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Frequent Contributor
zman
Posts: 101
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Hemingway and Humor...

...or should I say "lack thereof?"

I've managed to read about half of the stories in the Finca Vigia edition now, and I'm struck by the almost complete lack of humor in Heminway's short stories.

That's perhaps why I find it difficult to read too many of them at one time. They have the effect of eating a slab of meat everytime you sit down to the table. I haven't come across a single one that doesn't have very serious and frequently dark undertones, from psychology to sociology to history.

Mind you, that isn't a criticism. It's simply the way he wrote. Just the same, I need to mix up reading Hemingway with reading, say, Mark Twain, if for no other reason than to cleanse the palette.
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Overheard in the Student Union at Brandeis University:
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fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Hemingway and Humor...

Speaking of cleanse the palate: I must recommend the chapter in Farewell to Arms when Frederick describes going from a diet of brown bread and local red wine to a chilled martini and oysters with capers. This cannot be improved upon. I am also sure that there is humor in The Sun Also Rises, but it is the kind of cruel humor that comes from having someone always around to make fun of. Hemingway took his fiction very seriously. (Let's all remember he was a serious international Modernist artist trying to live down the stereotype that he was just a conventional American hetero male.
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chadadanielleKR
Posts: 368
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Hemingway and Humor...


zman wrote:
...or should I say "lack thereof?"

I've managed to read about half of the stories in the Finca Vigia edition now, and I'm struck by the almost complete lack of humor in Heminway's short stories.

That's perhaps why I find it difficult to read too many of them at one time. They have the effect of eating a slab of meat everytime you sit down to the table. I haven't come across a single one that doesn't have very serious and frequently dark undertones, from psychology to sociology to history.

Mind you, that isn't a criticism. It's simply the way he wrote. Just the same, I need to mix up reading Hemingway with reading, say, Mark Twain, if for no other reason than to cleanse the palette.



I agree with you and some other readers. Those short stories are heavy reading. Although some might be short, they all need to be poundered over. I really can't read them one after another... There are like paintings in a museum: one has to sit in from of each of them and very carefully look at them for a while before grasping their meaning.
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fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Hemingway and Humor...

A very apt comparison, since as many of us have discovered, they aim toward the abstraction of modern art. I actually find the shorter ones rougher going precisely because the illusion of narrative realism is simply done without.
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kaylap
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-21-2007
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Re: Hemingway and Humor...

Was it just me, or did you think it was humorous in the story "A Way You'll Never Be" in the part where it flashes back to a time when Nick was drunk and he tries to use a bicycle as a blanket?
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LuksaN
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-26-2007
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Re: Hemingway and Humor...



kaylap wrote:
Was it just me, or did you think it was humorous in the story "A Way You'll Never Be" in the part where it flashes back to a time when Nick was drunk and he tries to use a bicycle as a blanket?




that was very funny kayla. in fact i pointed that out to our whole class. Nick rocks.
-nate-
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