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As these stories document, discoveries in Hemingway studies – which may be new information or simply the publication of previously unavailable texts – are constant. They garner international coverage and spark commentary over why the author remains such a durable, omnipresent figure not just in American but in world culture. One need not look to the front pages or Internet links to gauge his popularity, either. In book publishing the appetite for new takes on familiar stories seems unquenchable.
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.
In “Family Dynamics and the Re-definitions of Papa-hood,” Suzanne del Gizzo tracks the construction of Hemingway’s famous “Papa” persona and the way, especially since the end of the twentieth century, scholars and critics have explored how the assumption his parternal if not paternalistic image may have been rooted in vulnerability and anxiety about masculinity – and indeed about identity more broadly – that began in the author’s childhood and extended into his public and private performances of “Papa”-hood into his adulthood, performances further complicated by a rapid decline in health and mental well-being in his fifties. Del Gizzo observes that the issue of “Papa”-hood is found at a busy intersection of Hemingway scholarship, where biography, psychoanalytic criticism, trauma studies, masculinity studies, and clinical assessments of the author’s mental health issues converge. Informed by developments in our understanding of the impact of mental health on family life, the essay surveys biographical criticism and literary scholarship related to representations of fathers and sons in Hemingway’s work.
The subject of endless biographies, fictional depictions, and critical debate, Ernest Hemingway continues to command attention in popular culture and in literary studies. He remains both a definitive stylist of twentieth-century literature and a case study in what happens to an artist consumed by the spectacle of celebrity. The New Hemingway Studies examines how two decades of new-millennium scholarship confirm his continued relevance to an era that, on the surface, appears so distinct from his—one defined by digital realms, ecological anxiety, and globalization. It explores the various sources (print, archival, digital, and other) through which critics access Hemingway. Highlighting the latest critical trends, the contributors to this volume demonstrate how Hemingway's remarkably durable stories, novels, and essays have served as a lens for understanding preeminent concerns in our own time, including paranoia, trauma, iconicity, and racial, sexual, and national identities.
Ernest Hemingway's literary career was shaped by the remarkable contexts in which he lived, from the streets of suburban Chicago to the shores of the Caribbean islands, to the battlefields of World War I, Franco's Spain and World War II. This volume examines the various geographic, political, social and literary contexts through which Hemingway crystallized his unmistakable narrative voice. Written by forty-four experts in Hemingway studies, the comprehensive yet concise essays collected here explore how Hemingway is both a product and a critic of his times, touching on his relationship to matters of style, biography, letters, cinema, the arts, music, masculinity, sexuality, the environment, ethnicity and race, legacy and women, among other topics. Fans, students and scholars of Hemingway will turn to this reference time and again for a fuller understanding of this iconic American author.