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Mr. Wilson's War: Peace, Neutrality, and Entangling Alliances in Hemingway's In Our Time

From: The Hemingway Review
Volume 31, Number 2, Spring 2012
pp. 6-26 | 10.1353/hem.2012.0009



This essay examines Hemingway's In Our Time in the historical and discursive context of Woodrow Wilson's rhetorical leadership during the years before, during, and after World War I. Addressing Hemingway scholarship's failure to consider Wilson's importance, it shows how the style, structure, and protagonist of In Our Time challenge the core tenets of Wilson's idealism, specifically his progressive theories about peace, neutrality, leadership, and mediation in state politics. Drawing on Wilson's public rhetoric, as well as selections from Hemingway's early journalism with the Toronto Star, the essay offers an alternative context for understanding the modernist innovations long associated with Hemingway's first major experiment in prose.