Landscape and Masculinity in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

This article has been published on US Studies Online

It is the winner of the 2018 British Association for American Studies (BAAS) Postgraduate Essay Prize.

In lieu of an abstract, an extract from the piece can be read below:

Ernest Hemingway in his military uniform in Milan, Italy, 1918, where, like his character Frederic Henry, he served as an ambulance driver.

Since his first works came to critical attention, Ernest Hemingway has occupied a space in the critical and cultural imagination as a definitively “masculine” writer. His novels and stories focus on male narrators in difficult or extreme situations involving war, violence, and the natural world, and his critical heritage has focused on these elements and on Hemingway’s personal life in order to maintain this characterisation. Recent feminist re-evaluations of Hemingway’s works, however, have led to new readings which complicate the issue of gender identity in his works and provide a basis for renewed discussions of masculinity and the Hemingway hero (Traber 28). Hemingway’s landscapes provide another avenue through which to navigate these discussions, as they, like the masculinities his works explore, cannot be reduced to one layer of significance or to one gender.

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