Linda Patterson MillerMay 16, 2022
Linda Patterson Miller on Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"
Book Talk 52
New Books Network 2022
When first published in 1926, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises changed American literature forever. Hemingway follows a disillusioned group of expats in post-World War I Europe whose relationships unravel as they travel from Paris to the bullfights in Spain. Unsettling, provocative, and inspiring to this day, this legendary novel about loyalty, love, and betrayal challenges readers to discover what it takes to be true to oneself. Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay put it well: “[w]hen Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises, he shot a fist in the face of the false romantic-realists and said: ‘You can’t fake about life like that.’” And Ralph Waldo Ellison, author of Invisible Man (podcast), said: “Because Hemingway loved the American language and the joy of writing…he was in many ways the true father-as-artist of so many of us who came to writing during the late thirties.” I spoke with Professor Linda Patterson Miller to understand why the novel had such an impact, what the book meant for the “lost generation” after World War I, how to read Hemingway from a feminist perspective, and how best to address parts of the novel that strike us as offensive today. Inspired by this conversation, I wrote an essay on the conspicuous use of the n-word in The Sun Also Rises for a new edition of the novel published by Warbler Press that charts a path beyond the cancel-or-defend-at-all-cost positions in today’s culture wars. Professor Miller teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s campus in Abington, Pennsylvania, has written seminal essays on Hemingway and other authors, and is the editor of Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends (2002).
Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Think About It” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @UliBaer.