Big Two-Hearted River
The Last Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway was published in October 1925. The story explores the destructive qualities of war which is countered by the healing and regenerative powers of nature. Hemerway was influenced by the visual innovations of Cézanne’s paintings and adapted the painter’s idea of presenting background minutiae in lower focus.
About Big Two-Hearted River in brief
The story is one of Hemingway’s earliest pieces to employ his Iceberg Theory of writing. It is almost exclusively descriptive and intentionally devoid of plot. The story explores the destructive qualities of war which is countered by the healing and regenerative powers of nature. It was published in the 1925 Boni & Liveright edition of In Our Time, the first American volume of Hemingway’s short stories. The last piece in the volume was later included in The Fifth Column and The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingways, published after his death in 1938. The piece was written in May 1924 but did not finish until September as he spent the summer helping Ezra Pound and Ford Madox Ford launch the journal the transatlantic review. The manuscript shows the use of plural pronouns, suggesting that in an early version more characters were included, but by publication any mention of his friends or the townspeople had been removed—leaving Nick alone in the woods. In January 1925, while waiting for a response from query letters to publishers in America, Heming Way submitted the story to his friend Ernest Walsh’s newly established literary magazine This Quarter. In October 1925, On October 5, 1925, the expanded edition of In Our Time was published by Boni & Liveright in New York. The final piece of the book was The Last Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, published in October 5, 1925 in the expanded edition of In Our Time in New York, the last collection of short stories to be published in America and in Europe after his death in 1938, The Forty-Nine Stories of Ernest Hemerway and The Complete Short Stories of The Fifth Column, published in October 1938 and October 9, 1939 in France and England.
The short story is about Nick Adams, a man who goes on a fishing trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The author was influenced by the visual innovations of Cézanne’s paintings and adapted the painter’s idea of presenting background minutiae in lower focus than the main image in this story. In this story, the small details of the fishing trip are explored in great depth, while the landscape setting, and most obviously the swamp, are given cursory attention. The ending of the last story in the book are crap, according to Hemerway’s biographer James Mellow, who believes the deleted passage might have been a “tour-de-force” had it been written at a more mature period in Heming way’s development. Hemer wrote the story in May of that year but didn’t finish it until September. He started writing the story as he began writing stories to add to the volume with “Big Two-Hearted River” planned as the final piece. In 1924 he wrote his first collection of short vignettes, in our time, followed the next year by another collection of short vignette, in our time.