Miller To Give Lecture on Great Earnest Hemingway


Dr. Linda Patterson Miller

Daniella Amendola, Reporter

The English department will open its doors to a lecturer who specializes in the work of Ernest Hemingway.

Dr. Linda Patterson Miller will give a presentation titled “Hemingway and the Lost Generation” Nov. 18 in the McGowan room of the library at 1:30 p.m.

Early twentieth century literature is defined by the writers who became prominent immediately after World War I. Though Hemingway’s contributions are crucial to the time, his posse of peers who equally enjoyed writing found their way into history. The Lost Generation, including, but not exclusive to, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra Pound, provided a transition into the modern era of literature.

During this time in history, while the Lost Generation was revolutionizing literature, art, and philosophy, the Modernism movement had taken hold of Western culture. Many writers of this age were influenced by the threads of modernism, weaving it into their work and perpetuating the themes of separation from traditional ideals.

“The Lost Generation was a bunch of guys who went off to war and ended up dying,” said first year occupational therapy major Carolyn Maguire. “So basically they were just lost.”

According to Dr. Matthew Nickel, Assistant Professor of English and Hemingway scholar, Maguire is not far off.

The term “lost generation” was first coined when Gertrude Stein had encountered a garage owner who pegged the entire postbellum generation as “lost.” Stein was close friends with Hemingway at the time, and, according to Nickel, she had used the term “lost generation” in reference to him.

“[Stein] took it out of context,” said Nickel. “What it originally meant was that those who came back from the war were lost.”

Like most other young men of the early twentieth century, Hemingway was sent to war. He volunteered to serve in Italy as an ambulance driver, according to the national archive’s website. Hemingway shared this position with the protagonist of his debut novel, “The Sun Also Rises.”

Hemingway considered numerous titles for his 1926 novel. According to Hemingway scholar H. R. Stoneback, this includes “The Lost Generation.” Hemingway based his novel around the mere concept of an entire generation being “lost,” or wayward. The Lost Generation became a generalized term for the entire post war generation of the 1920s.

In H. R. Stoneback’s commentary on the novel, he said, “All generations were ‘lost,’ Hemingway would maintain, but at least his generation was conscious of how they were lost and might be ‘found.’”

There are many complexities surrounding Hemingway, his writing style, and his influence on history. Professor Miller may touch upon anything, from the relationships Hemingway held in France during the 1920s to the iceberg theory, a style of writing attributed to Hemingway that entails only feeding the reader 10 percent of a story.

Linda Patterson Miller is a professor of English at Penn State Abington, and has been teaching American Literature there since 1984 according to the Hemingway Society website.

“I expect her to illuminate some things about Hemingway, his generation and his early writings,” said Dr. Nickel “and to make some general connections.”

Miller has written numerous books and articles on the subject of early American writers. She focuses on early twentieth century literature, specifically highlighting the work of the Lost Generation.

The history department will present an accompanying presentation by Dr. Randall Miller. Miller’s lecture, called “Fighting Slavery Today: How Slavery Died Yet Lives,” will focus on the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. It will be held Nov. 17, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the McGowan Room of the library.