The Expatriate Idyll: The Sun Also Rises
That the first World War was crueler and more disruptive than anyone expected became a subtext of the literature that followed, including The Sun Also Rises. Cloonan identifies differences between Hemingway’s novel and European responses to the war, focusing on familiar critiques of the “lost generation” and its portrayal of drink-heavy adolescence. Argues for the centrality of Robert Cohn, a character whose complexity, outsider status as a Jew and non-participant in the war, personal and psychological struggles, and ambitions as a writer serve as a “pathetic symbol of the slow, failure-laden effort to renew literature after the war.” But Cohn remains a foil with which to gauge the behaviors of Jake Barnes, Brett Ashley, and other characters, up to and including his absurd collision with the bullfighter Romero in Spain. Concludes with considerations of the characters’ alienation—from European culture, the French, religion, and history—and with the idea that The Sun Also Rises stands for the ability of literature itself to salve the wounds of war.
Frères Ennemis: The French in American Literature, Americans in French Literature