Ernest Hemingway and Minimalism
Minimalism is generally seen as one of the hallmarks of Hemingway's work. Below are some general characteristics of literary minimalism.
The minimalistic writing style:
The narrative is stripped down to its fundamental features
It is characterized by an economy with words
Minimalist authors tend to use only few adjectives and leave out adverbs They prefer allowing context and dialogue to dictate meaning Grammar and style are strongly influenced by informal spoken language For minimalist authors, less is more!
Often the term “the Iceberg Theory” has been used to describe Hemingway’s minimalist writing style.
The ”Iceberg Theory”:
”I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows.” On the surface, his narratives appear to be very simple and straightforward. Under the surface, under the tip of the iceberg, there is always much more going on. A closer reading of a Hemingway story will reveal a fourth and fifth dimension. Feelings and emotions are usually not described directly. They are revealed through dialogue and action. Also, Hemingway’s stories are often left with loose ends. They rarely have a neat and orderly conclusion.
“If a writer of prose knows enough of 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 an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.” —Ernest Hemingway in Death in the Afternoon (1932)
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