Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway (1936, 22 pages)

Project 196
3 of 196 Countries

My Introductory Post on Project 196

  1. Georgia
  2. Canada
  3. U. S. A.

If you are an author and want to represent your country, please contact me.  If you want to do a guest post on your favorite story for the feature please contact me also.

If you are a publisher that has an anthology that is done in the 196 spirit, please contact me as I will be spotlighting appropriate collections.  

At first I thought I was setting myself an impossible task but a bit of research has made me optimistic  that I can find a short story from all 196 countries in the world.   I feel this part of the project will be completed.

I also want, and maybe this is crazy, to publish a short story, over the next 196 weeks from a writer in each 196 countries.  So the project has two parts, one perhaps not as crazy as it seemed at first  and the other totally crazy!   

Ernest Hemingway (1899 to 1961, USA) is considered an American a writer as one can find.  He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 and is famous for novels like The Sun Also Rise, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea.  Some say his best work was in his short stories with "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" being ranked as among his greatest works.  As an Icon he exemplifies and more or less created the cultural figure of the hard drinking, fast living, womanizing super macho writer.  It was once fashionable to dismiss his work as inferior to the best of modern literature but I think a turn has come in that attitude. Even if you do not like his subject matter you have to admire his technical brilliance, the beauty of his prose, the depth of his psychological insight and the verisimilitude of his characters.  

I chose "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" for my American representative for Project 196 as I think, even though it is set in Africa, it is  a very American story.   The cynical part of me saw the plot action of this story as embodying American foreign policy during the Bush years.  The central character goes to a foreign country, way less developed than the USA or Europe, treats the natives as personal servants. destroys the natural resources for his own uses, in this case just for the pleasure of killing wild animals who he traps into defending themselves so killing them seems justified and reaffirms his manhood and sense of being alive.   He lives from resources he does not have through making a wealthy woman fall in love with him and when he gets in trouble he treats his own issues as if they were the center of the world.   Others will see this as a story of a man, acting in bad faith, trying to reaffirm his manhood, escape the boredom and sadness of lost talent (he was a writer) and of a woman living from the glory of a man.  There is a lot of drinking and talk of womanizing in this story.  

It is a wonderfully done story.   It does not in any way celebrate they things I have talked about but underlies the tragedies they will bring on all who fall into the traps set for the characters in this brilliant work of art.

As one of my  projects, I am reading all of the short stories of Ernest Hemingway and posting on a few of them.

Mel u


@parridhlantern said...

Wow. Nope not enough WOW!!!!!!! That's one hell of a challenge shall follow with interest & amazement.

Unknown said...

At the library book sale last week I found an old paperback copy of the Nick Adams stories. I snatched it up in part becuase I've been thinking about revisiting Hemingway's short stories for a while and in part because I'm intrigued by the idea of looking at how Nick Adams's life would work as a single narrative.

Mel u said...

Parrish Lantern-thanks so much for your support-this is by far the biggest project I have ever undertaken

C. B. James-an intriguing idea on Nick Adams-thanks as always for your comments and visits