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Teaching Hemingway and War

Hemingway Studies, Literature & Literary Criticism, Teaching Hemingway

DescriptionPedagogical approaches to the theme of war in Hemingway’s work

“I’ve been teaching Hemingway for more than two decades, and I can honestly say that this book will change the way that I introduce his work to my students.” —Steven Trout, University of South Alabama

In 1925, Ernest Hemingway wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald that “the reason you are so sore you missed the war is because the war is the best subject of all. It groups the maximum of material and speeds up the action and brings out all sorts of stuff that normally you have to wait a lifetime to get.” Though a world war veteran for seven years, at the time he wrote Fitzgerald, Hemingway had barely scratched the surface of his war experiences in his writing, yet it would be a subject he could never resist. As an eyewitness to the emergence of modern warfare, through the Second World War, and as a writer devoted to recreating experience on the page, Ernest Hemingway has gifted us with an oeuvre of wartime representation ideal for the classroom.

Teaching Hemingway and War offers fifteen original essays on Hemingway’s relationship to war with a variety of instructional settings in mind, and the contributors bring to the volume a range of experience, backgrounds, and approaches. Some of the topics included are:

  • The Violence of Story: Teaching In Our Time and Narrative Rhetoric
  • Hemingway’s Maturing View of the Spanish Civil War
  • Robert Jordan’s Philosophy of War in For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Hemingway, PTSD, and Clinical Depression
  • Perceptions of Pain in The Sun Also Rises
  • Across the River and into the Trees as Trauma Literature

The final section provides three excellent undergraduate essays as examples of what students are capable of producing and as contributions to Hemingway studies in their own right.

EditorAlex Vernon is a professor of English at Hendrix College in Arkansas. His Hemingway and war studies titles are Hemingway’s Second War: Bearing Witness to the Spanish Civil War and Soldiers Once and Still: Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O’Brien. He has also edited essay volumes on war literature in general, on teaching the works of Tim O’Brien, and on the war memoir. He has published two soldiering memoirs of his own with Kent State University Press—The Eyes of Orion: Five Tank Lieutenants in the Persian Gulf War (1999) and most succinctly bred (2006).