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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ernest Hemingway– Beyond The Machismo

Here & Now Guest:

Author Ernest Hemingway is shown during a fishing trip in Sun Valley, Idaho, in the 1930's.  (AP)

Author Ernest Hemingway is shown during a fishing trip in Sun Valley, Idaho, in the 1930's. (AP)

This coming Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway. In recent years, Hemingway has been caricatured as an example of excessive machismo, for example, in the Woody Allen film, “Midnight In Paris.”

But literary and rock music critic Steve Almond says that Hemingway’s simple style of showing and not telling continues to influence writers today.

Steve Almond told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that Ernest Hemingway “expressed tremendous emotional and psychological tension. He just did it remarkably in these short, declarative sentences.”

Almond gave this example from Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River”

“Nick slipped off his pack and lay down in the shade. He lay on his back and looked up into the pine trees. His neck and back and the small of his back rested as he stretched. The earth felt good against his back. He looked up at the sky, through the branches, and then shut his eyes. He opened them and looked up again. There was a wind high up in the branches. He shut his eyes again and went to sleep.”

Almond says that without Ernest Hemingway, writers influenced by him,  like Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Cormac McCarthy would not exist.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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