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Hemingway Paperback – April 2, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (April 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674387325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674387324
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,391,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Undaunted by the large body of biographical and critical work that has preceded his own, Lynn succeeds in casting the familiar life of Ernest Hemingway in a new and interesting light. He focuses on key events and relationships that affected the novels and short stories that ultimately changed our literature: Hemingway's traumatic wounding in World War I; his wives and lovers; and, most importantly, the parents who shaped his Oak Park years. Cursed with the same depressive streak, Hemingway was haunted by his father's suicide. Much of his own strength and talent was drawn from his mother, but her overpowering influence left other marks as well. She dressed him as a twin to his older sister when he was a toddler, an experience that undoubtedly contributed to the subsequent counter-posture of excessive masculinity central to Hemingway's public image. Nevertheless, Lynn finds evidence aplenty that this childhood feminization also accounted for a lifelong fascination with androgyny and sexual transposition vis-a-vis women, imparting another level of meaning to Hemingway's oft-repeated declaration that in his writing he wanted "to make people feel more than they understood." Taking as his premise Hemingway's glib assertion that the only analyst he relied upon was his "portable Corona Number 3," Lynn (Literary and Historical Writing About America, etc.t tracks the exploration of a disordered inner world as Hemingway sought to find some sort of resolution to the agony of his personal conflicts through "his cunningly wrought fiction." The man who emerges from Lynn's biography is a vastly more complex and compelling figure than the white-bearded, pontificating "Papa" of myth. Photos. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This intelligent, lively, mean-sprited biography of Hemingway gives us virtually no new factual material. Still, by virtue (or vice) of its single-minded psychological reductionism and its determination to find or invent biographical identifications and unconscious motives in all of Hemingway's fiction, Lynn discovers a "new" Hemingway. The reader is triumphantly presented with a vulgarized portrait of the artist as a mother-fixated young, middle-aged, and old man, unconsciously inclined to androgony and viciously in thrall to his own vengeful wrath and self-serving sentimentality. Lynn's revisionist readings of some of Hemingway's best-known stories seem like tortured efforts to support an eccentric interpretation that is intermittently provocative but ultimately unpersuasive. Earl Rovit, English Dept., City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have had the pleasure of reading several (actually, quite a few), biographies concerning Hemingway over the years. Some were good, others not so good and some were absolutely horrible. With each book tough, good or bad, I did learn something new about E. Hemingway and/or his writing. This is a good thing. This particular biography by Kenneth S. Lynn is yet another take on the man and the ledged who was Ernest Hemingway. No I am not a big fan of Hemingway's novels, but am a great fan of his short stories, but overall I find that the "man" Hemingway is actually more fascinating that the "writing" of Hemingway. That being said....

This work by Kenneth Lynn probably addresses Hemingway's actual work more than most of the biographies I have read. Most of his major and quite a number of minor works are covered here. The author discusses these works in conjunction with what the author knows, or has speculated, of Hemingway's life. It has been mentioned by a couple of reviewers that this is a revisionist view of Hemingway and his work. I personally do not look at it as such. Even a cursory review of Hemingway's work reveals a very troubled man behind the words and the story. There is really nothing "new" here, only a different way of looking at the facts we all pretty well can figure out for ourselves with a bit of attention. This work, like all works of this nature has pros and cons. First the pros:

The work is well done, well written and certainly holds readers attention. As far as I can tell, the author has done his research and done it well. The author has given us some great food for thought as we read Hemingway's work and I know, I for one, will read EH in a bit of a different light from now on. This is good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
Lovers of Hemingway as the macho, confident, larger than life hero may not like this book, but anyone who wants a vision of objective truth with the good and bad falling where the details say they should, will love this meticulously researched story of the real Hemingway. The author weaves the stuff of Hemingway's fiction into the record of his life, upsetting the hero worship attitudes of some earlier biographers by showing clearly how what Hemingway revealed himself to be was rarely truthful, and what was fiction often was his inner truth disquised. Although the book is over 700 pages, the author's easy narrative style holds the reader's attention and no where do we get lost or feel overwhelmed with detail. Stories of how Hemingway interacted with other great writers of his day ae fascinating, and where he did accomplish interesting adventures, Lynn gives him easy credit. For example, where would Joyce's Ullyses be today had Hemingway not subsidized it's publication and planned how to smuggle it into the country? The book is more than a biography, it is a slice of Hemingway's time and literary community. Most refreshing is how easy it is to tell the facts from the author's astute speculation and escape the myth written as biography we have read in so many other places.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on March 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kenneth Lynn's biographical treatment of Ernest Hemingway is thorough and magnificent. It satisfied me for several reasons--not the least of which was the cheap z shop price I paid for it. What I liked about the narrative best is Lynn's habit of discussing Hemingway's work and life simultaneously. Just as with the man, the fiction blends in seamlessly with the non-fiction. The body of the text is almost 600 pages long and a solid half is devoted to those halcyon years of productivity; that wondrous decade of artistic bliss between 1920 and 1930. Due to the expansiveness of the biography and literary analysis I found those pages to be highly addictive reading. Indeed, I've just purchased Finca Vigia edition of his short stories and will devour them with a keen level of appreciation due to the efforts of Mr. Lynn. Personally, I did not find this biography to be revisionist. There was a great deal of atmospherics inherent to the masculinity of Ernest Hemingway. How much the macho corresponded with his true essence will always be subject to debate. This is not a controversial statement as Gertrude Stein, Zelda Fitzgerald, and countless others noticed the disingenuous, "tries too hard" aspects of his personality. He was a caricature in many ways, but I continue to find his style beguiling and life mesmerizing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CRT on May 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author, professor of history at John Hopkins and formerly chairman of Harvard's graduate program in American Civilization, depicts Hemingway as a deeply troubled man whose "fight with his own inner demons produced some of the greatest American fiction of the twentieth century". This is a far more dynamic biography than the earlier serious work by Carlos Baker, and therefore more controversial. Lynn methodically shows how incidents (or imagined incidents) in Hemingway's life reappeared in the content of his books. Basically, Hemingway almost always wrote about himself, but rarely honestly. Lynn roots out the lies told about himself which other biographers, especially later hangers-on such as Hotchner, swallowed whole. As a man, Hemingway was a macho bully showing no loyalty to friends. Lynn argues that Hemingway's persona was shaped by his anxieties about his sexual identity. Although clinically paranoid by the end of his life, distrust and envy of others, particularly perceived literary rivals, was part of his make up from earliest days.

While distrusting some of the analytic conclusions about Hemingway's persona--Lynn is not a psychiatrist--there is a considerable body of research that supports many of Lynn's theories about the man. Book has extensive notes and bibliography.
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