- Ernest Hemingway and the Geography of Memory
Mark Cirino and Mark P. Ott’s edited collection of essays, which originated in a Hemingway Society panel at the annual American Literature Association conference in 2005, approaches Hemingway’s work through the lens of memory—both reliable and unreliable. This collection focuses not only on Hemingway’s ability to utilize his own memory, but also his characters’ memories, which Hemingway felt allowed him “to separate himself from his narrative alter egos” (xi). The arguments presented throughout this collection naturally take into account the malleability of memory, but Cirino and Ott deliberately chose articles for this collection that focus on the geographic elements of Hemingway’s writing and the ways he used place to demonstrate a [End Page 140] concrete sense of remembrance. As Cirino and Ott write in their introduction, “In many ways, the essays in this book are explorations of Hemingway’s ‘interpreting consciousness’ as his identity as a writer evolves through his travels and across the texture of his constructed images of different spaces” (xi).
The anthology is organized into four sections. The first, titled “Memory and Composition,” consists of two articles—Marc Hewson’s “Memory and Manhood: Troublesome Recollections in The Garden of Eden” and Marc Seals’s “Reclaimed Experience: Trauma Theory and Hemingway’s Lost Paris Manuscripts.” Both center around Hemingway’s own memory, explore how he fictionalized his own actual experiences, and examine the effect such tactics had on his writing. These articles tend to focus on his later works and both give significant attention to The Garden of Eden.
The second section in this collection is titled “Memory and Allusion” and includes three articles—Sergio Perosa’s “Memory and the Sharks” (translated from its original Italian by Mark Cirino), Matthew J. Bolton’s “Memory and Desire: Eliotic Consciousness in Early Hemingway,” and Larry Grimes’s “Lions on the Beach: Dream, Place, and Memory in The Old Man and the Sea.” These articles cover works that span Hemingway’s entire career. Perosa’s article studies Hemingway’s letters in addition to his fiction and examines his tendency to create fiction out of “the memory of experience more than... experience itself ” (31). Bolton’s contribution explores the influence T.S. Eliot had on Hemingway’s work and serves to provide, as the editors write in their introduction, “fresh and expert perspective to these two writers whose intertextuality has never been satisfactorily mined” (xv). Grimes’s article situates The Old Man and the Sea as an Afro-Cuban text and uses multicultural elements of Hemingway’s life and writing to explain the presence of the lions in this text and to “provide a reading of the lions on the beach from this new cultural geography” (57).
The third and largest section of this collection, “Memory and Place,” is made up of articles described by Cirino and Ott as investigations of “not only the geography of memory but also the memory of geography” in Hemingway’s work (xv). This section includes two articles reprinted from The Hemingway Review—Laura Gruber Godfrey’s “Hemingway and Cultural Geography: The Landscape of Logging in ‘The End of Something’” and Allyson Nadia Field’s “Expatriate Lifestyle as Tourist Destination: The Sun Also Rises and Experiential Travelogues of the Twenties”—in addition to three others: Lawrence H. Martin’s “Pursuit Remembered: Experience, Memory, and Invention in Green [End Page 141] Hills of Africa,” Erik Nakjavani’s “Alchemy, Memory, and Archetypes: Reading Hemingway’s Under Kilimanjaro as an African Fairy Tale,” and Verna Kale’s “‘A Moveable Feast’ or ‘a miserable time actually’? Ernest Hemingway, Kay Boyle, and Modernist Memoir.” This section covers a wide array of Hemingway titles and focuses on elements of memory including memory as invention, the modernist memoir and its defining qualities, and the special role played by place in the memories enacted in Hemingway’s work.
The final section, “Memory and Truth,” contains articles that attempt to get at the “truth” memory is supposed to represent while keeping in mind, as...