The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers

The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers

by Robert Paul Lamb


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In The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers, Robert Paul Lamb delivers a dazzling analysis of the craft of this influential writer. Lamb scrutinizes a selection of Hemingway's exemplary stories to illuminate the author's methods of construction and to show how craft criticism complements and enhances cultural literary studies. The Hemingway Short Story, the highly anticipated sequel to Lamb's critically acclaimed Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story, reconciles the creative writer's focus on art with the concerns of cultural critics, establishing the value that craft criticism holds for all readers.

Beautifully written in clear and engaging prose, Lamb's study presents close readings of representative Hemingway stories such as "Soldier's Home," "A Canary for One," "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," and "Big Two-Hearted River." Lamb's examination of "Indian Camp," for instance, explores not only its biographical contexts — showing how details, incidents, and characters developed in the writer's mind and notebook as he transmuted life into art — but also its original, deleted opening and the final text of the story, uncovering otherwise unseen aspects of technique and new terrains of meaning. Lamb proves that a writer is not merely a site upon which cultural forces contend, but a professional in his or her craft who makes countless conscious decisions in creating a literary text.

Revealing how the short story operates as a distinct literary genre, Lamb provides the meticulous readings that the form demands — showing Hemingway practicing his craft, offering new inclusive interpretations of much debated stories, reevaluating critically neglected stories, analyzing how craft is inextricably entwined with a story's cultural representations, and demonstrating the many ways in which careful examinations of stories reward us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807162293
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 08/03/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,201,726
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Robert Paul Lamb received his doctorate in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. He is author of Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story and coeditor of A Companion to American Fiction, 1865—1914. He was named the 2008 Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

I Full Encounters of the Close Kind

1 Really Reading a Hemingway Story: The Example of "Indian Camp" 3

Prologue: The Contexts of "Indian Camp" 3

Failure: The Original Opening 14

Triumph: The Achievement of "Indian Camp" 26

Coda: Coming Full Circle in "Fathers and Sons" 84

II How Craft Readings Contribute to Understanding Stories

2 Dueling Wounds in "Soldier's Home": The Relation of Textual Form, Narrative Argument, and Cultural Critique 89

3 The "Pointless" Story: What Is "A Canary for One"? 112

III Metacritical and Metafictional Hemingway

4 Hemingway on (Mis)Reading Stories: "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" as Metacriticism 153

5 Hemingway on (Mis)Writing Stories: "Big Two-Hearted River" as Metafiction 167

Acknowledgments 193

Notes 197

Works Cited 215

Index 225

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The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading and re-reading Lamb's first book, Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story, I was very excited to purchase the sequel, in which Lamb promised to apply his many ideas and concepts to whole stories.  He did not disappoint.  The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers is breathtakingly brilliant.  In the long first chapter on "Indian Camp," Lamb effortlessly weaves together craft, theme, biographical details, and his masterful knowledge of how Hemingway's art works to create a tour de force of criticism.  The next two chapters, on "Soldier's Home" and the highly underrated "A Canary for One," use the craft analysis Lamb developed in his first book to open up dimensions of these stories that no one had ever noticed, and to show how a focus on craft both settles longstanding critical debates and also deepens our understanding of a story's endless layers of meaning.  The final two chapters, on another neglected Hemingway masterpiece, "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," which critics have never understood, and on the much discussed "Big Two-Hearted River," are remarkable, and bring his two-volume study of Hemingway's art to an appropriate close.  The former looks at "metacritical" Hemingway, how the author himself anticipates the ways in which critics and readers process a story.  The latter examines "Big Two-Hearted River" as a story about the writing of stories, that is, a text that works on many levels, one of which is metafictional.  As in his first volume, Lamb writes beautifully, in an elegant, clear prose that can be read and appreciated by anyone, whether a regular reader or a professional scholar.  This seems particularly apt for a book on Hemingway.  Between them these volumes finally show, in detail and with enormous insight, how the art of the most influential craftsman of the past century actually works.  This is literary study at its absolute finest.  This book is nearly as good as reading Hemingway himself, and I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone interested in Hemingway, the art of fiction, or the short story genre.  Or to anyone who simply wants a great read.