38 I CHRONICLESneither critically autonomous or biographicallynsatisfying. One can at leastnaccept, I think, the Hemingway ofnJeffrey Myers as the best of the crop sonfar; whereas it is most difficult, if notnimpossible, to accept Kenneth Lynn’snHemingway on any level, if only because,nin both principle and practice,nit so severely offends what C.S. Lewisnhas called “the personal heresy”—or,nas we may call it here, the biographicalnheresy. The great Christian apologistnand literary critic opposed any methodnof criticism which attempts to interpretnimaginative works as autobiography.nHe disdained biographical criticism, asnsuch, and said that in his opinion “allncriticism should be of books, not ofnauthors.” Although Lewis applied thisndictum chiefly to classical poetry, itnmay usefully be applied as well tonthe 20th-century prose of ErnestnHemingway.nHere we have, then, the incrediblendemand of biographers like Myers—nand especially the pusillanimousnLynn—who lay down the law that thenfictionist shall be disallowed to recreatenhis raw materials in anything othernthan strict biographical terms. Lynn’sncritical method is to expose Hemingwaynfor not conforming to this ridiculousndictum. It was also typical of thenNew York Review of Books (August 13,n1987) to bless Lynn’s practice of thisncuriously illiberal doctrine in its extendedncommentary, by FredericknCrews, of the Lynn biography. Onenmight have guessed, however, thatnsomething was amiss when NYRBnchose to draw attention to the articlenwith the cover-title “Kinky Hemingway.”nKinky he may have been, butnsurely not more so than some of thenrest of us. In any case, so much for thenscholarly approach.nHemingway was a writer. In ourncentury, he left us with a new way ofnstorytelling. And yet here is a presumednbiographer, Lynn, who seemsnincapable of dealing with his subject’snmost important works {The Old Man,nfor one) and who makes no attempt atnall to put his subject’s failures intonperspective or to see in them anynredeeming value whatsoever. It is hardnto say this, but Kenneth Lynn hasnjoined the faction of pimp-criticsnwhose preferred aim is the depreciationnof Hemingway’s works throughnthe continuing and undaunted prac-nhce of the biographical heresy: Exposenthe man; demean the works.nA great deal has been made of Lynn’sncritique of “Big Two-Hearted River,”nwhich up to now has been regarded asnan allegory for the healing of the hero’snwounds sustained in war, partly supportednby Hemingway himself But thenpoint is, who cares? Not even thenremarks aside of Ernest Hemingwayncan destroy a good story or harm ansuperlative piece of American writing.nThe incredible paradox is that whilenthe biographical critics have discoverednthat Hemingway was, after all, anterribly complex individual, they continuento treat him as an irreduciblenbuffoon and to pervert the interpretationnof literary works that have alreadynearned their place as autonomousnworks of art. When Lynn or Myers cannwrite a single paragraph as good as thenopening sentences of virtually anynHemingway novel, when either cannteach us as much of the human heartnas the shortest of his short stories, andnwhen they have learned even the rudimentsnof constructive literary criticism,nthen and only then we might beninterested in anything they have to saynon the subject of modern literature.nAn AmericannPrometheusnby Biyce J. ChiistensennRabi: Scientist and Citizen by JohnnS. Rigden, New York; Basic Books;n$2L95.nSprawled on the sands of the NewnMexico desert, Isador Isaac Rabi wasnwitness on July 16, 1945, to a demonstrationnof scientific power so spectacularnthat neither his welder’s glasses nornhis analytical training could fullynshield him from its awe-inspiringneffects:nSuddenly, there was annenormous flash of light, thenbrightest light I have ever seennor that I think anyone else hasnever seen. It blasted; it pounced;nit bored its way into you. It wasna vision which was seen withnmore than the eye. . . . Finallynit was over . . . and we lookednnntoward the place where thenbomb had been; there was annenormous ball of fire whichngrew and grew and rolled as itngrew; it went up into the air, innyellow flashes and into scarletnand green. It looked menacing.nMore than two years before this firstntest of an atomic bomb, I.I. Rabi hadnrefused J. Robert Oppenheimer’s invitationnto serve as associate director ofnthe Manhattan Project. Shll, no onenquestioned his place among the leadingnAmerican scientists who gatherednon that summer night to observe thenfireball that rose above Alamogordo.nThough his services to the Project as anconsultant were modest, everyone involvednrecognized Rabi as one of thenpioneers who had pushed Americaninto the forefront of modern physics.nIn this wonderfully accessible newnbiography, John Rigden paints an intriguingnportrait of this remarkablenman. Though himself a physicist, Rigdennwrites an engaging narrative thatnallows the intelligent layman to feelnsomething of the romance and adventurenof Rabi’s pioneering work. Extensiveninterviews permit the reader tonhear Rabi in his own voice.nTrained in an outmoded classicalnphysics at Columbia University, Rabintraveled to Europe in 1927 to learn then”new physics” he had been readingnabout in the professional journals.nDuring the next two years, he workednin the world’s leading research laboratoriesnwith some of the brightest mindsnin Europe — Neils Bohr, WolfgangnPauli, Werner Heisenberg, OttonStern, and Paul Dirac. As Rabi explainednit, he needed his Europeannexperience not to learn the subject ofnsubatomic physics but to acquire “thentaste for it, the style, the quality, thentradition. We [Americans] knew thenlibretto, but we had to learn thenmusic.”nWhen he returned to take a positionnat Columbia University, Rabi knewn”the music,” and he was able to sharenthe melody with other inquiringnminds. Together, he and a handful ofnother American physicists propellednthe United States into the leadership ofnthe exciting new field. Rabi’s breakthroughsnin nuclear magnetic resonancenduring the 1930’s won him thenNobel Prize in 1944, after receivingn