|Ernest Hemingway in an early passport photograph. Considering the role Europe played in his writings, the early passport photo seems biographically significant.|
The Sun Also Rises (1926)
by Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises is a huge hit in terms of sales and artistic merit. More then any other single work, The Sun Also Rises for inspiring mid 1920s American style among college students, graduates and the urban artistic class. The Sun Also Rises was Hemingway's first novel, and it has to be up there with best first novels of all time.
Rises is what is called a "Roman a(w/ accent) clef," a fictitious scenario that is actually a thinly disguised description of the artist and his friends. The Roman a clef is analogous to the "movies about movies" genre, and "movies about movies" are usually roman a clef's.
The artistic process of fictionalizing real life events is the very definition of self-aware art. I agree with Harold Bloom, who says that The Sun Also Rises is more compelling in terms of prose style and formal elements than in terms of characters. The "villain" if there is one is a Jewish contemporary and the anti-Semitism isn't in any way non-central to that character. I think the misogyny is less troubling because the main character is impotent because of an "old war wound."
For me, the character issues aren't important, The Sun Also Rises is such a wake up call in the world of the novel. Just speaking as someone who has been reading the novels that come before The Sun Also Rises.