Critical Essays The Hemingway Influence


Ernest Hemingway has been called the most influential writer of the twentieth century. In 1926, The Sun Also Rises caused a sensation among critics and fellow writers. With the publication of A Farewell to Arms in 1929, Hemingway achieved widespread fame, and despite a steady decline in the quality of his work thereafter, his fame continued to grow until his suicide in 1961 and beyond. Striking evidence of this is the 1958 movie of The Old Man and the Sea; it's hard to imagine a book less suited to the big screen, and yet Hemingway's celebrity at the time of its publication was so massive that Hollywood had virtually no choice but to film the novella. The publication of recovered fragments from the writer's unpublished oeuvre has never failed to make headlines worldwide, from A Moveable Feast in 1964 to the so-called "fictional memoir" True at First Light, in 1999.

Hemingway achieved more than celebrity, however. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then he was a great writer, indeed. Especially after reading The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's influence is easy to discern in an enormous number of the writers who have followed him. This influence has taken three forms: (1) thematic, (2) stylistic, and (3) the "Papa" Hemingway lifestyle.

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