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Hemingway's style of writing

Personal writing full of rich imagery was Hemingway’s goal. Nearly fifty years after his death, his distinctive prose is still recognizable by its economy and controlled understatement.

He relied on short sentences and energetic English. His technique is uncomplicated, with plain grammar and easily accessible language. His hallmark is a clean style that eschews adjectives and uses short, rhythmic sentences that concentrate on action rather than reflection.

Hemingway was an obsessive reviser. His work is the result of a careful process of selecting only those elements essential to the story and pruning everything else away. He kept his prose direct and unadorned; employing a technique he termed the “iceberg principle.” In Death in the Afternoon he wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of the iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

Hemingway is also considered a master of dialogue. The conversations between his characters demonstrate not only communication but also its limits. The way Hemingway’s characters speak is sometimes more important than what they say, because what they choose to say or leave unsaid illuminates sources of inner conflict. Sometimes characters say only what they think another character will want to hear. In short, Hemingway captures the complexity of human interaction through subtlety and implication as well as direct discourse.

Ernest Hemingway left behind an impressive body of work and an iconic style that still influences writers today. His personality and constant pursuit of adventure loomed almost as large as his creative talent.



Être un polyglotte est une lutte éternelle.

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