Re: RARA-AVIS: poppa and pauline

Date: 11 Mar 2002

In a message dated 3/11/02 8:54:59 AM, writes:

<< Hemingway? I've read him, and to this day I can't grasp

>why people rank him among the 20th century's literary

>heavyweights. >>

    Hemingway's faithfulness to clean straight unembroidered lines of prose, his dedication to less is more, and his determination to tell a well paced, camera shot clear story, speak so powerfully to some people, me included, that they have served as a beacon and a primer for writers of half a dozen generations. It's not tough to argue that without Hemingway the hard-boiled school would be different and less, and that the minimalists might not have happened at all. While some in literaryland might see that as a blessing these days, I don't.
    I also see Hemingway's influence on many of the writers I enjoy most, John Gregory Dunne, John O'Hara (in his short fiction) Ray Carver, and Elmore Leonard among them. If you read "A Clean Well Lighted Place," or "The Snows of..." or "The Short Happy Life," and you aren't blown away by the extraordinary skill of the guy who wrote them (especially when you think about the literary tradition he was working from) then I don't know where else to point you. He was probably not the best of men, but IMO he was a 20th Century giant and he was a damn fine writer.

                                            Jim Blue

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