To Have and Have Not Social Concerns

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Reviewers did not much like Ernest Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not when it was published in 1937. "[It] is a stupid and foolish book, a disgrace to a good writer, a book which should never have been printed", Delmore Schwartz wrote. Others critics agreed. The consensus of opinion was that the novel was sloppily written and disjointed. What is it about the story of Harry Morgan, a former cop and part-time rumrunner who now makes his living as a charter fishing boat captain, that provoked such harsh reactions?

The 1930s, the time of the Great Depression, was also the era of the proletarian novel in America, of the literary manifesto, and of the socially committed writer. Ernest Hemingway did not fit this picture. In the wake of his second marriage, he began living in relative luxury, going on African safaris, fishing off his forty-foot yacht, and thumbing...

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This section contains 1,457 words
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