Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Characterizes Hemingway as an elegiac poet influenced by Walt Whitman’s style and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s vision of self-reliance. Applauds Hemingway’s contributions to the short story genre, identifying “Hills Like White Elephants,” “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” as true literary masterpieces. Disparages For Whom the Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not and other novels, contending that Hemingway’s stylistic genius, stretched beyond its limits in the longer narrative structure, devolves into incoherent understatement. Previously published in How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner’s, 2000. 46-51.
The American Canon: Literary Genius from Emerson to Pynchon