Ernest Hemingway's prose has left a lasting impression on the way American literature is written and taught. His name is legendary. Hemingway's style was influenced by his years as a newspaper reporter, both before and after World War I. Based on his experiences, this paper examines the roots and influences of Hemingway's unique writing style. I will draw information from the large body of Hemingway literary criticism, his fiction, and the authors own comments on the craft of writing.
For nearly a century, critics and readers alike have praised Ernest Hemingway for his powerful and sparse prose. His work is unlike that of any other author - his talent for meaningful understatement and his rigid, unwavering dedication to honesty and detail are considered unmatched. In 1926, the New York Times published a review of "The Sun Also Rises", stating that Hemingway's writing was so compelling, so lasting in the American psyche that "No amount of analysis can convey the quality of "The Sun Also Rises." It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that, in a way, puts other great works of literature to shame". Here, there is a clear indication of Hemingway's style - a notably masculine style, described with words like 'hard' and 'athletic'. The reviewer continues: "Mr. Hemingway knows how not only to make words be specific but how to arrange a collection of words which shall betray a great deal more than is to be found in the individual parts"." (Marital) This too is a suggestion of the mastery of the English language demonstrated in the works of Ernest Hemingway: the ability to say things without actually stating them, the power of the unspoken word. Hemingway's style appealed to the newspaper writer because it was the same type of writing he was used to using - short, sharp and functional. It was the brief, understated style of a newspaper man.
Brevity, however, did not just appeal to writers of newspaper articles and those with a dedication to clear, authoritative writing.