In Art Matters, Robert Paul Lamb provides the definitive study
of Ernest Hemingway's short story aesthetics. Lamb locates
Hemingway's art in literary historical contexts and explains what
he learned from earlier artists, including Edgar Allan Poe, Paul
C?zanne, Henry James, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Stephen
Crane, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. Examining how
Hemingway developed this inheritance, Lamb insightfully charts the
evolution of the unique style and innovative techniques that would
forever change the nature of short fiction.
Art Matters opens with an analysis of the authorial effacement
Hemingway learned from Maupassant and Chekhov, followed by fresh
perspectives on the author's famous use of concision and omission.
Redefining literary impressionism and expressionism as alternative
modes for depicting modern consciousness, Lamb demonstrates how
Hemingway and Willa Cather learned these techniques from Crane and
made them the foundation of their respective aesthetics. After
examining the development of Hemingway's art of focalization, he
clarifies what Hemingway really learned from Stein and delineates
their different uses of repetition. Turning from techniques to
formal elements, Art Matters anatomizes Hemingway's story openings
and endings, analyzes how he created an entirely unprecedented role
for fictional dialogue, explores his methods of characterization,
and categorizes his settings in the fifty-three stories that
comprise his most important work in the genre.
A major contribution to Hemingway scholarship and to the study
of modernist fiction, Art Matters shows exactly how Hemingway's
craft functions and argues persuasively for the importance of
studies of articulated technique to any meaningful understanding of
fiction and literary history. The book also develops vital new ways
of understanding the short story genre as Lamb constructs a
critical apparatus for analyzing the short story, introduces to a
larger audience ideas taken from practicing storywriters,
theorists, and critics, and coins new terms and concepts that
enrich our understanding of the field.
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