Why would you read Hemingway? I have met very few people who have complimented Hemingway. Those who did, either only know him to be famous in literature, or are hopeless romantics.
You cannot romanticize Hemingway. It is not poetry. Cynics would say, that the man carried a bit too much of his journalistic abilities into writing fiction.
Then, why is it, that I find Hemingway embedded in my mind? Why is it, that, if indeed his writing is dilute and lacking thrill, it stays with you?
We readers take too much on face value. I guarantee, that if someone were to write a story filled with awe-inspiring impressions, doing poetic justice to seemingly mundane things, we would value it more than a dry piece about say, modern political warfare.
No, Hemingway didn’t strive to be either of the above. He didn’t strive to be anything beyond the human he is. It seems, like he perceived the world as human. He did not expect anything from it. He grew to love what was.
As much as he did not complain, he did not eulogize.
One can think him to be to literature, what impressionist artists were to art. Cézanne slandered Monet of being ‘only an eye’.
I remember thinking the authors and poets of the Beat generation to also be the impressionists of literature. Reading Hemingway, I again, thought of the Beat generation, because Hemingway’s writing makes one regard him to be the forefather of the Beat generation.
Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ was perhaps the most unruly piece of literature I have read until now, but I did not cease to admire him, thanks to the effect ‘The Dharma Bums’ had on me. The short novel captures wanderlust like it has no parallel.
Similarly, Hemingway’s accounts of various places is written in such a way, that one can actually form a personal memory around them. Who can say that I haven’t been to Pamplona?
Hemingway’s works are not meant to be judged. They are meant to carry along with you. The man had seen more of the world – both geographically and aesthetically – than anyone ever will. That’s why, like he said, he simply sat before his typewriter and bled.
One can also find his counterpart in film: Richard Linklater’s trilogy of ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’. How would you describe the films? If you have watched them, then you know that, in one sentence, you cannot. It would be misleading. Actually, criticism would never do justice to them.
So, of course, for those who loved these films, will know what is to love Hemingway, too.