The Hemingway Society issues a Hemingway journal twice a year and then notices of meetings and books about him that come out between those issues.
The above is their homepage. (I'm also in The Steinbeck society, the Thoreau Society and Christian Philosophers.)
Hemingway was well read, at least he said so. But from what he wrote and said he did so as if training to beat the hell out of the writers with his own writing. That doesn't seem to be too intellectual. What I get from his point of view is that he viewed writing as a sort of sport. He could have been lying here too, but I don't think so. I obviously didn't get the sort of ideas you two did out of Old Man and the Sea but that is not to say I did not enjoy it any less. To each his own way of reading. But if Hemingway were here (I'd say he would be as adverse to the internet as Bradbury is so that is improbable) but if he happened to see what you two were writing, he would by your point of view say you're both full of sh*t. Wouldn't he? Ha!
[This message has been edited by Ought Not (edited 01-31-2004).]
I don't think Hemingway views writing as a kind of sport in a fundamental way. He takes writing very, very seriously.
When you say he sees it as sport, what do you mean by that? That it's a game? That it's easy? That if you follow the rules, then it's fair? That's it's a way of competing with others?
There may be times when he viewed it as a sport, but overall, Hemingway was very serious about his writing.
He might indeed say I'm full of sh*t. I certainly wouldn't be the only one to suffer expletives at his hand! I would dismiss some of that as bravado.
I never said persons who don't like to dig through literature enjoy it less. I would suggest they get less depth from it, and miss much of what the writer is attempting to say.
[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 01-31-2004).]
I won't speculate about what Hemingway might think about the Internet or even what I might have to say about him. (That kind of exercise requires you to assert which "Hemingway" are you considering? If you're talking about the Hemingway of the Paris years, I think a very good case could be made that he might like the Internet. After all, he went to Paris to seek out new things and the cutting edge of the literature of his day. I'm pretty sure, though, that he would prefer sitting in a cafe and writing in his little blue notebooks. Who wouldn't?)
Yes, sometimes Hemingway talked about how he could "take" certain writers in the boxing ring and, I guess, that might be seen as considering writing as a sport. More likely he was using a metaphor, a literary device that's sort of the theme of this thread.
By all means, read The Old Man and The Sea in any way you'd like. But there's much more to find in it if you'd like to look.
So, it's good to be here after a long absence- a combination of internet droughts and some lifestyle changes-
I've missed reading this site, and not sure if I'm ever going to catch up on everything, so it might be better just to start over...
I haven't read Old Man and the Sea, and it's been a while since I read the Scythe. My copy of October Country is many miles away. (I let myself take three Bradbury books among the rest- Dandelion Wine, which goes everywhere with me, and Machineries of Joy and The Toynbee Convector, which still have some unread stories in them)
What sticks out in my mind about the Scythe is the self-fueling nature of human tragedy- Death feeding on itself, not out of enjoyment, but out of a need to be doing "something" or "anything" to forget. When the main character takes on the role of the Grim Reaper, it is under circumstances (the death of his children) that trigger our current murderous, self-destructive atomic age. He doesn't love his work, but it must be done- and anything worth doing is worth doing well. Through cutting more grain than he can possibly replace, the farmer vents his bitterness and anger at his horrible fate.
Again, this is a portrait drawn from memory, so feel free to sharpen thy edit-sticks, but it might be even more genuine because this is what's left in my head after reading the story... probably a couple years ago.
about the battle over interpretive analysis versus experiential reading...
it's interesting that Hemingway and games came up...
We can say that there is an objective truth that can be picked towards through analysis, or we can say that the story should speak for itself in the places behind the words.
A teacher used to tell me that, riding the fence so much, I was one day bound for a nasty rash... still...
I think that we can and should do both.
Intent is the only real bugaboo in our way. If we could eliminate the author from the process, we could say whatever we wanted about what a story "means". Or, by looking at the supposed force of the subconscious, we could go Freudian and insist that the author meant "this", whether he knew it or not. Intent is the game we play. And to an extent it is a game- a rousing, emotionally meaningfull and thought-provoking game. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it, and it doesn't cheapen it.
Beyond that, everybody may see it differently. A teacher once told me that it's not as important that a poem says something as it is that the poem be something- that it act as a little, self-contained act of creation with a life of it's own, as mysterious and as hard to pin down as our own lives. Although I like to analyze words and music, I think that the very best work we've done defies analysis.
The only Hemingway I've read are the short stories in "In Our Time" and most of the ones in "Snows of Kilamanjaro". I don't think that I know anything close to enough about Hemingway to make a serious stab at what he meant by his comments.
Something to consider, though:
There's a saying that when you start to study meditation, you see trees and you see mountains; then, when you've really entered into your study, you no longer see trees and mountains, you see them all as part of something else, something different. When you've finished your study, however, you see trees and mountains once more, but you really know them for the first time.
Maybe what Hemingway was showing that he was aware of, when he said that "a fish is a fish" in a story that has so much undeniable symbolism, is that there doesn't have to be any duality between the story and the symbol- that one is as good and as powerful as the other.
I hope to be around more often, now. I'm student teaching middle school orchestra and slowly getting buried in the billowing drifts. When school gets called it's canned food and computers for me, so maybe I'll even be able to do some catching up.
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