Function of nostalgia: Ernest Hemingway

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department English
Author Tanner, Stephen L
Title Function of nostalgia: Ernest Hemingway
Date 1964-07
Description Wright Morris once made the statements "The 'subject' of Wolfe, Hemingway, and Faulkner, however various the backgrounds, however eontrasting the styles, pushed to its extremity, is nostalgia." The chapters which follow are, in a sense, an examination of how valid this statement is in regard to Hemingway, but in them I have gone beyond just considerations of nostalgia as "subject" to examine how nostalgia functions as a technical device and what significance it has for an understanding of Hemingway as artist. It should be understood that I am not attempting to explain all of Hemingway in terms of nostalgia; no one critical approach can provide all of the answers to why a man writes fiction and what that fiction means. My purpose has been to concentrate on an element in Hemingway's writing which I feel is important for a thorough understanding of Hemingway and which, as far as I know, has previously received little consideration. I have used the word "nostalgia" in my title with some reservations because the meaning of this word is rather ambiguous. In the past it simply meant homesickness, but now, according to Webster's Third International Dictionary, it means "a wistful or excessively sentimental sometimes abnormal yearning for return to or return of some real or romanticized period or irrecoverable condition or setting in the past." But even this broad definition is not completely satisfactory, probably because the feelings to which the term nostalgia is applied are themselves very difficult to describe because of their subtlety and evanescence. In the essay quoted above, Mr. Morris says; The power and sources of nostalgia lie beyond the scalpel. Nostalgia sings in the blood, and with age it grows thicker, and when all other things fail it joins men in a singular brotherhood. Wherever they live in the present, or hope to live in the future, it is in the past that you will truly find them. In the past one is safely out of time but not out of mind. Nostalgia is not associated with any particular era or any particular civilization or culture. It is ancient and modern, rural and urban. It is found in primitive societies as well as advanced. It is a phenomenon fundamental to the human creature, Beardsly Ruml, in an article entitled "Some Notes on Nostalgia" says; A recognition of the fundamental and pervasive influence of the nostalgic, under whatever names, will enable us to interpret human behavior with a new realism. This re-interpretation of human behavior will make it possible for us to rewrite the drama of sin and self and sex. . . .The understanding of interpersonal relationships also requires an appreciation of the role played by nostalgic sentiments. We need to realize that friendship, affection, love, whether between persons of the same or of different sexes, have an emotional basis that is always in part and frequently dominantly nostalgic. As I use the term "nostalgia," I will be referring primarily to a person's emotional response to memories of places and events which are, for him, associated with pleasure or satisfaction of some sort, keeping in mind that such emotional response is basic to the human psychology. Ernest Hemingway seemed to realize that an understanding of the nostalgic "will enable us to interpret human behavior with a new realism," and he did make use of his understanding of the nostalgic in his attempt to "rewrite the drama of sin and self and sex."
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Hemingway, Ernest
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name MA
Language eng
Relation is Version of Digital reproduction of "Function of nostalgia: Ernest Hemingway" J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections PE27.5 1964 .T35
Rights Management © Stephen L. Tanner
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 68,536 bytes
Identifier us-etd2,131115
Source Original: University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Conversion Specifications Original scanned on Kirtas 2400 and saved as 400 ppi 8 bit grayscale jpeg. Display image generated in Kirtas Technologies' OCR Manager as multiple page pdf, and uploaded into CONTENT dm.
ARK ark:/87278/s69p3g78
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-04-23
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 193374
Reference URL
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