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Reviewed by:
Robert W. Lewis, ed. Hemingway in Italy and Other Essays. New York: Praeger, 1990. 232 pp. $39.95.

Of the 50 papers delivered at the Second International Conference of the Hemingway Society, Robert Lewis has selected seventeen that focus on Hemingway's treatment of women, his relations to other writers, and his fiction set in Italy, as well as studies augmented by the Hemingway archive at the John F. Kennedy Library.

Challenging the traditional view that Hemingway's women are "weak in character and weak as characters," Linda Miller articulates the underlying emotional complexity of Catherine Barkley; likewise, Peter Hays celebrates her role as teacher, whose example Frederic follows into love. Examining a minor character, Fern Kory finds Helen Ferguson to be complex and interesting, reflecting Hemingway's sensitivity toward women. Against the grain of these revisionist views, Roger Stephenson contends that Hemingway uses his women to characterize his men who "see his heroines . . . as whores or at least whore-like."

Allegations that Hemingway was a "dumb ox" continue to wane as we learn more of his relations to other writers. James Brasch examines the Berenson/ Hemingway correspondence and finds a father figure, an aesthetic sensibility, and another reason for the depression that preceded Hemingway's death. Alan Margolies discovers a parallel of the love/hate relationship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald [End Page 263] in the manuscript of Tender is the Night, which reveals Scott's attraction and repulsion to Ernest's life and art. Testing Borges' conclusion that Hemingway regretted the physical dimension of his life, Lawrence Martin illustrates the integral relationship between the author's adventuresome and intellectual strains. And Eugene Kanjo links The Sun Also Rises to a dozen writers and sources in his semiotic inquiry.

Focusing upon Hemingway's texts, Michael Reynolds recaptures the historical context of "My Old Man" and reveals Hemingway's use of "memory transformed by imagination." Paul Smith discovers "Mons (Three)," companion of the two "chapters" of In Our Time, and deems it "one of the 'things left out' that never should have been." More good writing was excised from Death in the Afternoon, but in this case Donald Junkins argues that the omission was warranted. Gazing intently at Hemingway's treatment of Robert Cohn, Barry Gross confesses that the author's association of immortality with Jew baiting blurs the "open and shut case of anti-Semitism."

Treatment of Hemingway's works set in Italy occupy the final part of the volume. Identifying the sexual, religious, and mythic necessities, Robert Gajdusek explores Frederic Henry's psychic rebirth. Charles Oliver, concentrating on the theme of impending death and the role of Alvarito, and John Russo, surveying the myths of Venice, contribute provocative reassessments of Across the River that should stimulate further inquiry. Examining Nick Adams, Frank Scafella traces his maturation in "A Way You'll Never Be," and Erik Nakjavani describes how Nick's modes of consciousness combat the loss of that consciousness.

Most of this volume is gracefully written and skillfully argued and illustrates the pluralism and richness of contemporary scholarship on Hemingway. Embracing new subjects and methodologies, this collection welcomes fresh perspectives on familiar issues and invites readers to reconsider neglected elements of Hemingway's art and life.

Albert J. DeFazio III
George Mason University
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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-658X
Print ISSN
0026-7724
Pages
pp. 263-264
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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