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Orwell and Hemingway

ENGL 275.302
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway met only once, as war correspondents in Paris in the 1940's, but they knew each other's work, having developed as writers after World War I. Each man became an enormously popular figure with a near-mythic persona. This course will compare their careers as writers within the contrasting literary and political cultures of England and America. Both men both fled the middle-class worlds of their youth, donned military uniforms, learned the writing trade as journalists, and travelled abroad as expatriates. Both were drawn to the Spanish Civil War and wrote books about it. We'll trace the effects of journalism on their writing, especially in their adoption of the plain style, and we'll examine codes of masculinity and depictions of women in their fiction and non-fiction. We'll also consider the perspectives of their many biographers and their feminist critics. We'll pay special attention to the different paths they took as literary modernists--Hemingway as the self-reliant, self-advertising artist, wary of political movements; Orwell as the committed socialist, anti-imperialist, and anti-Stalinist. Texts will include many of Hemingway's short stories and Orwell's essays, and most of the following works: A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Green Hills of Africa, Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days, Homage to Catalonia, and 1984. Coursework will include several one-page response papers, a mid-term essay, and a final 10-page paper.