formed on: the integrity of the human subject faced with social alienation, psychological violence, and psychic disillusionment. An understanding of this literary kinship ultimately initiates not only an appreciation of Hemingway’s stimulus but also a perception of an insistent black presence at the core of Hemingway’s writing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814252383
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 05/29/2015
Edition description: 1
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

 Gary Edward Holcomb is associate professor of African American literature in the Americas at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Charles Scruggs is professor of literature at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Hemingway and the Black Renaissance Gary Edward Holcomb Charles Scruggs 1

Chapter 1 A Shared Language of American Modernism: Hemingway and the Black Renaissance Mark P. Ott 27

Chapter 2 Hemingway's Lost Presence in Baldwin's Parisian Room: Mapping Black Renaissance Geographies Joshua Parker 38

Chapter 3 Looking for a Place to Land: Hemingway's Ghostly Presence in the Fiction of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison Charles Scruggs 55

Chapter 4 Knowing and Recombining: Ellison's Ways of Understanding Hemingway Joseph Fruscione 78

Chapter 5 Free Men in Paris: The Shared Sensibility of James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway D. Quentin Miller 120

Chapter 6 Hemingway and McKay, Race and Nation Gary Edward Holcomb 133

Chapter 7 Cane and In Our Time: A Literary Conversation about Race Margaret E. Wright-Cleveland 151

Chapter 8 Rereading Hemingway: Rhetorics of Whiteness, Labor, and Identity Ian Marshall 177

Chapter 9 "Across the river and into the trees, I thought": Hemingway's Impact on Alex La Guma Roger Field 214

Contributors 229

Index 232

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