26/4/07

GERALD BRENAN AND ERNEST HEMINGWAY, TWO PARALLEL LIVES, TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO SPAIN.



At first sight, there seem to be more differences than similarities between these two writers. For example, Hemingway became a world famous writer who, moving beyond literature, turned him into an icon. On the other hand, Gerald Brenan was not for most of his life an important literary figure and remained as an author for people interested in
Spain. Their characters were different as their writing was also. Hemingway’s prose style was innovatory, he created a new way of writing, whereas Brenan’s was based on a more traditional and literary style. Ernest is known for his novels, Gerald for his non-fiction. They had a very active side to their natures. Hemingway went in for hunting, boxing or fishing while Brenan went in for walking, bird watching and botany. In spite of these differences their lives, full of the most diverse adventures, coincide through the history of the twentieth century and are marked by the fire and blood of wars. They each had first hand experience of the First World War and the Spanish Civil War, them both wrote poetry, met important literary figures like Ezra Pound and for each of them Spain became a country of great importance.


They both came from a comfortable middle class background. Gerald Brenan was the son of an English Major in the army and Ernest Hemingway’s father was a doctor in
Oak Park (Illinois). Their characters were both deeply marked and influenced by their fathers. Gerald could not understand his being so authoritarian and he never forgave the way he treated his mother. Hemingway never forgave his father for committing suicide. They both received a good education. When they were young, they were both cheerful and full of energy, longing to escape from the oppressive social and family backgrounds in their respective countries.


Extracto de la conferencia presentada en el Congreso Ernest Hemingway In Andalucia. Ronda 27-30 Junio 2006.

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