'The Sun Also Rises' Is Published
The Sun Also Rises epitomized the post-war expatriate generation for future generations.
In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway melds Paris to Spain; vividly depicts the running of the bulls in Pamplona; presents the symmetry of bullfighting as a place to face death; and blends the frenzy of the fiesta with the tranquility of the Spanish landscape. The novel is generally considered Hemingway's best work with A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
It is considered ground-breaking in its economic use of language for creating atmosphere and recording dialogue. Upon its publication, many U.S. critics denounced its focus on aimless, promiscuous, and generally licentious characters. On the other hand, it was extremely popular with a young and international readership. Since then, the novel has gained general recognition as a modernist masterpiece.
While most critics tend to take the characters seriously, some have argued that the novel is satirical in its portrayal of love and romance. It shows Jake and Cohn, the two male protagonists, vying for the affections of Brett, who is clearly unworthy of the naive praise they heap on her (Cohn openly, Jake implicitly). This could be true in the sense that all of Hemingway's writing "pokes fun at" humans, their vulnerabilities and foibles. However, Hemingway is usually considered too dismayed with the human condition to have been anything but serious, and the situations of his characters so pathetic as to have moved well beyond simple sarcasm.
In The Sun Also Rises, gender issues are dealt with very seriously by critics, though there is little consensus among them. Some critics charge that the depiction of Brett as a 'liberated woman' is intrinsic to her divisiveness in relationships throughout the novel, and therefore that Hemingway saw strong women as causing trouble, particularly for the men who otherwise dominate the novel. The reading of Brett as a 'strong' or 'liberated woman' is itself debatable, however, as she seems unable to live outside a heterosexual relationship. Twice divorced, she has a sexual relationship with almost every man she meets, which suggests a neurotic and necessarily unsuccessful craving for security rather than independence from men. In this reading, Brett is as much a victim of the war and its destruction of social mores as are the male characters. Other critics have argued that Brett signifies the castration of Jake, meanwhile defenders suggest that Brett actually becomes the main character by being the only person Jake is truly interested in.
Another point of criticism is Hemingway's depiction of character Robert Cohn, a Jewish man who is often the subject of mockery by his peers. Though some critics have interpreted this as anti-Semitism on the part of Hemingway, defenders of the book argue that Cohn is depicted in a sympathetic manner, mocked not due to his religion but due to his failure to serve during World War I. Interestingly, Hemingway is reported to have said that Cohn was the "hero" of the book, and Harold Loeb, the Jewish writer who served as a model for Cohn, defended Hemingway from charges of anti-Semitism.
Ernest Hemingway's first novel, "The Sun Also Rises," treats of certain of those younger Americans concerning whom Gertrude Stein has remarked: "You are all a lost generation." This is the novel for which a keen appetite was stimulated by Mr. Hemingway's exciting volume of short stories. "In Our Time." The clear objectivity and the sustained intensity of the stories , and their concentration upon action in the present moment, seemed to point to a failure to project a novel in terms of the same method, yet a resort to any other method would have let down the reader's expectations. It is a relief to find that "The Sun Also Rises" maintains the same heightened, intimate tangibility as the shorter narratives and does it in the same kind of weighted, quickening prose.