The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts are Kirk Curnutt and Scott Yarbrough, professors with little time and less sense who nonetheless enjoy a good book banter.
In conversation with writer Gertrude Stein, a Parisian mechanic disparaged the young and dissolute men who’d survived the Great War by calling them lost; Stein later tells Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a Lost Generation.” And so this 10th episode is a consideration of the Hemingway novel which, alongside The Great Gatsby, defines the Lost Generation of the post-World War I era for all of us: the masterful The Sun Also Rises. We dig deep into the Papa legend, warts and all, and give the book a thorough and thoughtful reflection, taking coffee and cognac in the cafes of Montparnasse and running with the bulls in Pamplona even as we try for a few trout in the streams above Roncevalles. Instead of canon fodder this time we take a moment to reflect on two losses to American Literary studies which bookended the year 2021 for us.
The film audio clips are from The Sun Also Rises, directed in 1957 by Henry King and staring Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner, among others (including an irascible aging Errol Flynn as Mike Campbell), and produced by Daryl F. Zanuck for 20th Century Fox.
All show music is by Lobo Loco. The intro song is “Old Ralley”; the intermission is “The First Minute,” and the outro is “Inspector Invisible.” For more information visit: https://locolobomusic.com/.