Tuesday, November 01, 2005

oct 31 issue: "overheard at the new yorker" part 2

Gopnik: You know that modernism stuff they were talking about earlier? Are there any, you know, more American modernists?

Packer: Well, yes, Hemingway is often considered an American modernist writer.

Gopnik: Hemingway, yeah. Didn't he, like, shoot and go outdoors too?

Packer: Indeed, he visited Key West for fishing and other exotic locales for sport hunting.

Gopnik: And wasn't he involved in some war somewhere?

Packer: The Spanish Civil War, you mean?

Gopnik: Wow! What a coincidence!

This because Hemingway figures not only in Packer's essay, which I like, but for no reason at all in Gopnik's, on Winslow Homer, "His haunts, and his attitudes, uncannily anticipate Hemingway's [ . . . ] The dignity of the hunt, the beauty of fatality, the mystical (or mystified) relationship of hunter and prey: all these things which one associates with Hemingway's stoical vision are part of Homer's too. Like Hemingway's, Homer's view of life was decided by his experience of war, and he was drawn ambivalently to the elemental physical pleasures both as an escape from the horror of human conflict and as a kind of poetic symbol of it." (72)

Again, I feel these gentlemen need to broaden their frame of reference.

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