The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece “The Sun Also Rises”

Shehryar Fazli in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

EbbTo read or reread Hemingway is always, in part, to inquire into the mystery of his significance. The ideals he symbolized are dated — masculinity and “heroic dissipation,” to quote Edmund Wilson in his collection The Wound and the Bow — while the appeal of his deceptively lean style seems to have eluded several generations of American novelists who valued excess over omission. However, if we can’t explain why, we also can’t evade the proposition that Ernest Hemingway continues to matter.

Lesley M. M. Blume’s Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece “The Sun Also Rises” offers an opportunity to visit the question afresh. It isn’t just an account of Hemingway’s writing of his first major work, but also of an animating moment in literary history, when modernism was maturing in the barrel and Hemingway readied to pour the United States its first major dose. Like Hemingway’s posthumously published A Moveable Feast, Blume’s book covers the author’s search for a style, as well as a subject that would be thoroughly modern but would also capture the wider public’s imagination.

More here.