The Gun and the Pen: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and the Fiction of Mobilization

Paperback | May 17, 2010

byKeith Gandal

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Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner stand as the American voice of the Great War. But was it warfare that drove them to write? Not according to Keith Gandal, who argues that the authors' famous postwar novels were motivated not by their experiences of the horrors ofwar but rather by their failure to have those experiences. These 'quintessential' male American novelists of the 1920s were all, for different reasons, deemed unsuitable as candidates for full military service or command. As a result, Gandal contends, they felt themselves emasculated--not, as theusual story goes, due to their encounters with trench warfare, but because they got nowhere near the real action. Bringing to light previously unexamined Army records, including new information about the intelligence tests, The Gun and the Pen demonstrates that the authors' frustrated militaryambitions took place in the forgotten context of the unprecedented U.S. mobilization for the Great War, a radical effort to transform the Army into a meritocratic institution, indifferent to ethnic and class difference (though not to racial difference). For these Lost Generation writers, thehumiliating failure vis-a-vis the Army meant an embarrassment before women and an inability to compete successfully in a rising social order, against a new set of people. The Gun and the Pen restores these seminal novels to their proper historical context and offers a major revision of ourunderstanding of America's postwar literature.

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Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner stand as the American voice of the Great War. But was it warfare that drove them to write? Not according to Keith Gandal, who argues that the authors' famous postwar novels were motivated not by their experiences of the horrors ofwar but rather by their failure to have those...

Keith Gandal is Professor of English at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of The Virtues of the Vicious: Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane and the Spectacle of the Slum and Class Representation in Modern Fiction and Film.

other books by Keith Gandal

Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:May 17, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199744572

ISBN - 13:9780199744572

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Table of Contents

Part I Introduction1. Rethinking Post-World War I Classics: Recovering the Historical Context of the Mobilization2. Methodology and the Study of Modernist FictionPart II Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and the 1920s3. The Great Gatsby and the Great War Army: Ethnic Egalitarianism, Intelligence Testing, the New Man, and the Charity Girl4. The Sun Also Rises and "Mobilization Wounds": Emasculation, Joke Fronts, Military School Wannabes, and Postwar Jewish Quotas5. The Sound and the Fury and Military Rejects: The Feebleminded and the Postmobilization Erotic Triangle6. Postmobilization Romance: Transforming Military Rejection into Modernist Tragedy and SymbolismPart III The 1930s and After7. Postmobilization Kinkiness: Barnes, West, Miller, and the Military's Frankness about Sex and Venereal Disease8. The Sound and the Fury Redux and the End of the World War I Mobilization NovelAfterword: Here We Go Again: World War II Mobilization Blues in William Burroughs's JunkyNotesIndex