The Critics and Hemingway, 1924-2014

The Critics and Hemingway, 1924-2014

Shaping an American Literary Icon

Laurence W. Mazzeno


Camden House



Traces Hemingway's critical fortunes over the ninety years of his prominence, telling us something about what we value in literature and why scholarly reputations rise and fall.

Hemingway burst on the literary scene in the 1920s with spare, penetrating short stories and brilliant novels. Soon he was held as a standard for modern writers. Meanwhile, he used his celebrity to create a persona like the stoic, macho heroes of his fiction. After a decline during the 1930s and 1940s, he came roaring back with The Old Man and the Sea in 1952. Two years later he received the Nobel Prize.
While his popularity waxed and waned during his lifetime, Hemingway's reputation among scholars remained strong as long as traditional scholarship dominated. New approaches beginning in the 1960s brought a sea change, however, finding grave fault with his work and making him a figure ripe for vilification. Yet during this time scholarship on him continued to appear. His works still sell well, and several are staples on high-school and college syllabi. A new scholarly edition of his letters is drawing prominent attention, and there is a resurgence in scholarly attention to-and approbation for-his work. Tracing Hemingway's critical fortunes tells us something about what we value in literature and why reputations rise and fall as scholars find new ways to examine and interpret creative work.

Laurence W. Mazzeno is President Emeritus of Alvernia University. Among other books, he has written volumes on Austen, Dickens, Tennyson, Updike, and Matthew Arnold for Camden House's Literary Criticism in Perspective series.


December 2015
310 pages
9x6 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571135919
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
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Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Most Interesting Man in the World"
Spokesperson for the Lost Generation (1924-1932)
Writing on His Own Terms (1932-1952)
The Critics' Darling (1952-1961)
Posthumous Evaluations (1961-1969)
Turbulence (1970-1979)
Calm Before the Storm (1980-1985)
A "Sea Change" in Hemingway Studies (1986-1990)
"Hemingway": Site for Competing Theories (1991-1999)
Old Themes, New Discoveries (2000-2010)
The Undisputed Champ Once More (2011-2014)
Conclusion: The Enduring Master
Major Works by Ernest Hemingway
Works Cited


The Critics and Hemingway stands as that rarest of scholarly achievements: an excellent and impressively thorough reference work that also tells a compelling story. Laurence W. Mazzeno provides the entire catalog of Hemingway criticism (by reviewers, cultural critics, and scholars). Through the lens of Hemingway's critical reception, Mazzeno conveys the story of the central questions and trends of twentieth-century American literature, isolates how critical responses changed with each of Hemingway's publications, including the posthumous ones; with his death; and in response to cultural shifts and movements. The Critics and Hemingway isolates precisely the mutually evolving, often combative, always contested forces of literature and criticism in the last century. Anyone who has ever wondered "When did this debate start?" will find this a welcome addition to her reference bookshelf; every literature and culture scholar will be made wiser by a cover-to-cover read. While presenting the history of Hemingway's reception, Mazzeno just as importantly tells our story as collaborators in the production of twenty-first-century Hemingway. --Hilary Kovar Justice, author of The Bones of the Others: The Hemingway Text from the Lost Manuscripts to the Posthumous Novels
BR> The Critics and Hemingway, 1924-2014 is both a convenient and an essential tool for students and scholars to get a handle on the breadth and depth of criticism on Ernest Hemingway. From Edmund Wilson reviewing Three Stories and Ten Poems and in our time in 1924 to the "Who's Who of Hemingway scholars" generating new angles of interpretation in recent collections, Laurence W. Mazzeno synthesizes a near-century's worth of commentary. This book allows readers to discover not only what's been said but why we can't seem to stop talking about Hemingway. --Kirk Curnutt, author of Coffee with Hemingway and Reading Hemingway's "To Have and Have Not"

Author Bio

Laurence Mazzeno retired as president of Alvernia College, Pennsylvania.

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