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  • Fitzgerald and Hemingway
  • Michael Von Cannon

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway continue to attract considerable scholarly inquiry. This year, scholarship on Fitzgerald engages affect theory, gender and race identities, and visual culture while also focusing on literary influence, warfare, and the aesthetics and ethics of biography. The Great Gatsby receives no shortage of critical attention, but scholars also spotlight Tender is the Night and various short stories as well as Zelda Fitzgerald's stories and novel. Likewise, scholarship on Hemingway emphasizes affect, influence, and wartime biography and war writing in addition to fictional appropriation, modernist aesthetics, and pedagogical strategies.

i F. Scott Fitzgerald

a. Books and Essay Collections

In "Tender is the Night" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's Sentimental Identities (Alabama) Chris Messenger positions the novel as a model of modernism's engagement with sentiment and sentimentality, characterizing the former as "the emotion" and the latter as the often pejoratively described act of self-consciously "stimulat[ing], indulg[ing], and wallow[ing] in the emotion." Although the subtitle implies a sole focus on identities, Messenger utilizes a tripartite structure, analyzing not only identities but also what he refers to as "refractions" as well as literary influences. In the first part—on identity—he begins by pointing out sentimental scenes (e.g., the Beaumont Hamel battlefield tour) and, in contrast, other narrative moments (e.g., Nicole Diver's [End Page 153] breakdowns) that are "made more barbarous by the absence of sentiment when it is needed most." This contrast sets up an examination of the central paradox, whereby Dick Diver as psychiatrist-husband maintains an intimate relationship with Nicole while also treating the traumatic effects of father-daughter incest by transferring guilt and blame onto himself. In the second and third chapters of Part 1, Messenger counterintuitively shows how Fitzgerald represent the important subject of love by fashioning Dick as a maternal figure (through a series of sister and mother-daughter plots) who must cordon himself off from this ostensibly feminized or queer identity by becoming a reincarnation of Devereux Warren. In Part 2, Messenger elaborates more fully on Fitzgerald and his protagonist's need to control identity through sentimental characters and plotlines that become both the cause of the problems and their solutions. By arguing that Nicole "is perhaps the best example in Tender of a totality of refractions [of Sara Murphy, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Fitzgerald's two dead sisters] in a resentimentalizing of representations," Messenger concentrates on Zelda's mental illness, positing that Fitzgerald sought "control … of the psychiatric milieu that was dictating to him during the nightmare of Zelda's incarceration." Able neither to cure Zelda nor to inhibit her from assuming the role of writer (by publishing Save Me the Waltz), he can compensate for any perceived impotence by devising the sentimental plot of a woman in need of saving. In the final part of the book, Messenger turns from biographical influences to literary and historical ones. He examines the character of the Queen Moon in John Keats's poetry, the myth surrounding Florence Nightingale, the nurse character Sarah Gamp in Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, and the relationship between incest and mourning in William Faulkner's Sanctuary and Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy. Discussing these influences on the novel, Messenger also quickly reads some of Fitzgerald's short stories, including "Her Last Case," "An Alcoholic Case," and in the conclusion "More Than Just a House." Throughout the book, Messenger integrates the psychoanalytic theory of Slavoj Žižek's The Parallax View as well as Judith Butler's and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's theories on gender and sexuality. Undoubtedly, this dense book should be essential reading not only for those scholars researching Tender but also for those interested in gender, affect, and modernist literature.

b. Articles and Book Chapters

Five articles turn to The Great Gatsby by focusing on issues related to literary influences, adaptations, historical [End Page 154] and cultural contexts, and gender and race identities. A few scholars look specifically at influence by uncovering intertexts and subtexts in Fitzgerald's novel: Jessica Martell and Zackary Vernon in "'Of Great Gabasidy': Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great...


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pp. 153-175
Launched on MUSE
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