- Hemingway in the Digital Age: Reflections on Teaching, Reading, and Understanding ed. by Laura Godfrey
In this new Teaching Hemingway title, Laura Godfrey of North Idaho College selects essays from top Hemingway scholars who recommend best practices to teach Ernest Hemingway in the digital age.
In "Virtual Papa," Lisa Tyler of Sinclair Community College discusses an artful way to conduct online research. First, she warns teachers that in the nascent stages of research students will, most likely, punch up facts that are already known, such as his fishing and hunting prowess, his family's mental health issues, and myriad plays, exhibits, and festivals that take place annually. Tyler points out that this information does not focus on the literary Hemingway. To get to know the literary Hemingway, she suggests several newspaper archives including the Kansas City Star and Toronto Star because both papers: "ransacked their archives and published online every article they could find that Hemingway wrote during his tenure at their organizations" (17). George Plimpton's 1958 The Paris Review interview and Lillian [End Page 213] Ross's 1950 New Yorker article are available online too, providing a glimpse into Hemingway as a writer and as a person. Additionally, Tyler recommends the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library website and The Michigan Hemingway Society site, where students can secure information about his fiction set in Michigan.
Michael K. Steinberg and Jordan Cissell discuss their environmental literature class at the University of Alabama in "Beyond the Photographs." When students are asked to "describe the first image of Ernest Hemingway that comes to mind" (22) the answer is most often associated with a picture of Hemingway standing next to a large fish. Interestingly, their students use these photos for research. In fact, they measure the fish and compare them to the size of fish caught today. Students learn that fishing in the 1930s was much different than it is now. For instance, "The size and number of fish Hemingway caught are largely unheard of today in the same waters" (24), and billfish population has drastically declined. The authors do caution that "we cannot and should not suggest that students make quantitative statements about the declines in fish sizes and populations based on a limited number of photographs. However, the photographs can at least demonstrate what existed during Hemingway's Cuban years, illuminating their drastic decline in both size and number" (25). The essay also highlights that Hemingway was not simply a "meat" fisherman – someone who catches and kills large fish for entertainment; he was "cognizant of the pressure that both early sport and commercial fishing were having on certain species" (28). Hemingway was a founding member of the International Game Fish Association and collaborated with scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Because of his knowledge, experience, and love of fishing and the ocean, he was able to write realistically about it.
Hemingway scholar Kirk Curnutt, English professor and chair at Troy University, writes about the benefits of using memes and photos as a teaching tool to enliven the classroom in "A Memeable Feast." Curnutt recommends pictures of Hemingway pointing his Tommy gun into the camera lens, and images of Hemingway fan tattoos, which display "how fans publicize their literary passions" (36). This – especially the photo with the Tommy gun – "help[s] break the ice in classrooms by humanizing the author's image" (35). The bottom line for Curnutt is that it is important to be engaging, so do what you have to do to connect with students. He believes the educational value [End Page 214] of Hemingway memes – especially the ones with quotations – are central to Hemingway studies because they demonstrate a basic trait of modernism, and that is they are "reinventing literary expression through experimentation … in other words [they] MAKE IT NEW" (41).
Rebecca Johnston, co-vice president of the Florida Hemingway Society, discusses the benefits of using Google Maps and Google Earth to better understand the setting in Hemingway's works. Here's why: although he included autobiographical elements in his...