Remembering Hemingway: the endurance of the Hemingway myth

Siobhan Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Consumers of culture can often view history subjectively, perceiving people and events through an idealistic memory to satisfy their perception of 'great', heroic people. The image of American writer Ernest Hemingway was partly created by favorable media imagery and celebrity culture. With the advent of newer media technologies in the twentieth century, writers such as Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emile Zola and Ford Maddox Ford (often called the Lost Generation [generation perdue]) were able to carefully manipulate their audience through their writing and the Romantic image that was circulated by the public. The idealized way in which these authors were viewed is reminiscent of the period of Romanticism, when authors such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lord Byron were revered as geniuses. Through films such as Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011), the Hemingway Myth – in which various attributes and details about the author were exaggerated to fuel Hemingway's image – has endured well into the twenty-first century. This paper will examine the progress and transformation of the Hemingway Myth, i.e., how it contradicted the man himself. Cultural memory is especially fostered through literature and film, and Allen's film, along with the 2012 Hemingway and Gellhorn, not only aids this image, of Hemingway as a passionate, romantic gentleman, but it greatly embellishes it. Hemingway's own works, moreover, facilitated the romanticized manner in which he was received by his public, only later to be solidified in his appearances in various American magazines. This paper will argue that in the field of literature, celebrity authors particularly benefit from the flattering outcome of cultural memory, in which figures such as writers and artists are enamored by their public. By existing in an overwhelmingly artistic industry, it is no surprise that the memory many of these writers leave behind, to this very day, is equally artistic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalКултура/Culture : international journal for cultural researches
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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