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Bones of the Others: The Hemingway Text from the Lost Manuscripts to the Posthumous Novels Hardcover – January 17, 2007
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In particular, this study extends the thesis of Rose Marie Burwell's research into the writings unpublished at Hemingway's death, showing how each unfinished late book thematically dovetailed into the next. Justice extends this insight beyond those posthumous books, all the way back to the fabled suitcase lost in Paris by Hemingway's first wife Hadley in the 1920s. For Justice, the "Hemingway text" is everything he wrote, yet this declaration is not bombastic but carefully modulated and, again, at every critical point well supported. Sure, you can disagree with it, and the writer does not try to explicate every Hemingway book like some sort of unified field theory. Yet if you are going to argue against this thesis now, you have real work on your hands -- something on the level of a full scale safari, or maybe even a moon landing. Lit crit doesn't get better than this, and the writing is consistently crisp, focused, and intelligent. Pure theory is relegated to appendix or footnotes, and doesn't crowd the text which is topnotch modern English in the same tradition out of which Hemingway wrote in his public voice.
It was fiction which was a risky business for Hemingway, given his Oak Park background and the veritable minefields of his various marriages.Read more ›
In time I came to read on my own -- having given up hopes of graduate school -- a considerable body of the biographic analyses and literary criticisms of Hemingway and his generation of writers, which often raised more questions about where Hemingway's writings came from than they answered.
Hilary Justice, who appears to be THE third-generation Hemingway scholar, has captivated me with her deeply researched and closely examined analysis of how the author came to produce his mature works, based on her examination of what is known about the manuscripts famously lost by his first wife and of the details of his life at the time he was writing those originals and, later, when he was producing the familiar works that derived from them. (I may be drawing conclusions firmer than Ms. Justice's scholarly standards would allow.)
In any case, "The Bones of the Others" will be a delight to any reader of Hemingway, fan or scholar. For the mere reader of fiction who, like me, marvels and wonders at how fiction like Hemingway's is created, the book is a revelation. For the serious scholar, this is lit crit at its best.