Rodica Mihaila Course 5 20th Century American Ligterature 3rd Year Spring Semester 2009 Instances of Modernism: Hemingway, Dos Passos,

Hemingway (1899-1961)
I.--Another instance of modernist experiment (within the traditional short story and novel form), different from the aestheticism of Fitzgerald and N. Yet, shares with Fitzerald a lot: -Like Fitzerald, he writes an ethos, not just books . -Turns his life into a legend, he = culture hero , self-mythologizer , deliberately projects his own personality and life as central to his work. -Lost Generation -Modernist experiment. But: his work defines in relation to the newspaper: Fitz.=….to Hollywood film. H=reductionist; F=aestheticism General remarks: H=a realist with moral and ethical preoccupations Americanism: importance of experience (moment of truth)—his work grows in clusters of related experience II.—Biography = born July 21 , 1899 - Oak Park ( Chicago suburb) , father-physician , mother - opera singer = played football , boxed ; fisherman , hunter ( father's suicide in 1928 ) = reporter - Kansas City Star = 1918 -Italy , ambulance driver ( wounded : A Farewell to Arms ); on the Toronto Star = 1921 - Paris - a foreign correspondent for the Star - he met gertrude Stein , Ezra Pound , Ford Madox Ford , Scott Fitzgerald - the idol image of the self : energy , ambition , observer , seemingly emotionless , tightly suppressed emotionla force , courage , streaks of cruelty ( weakness incited his savagery) , suicidal moments and outbursts of cruelty st = 1923 - 1 book : Three Stories and Ten Poems , In Our Time , The Sun Also Risesa visionary quality- revealed an age to itself = 1929 - A Farewell to Arms - ( a success ) , Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley = 1932 - Spain - Death in the Afternoon - Bullfighting , hunting and fishing = 1935 - The Green Hills of Africa - exploits on a safari = 1937 - Spain , correspondent -covering the Civil War -To Have and Have Not - Spain War - The Fifth Play ( bad play )


= 1938 - Snows of Kilimanjaro - snow covered mountain ( 19, 710 feet high , the highest in Africa ); western summit called " The House of God ". = 1940 - For Whom the Bell Tolls =World War II - - a press correspondent - heroic exploits = 1951- his health deteriorated =1952 - The Old Man and the Sea = 1953 - two crashes of small plants in Africa injured his back , heavy drinking = 1954 - The Nobel Prize - a great public figure = 1961 - hospitalized for paranoia ; the day after he was released as cured , he committed suicide =Clusters of related experience p.VIII/3 verso -A. his boyhood in Oak Park Illinois and Michigan woods - love of sports ( football , boxing) ; fishing and hunting ; father's love for outer sports -B. war - 1918 - the Italian front - badly wounded in both legs , - 3 months in hospital in Milan A Farewell to Arms - joined the infantry - lieutenant - In Our Time - collection of stories - stories of initiation - Nick Adams - For Whom the Bell Tolls - Spanish war - C. Bull-fighting - since 1923 , love for Spain : Fiesta , Death in the Afternoon - D. Big -game hunting ( violence , toughness , tragic intensity) - fictional material after the first 10 week safari in Africa 1933-1934 - Green Hills of Africa - autobiographical writing - E. Sea-fishing - 1934-returned Florida ; bought a fishing boat - the Pilar To Have and Have Not - harry Morgan - the owner of a powerboat , smuggler of people and liquor from Cuba The Old Man and the Sea - Santiago and the merlin - a parable of man's pathetic struggle with the hostile universe - a parallel with Moby Dick - without the philosophical implications ; the evil within ourselves / destiny = Instability of his emotional life (parents, wives, homo, paranoia) = Crippling wound, physical wound (Nick Adams, Jake, Frederick Henry, Cantwill) – = Deterioration of his health. Paranoia (1961)-suicide like his father in 28. Homosexual drive; hatred of women; courage and cruelty, lies, trecherous (Mary Welsh Hemingway: “How It Was”-51) III—The world of his fiction: violent nad brutal, failures, fear and despair (metaphysical despair—Existentialist = nada, nothingness. The power to endure with dignity, to make moral choices IV—Themes: recurrent theme of death—extreme limit of experience: Love, courage, loneliness, endurance. Citeste de la Nobel Prize despre loneliness. V. Character: man alone in the face of nothingness, meaningless world . No past, no future. No coward. Teaches the lesson of endurance. Some ideal of the self, loyalty to a code. Violence = the threat of nothingness (Conrad) . He stands under the shadow of ruin/ the disintegration of the self 2

VI. Narrative strategies= -Two forms of the stories: of initiation ( the youth discovers the world ) and of the test ( the man who thinks he knows the secret is set in a crucial situation) Accumulation of basic structural unites –moments of physical perception --corresponding to moments of truth (Whitman+ objectivity dar si limitation=no transcendence) -The reductive principle-plot, --leaving-out strategy VII. Style His modernist experiment: a. at formal level--Pound: “Make it New ”=; b. b. nothingness, nada =Waste Land (existentialist) - the human being is alone in a hostile universe - the business of salvation is reduced to endurance , to finding ways of coping with dignity - the drama of confrontation is always directed outwardly , not inwardly - oversimplification- reduced to the "grace to endure'' - no " open road" , ' on passage to India" like in Whitman - no transcendence 1. H. technical or stylistic experiment within the traditional short story and novel forms. He relates this with the cultivation of a set of masculine values, thus updating the traditional novel in his “Hemingway hero.” 2. Style = master of a deliberately impoverished style, bare, simple syntax, a taciturn style relying on implication, everyday in vocabulary . Differs from: Fitz + Nabokov =masters of the ornate, romantic, gorgeous , poetic, mainly descriptive prose tradition, over-blown style, over-statement. He creates symbolic frames that replaces the stream of consciousness through interior monologue: ex. Rain, cold, mud Integrity of small units = moments of truth - noun or verbal nouns , as equivalents of images. The verb is minimal and the adjective is repudiated. Experience being a sequence- the style becomes a series of simple declarative sentences / or combined in a compound . Short sentences linked by "and" - no hierarchy of values Journalistic practice - no adornment , an eye for detail , only present - no past and no future 3. Technique of Leaving-Out (no war in Farewell to…). Reductive techniques 4. Difference bet. the newspaper story and the news style modernist story: a. defines the public realm, the outer world of fact (set of shared concerns); b. increasingly personal ,episodic, linked to the private sphere (personal memory) ex. Citesc din In Our Time (Fisher) 5. “A machine-age aesthetic” = as in modernist architecture which challenges ornament, false materials and historical simulation in favor of simple, modern materials (steel, glass, cement). Fisher: the same aesthetic in H.: narrative simplicity, tape-recorded dialogues without comment or description (vezi Farewell)


6. H. seeks in situation - the root certitude of life and in sensation - the root of knowledge AMERICANISM - in many respects , the world saw in Hemingway a typical American his fame rested on this image , no matter whether it was right or wrong - the cult of experience , of courage - the pragmatic view of art- his writing is reassurance , personal confirmation , therapeutic - the idea of the artist as a spiritual leader MERITS ; - simplicity and naturalness - a master narrator - his stories point simultaneously to the concreteness and the universal and metaphysical aspects of personal experience - narrative strategy - relies on the structural principle of selective observation of human perceptions - the principle of reduction - the determinable and irreducible comprehension - concentration on subject , place , mood LIMITATIONS : - incapable of dealing with great tracts of experience - had only one basic theme. He did not explore very deeply the dramatic and the moral implications of his theme - no real interest in character ( see his love stories ) - repudiation of history and anti-intellectualism ( all his stories end quickly . The lover is like in Poe , in love with death) - the story has no past and no future - it is like an archetypal moment outside time and society; - only one hero - the self ; the others are shadows - his art is essentially lyric , noy dramatic - it depends on success on precision , coherence in structure , intensity and purity of emotional effect - Parallel : Poe - H. -both aimed at intensity of emotional effect - tightness of technical control


John Dos Passos (1896-1970)
—experimenting with literary form Shared with Hemingway: --Born in Chicago (son of famous Wall Street lawyer) Included in the “Lost Generation” through his experience (Graduated from Harvard in 1916; 1917 went to France (ambulance service); lingered on in Paris (modernist experiment); part in the Spanish Civil War (US medical corps)— Different experience: 1925 Manhattan Transfer –after that for a decade evolution from an aesthet to a political rebel. –deepening radicalism and increasing ambition as a writer. -Main concern: critique of American society (detects causes, prescribes cures) American life= corruption, futility, frustration Most ambitious work : his trilogy USA (38): The 42nd Parallel (30); Nineteen Nineteen (32); The Big Money (36)= the history of American life in the first three decades of the 20th century. =a culmination of his experimentation with literary form (finds technical means to render the connections between human suffering and alienation and the social structures that produced it. =dramatized the impact of public events on private lives, illustrated the social nature of individual experience and indicted capitalist America -Structure: four components: narratives, Newsreels, biographies and Camera Eye sections: -12 interwoven fictional narratives, each told from the point of view of its central character. Interrupted by each other and by three kinds of formal devices: 1. 68 newsreel sections, =constructed collages of actual newspaper headlines, news story fragments, and snatches of song lyrics, political speeches, and advertisements =they trace mass culture and popular consciousness over the years (vezi la Hemingway difference bet. newspaper story and news style modernist story) 2. 27 biographies of key public figures, who shaped or represented or resisted the major social forces of the era (Isadora Duncan, Rudolph Valentino, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wrtight, Th. Veblen) 3. 51 Camera Eye sections=stream-of-consciousness fragments that depict the growing awareness of a sensitive and artistic individual living in the disturbing world described in the book. Conclusion: Fitz. Uses Hollywood techniques; Hem.=newspaper story; Dos Passos=combines cinematographic and journalistic techniques (newsreel and camera eye collages) In the late 1930s—he rejected his radical ideas indictment of Capitalist America. In his second trilogy District of Columbia (1952) he became extremely conservative. Returned to more traditional forms.


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