The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / American Studies


Ernest Hemingway
Thought in Action
Mark Cirino

Studies in American Thought and Culture

A new look at Hemingway, revealing a concern with consciousness similar to his predecessors and contemporaries William Faulkner, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, and Marcel Proust

Ernest Hemingway’s groundbreaking prose style and examination of timeless themes made him one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century. Yet in Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action, Mark Cirino observes, “Literary criticism has accused Hemingway of many things but thinking too deeply is not one of them.”

Although much has been written about the author’s love of action—hunting, fishing, drinking, bullfighting, boxing, travel, and the moveable feast—Cirino looks at Hemingway’s focus on the modern mind, paralleling the interest in consciousness of such predecessors and contemporaries as Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, and Henry James. Hemingway, Cirino demonstrates, probes the ways his character’s minds respond when placed in urgent situations or when damaged by past traumas.

In Cirino’s analysis of Hemingway’s work through this lens—including such celebrated classics as A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, and “Big Two-Hearted River” and less-appreciated works including Islands in the Stream and “Because I Think Deeper”—an entirely different Hemingway hero emerges: intelligent, introspective, and ruminative.

Studies in American Thought and Culture
Paul S. Boyer, Series Editor

Portrait of author Mark CirinoMark Cirino is assistant professor of English at the University of Evansville. He is the co-editor of Ernest Hemingway: Geography of Memory and the general editor of Kent State University Press’s “Reading Hemingway” series. He is also the author of two novels, Name the Baby and Arizona Blues.


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“For scholars and theorists, Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action is a compelling and fascinating addition to the canon of Hemingway criticism.”
Hemingway Review

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Of Related Interest
Lorine Niedecker: A Poet's Life
Margot Peters

Black and white image of Ernest Hemingway working at his typewriter

May 2012
LC: 2011041962 PS
176 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $26.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-28654-5
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"Cirino . . . collapses the distinction between thought and action that has traditionally typecast Hemingway as an anti-intellectual dolt—the
‘he-man’ of American literature."
—Kirk Curnutt, author of Coffee with Hemingway

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Updated March 12, 2012

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