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Reading Hemingway’s Winner Take Nothing

Glossary and Commentary

Hemingway Studies, Literature & Literary Criticism, Reading Hemingway, Recent Releases


A compelling and authoritative reading of Hemingway’s final collection of short stories

Written in 1933 and one of Hemingway’s lesser-known books, Winner Take Nothing was his third and final collection of short stories. These stories are about loners and losers and misfits and ne’er-do-wells. Its characters are ill, tortured, maligned, and frustrated by Hemingway’s world. Like the characters it depicts, Winner Take Nothing is likewise a misfit in Hemingway’s career, a volume of short stories that, as of this writing, is not even in print. Its more popular predecessors, In Our Time (1925) and Men without Women (1927), are held up as iconic collections in the American short story tradition. The grotesqueries of these 14 stories are outcasts in Hemingway’s corpus and have been neglected virtually from the beginning. Editors Mark Cirino and Susan Vandagriff recover an underrated work that still reflects contemporary concerns.

Through line-by-line annotations and accompanying commentary, this book weaves together the biographical, historical, and cultural threads of one of Hemingway’s more overlooked works, thus providing much needed guidance for Hemingway scholars and general readers alike.

Contributors include Mark Cirino, Susan Vandagriff, Kirk Curnutt, Alberto Lena, Bryan Giemza, Suzanne del Gizzo, Carl Eby, Krista Quesenberry, Robert W. Trogdon, Boris Vejdovsky, Verna Kale, Ryan Hediger, Nicole J. Camastra, and Donald A. Daiker.

Mark Cirino is professor and Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair of English at the University of Evansville. He is the coeditor of Ernest Hemingway and the Geography of Memory (Kent State University Press, 2010) and the author of Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action. Cirino serves as the editor of the Kent State University Press’s Reading Hemingway series, for which he published a volume on Across the River and into the Trees (2015) and coedited, with Susan Vandagriff, Reading Hemingway’s Winner Take Nothing (2021).

Susan Vandagriff is assistant professor and scholarly communications librarian at the University of Colorado Springs. She presented at the 2016 Hemingway Conference and wrote the article “The Scapegoat’s Scapegoat: A Girardian Reading of Across the River and into the Trees.”