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Hemingway’s The Green Hills of Africa CRH Essays

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Hemingway’s The Green Hills of Africa CRH


The Green Hills of Africa is Hemingway’s second non-fiction work, set in 1933, following the author and his second wife, Pauline, on a big-game safari in Africa. It was first serialized and then published in 1935. The first run was of 10,500 copies selling at $2.75 a piece. While many smaller critics passed their typical glossy review of Hemingway, those at the height of literary criticism bombarded it. Particularly with respect to what Hemingway claimed the novel was. In the foreword of the novel, Ernest Hemingway writes, “The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination.”1 Fittingly the critical response to Hemingway’s second non-fiction work examined the novel in that respect, as well as in its achievement as a free-standing novel.

The initial responses to the Green Hills of Africa fall into three categories: poor, indifferent, and promising. Starting with the poor reviews, always Hemingway’s favorites, John Chamberlain of the New York Times calls the novel “simply an overextended book about hunting”, not the “profound philosophical experience” that the foreword proposes it is. Further, it is “not one of Hemingway’s major works.”2 Newsweek says, “He said he wanted to write a novel and earn enough money to go back to Africa to "learn more about lions" and that is all he did.”3 Perhaps the most biting criticism comes from Edmund Wilson:

As soon as Hemingway begins speaking in the first person, he seems
to lose his bearings, not merely as a critic of life, but even as a
craftsman....
Almost the only thing we learn abou...


... middle of paper ...


...al format.
5. http://www.hemingwaysociety.org/virthem.htm
This site provides many useful links to all aspects of Hemingway, including his writing, criticism, and other useful links.

1 Foreword, Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa
2 http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-green2.html
3 Africa: Book Hemingway Wrote So He Could Rejoin the Lions
Newsweek, 6, October 26, 1935, 39-40
4 http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/hemingway.htm
5 pg. 157, Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Reception, Burt Franklin and Co. 1977
6 pp22, 50, The Literary Reputation of Hemingway in Europe, Leteres Modernes, 1965
7 pg. 157, Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Reception, Burt Franklin and Co. 1977
8 pg. 154, Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Reception, Burt Franklin and Co. 1977
9 152, Ernest Hemingway: The Critical Reception, Burt Franklin and Co. 1977


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