Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 August 2020
Noting how the landmark publication of The Garden of Eden some twenty-five years after Hemingway’s suicide completely upended notions of Hemingway’s “Papa” persona and his masculine preoccupations, Suzanne del Gizzo and Kirk Curnutt argue that post-2000 criticism has addressed issues equally as important or central, including ecocriticism, queer theory, and trauma. These vital topics have simply been overshadowed by the conventional wisdom that Hemingway’s posthumous tale of sexual intrigue – now itself more than thirty years old – has overshadowed these critical endeavors. They further insist that in the wider culture readers are too obsessed with judging Hemingway’s personality and deciding whether he was a “jerk” (a term that turns up endlessly in articles and blogs) or a sensitive, charismatic bon vivant. Amid this distraction, they argue, the new Hemingway studies has expanded upon Hemingway’s core themes and sociopolitical relevance in surprising and elastic ways that deserve far more attention than they receive. In essence, these topics demonstrate that critics are comfortable with a multifaceted Hemingway instead of trying to prove who he “really” was behind the celebrity mask.