Hemingway

How the great American novelist became the literary equivalent of the Nike swoosh.

Nathan Heller

Ernest Hemingway would be aghast to see what has become of Ernest Hemingway. Against the gray obscurity that awaits most writers in death, his image, 50 years later, has become the literary equivalent of the Nike swoosh or golden arches. Who doesn’t have a mental picture of the gray beard and safari shirt? Who couldn’t vamp a Hemingway-like sentence in a pinch? In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s recent Oscar favorite, Papa turned up unsmilingly in a range of Jazz Age hideaways to make pronouncements about fighting men who are “brave and true” and who write with honesty and die with grace.

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