The Sun Also Rises The Sun Also Rises question

Did Hemingway Copy Fitzgerald?
Monty J Heying Monty J (last edited May 01, 2014 08:58AM ) Nov 29, 2013 08:35PM
There are strong parallels between The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises. Both are about hedonistic Americans in the post WWI era and are narrated in first-person by young men whose lives are thrown sideways by obsession over a beautiful unprincipled woman.

Neither book has anything good to say about women and both have anti-semitic elements and take shots at the British. The narrators of both are transformed, having wised up to their own gullibility toward the women leads.

"Isn't it pretty to think so," Jake says to Brett in TSAR after she implies that they could have had fun together.

"They're a rotten crowd," Nick shouted to Gatsby. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."

Given the close relationship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the publication timing of the two books--TSAR coming a year after TGG--one might conclude that Hemingway modeled his debu novel after Fitzgerald's third, TGG.

Prominent negative characters, Cohn and Wolfsheim, were Jewish and portrayed disparagingly.

In TSAR, Nick said Cohn's appearance was improved by having his nose broken. Cohn had offensive personal traits, such as an over-fastidious concern for his appearance and an edgy rudeness toward others. He was touchy, easily offended, demanding an apology from Nick for teasing him. He bullied people, taking unfair advantage of his boxing training, to exact revenge over Brett against a nineteen year-old matodor.

Wolfsheim was a major crime figure, shown with sinister and socially repugnant traits, such as cuff links made from human teeth and he corrupted Gatsby to gain access to politicians and business leaders, lavishing Gatsby with praise but refusing to honor him with attendance at his funeral.

Both writers portrayed the sentiments of the era, but since Fitzgerald was the more senior, age-wise and otherwise, it makes sense that Hemingway followed his lead.

The books were seen differently by the literary world. TGG was labeled as a chronicle of "the Lost Generation" and TSAR as "a cautionary tale of the decadent downside of the American dream." The subject matter of corruption and decadence was similar, just a different setting, with TGG in New York and TSAR in Paris, Pamplona and Madrid.

He only copied the periods and question marks from Fitzgerald.

I believe you've gotten your book reviews wrong. Hemingway actually coins the term (or at least brings it into popular use) "the lost generation" in the first few pages of TSAR. It was said to him in the middle of a fight with Gertrude Stein.

I wouldn't say that Hemingway was influenced by Fitzgerald to the extent you suggest. Instead, I'd suggest that Hemingway made Fitzgerald into one of his main characters in TSAR (that is, Robert Cohn). If you look at the similarities between the character and the life of Fitzgerald it is hard to claim otherwise. This may explain the overlap between Gatsby and TSAR.

The plots of the two novels are totally different.

Didn't Hemingway remark at one point that he greatly admired Fitzgerald's talent but disagreed with his wordy style, and found his stories unreadable?

Aside from the anti-Semitic controversy, as far as Hemingway & Fitzgerald's writing styles go, they both attributed their styles to Knut Hamsun. Hamsun's book "Hunger," written in the 1890s, was the start of writing sparingly, knowing what to leave out. The simpler it is, the clearer it is. "Hunger" is quite a good read by the way. It's about a down-and-out writer.

Back to the anti-Semitic comments, Knut Hansum lived a very long time, maybe too long, because he unfortunately went bonkers late in life and became a Nazi sympathizer.

deleted member May 01, 2014 08:02AM   0 votes
I'd go as far to say that Fitzgerald is the rich man's Hemingway.

I have read that Fitgerald edited TSAR before it was sent to the publisher, successfully convincing Hemingway to delete the original first twenty pages of the novel.

Phillip Frey Thanks, Christine. I wasn't aware of that. ...more
Apr 27, 2014 12:37PM · flag
Monty J Heying This rings true to me as well. It must have galled Fitzgerald that Hemingway's novel was an instant success while TGG got such mixed reviews and did n ...more
Apr 27, 2014 01:18PM · flag

I've read both, and I can't really see any similarities. Both were groundbreaking novels, though.

I don't understand the comment that both novels are anti-Semitic. How do you get to that conclusion?

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