The Sun Also Rises: Wikis


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The Sun Also Rises  
First edition cover
Author Ernest Hemingway
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Charles Scribner's Sons (USA) & Jonathan Cape (UK as Fiesta: A Novel)
Publication date June 1926 (USA) & 1927 (UK)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 259 pp (hardback first edition)
Preceded by The Torrents of Spring
Followed by Men Without Women

The Sun Also Rises is the first major novel by Ernest Hemingway.[1] Published in 1926, the plot centers on a group of expatriate Americans and citizens of Great Britain in continental Europe during the 1920s. The book's title, selected by Hemingway (at the recommendation of his publisher) is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5: "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." Hemingway's original title for the work was Fiesta, which was used in the British, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish editions of the novel.

The novel made Hemingway famous, inspired young ladies across America to wear short hair and sweater sets like Brett Ashley's—and to act like her too—and changed writing style in ways that could be seen by picking up any American magazine published within the next twenty years.[2]

Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.[3]


Plot summary

The narrator of The Sun Also Rises is Jake Barnes, an expatriate journalist in his mid-20s who lives in Paris. Barnes is impotent because of a war wound, though the nature of his wound is never explicitly made clear. He loves Brett Ashley, twice-married who has had several love affairs since the war. Book 1 is set in Paris. Jake plays tennis with his friend Robert Cohn, picks up a prostitute in one scene and leaves a club in a taxi with Brett.

In Book 2 both Cohn and Brett are gone from Paris, and later Jake finds out they were together in San Sebastian. In Paris, Bill Gorton arrives from New York to join Jake; and Mike Campbell, Brett's fiancé, arrives from Scotland. Jake and Gorton travel to Pamplona via train and meet Cohn north of Pamplona for a planned fishing trip. However, Cohn leaves his friends to meet Brett in Pamplona. Jake's jealousy of Cohn builds, though he and Gorton enjoy five days of tranquility fishing the streams near Burguete. Once they arrive in Pamplona the group reunites and they start drinking heavily. Cohn wants to desert the group but also wants to stay with Brett. When the fiesta starts the next day, the time is devoted to drinking, eating, running with the bulls, and watching the bullfights. Jake introduces Brett to a young bullfighter. The tension between the men builds: Campbell is jealous; Jake is jealous; Cohn is jealous. Cohn has a fistfight with the other men: one with Jake; one with Brett's fiancé Campbell; and one with the young matador Romero in his hotel room prior to a fight. Later, Jake watches the bullfighting and describes the brilliance young Romero displays in the bullring.

Book 3 shows the characters in the aftermath of the fiesta. Sober again, they leave Pamplona. Gorton returns to Paris, Campbell stays in Bayonne and Jake goes to San Sebastian. Jake receives a telegram from Brett, who is in Madrid. She asks him to join her because she has gotten herself in trouble. Jake finds Brett without Romero in Madrid, and she announces she has decided to settle down with Campbell.


Ernest Hemingway with Lady Duff Twysden, Hadley Hemingway, and three unidentified people at a cafe in Pamplona, Spain, July 1925. (JFK Library)

In July 1925 Hemingway went to the San Fermin fiesta in Pamplona. It was his third visit to the fiesta and became the inspiration for The Sun Also Rises.[4] That year he and his wife Hadley were joined by a group of ex-patriates that included his friend Harold Loeb and Lady Duff Twysden who was estranged from her husband. A level of tension developed during the fiesta that permeated the group: Hemingway was interested in Lady Duff; he was jealous when he learned she spent a week with Loeb in France; Loeb argued about money with another member of the group; and Hemingway and Loeb almost had a fist fight. Against this background was the influence of the young matador from Ronda, Cayetano Ordoñez, whose brilliance in the bullring affected the spectators. Hemingway realized the fiesta of 1925 was the stuff of a novel. He decided to use a first person narrator and began to write as soon as the fiesta ended. By September, about six weeks after beginning the novel, he was done with the first draft.[5] It was written on the terrace of La Closerie des Lilas, where a fair amount of the plot itself occurs.

After he was finished with the first draft, in order to maintain perspective, he started work on a new manuscript.[6] In the fall of 1925 Hemingway wrote the satiric novel The Torrents of Spring which his publisher immediately rejected. Within a month Charles Scribner's Sons agreed to publish both The Torrents of Spring and The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway made the necessary revisions to the manuscript during 1926 in Paris and in Spain. He finished the final proof in Paris at the end of August in 1926.[7]

Publication history

The Sun Also Rises was published by Scribner's in October 1926. The first edition had a print-run of 5090 copies sold at $2.00 per copy. In British editions, the title of the novel is Fiesta.[8]

Major themes

The novel has heavy undercurrents of suppressed emotions and buried values. Its weary and aimless expatriates serve as metaphors for society's lost optimism and innocence after the war. The topic of war is rarely discussed explicitly by any of the characters, but its effects are alluded to through the sexual incapability of Jake and his war wound, and the behavior of the other characters, whom Carlos Baker described as "floundering in an emulsion of ennui and alcohol." [9] The war also affects the way characters are able to deal with themselves, and post-war society. The themes of the novel are cast against the background of the Biblical quotation the book opens with: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

Writing style

The Sun Also Rises is written in the spare, tightly written prose for which Hemingway is famous, a style which has influenced countless crime and pulp fiction novels. But the simplicity is deceptive. Hemingway uses polysyndeton to convey both a timeless immediacy and a Biblical grandeur. Hemingway's polysyndetonic sentence uses conjunctions to juxtapose startling visions and images; the critic Jackson Benson has compared them to haikus[10] Many of Hemingway's acolytes misinterpreted his lead and frowned upon all expression of emotion; Saul Bellow satirized this style as "Do you have emotions? Strangle them."[11] Hemingway, however, was not trying to eliminate emotion but to portray it more scientifically. Hemingway thought it would be easy, and pointless, to describe emotions; he sculpted his bright and finely chiseled collages of images in order to grasp "the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always"[12] This use of an image as an objective correlative is characteristic of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce, and is also part of the Japanese poetic canon.[13]


The Sun Also Rises epitomized the post-war expatriate generation for future generations.[14] In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway melds Paris to Spain; vividly depicts the running of the bulls in Pamplona; presents the symmetry of bullfighting as a place to face death; and blends the frenzy of the fiesta with the tranquility of the Spanish landscape. The novel is generally considered Hemingway's best work with A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls[15][16] On October 31, 1926, The New York Times published a review that included this praise:

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 puts more literary English to shame. 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. It is magnificent writing, filled with that organic action which gives a compelling picture of character. This novel is unquestionably one of the events of an unusually rich year in literature.[17]

It is considered ground-breaking in its economic use of language for creating atmosphere and recording dialogue. Upon its publication, many U.S. critics denounced its focus on aimless, promiscuous, and generally licentious characters. On the other hand, it was extremely popular with a young and international readership. Since then, the novel has gained general recognition as a modernist masterpiece.

While most critics tend to take the characters seriously, some have argued that the novel is satirical in its portrayal of love and romance.[18] It shows Jake and Cohn, the two male protagonists, vying for the affections of Brett, who is clearly unworthy of the naive praise they heap on her (Cohn openly, Jake implicitly). This could be true in the sense that all of Hemingway's writing "pokes fun at" humans, their vulnerabilities and foibles. However, Hemingway is usually considered too dismayed with the human condition to have been anything but serious, and the situations of his characters so pathetic as to have moved well beyond simple sarcasm.

In The Sun Also Rises, gender issues are dealt with very seriously by critics, though there is little consensus among them. Some critics charge that the depiction of Brett as a 'liberated woman' is intrinsic to her divisiveness in relationships throughout the novel, and therefore that Hemingway saw strong women as causing trouble, particularly for the men who otherwise dominate the novel.[19] The reading of Brett as a 'strong' or 'liberated woman' is itself debatable, however, as she seems unable to live outside a heterosexual relationship. Twice divorced, she has a sexual relationship with almost every man she meets, which suggests a neurotic and necessarily unsuccessful craving for security rather than independence from men. In this reading, Brett is as much a victim of the war and its destruction of social mores as are the male characters. Other critics have argued that Brett signifies the castration of Jake, meanwhile defenders suggest that Brett actually becomes the main character by being the only person Jake is truly interested in.

Another point of criticism is Hemingway's depiction of character Robert Cohn, a Jewish man who is often the subject of mockery by his peers. Though some critics have interpreted this as anti-Semitism on the part of Hemingway, defenders of the book argue that Cohn is depicted in a sympathetic manner, mocked not due to his religion but due to his failure to serve during World War I. Interestingly, Hemingway is reported to have said that Cohn was the "hero" of the book, and Harold Loeb, the Jewish writer who served as a model for Cohn, defended Hemingway from charges of anti-Semitism.[20]


The Sun Also Rises was adapted to film in 1957.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Ernest Hemingway
  2. ^ Donaldson, The Cambridge Companion to Hemingway, p.87
  3. ^ "ALL-TIME 100 Novels: The Sun Also Rises (1926)." Time magazine. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Donaldson, op cit, p 89
  5. ^ Baker 1972, pp. 33–34
  6. ^ Baker 1972, p. 76
  7. ^ Baker 1972, p. 44
  8. ^ Oliver, Charles M. (1999). Ernest Hemingway A to Z: The Essential Reference to the Life and Work. New York: Checkmark. ISBN 0-8160-3467-2. 
  9. ^ Carlos Baker, Hemingway: The Writer as Artist (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973).
  10. ^ J. Benson, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, p 309
  11. ^ A.Hoberik, Twilight of the Middle Class, p.87
  12. ^ Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, chapter 1
  13. ^ R. Starrs, An Artless Art, p. 77
  14. ^ Mellow 1992, p. 302
  15. ^ Tyler, Student Companion to Ernest Hemingway, p.43
  16. ^ Meyers 1985, p. 192
  17. ^ "The Sun Also Rises". The New York Times. October 31 1026. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  18. ^ Jackson J. Benson, The Writer's Art of Self-Defense (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969).
  19. ^
  20. ^ Bertram D. Sarason, Hemingway and The Sun Set (Washington, DC: NCR, 1972).
  21. ^ "The Sun Also Rises (1957)". film. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 8, 2009. 




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