I don’t like Ernest Hemingway.

Usually when someone makes a comment like this about an author he or she means that they don’t like the things that particular individual has written.

This understanding would be a logical way to interpret my above statement.

This is not really what I’m trying to say.

I strongly dislike Hemingway, as a person.

And not just in the way that I’m thinking “Huh, seems like he wasn’t a great guy I don’t really like him.” No, I am actually irritated by the thought of Hemingway, as if this long dead author wronged me in some grievous way.

You could argue that it does really have to do with my dislike of his writing:

Maybe it’s because I’ve analyzed “Hills Like White Elephants” line by line one too many times.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like his style ( the man used “and” so many times, and I’m not a fan of the expletive construction).

Maybe it’s because I get some sort of perverse glee in disliking something that everybody else thinks is the bee’s knees.

Or maybe it’s because when I do read Hemingway it makes me feel like there’s really no point in much of anything because everything is pretty terrible.

But that’s not it (although all of the above are true), the truth is I honestly haven’t read that much Hemingway and I don’t totally hate it when I do read stuff that he has written.  I am just irritated that what I am reading and not hating is written by this guy that I have decided I would not want to hang out with (were he still alive of course, I certainly don’t want to hang out with him in his current state).

What it really boils down to is that I don’t like Hemingway in the way you might not like that girl who was mean to you in 8th grade.  I have this perception, from portrayals of Hemingway and things I’ve read about him and in his own words, that I would find him rather unpleasant. He seems sort of like a pompous, holier-than-thou, condescending, curmudgeonly kind of guy.  Hemingway (who has been dead for 52 years) bothers me, on a really weirdly personal level.

Clearly, I am absolutely insane.  I think I’ve spent one too many hours in the library. I now judge writers based not on their works, but on their supposed personalities. I perceive them based on whether or not I would want to have lunch with them (Yes to Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, and Dorothy Parker.  No to the Brontës, Emily Dickinson, and obviously, Hemingway).

It would appear that I am well on my way to my life as a reclusive, cat owning writer.

Advertisements