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Text and Image: The Internet Generation Reads "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

From: The Hemingway Review
Volume 32, Number 1, Fall 2012
pp. 39-56 | 10.1353/hem.2012.0015



This essay assesses how digital media—and particularly online reading habits—have begun to affect some of the standard texts for teaching literature to college students. In particular, I examine Ernest Hemingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" as it appears in a recent anthology, Literature: Craft and Voice, published in 2010. The anthology's editors state explicitly that their aim is to help "students learn the art of sustained reading" in the midst of "a visual age" and "the skim-and-grab reading that permeates our Internet culture." With this in mind, their designers have created "a text for reading" that includes arresting visuals throughout the text. This essay considers how the anthology's photographs compete with Hemingway's narrative design and discusses Hemingway's own complex attitude toward visual accompaniments.

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