Hemingway Conference, 3: Literal & Symbolic Geographies

Don Daiker

This is a live blogging of the session.

This speaker did a good job of treating the talk as a classroom experience. He had folks reading parts of the text. He had a chalk talk section. He included a handout. I think it was the only handout I got at the entire conference.

Bill and Jack are friends
empty tracks– correlative

Why doesn’t Jake go back to Paris with Bill?
question about Jake’s travels
literal geography

Eurnd-change trains to enter Spain from France
“hated to leave France. Life was so simple in France…”
“I felt I was a fool to be going back into Spain.”
France = safe, simple, suburban
Why did he leave France if he didn’t want to?

symbolic
Burguete, San Sebastian
What do they have in common?
relaxed, fishing, water, nature
They are cool, breezy places.
The absence of Lady Brett and Cohn.
Jake doesn’t get drunk here. Moderate drinking.
No problem sleeping.
Economical places.
Each is preceded by night in Bayonne.

Burguete, San Sebastian: He is alone.

Why does Jake go to Spain?
terrain of the bullfighter, terrain of the bull
That’s why it is dangerous.

swimming scenes in San Sebastian
contrasts with fishing in Burguete

fishing= easy to catch fish
stays on bank
waits for Bill to return
life is easy

swimming= dives off raft, decides to break with Brett
freer swimming
more challenging

gets telegram at each place
gets telegram from Brett
says it’s all shot to hell
Jake says he expected it
Brett can’t travel on her own.
So Jake expects to hear from her.
Reason for her to be writing to Jake.

time in Burguete
Jake asks what day it is
loses track of time

time with San Sebastian
recovered a full hour
They had not yet gone to summer

Need San Sebastian scene in order to get to Madrid.

Conflict: Paris, Pamplona, Madrid

last 8 pages of the work are the best
shows, doesn’t tell

During discussion:
in hotel Jake is in charge
opposite experience in Brett’s room versus Jake’s room in Paris

Jake doesn’t get drunk.
Brett is demoralized.

Jake has moved into the terrain of the bull and he controls and dominates Brett, convincing her he is unavailable.

Jake triumphs in Madrid.
some boarders are easier to cross
easier to move into France

San Sebastian is almost France.
More of France than any other
city in Spain, but still Spain.

in San Sebastian sees nurse with a wounded soldier
reminds Jake of Brett
Jake swims to raft and sees a couple
will never experience this
dives deep,
dives through the dark shadow
(some suicidal in diving deep)

Ellen A. Knodt, leading Hemingway scholar
Water as Catalyst

depicted setting in stories in detail

Hemingway’s interest in nature-
interest in Cézanne

Stipes-Watts, Emily
elements show he succeeded
art in literature
double vision

Indian Camp, Out of Season, Big Two-Hearted River

story is framed by boat trip to/from camp
going= emphasis on boat
after= echo scene
emphasis of scene shifts slightly
father apologizes
responds to son’s questions in platitudes
father rowing
new dawn
bass jumped
Nick trailed his hand in the water.
Nick has direct contact with the water.
“In the early morning, on the lake, … he felt quite sure that he would never die.” Last sentence
(“Three Shots” 1st 8 pgs were published posthumously
They were the original beginning of “Indian Camp.”
In them Nick worried about dying.)

Paul Smith says that what Nick feels is not a lie. He won’t die.
immediate cause is direct contact with the water

earlier his father washes his hands before birthing bed
losing connection with father

“Out of Season” either a tragedy or a comedy
(Knodt thinks comedy.)
lunch time argument
turning point is seeing the river

problems:
wind
drunk guide
guide keeps saying there won’t be a problem
river = garbage, junk
no lead for fishing line

briefly after wife leaves, makes plans to fish- still worried about
sees bell tower of church –if issue is abortion, the church tower is important
scene juxtaposed without logic and/or transition

seeing stream out of season
young gentleman feels relief
will not break the fishing law, may not break church law for abortion

vecio= old man, stock comic character who comes between two lovers
Concordia= agreement, a treaty after disagreement

“The Big Two-Hearted River”
moment that Nick enters a story

accounts of preparation for river

water was a rising, cold shock. Shock.
repetition of word shock = Nick shaken out of previous experience.

water currents strong
caught large fish
fish broke line
sat on the logs- gray, smooth to the log
then fishes successfully, unsuccessfully

last fish he hooks, line went slack, fighting fish

eats his sandwiches
fishing river turns into swamp

real challenge to face world he cannot control
cold river is the catalyst of his change
cutting original ending of last 9 pages
“On Writing” was those pages and was later published alone.

H- develops water in these stories.
intense connection to water scapes

physical experience is a catalyst for change

This was published late, due to a family emergency.

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