Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences
Clark Davis, Ph.D.
Aesthetics, Big Two-Hearted River, Bullshit, Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
This paper uses Harry Frankfurt's definition of bullshit as a lens to re-examine Ernest Hemingway's aesthetic of factual details and omission. Frankfurt argues that bullshit consists of speech made with indifference to its veracity, and one who makes a habit of bullshitting may lose touch with reality. By studying three works across the author's career, "Big Two-Hearted River," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and The Old Man and the Sea, one sees that Hemingway's prose style evolves and eventually contradicts his artistic statements. Given the fact that he promotes his aesthetic while discarding it, his theory becomes bullshit. Because normative critical interpretation of the author rests largely on his aesthetic theory, it too is inaccurate. Though Hemingway misrepresents how he writes, the success of his work regardless of aesthetics demonstrates that his writing is more complex than many think and deserves a more thorough re-evaluation.
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Received from ProQuest
Eilers, Nathan R. L., "Hemingway and Bullshit" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 803.
Modern literature, American literature, British and Irish literature