Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hemingway was The Babe Ruth Of American Literature

Jack Engelhard at the Washington Times looks back at novelist Ernest Hemingway.

NEW YORK, July 2, 2013 — In the end, the will to die was stronger than the will to live. On the morning of July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway aimed a double-barreled, 12-guage shotgun at his head, pulled the trigger and thus ended the short happy life of America’s most famous writer. He was 61 and we do not know what would-be books he took to his grave.

Fittingly, he often spoke of the power of silence, or as biographer Kenneth Slawenski reminds us about J.D. Salinger, the secret to great writing resides in the “fire between the words.” On the temptation to write long, Hemingway remarked that there are times to resist and to “say no to a typewriter.”

Was Hemingway a great writer? The greatest? That is an argument, so let us leave it at that, but without a doubt he was a prose stylist par excellence, even though his most beloved work, The Old Man and the Sea, was more poetry than prose, and it earned him the 1954 Nobel Prize.

He was the Babe Ruth of American literature. Often enough he did swat it out of the park. He was a boozer and a brawler but turned devotional when he sat down – or stood up – to write. Famed for that granite-like style, he claimed to have no style, only the blood, sweat and perseverance to cobble together the cleanest sentence possible. In virtually all his paragraphs there is a sense of urgency. This is also how he lived.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:  

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