Kenneth Lynn proves to be fairer thannJeffrey Myers, whose discussion distortednthe contemporary critical responsento the novel. Myers fails tonpoint out that Northrop Frye, for example,nhad correctly observed that,nlike many attempts by Hemingway innthe form of the novel, this one “mightnhave been a long short story of overwhelmingnpower.” Myers also failed toncite Evelyn Waugh’s perhaps singlenmost effective refutation of the vulturesnfeasting on Across the River. In the 30nSeptember 1950 issue of The Tabletn(London), Waugh asked why they allnhated Hemingway so:nI believe the truth is that theynhave detected in himnsomething they find quitenunforgivable—Decent Feeling.nBehind all the bluster andncursing and fisticuffs he has annelementary sense ofnchivalry—respect for women,npity of the weak, love ofnhonor—which keeps breakingnin. There is a form of high,nsupercilious caddishness whichnis all the rage nowadays innliterary circles. That is whatn*• i. •y’%-.n^n$… lif’W’r-^ Inthe critics seek in vain in thisnbook, and that is why theirncomplaints are so loud andnconfident.nHemingway had already distressednthe effeminate poets and Marxist partisansnof the Spanish Civil War. He hadnclearly double-crossed the Stalinists innFor Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Annattack on Hemingway was not onlyneasy but required, a decade later.nProfessor Lynn is as misleading onnThe Old Man and the Sea as ProfessornMyers had been on Across the Rivernand Into the Trees. The 1952 book is anmiracle of American writing, a thingnof incandescent strength and clarity,nbut its virtues, no less than its conhnuingnpopularity, fail to win over thenacademic critic. Professor Lynn wondersnhow a book could be so highlynpraised “that lapses repeatedly intonlachrymose sentimentality and is relentlesslynpseudo-Biblical, that mixesncute talk about baseball (‘I fear bothnthe Tigers of Detroit and the Indians ofnCleveland’) with the crucifixion symbolismnof the most appalling crudityn(‘he slept face down on the newspapersnwith his arms out straight and thenpalms of his hands up’),” and so on.nGod forbid that any fiction in thenage of Joyce Carol Gates should evokenthe order of genuine feeling that Lynnncalls “lachrymose sentimentality.”nHere is a long short story which movesnon several levels at once, mainly of anresolute old age in relationship to thenyouth of the boy who loves the oldnman more than his own parents, andnbased of course on the wisdom ofnexperience they have shared. The talknabout baseball is not cute by anynmeans; it is essential and savors of thengreat (and by the way continuing)nCuban love of baseball itself, and itndeepens the bond between the oldnman and the boy. And, for God’s sake,nindeed, the old man slept at the endnwith palms upward because they werenstripped bloody raw from the frictionnof the fishing lines. Lynn may nevernhave gone fishing or, to judge from hisnwriting, have ever done any work withnhis hands. The Old Man is one of thenmost remarkable examples we have innthe genre of nature-writing on the seanitself It is a story in which Hemingwayngave to manly behavior the very delicacynof a feminine presence.nnnLynn shares with Myers an appreciationnfor one of the finest brief memoirsnin the annals of American literature,nA Moveable Feast (1964), which,nthough slightly soured by Hemingway’snown denigrations of some of hisncontemporaries, remains a superbnpiece of writing on the art of writing. Itnwas Edmund Wilson who early recognizednthat when “Hemingway beginsnspeaking in the first person, he seemsnto lose his bearings, not merely as ancritic of life, but even as a craftsman.”nThis is generally the case, no doubt,nbut it is also an insight which Wilsonnhad recorded, in his outstanding essaynon Hemingway in The Wound and thenBow (1941), long before the appearancenof A Moveable Feast. For thosenwho want to confront the central factnabout Hemingway, this almost fictionalizednmemoir forces us to ask whatnkind of a writer he happened to be.nErnest Hemingway happened to bena short story writer. Above or asidenfrom everything else he wrote—thennovels, the journalism, and thennonfiction—it is in the short storynform that Hemingway excels and stillnmaintains a high place in world literature.nThis is not simply to acknowledgenfamiliar masterpieces like “BignTwo-Hearted River,” “The Snows ofnKilimanjaro,” or “The Short HappynLife of Francis Macomber,” etc., for itnis also to recognize the short storiesnthat are essentially contained in thenseveral major novels themselves. ThenSun Also Rises is several short stories,nwhile the posthumous The Garden ofnEden (1986) is several more. FornWhom the Bell Tolls may be the onlynauthentic novel that Hemingwaynwrote, and yet even that is diffuse andnill-constructed. Maxwell Perkins to thencontrary, it is too bad that an editornmore devoted to art than the marketplacen(novels are more marketablenthan short stories) did not hold Hemingwaynto the form he was born tonwrite.nThe startling conclusion to all this isnthat with three major biographies ofnHemingway already on the shelf—nincluding, of course, Carlos Baker’sngroundbreaking volume in 1969—nplus Peter Griffin’s Along With Youthn(1985), the first volume in a proposedntrilogy, I repeat the startling conclusionnpersists that we do not have readilynat hand a study of the author that isnNOVEMBER 1987 137n