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Hemingway's distaste for H. L. Mencken has been well-documented. But the philosophical underpinnings that separated the two authors has not. This essay considers the structure of The Sun Also Rises, and argues that behind the surface criticisms of Mencken, Hemingway invested in the long game, building into his first novel a refutation of Nietzsche, Mencken's hero. In this view, The Sun Also Rises tackles the "priest of the actual" through its literary treatment of returns, morals, and manhood. Hemingway's final word on his debate with Mencken finds its voice through the poetic structure of the pilgrimage of Jake Barnes.