Ray Lewis White's latest volume, Sherwood Anderson: Early Writings, is a solid, important work of literary collection and interpretation. It presents, chronologically, Sherwood Anderson's earliest published writings, those spanning the period between 1902 and 1916, when Anderson worked successively as an advertising solicitor and copywriter, president of United Factories Company, head of Anderson Manufacturing Company, and back in advertising again with the Long-Critchfield Company prior to devoting himself to literature full-time. These forty-six early writings include several previously unknown Anderson essays and stories.
White's collection traces the author's developing narrative and literary voice, technique, and philosophic orientation toward advertising, materialism, and literature. Anderson's first use of fictional narrative voice appears here, as do his first framed stories, his gradual shift from expository essay to use of characters and dialogue—from direct statement to reliance on impression and the emotional impact of dramatic scenes, and his first use of moments of epiphany, or "luminous moments." Turning the pages, the reader sees Anderson's orientation evolving consistently from that of proud young advertising salesman and copy writer to literary voice in full rebellion against materialism.
White connects these many early Anderson writings with brief, incisive commentaries clarifying the importance of each in Anderson's personal and literary evolution as well as in the much wider context of emerging America. In the process, he provides a gloss on America's economic, social, and intellectual development in the two decades of the century. This book is valuable to anyone seeking to understand Sherwood Anderson, the evolution of twentieth-century fiction, and even America's growing sense of self in the early twentieth century. White's clear vision, graceful style, and desire to keep Anderson's own voice the primary one further endear White to the reader.
Another fine work of recent literary analysis is Henry Villard and James Nagel's Hemingway in Love and War. In taking up this subject, they present two topics of perennial interest to literary scholars and the public: Hemingway's weir theme and personal myth as well as the relationship between life and art culminating in the Catherine Barkley-Frederic Henry relationship in A Farewell to Arms.
The collaboration between Villard, a World War One ambulance driver, writer, and fellow hospital patient with Hemingway in Italy, and James Nagel, a literary scholar, is productive. Villard contributes a chapter on World War One ambulance duty and reminiscences of Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky, the inspiration for Catherine Barkley. Following Kurowsky's death, Villard is also able to secure her diary for the period of Hemingway's hospitalization and his romance with Agnes and her comments (made to Villard in her final years) on the historical Hemingway-Kurowsky relationship. This abundance of new material also includes some Hemingway letters home to his family during and after hospitalization, photographs, x-rays of Hemingway's wounded leg and foot, and copies of award citations given to Hemingway by the Italian government.
The resulting work is a remarkably objective piece of literary detective work applied to the true nature of Hemingway's war service, his wounds, his actions when wounded, his relationship with Kurowsky, and the connection between personal [End Page 554] experience and literary product in the romance which flowered between August and December 1918.
Using diary entries and letters from that time, Nagel uncovers a relationship of great romantic fervor and many remarkable similarities to the literary love relationship Hemingway presents ten years later...