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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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23 Responses

  1. I’m a fan of Hemingway although I’m disturbed by what appears to be his antisemitism in Sun Also Rises.* But he can come off as a jerk.

    *I can’t decide whether the antisemitism is in his approach to the novel, or simply his recreation of the characters’ attitudes. Or we can drop the “simply” and suggest it’s both and neither, along with some third thing.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    It went both ways. Lewis, who was half a generation older than Hemingway and a bit of a prude, wrote this about him:

    Mister Ernest Hemingway
    Halts his slaughter of the kudu
    To advise you that you may
    Risk his sacerdotal hoodoo
    If you go on day be day
    Speaking priggishly, as you do.
    Come on man, be bravely heard
    Bawling that four-letter word
    And wear your mind decollete
    Like Mister Ernest HemingwayReport

  3. Avatar J.L. Wall says:

    My sci-fi Modernist fan fiction novel is going to be titled The Dreiser Menace.Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    The “Guy” in this is your great grandfather? How friggin’ cool is that!Report

    • I really like that story, especially the way Hemingway ends it.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Me too, but I’m a fan of his short stories. I’ve always thought he wrote 2, maybe 3 good novels, including one great one, and wrote a host of great short stories.

        Guy, er Rufus’ great grandpa, has a great line in that one:

        “That’s a young man that will go a long way in Italy,” I said to Guy.
        “Well,” said Guy, “he went twenty kilometers with us.
        Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Yep! Same one. He was apparently none too thrilled about Hemingway using his name because he got pestered about the story after it came out. Our family actually has a picture of the two of them in an Italian restaurant from that trip, which I will post if I can find out.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Again, friggin’ awesome.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Thanks, I agree. I’ve been talking for a while about putting together a compilation of Guy Hickok’s newspaper articles because he was really a very entertaining and compelling writer and he wrote about things like going to bullfights with Hemingway and having tea with Emma Goldman. Finally, my academic mentor told me she thought I should just write a book about him and have that be my next project. So, I’m working on sort of a “collaborative” history with his columns telling half the story and my research and narration tying it together. Hopefully, this will not just result in me looking like a lousy writer by comparison!Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Put me down for a copy when it’s done.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Me too. Autographed, of course.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    That’s awesome.

    (Obligatory: “You know who else got a Nobel Prize?”)Report

  6. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    I feel better for not having ever managed to trudge my way through more than one Sinclair Lewis novel. I always felt a bit bad about that, but perhaps it wasn’t just my own shortcomings at play.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      He’s a terrible plotter. He tends to say the same things over and over, and even a book that’s as fun and energetic as Elmer Gantry would benefit from cutting out some of the repetitive episodes. And his characters tends to be at best two-dimensional. So the Nobel Prize was crazy. Lewis can’t be mentioned in the same breath as Faulkner or Hemingway, because he’s only about fifty times better as a novelist than Ayn Rand.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Lewis is one of those show-your-work kind of writers. He did a massive amount of research for his books, which is great, but then he has to put a lot of it in the foreground, which can get really tedious. Zola coulld be the same way at times. Actually, it reminds me of something my father said after he read American Pastoral: “It was pretty good, but boy I didn’t need to know so much about how gloves are made!”Report

    • I couldn’t make it through Elmer Gantry, and Main Street was pretty blah (with good parts). I did like Babbitt, although it suffers from what other people have said characterizes it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The movie of Elmer Gantry is one of the classic examples of “better than the book”, and it’s because it stuck to the damned story. (OK, Jean Simmons and Burt Lancaster didn’t hurt either.)Report