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Hemingway, Race, and Art

Bloodlines and the Color Line

Marc Kevin Dudley

Publication Year: 2011

A social historical reading of Hemingway through the lens of race

William Faulkner has long been considered the great racial interrogator of the early-twentieth-century South. In Hemingway, Race, and Art, author Marc Kevin Dudley suggests that Ernest Hemingway not only shared Faulkner’s racial concerns but extended them beyond the South to encompass the entire nation. Though Hemingway wrote extensively about Native Americans and African Americans, always in the back of his mind was Africa. Dudley sees Hemingway’s fascination with, and eventual push toward, the African continent as a grand experiment meant to both placate and comfort the white psyche, and to challenge and unsettle it, too.

Twentieth-century white America was plagued by guilt in its dealings with Native Americans; simultaneously, it faced an increasingly dissatisfied African American populace. Marc Kevin Dudley demonstrates how Hemingway’s interest in race was closely aligned to a national anxiety over a changing racial topography. Affected by his American pedigree, his masculinity, and his whiteness, Hemingway’s treatment of race is characteristically complex, at once both a perpetuation of type and a questioning of white self-identity.

Hemingway, Race, and Art expands our understanding of Hemingway and his work and shows how race consciousness pervades the texts of one of America’s most important and influential writers.

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Introduction: The Specter of Race in Hemingway’s Grave New World

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pp. 1-26

The specter of race can be a wondrously terrifying thing. Ernest Hemingway certainly thought so, as did his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. But you would not know that judging by the dearth of related critical material on each artist. Like a ghost, that dark specter played on their minds for years, and for . . .

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Chapter One: “Indian Camp” and “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife”: Deconstructing the Great (White) Man

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pp. 27-50

Hemingway’s inquisitive ways were with him since youth. The spaces in and around the Indian camp captured and held the author’s imagination throughout his life, and appropriately, they make up an extensive part of his ethnic writing for much of his early career. He had begun exploring these wild . . .

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Chapter Two: Beyond the Camp, Behind the Myth: Native American Dissolution and Reconstituted Whiteness in “Ten Indians,” “Fathers and Sons,” and “The Indians Went Away”

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pp. 51-67

So far, we have seen Hemingway explore and dispel the myth of racial primacy by delving into the depths of the gray spaces between red and white. Woods, water, and gate worked well as spatial separators between civilized and savage. If the camp stories exploit difference along general primitive lines, . . .

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Chapter Three: The Truth’s in the Shadows: Race in “The Light of the World” and “The Battler”

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pp. 69-89

In the summer of 1908, up became down, black became white, and the world as many knew it changed forever. In that year, Jack Johnson became the first African American heavyweight boxing world champion. Some seven years later, Johnson would lose that title to the last of several so-called great white . . .

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Chapter Four: Killin’ ’Em with Kindness: Hemingway’s Racial Recognition in “The Porter”

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pp. 91-110

Ernest Hemingway had seen the world in shades of black and white long before his first African adventures of 1933–34. As a boy, he’d dreamed of following in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt on a trek to the African continent. A few years later, he had watched with great interest as a young African . . .

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Chapter Five: “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” and Green Hills of Africa: (Re)drawing the Color Line, or Reimagining the Continent in Shades of Black and White

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pp. 111-135

Africa: a single word with a multiplicity of associations. The continent’s image is a virtual Rorschach test, a polarizing form of black and white. Since childhood, Africa had always been a place of high adventure and imaginative wandering for Hemingway. Theodore Roosevelt—president, paragon of . . .

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Chapter Six:The First Shall Be Last, the Last Shall Be First: Erasing and Retracing the Color Line in “The Good Lion,” True at First Light, and Under Kilimanjaro

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pp. 137-158

“ . . . Almost nothing was true and especially not in Africa”: so begins Hemingway’s True at First Light, the first incarnation of his final African safari memories. But the very opposite is correct too; for the experimental aesthete, almost everything is true, it seems, and especially in Africa. In his last fictionalized . . .

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Epilogue: Contextualizing Hemingway’s: Grand Complication

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pp. 159-163

Hemingway once said that a writer’s job is not to say what is on his mind but to write it (Nobel Prize in Literature Banquet Speech 1954). His oeuvre stands as a clear testament to his investment in this credo and as a fantastic example of what was on his mind for much of his literary career: masculinity, nationality, and race . . .


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pp. 165-185

Works Cited

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pp. 187-192


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pp. 193-197

Back Cover

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p. 198-198

E-ISBN-13: 9781612775418
E-ISBN-10: 1612775411
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606350928

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2011