The Essential Tragic Conservatism Of Ernest Hemingway

by Sam Bluefarb (July 2011) 

The further you go in writing the more alone you are. Most of your best and oldest friends die. Others move away. --Ernest Hemingway, from The Paris Review interviews, Writers at Work

Apart from his sometime connection with the left during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939), few think of Ernest Hemingway as a conservative, or simply conservative--there is a subtle difference. Yet Hemingway’s tragic conservatism was not political, though briefly he was drawn to the non-partisan politics of the revolutionary left. Michael Reynolds puts a more benign face on it:

Never a radical, Hemingway became apolitical and remained so for the rest of his life. . . . [H]e was one of the least overtly political writers of his generation.[1]

Actually, Hemingway’s tragic conservatism can in part be traced back to the legendary traumatic wound he sustained in 1918 during the First World War, an experience he immortalized in A Farewell to Arms (1929). Hemingway shared that tragic vision with the great Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936), And although there is no evidence that the two ever met--Unamuno was dead by 1936—they shared not only a love of Spain but the challenge to faith in a world where God has disappeared, and despair has filled the void of His loss. It’s a despair—and a fear--that comes to Jake Barnes at night, where “for six months I never slept with the electric light off.”[2] Fear of the dark and of the night is a neurotic syndrome of key characters in Hemingway. In the story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,”[3] the scene is a café in Madrid. Two waiters are ready to close up for the night but are delayed by an old man who keeps ordering more drinks. The man had recently attempted suicide. The young waiter wants the old man to leave so that he can go home to his young wife who is waiting for him. The older waiter has compassion for the old man, and can identify with him because he too suffers from despair. As he tells the young waiter, “I am of those who like to stay late in the café. . . . With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night.”[4]

The older waiter finally tells the younger waiter to go home, that he will close up. On his way home, to his room, the older waiter knows that, for him, there is no clean, well-lighted place either. If there is a God, where is He? And if He doesn’t exist, what or whom can he pray to?  “but he knew it was all nada y pues nada  y nada  y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada. . . .” etc, etc. . . .” [5]

Unamuno expresses the same bleak vision, though he clings to faith in spite of its seeming irrationality: “We have created God [says Unamuno] in order to save the Universe from nothingness."[6] Thus, each of these men struggled with the same dark angel, except that Hemingway expressed it through his characters, while Unamuno, did so in his philosophical work;[7] the main character in “Now I lay Me,” is afraid to sleep in order to keep the nightmare at bay, and stays awake reminiscing about fishing in an earlier time; Frederick Henry in A Farewell to Arms concedes to the priest that although he does not love God, he fears Him—at night!

*         *          *

It could not have been a momentary brainstorm that inspired two incongruent quotations on the epigraph page of The Sun Also Rises (1926)--that off-hand comment made by Gertrude Stein, “You are all a lost generation,” and the longer passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes:

One generation passeth away and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever . . . the sun also ariseth, and. . . goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose. . . .All rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. . . .

Unlike Stein’s comment, which refers to one fleeting generation, Hemingway has juxtaposed a Biblical passage that is in sharp contrast to Stein’s; it touches on something more profound than a single (“lost”) generation.

Lostness was not the cause of that generation’s cynicism and hedonism but a rationalization for it. Hemingway was not “lost,” neither was F. Scott Fitzgerald, the eponymous darling of that generation, nor were the genuine working artists and writers who lived in the pensions and cheap hotels of the Montparnasse quarter. They worked at their trade, writing, painting, aching to produce great, lasting works. (The Sun Also Rises is still a popular best seller, after eighty five years.) These young people were the antithesis of lostness! Carlos Baker, the eminent Hemingway scholar and biographer, has put paid to the myth:

It ought to have been plain to discerning readers that Jake Barnes, Bill Gorton, and Pedro Romero [in The Sun Also Rises] were solid—if slightly beat-up—citizens of the republic. They were not lost. They refused to surrender to neuroses like those which beset Robert Cohn, Brett Ashley, and Mike Campbell. And three lost neurotics do not make a lost generation.[8]

The public impression of Hemingway was that of a tough guy, a free spirit, who broke free of his mother’s deep Protestant ethos and attacked the faux respectability and hypocrisy of her mid-western values. He characterized his home town of Oak Park, Illinois as a place of “wide lawns and narrow minds.” He countered his mother’s Oak Park moral values with the defiant “Moral is what you feel good after.”[9]

To speak of Hemingway’s tragic conservatism—or Hemingway as a tragic conservative--may sound a jarring note. Yet the world view that runs through his work, points toward human limitations. As Russell Kirk has succinctly put it, “’Conservatism’ is a way of looking at the human condition.”[10] Hemingway’s conservatism--in contrast to the narrower political, fiscal, and social conservatism--cannot be hemmed in by the boundaries of politics or utopian blinkers. Like the English Constitution, an amorphous body of laws and statutes that just “grew [and continues to grow] like Topsy,” Hemingway’s conservatism is best expressed by Russell Kirk’s concept of “negative ideology”:

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism [Kirk’s emphasis] possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries.[11]

In that respect, Hemingway’s tragic conservatism was not based on the “Holy Writ” of Edmund Burke (1729-1797) as it was tempered in the kiln of experience, a word used some thirty times in Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).  Hemingway’s characters live and learn--if they survive (and many do not)--through bitter experience. It has nothing to do with any abstract ideology.

Hemingway’s pessimism was likely rooted in his childhood years and early-life experiences. A product of Midwest conservative values grounded in strong religious convictions and hard work, he absorbed those values, even as he chaffed against his mother’s version of Christianity. On the other hand, his father, a country doctor, was a greater influence. He taught young Ernest how to fish and to hunt, and to cultivate a love for nature.

Nature would be the touchstone of Hemingway's life and work, and though he often found himself living in major cities like Chicago, Toronto and Paris early in his career, once he became successful he chose somewhat isolated places to live like Key West, or San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, or Ketchum, Idaho. All were convenient locales for hunting and fishing.[12]

*          *          *

For Hemingway, the bullring was the quintessential microcosm of the larger human tragedy. His view of life, even at age nineteen, was that of a prematurely seasoned old man, and comes close to the wisdom of old Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea (1952). In October, 1918, in a letter to his parents from Milan, he offers some dubious comfort, but for a nineteen-year old, it is revealing. The passage is nothing that most nineteen-year-olds are likely to write, but perhaps his wounding at Fossalta di Piave—and this may be true of many young Americans fighting in today’s wars—and seeing men die, had intensified the difference between youthful illusion and immanent mortality:  

Dying is a very simple thing. I’ve looked at death. And really I know. . . And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and illusions shattered.[13]

But it was not only his experience—early childhood, the war, deep sea fishing, etc.--that went into forming the complete man; it was his reading.

Legend has it that Hemingway never thought of himself as an intellectual; indeed, he had small use for New York intellectuals. The public image of the boastful, hard-drinking, tough guy was, in part, a mask for his wide reading. Other than the King James version of the Bible, Shakespeare, John Donne. and beyond,[14] much of his early reading was formed by the curriculum of the English Department of his Oak Park High School. Its courses would do credit to any graduate program in English up until the 1960’s, when much of the earlier English curriculum became diluted by radical and post-modernist “theory.” [15]

Somewhere in those readings, Hemingway may well have run across the essays of William Hazlitt (1778-1830) and his essay “On The Fear of Death.”[16] It will be recalled that in the last scene of Hemingway's short story “Indian Camp,”[17] Dr. Adams has just delivered an Indian woman’s baby by Caesarian section. Her husband, in the bunk above her, unable to endure his wife’s agonizing screams—there was no readily available anesthetic up in the Michigan of those days--has cut his throat from ear to ear. The young Nick Adams, witness to the event, asks his father: Is it hard to die? Whereupon Dr. Adams comforts, “No. I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.” And now, “[Nick] felt quite sure that he would never die.”[18] That sense of immortality in children and the young is near universal; but there appears to be little external evidence that Hemingway had ever read Hazlitt’s essays. Yet, the similarity between Nick’s “he felt quite sure that he would never die” and Hazlitt’s “No young man ever thinks he shall die.”[19] is too close for coincidence.

*          *          *        

It may be objected that the life of an author is one thing and his work, another; but in Hemingway’s case there is obviously a close link between the life and the workpacé the “unreliable narrator” and Hemingway’s habitual lying and exaggeration.

Even if Hemingway cannot be jammed into a neat traditional conservative template, there are some points of congruence between the tragic conservatism of his work and traditional conservatism generally—e.g., the less government, the better, became a fetish with Hemingway. The Spanish civil war was a fluke of his essential naiveté in the politics of raw, sectarian ideology. There had always been a deep anti-government streak in him, and not just in his work, but in his personal life—his paranoid fears of the IRS, which should have made him into a candidate for far right extremism: “What you wanted, [as Mr. Frazer in “The Gambler, The Nun, The Radio,” puts it] was the minimum of government, always less government.” And its corollary? “Liberty, what we believed in, now. . . .”[20] It might be argued that these words are not Hemingway’s but those of his character, but there is little light between many of Hemingway’s “code heroes,” either in war or in peace, and their creator—e.g., Frederick Henry is an ambulance driver; Jake Barnes is a newsman; Santiago is a fisherman; even the first person “I” in that mix of memoir and “fiction,” A Moveable Feast (1964), is a Montparnasse café regular.

When we think of conservative traits, Hemingway would more than pass muster. Indeed he’d be one of those simple-minded, gun-obsessed troglodytes that President Barack Obama derisively portrayed as those who “cling to guns or religion.” Hemingway of course loved guns, which by redundant tautology is characteristic of gun-lovers, who are generally on the Right. There may be a few isolated exceptions—the scattering of liberals who like guns, and even own them—for target practice. But it is the conservative who loves guns, not only as a collector of them, but for the more sober reason of self-defense and, in the case of hunters, for the thrill of the chase and the kill, as in Hemingway’s much over-touted big game hunting. A not-so wild guess: Had Hemingway been around when President Obama was uttering those disparaging words, it’s hard not to imagine an outburst of expletives. It is certainly not conservatives who push for more gun control legislation. Indeed, their advocacy of guns—as defensive weapons--often forms the more persuasive argument than the reflexive, emotional responses of the anti-gun cohort. 

*          *          *

Except for his brief flirtation with the left during the Spanish civil war and some occasional articles in the communist New Masses--one, an angry blast at the government for its failure to rescue hundreds of World War One vets, many of whom perished in a Florida hurricane.[21]--his connections with the left were relatively short.

Contrary to the conventional notion that Hemingway was perennially on the left--his fund-raising and reporting for the Spanish Loyalist cause—that was a brief episode of his middle years. It was at that juncture—the outbreak of the civil war-- that the friendship between Hemingway and Dos Passos (who later became a political conservative), came to an end.[22] The rupture between the two was largely due to Hemingway’s purblind support of the Stalinist-controlled United Front government and the murder of Jose Robles, a twenty-year friend of Dos Passos. The communist narrative undertook to falsify the circumstances of his death, which proved to be the “breaking point” for their friendship.

Dos Passos first met Robles in 1916, when Dos was studying architecture in Spain. But twenty years later, when the Spanish civil war erupted, political alliances were formed and broken; and they affected friendships, and the friendship between Dos Passos and Hemingway was no exception. It was under those circumstances that Hemingway’s sense of tragic conservatism temporarily deserted him, and his naiveté trapped him into a support of the Stalinist-controlled Popular Front. That turned out to be one of the more shameful episodes of Hemingway’s life, and did him little credit; indeed, it shone a spotlight on a mean and vicious streak in him.

Robles had been falsely accused of being a “fascist spy,” and after a Stalinist drumhead court-martial, he was quickly executed (more accurately, murdered). Robles was a man of the independent left, and that was his downfall. He not only wanted victory, but a revolution that would establish Leninist socialism. The Stalinists wanted no such thing; they wanted a Republican government that would march to Moscow’s drummer. (According to Stephen Koch in his Breaking Point (2005), Stalin had begun to see Hitler as a possible ally, which of course the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 was the temporary result of. By the time Franco’s forces had split Spain in two, Stalin had washed his hands of that noble cause.) Hence Robles—and Andres Nin, a leader of the POUM,[23] and also a victim of Stalin’s secret police--had to go. Dos Passos would not learn about his friend’s murder until Hemingway baited him by defending the murder as “justice.” This sad episode separated the braggadocio and the occasional sadistic liar from the writer and his work. At the far end of his life, long after Dos broke with the left, he was still the political man, but now of the Right. Hemingway saw Dos Passos as a “truth teller”—a true believer--but a coward. That libel was discredited by Josephine Herbst, who was with Dos when the Hotel Florida, where she, Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Martha Gellhorn were staying, was being heavily shelled.[24] Beyond the Spanish civil war, Hemingway cynically viewed radical politics, indeed, all politics, as the “sort of crap [that] bored him.”[25]

*          *          *

The connection between Unamuno and Hemingway is problematic. The greater literary influence on Hemingway came more directly from Pio Baroja, the older writer’s style rather than theme or substance; More important was the Spanish matrix in which Hemingway’s sense of the tragic was formed; It was a vision he shared with Unamuno, and which came from the same  (Catholic) impulse. One passage from Unamuno’s Tragic Sense of Life, could have come right out of Hemingway— the concrete language of life rather than the abstractions of intellect:

The man of flesh and bone; the man who is born, suffers, and dies—above all, who dies; the man who eats and drinks and plays and sleeps and thinks and wills, the man who is seen and heard; the brother, the real brother[26]

Unamuno’s Tragic Sense of Life encapsulates in a single work of 332 pages what it took Hemingway several novels and scores of short stories to achieve. This is not to suggest any invidious contrasts between the works of these two men; rather, it points to the choice of medium each chose–though, besides his philosophical studies, Unamuno produced a respectable number of fictional works, too. And poetry.  

In his introductory essay to Tragic Sense, S. De Madariaga points toward Unamuno’s constitutional inability to suffer abstractions:

Unamuno. . .refuses to surrender life to ideas and that is why he runs shy of abstractions. . . . [27]

Which both writers shared a distaste for.

Hemingway’s oft-quoted passage in A Farewell to Arms has frequently been cited as an example of his preference for concrete words as opposed to the abstract.

Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.[28]

The words of Frederick Henry are as concrete as those nouns that make up Unamuno’s catalog of “the man of flesh and blood and bone. . . .” etc.

The symbiosis between Hemingway’s religious values and those of his characters—or lack of them--has frequently been discussed in Hemingway criticism. In The Sun Also Rises, Brett Ashley is one of those characters for whom religion is an encumbrance, and yet there is a need in her aimless life for more than drink and sex. Certainly, neither Mike Campbell nor Robert Cohn can fulfill that need, and Jake, perhaps the most likely candidate, falls short for other reasons. The best she can do, under the circumstances, is to decide not to be a bitch ”that ruins children.”[29] Even if that’s a poor consolation, it makes her feel better. “It’s sort of what we have instead of God.” Jake responds, “Some people have God. . . . Quite a lot.”[30] One doesn’t need to go far in Hemingway’s work to run across similar passages implying religious tensions between faltering faith and the need to believe. That tension is shown in Jake Barnes’s ruminations on his own religious needs:

I was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it. . .but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would next  time. . . .[31]

Jake might have expanded on that laconic sentiment, but that would have led to the abstractions of theology and philosophy, which a Jake Barnes or an Ernest Hemingway would have steered clear of.

*          *          *

There is usually—not always of course—a correlation between old age and wisdom, personified by such old men as Count Greffi in A Farewell to Arms and Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea. Both are at or near the end of their lives, and both have been tempered in the matrix of experience. In his Reflections of the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke juxtaposes the experienced with the inexperienced; the tried with the untried; the tested with the untested. In that eloquent and persuasive attack on the follies of blind worship of radical, transformative change. Burke condemned the barbarism of the mob which would do away with the old order without retaining any of its civilized modalities. That is not to say that he opposed all reform. He was no reactionary. Indeed, he was a liberal in the classic sense of the Old Whig faction of the Whig Party. He was a champion of the American Revolution for the very reason, among others, that it was not driven by a mob, or inspired by Rousseau’s pristine man “in chains.” Rather, it was led by wise and discerning men who were grounded in English law and tradition—and who are very modestlikely to have been familiar with Burke and his writings.

Experience and longevity. In A Farewell to Arms, Count Greffi, at age 94, is not only wise but witty. He and the young Frederick Henry are playing a game of billiards and in the course of the game, they exchange some random thoughts on age and wisdom. When Henry suggests that he, Greffi, must be wise because he is old—a simplistic impression of a very young man--Greffi counters with a sly corrective. “No, that is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.” To which Frederick responds, with some small justification “Perhaps that is wisdom.” Further down in the exchange, Frederick’s idea of the wisdom of old age is again countered by Count Greffi. Self deprecatingly, he suggests that what some consider wisdom is, after all, only cynicism. Whereupon Frederick, again, persists: “It sounds very wise to me."[32]

In that sublime short masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago’s stoical insight on old age has more than a touch of melancholy in it: “No one should be alone in their old age. . .but it is unavoidable.”[33] That sober thought bumps up against the effervescent utopianism of the radical  young; To extend the analogy, those who remain ever youthful in their idealism, regardless of age, more often than not, don’t always end up that way. William James puts a more melancholy take on the far end of life: “Old age has the last word: the purely naturalistic look at life, however enthusiastically it may begin, is sure to end in sadness.”[34] And these preoccupations--perhaps unhealthy obsessions if dwelt on too much—are what Unamuno dealt with in Tragic Sense of Life, obsessions which also ebb and flow through Hemingway’s work like a dark tide.

*          *          *

Although Hemingway became a Catholic by conversion and to please his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer, a devout Catholic, in its observance, his Catholicism was perfunctory rather than deep. But if by “Catholic,” we are talking about the deeper philosophical and religious doctrine, then Hemingway was a “Catholic.” By contrast, he had small use for the formal trappings and rites of the Church. For him, they were little more than gestures. Yet the older waiter’s compassion for the old man in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” is a religious feeling born of empathy and identification and compassion; it’s implied he has been through much of the same.

Not for nothing did Hemingway tend to extract the titles for many of his works from Biblical and religious sources, e.g., the quotation from The Sun also Rises comes from the Book of Ecclesiastes; For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) comes from John Donne’s 17th Meditation; the short story, “Now I Lay Me. . .” is an ironic play on a Christian child’s prayer before bedtime; A Moveable Feast, the title of this late-life memoir is drawn from the Christian tradition of a holy day whose date isn’t a fixed one; it alludes to the celebration of the Resurrection. But even in this memoir that’s a mixture of fiction and autobiography, Hemingway could not resist comparing his early years, the Paris of the 1920s, with a religious feast day.

Hemingway’s short story “The Light of the World,” set in a small-town railway station, obviously alludes to the description Jesus gave of himself. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” But there is a cruel irony that touches on that title: on the surface at least, it has little to do with the plotless—seemingly pointless--story. The story is filled with querulous whores, cynical white men, glum Indians, a hostile bar-tender, and a cook. Yet, the title has little or nothing to do with the story--superficially. The religious significance buried in it is so tenuous, it can hardly to be noticed; but for some reason, perhaps known only to Hemingway himself, the significance of the story may lie precisely in Christ’s absence in that railway station where His help is so sorely needed. This is a prime example of Hemingway’s principle of the iceberg, where seven eights of the critical significance of the story is underwater for the small part that’s above. The story could very likely be a prime example of that principle.

Hemingway’s dark view of life runs through all of his work, whether in men of despair (the old man in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”) or men of stoic resignation (Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises); courage to get the job done in the face of imminent death and the blowing of a bridge (Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls).

Unamuno saw heroic achievements growing out of despair: “I believe. . .that many of the greatest heroes, perhaps the greatest of all, have been men of despair, and that by despair they have accomplished their mighty works . . . .[35] We cannot begin to understand Hemingway’s tragic conservatism unless we acknowledge the deep vein of despair that runs through his best work. And we cannot do that unless we recognize that his was not the facile conservatism of the political party—need one say Republican?--or the more militant, and uncompromising Randism, but something deeper and truer.


[1] Michael Reynolds, The Young Hemingway, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986) 194. Kenneth Kinnamon would strenuously disagree. For him, Hemingway was a far left political animal. “Hemingway and Politics,” in Scott Donldson, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ernest, 149-169.  More on that later.

[2] Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, (1926, New York: Simon and Schuster,  1926, 1954)  153.

[3] Ernest Hemingway, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953)

[4] The Short Stories,  382.

[5] The Short Stories, 383.

[6] Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life (New York: Dover, 1954) 90.

[7] Actually, Unamono’s philosophical output was comparatively small—two works, Tragic Sense of Life (1913), of course, and The Agony of Christianity (1925). His fiction and poetry were much more extensive.

[8] Carlos Baker,  Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963) 81.

[9] Ernest Hemingway,  Death in the Afternoon (1933, 1960; New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996) 4.There seems to be the assumption that these words describe Hemingway’s amoral hedonism; but its counter statement, “What is immoral is what you feel bad after,” could apply to guilt because of the sense of futility embedded in vain hedonism.

[10] Russell Kirk, ed., The Portable Conservative Reader  (1982; New York: Penguin Books) xxxv.

[11] Kirk, “Ten Conservative Principles.”


[13] Henry S. Villard and James Nagel, Hemingway in Love and War: The Lost Diary of Agnes Von Kurowsky (New York: Northeastern University Press, 1989) 187.

[14] See the endless list of works, not just writers, but painters and composers, that Hemingway says influenced him. George Plimpton, interview with Ernest Hemingway, Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, Second Series. 215-239.

[15] Michael Reynolds, Hemingway’s Reading, 1910-1940: An Inventory, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1980). Below, a sampling of some of the voluminous offerings in the English curriculum of Oak Park High School,  (Available on an on-line PDF- Adobe Reader):

Henry Bradley, The Making of English; O. F. Emerson, The History of the English Language;Greenough and Kittredge, Words and Their Ways in English Speech;Matthews, Words:Their Use and Abuse; H. Sweet, New English Grammar; Skeat, Etymological Dictionar;y F. A. Ward, A Thesaurus Dictionary; The New Oxford Dictionary

ENGLISH III-(five recitations per week for a half year) This course places special emphasis on the technique of English composition;, a thorough review of the principles of narration and description and of exposition is made.; Syllabus for English III; Rhetoric 4 weeks; Burke’s Speech on Conciliation 6 weeks; Formal Debate Work 3 weeks; Macbeth 5 weeks; Text: Thomas and Howe, Composition and Rhetoric

[16] Donald Blythe, ed., Selected Writings,  (New York: Penguin Books, 1970)  470-481.

[17] Ernest Hemingway, “Indian Camp,” The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway,  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953).

[18] “Indian Camp,”  95. [as Mr. Frazer in]

[19] Selected Writings,   474.

[20] The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, 486.

[21] Joseph North, ed. New Masses: An Anthology of the Rebel Thirties (New York, International Publishers) 199-205.

[22] See Stephen Koch, The Breaking Point (New York: Counterpoint, 2005).

[23] Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista

[24] Josephine Herbst, The Starched Blue Sky of Spain and Other Memoirs (1991; Lebanon, NH; Northeastern University Press, 1999).

[25] Stephen Koch, The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos Passos and the Murder of José Robles,(New York: Counterpoint, 2005) 14,  In his essay “Hemingway and Politics,” The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway, ed. Scott Donaldson, 1996, 149-169.  Kinnamon strongly maintains that politics, especially of the “revolutionary left,” was a life-long passion with Hemingway. But then Kinnamon’s essay tendentiously sees that as a praiseworthy quality instead of a product of Hemingway’s naiveté on matters political —his admiration for Spanish communists, the gullibility with which he believed the communist version of the kangaroo trial and quick execution of the “fascist spy,” Jose Morales. Kinnamon, if judged by this essay, seems not to have probed more deeply into the role of communists and their Stalinist controllers during the Civil War. There is no acknowledgement of George Orwell’s version of the part they played in the war as Orwell vividly reveals in  his Homage to Catalonia, ed. Lionel Trilling, (1952).

[26] Unamuno, 1.

[27] Unamuno, p. xv.

[28] Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (New York: Chsrles Scribner’s Sons 1929, 1957) 185.

[29] The Sun Also Rises, 247.

[30] The Sun Also Rises, 249.

[31] The`Sun Also ises, 103.

[32] A Farewell to Arms, 261-262, 

[33] Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952) 53.

[34] William James, Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Modern Library, 1902), p. 138.

Sam Bluefarb is Prof. Emeritus, Los Angeles Harbor College.

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