Hemingway Conference: Post 1

The first presentation I attended at the Hemingway Conference in Lausanne was on Exploring Hemingway’s Sentence.

This is a live blogging of the session.

map-of-chinaGuodong Jia
Hemingway is popular in China
lexical and syntactic styles of A Farewell to Arms chapters 38-40.

How the physical and psychological spaces are described

There are 91,560 words in AFtoA
The presenter is comparing it to a corpus of normal English with 1 million words.

Statistical data is derived using Oxford Wordsmith Tools- looks at how words behave in texts, 3 major functions: keywords, concordance, word list

In ch. 38-40 Hemingway uses 6,041 words
there are only 1,073 distinct words

634 sentences
mean length 10 words in a sentence

most common # of letters in a word 3, with 1663
4, with 1294
and 2, with 959

Top 10 words in AFtoA:

Sentence types in chapter 38 only
simple 237
compound 25
complex 77
compound/complex 28

14th sentence in ch. 38 is the longest, with 85 words.
“In front of the house where we lived the mountain went down steeply to the plain along the lake and we sat on the porch of the house in the sun…”

lexical= very common words
syntactical= mostly simple or 2 simple sentences combined (mostly with and)

a-farewell-to-armsKatie Owens-Murphy
Hemingway’s writing is remarkably masculine, according to Young.
C. MacKay said it showed a “hardboiled disgust for sissiness”

Polysyndeton = The repetition of conjunctions in close succession for rhetorical effect, as in the phrase here and there and everywhere.

Hemingway uses polysyndeton to signal both extreme pleasure and extreme pain.

polysyndeton is traditionally used in lyric poetry
coordinating conjunction often at the beginning of the line

Frederic and Catherine’s hair dropping scene in AFtoA translates into almost equal syllabi lines if separated into lines by coordinating conjunctions
it becomes good free verse.
Note: Old Man and the Sea does not use polysyndeton.

paul-cezanne-xx-three-bathers-1879-1882Emily Mitchell Wallace
Traveling a Long Way

Picasso said Cézanne was his one and only master.
Hemingway wanted to write like Céznne.

“He could see the Cézannes. The portrait at Gertrude Stein’s. She would know if he ever got things right.” “On Writing”

Cézanne’s painting of his wife hung on one side of the fire place in Stein’s home. The other side held a portrait of Stein by Picasso that was eerily similar to Mme Cézanne’s portrait.

Also, Hemingway wrote about Cézanne’s painting of soldiers bathing in the river. Many people argue that this proves Hemingway did not know the artist.

Emily MW argues that it proves he was a Cézanne afficianado, since it references a story about Cézanne’s work.

Matisse saw Three Women Bathers by Cézanne at a gallery. He couldn’t afford it. It cost the equivalent of $10,000.

He left the art gallery and went into the country. While there he saw soldiers undressing to go bathing in the river. He decided he had to get the Cézanne. He went back. Mme Matisse hocked her emerald ring (and lost it forever since they didn’t have the money to get it back) so that Matisse could purchase Three Women Bathers.

Thus, Emily argued, saying that the painting was of soldiers undressing would not only recall Cézanne’s work, but the particular story about Matisse wanting his work.
The Cézanne painting is from OceansBridge.com.

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