“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about,” Ernest Hemingway observed, “he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.” Ernest Hemingway’s stories “rewired” short fiction with their terse, direct lack of affect and their insistence that we read between the lines. No one before him had ever written in such a style, a style that would influence fiction writers to this day. Author Tobias Wolff has said, “It’s hard to imagine a writer who hasn’t been affected by him. He changed the furniture in the room.” The class will focus on the stories themselves, not the larger-than-life, mythic figure of the author. For that I recommend the epic, impeccably researched Ken Burns documentary Hemingway. The class will focus on close readings of the major stories and in the end come to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for this literary genius.
Seminar participants will be asked to bring a copy of the following edition to class: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Scribner edition (paperback).