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Inventing Nature in "Big-Two-Hearted River"

Abstract : The article re-examines one of the best-known and most controversial of Hemingway's short stories, "Big Two-Hearted River," a story that has often been read in the light of the Lost Generation themes, as one step in Nick Adams's education. As an alternative reading, the present analysis focuses on the representation of nature through Nick's perceptive experience, but also through the narrator's and the reader's. Leaving aside the symbolic analysis of nature inherited from 19th century thought, it stresses the importance of the body and senses in the human relation to the non-human world. It shows how nature, taking shape in the landscape, the biological milieu, the surrounding living reality, determines a cognitive process of apprehension and penetration of the real, and enhances a poetics of the homely in a precise, deliberate working out of meaning. Inventing nature thus implies accepting reality - however incomplete and fragmentary - and adjusting to it and to the reality of existence.
Keywords : Ernest Hemingway
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-00700833
Contributor : Violaine Garguilo <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 10:08:14 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 1:13:25 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-00700833, version 1

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Marie-Christine Agosto. Inventing Nature in "Big-Two-Hearted River". Journal of The Short Story in English / Les Cahiers de la nouvelle, Presses de l'Université d'Angers, 2007, 49, pp.157-171. ⟨hal-00700833⟩

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