Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Faulkner vs. Hemingway


I was reading this today and found these quotes, which I found rather amusing.

William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway: "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner: "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

In 11th grade, I took 20th Century Modern American Literature.  For the first half of the semester we focused greatly on Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.  So much so that the teacher made it seem like these were the only two authors writing between WWI and WWII (but all props to Mrs. Susan Hentges.  You were awesome, hope you're enjoying retirement).

Hemingway was all right.  He wrote simply, understandably.  But I felt a lot of the themes in his works were based on conjecture and circular logic.  You had to be thinking that "Hills Like White Elephants" is about abortion in order for it to be true.

Faulkner is just incomprehensible.  His sentence structure is lurid, discursive, and nothing a sixteen-year-old can relate to or even wants to read.  He's artsy for the sake of being artsy, like today's hipsters.  Slap poop on a wall and call it art.

And our final paper was to compare and contrast Faulkner and Hemingway's writing styles.  Pretty easy to do, but didn't make it fun.  So it's nice to see these two disliked each other's writing as much as I did.  But I think they disliked a lot of things anyway.
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