Author Archives: dewisant7

About dewisant7

Author and Genealogist

MA Ancient and Classical History

Covers the broad sweep of European history and provides a foundation in historical theory, trends, and concepts for further study of topical history at the graduate level. Topics include Greek civilization through the 4th century B.C., the fall of the Roman empire, the development of the Ottoman culture, and the Crusades.

Objectives

Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Explain and critique Ancient Greece’s political, economic, social, and intellectual movements.
  • Explain and critique Roman history from its beginnings until the Age of Constantine including the political and social developments in the Republic and the early empire.
  • Examine and appraise great Byzantium leaders, the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, the recapture of Constantinople from the crusaders, and the impact of Byzantium culture on Western intellect.
  • Explain and assess European social, political, economic, and religious institutions and cultural and intellectual phenomena in the light of the changing historical environment from the end of the Ancient World to the Renaissance.
  • Explain and assess the medieval church and rise of the Renaissance papacy; growth of humanism, including painters, architects, and sculptors; city-states and monarchies of the Holy Roman Empire; religious upheavals of Protestantism; Anabaptists; the Catholic Reformation.

 

HIST 501  Historiography

HIST 500  Historical Research Methods

 

HIST 531  The Greek Civilization

HIST 532  The Roman Republic and Empire

HIST 533  Late Antiquity and Byzantium

HIST 534  Medieval Europe

HIST 535  Renaissance and Reformation

HIST 597  Graduate Seminar in European History

HIST 611  Ancient Warfare

HIST 643  The Ottoman Empire

 

HIST 691  Writing a Thesis Proposal

HIST 699  Master of Arts in History – Thesis

Ernest Hemingway: Man of Contrasts

Ernest Hemingway was a phenomenally talented writer of the twentieth century. He was the 1954 Nobel Prize winning icon of bigger-than-life proportions. In his writing, Hemingway created a world of overt masculinity and unparalleled adventure. However, with analysis we find that Hemingway’s life was not quite as heroic as his writing would lead us to believe.

Ernest Hemingway was born 21 July 1899 at the end of a genteel age in American history. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois nine miles west of Chicago. A century ago, Oak Park was not attached to Chicago except by train or Elevated rail lines. Hemingway’s father was a doctor, and his mother was a voice teacher. In 1901, an anarchist killed President William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt became president ushering in a new, more robust age signified by the forming of National Parks and Forests. Gunboat diplomacy and Manifest Destiny were in full swing. World War I began in 1914 when Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria was assassinated along with his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The United States entered the “Great War” a few years later, but when Hemingway attempted to enlist, he was repeatedly turned down because of defective vision. He then volunteered for the Red Cross as an ambulance driver and went to the front in northern Italy. While at Fossalta di Piave on 8 July 1918, as Hemingway was delivering cigarettes and chocolates to the soldiers, a Trench mortar round landed three feet away and severely wounded him. Several Italian soldiers were killed or wounded. With “some 200 pieces of shell lodged in him”, and while carrying a soldier to safety, Hemingway was struck by two machine-gun rounds, before succumbing to his wounds. Though a decorated hero, Hemingway was unsatisfied; he began weaving together stories that put him in units he never served in, and he even filled out applications for veteran’s organizations (American Legion), that misrepresented his military involvement. “The accident suffered by a noncombatant while handing out chocolate had to be transformed into action with the elite shock troops who had followed D’Annunzio in the Great War”, comments his biographer, Jeffrey Meyers.

Hemingway became the symbol of masculinity for much of America. He took Americans on a world tour with his writing and his exploits: from the life of an expatriate, to bullfighting, skiing, big game hunting and deep-sea fishing. He was also our intrepid reporter, sending back stories from such places as the Spanish Civil War, Mafia contract-hits in Ireland, an earthquake in Japan, and other newsworthy events of his day (Hemingway, By-Line).

After the war, Hemingway went back to Europe as a reporter for the Toronto Star. He set sail for Paris with letters of introduction in his pocket. He had met a number of famous writers since the war: the most famous was Sherwood Anderson. According to his biographer Carlos Baker, “Anderson volunteered to write Hemingway letters of introduction to some of the famous writers he (Anderson) had met in Paris”. Hemingway honed his early writing technique by sending stories back to the Star by telegraph. When Hemingway’s second book, In Our Time (1925), was released, it was critically compared to the work of Sherwood Anderson, his early mentor.

To break his ties with Anderson, Hemingway wrote a satirical novel The Torrents of Spring, parodying Anderson’s recently released Dark Laughter (1925). Gertrude Stein – mentor to the group – labeled the young and talented, expatriate writers and artists who gathered in Paris after the war, “You are a Lost Generation”: people such as: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, John Dos Passos, Ford Madox Ford, Max Eastman, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound (Meyers 71). Hemingway  wrote The Sun Also Rises (1926) about his friends and their exploits in post-war Paris and Spain. Hemingway turned the world on to the fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain where the Running of the Bulls is held (Baker).

I believe Hemingway surveyed his literary history and then carefully chose the influences he would need to become the writer he wanted to be. Today the American tradition continues in that post-modern writers are either choosing Hemingway as a literary predecessor or are seeking the intellectual means with which to divorce themselves from his lineage.

Jeffrey Meyers notes that Hemingway “followed a Renaissance tradition of always going to the expert teachers to absorb what he wanted to know”. He traveled and lived, then studied and wrote about each new adventure and wonderful place. Hemingway showed the people of the world what he had found, so they could fall in love with it too. Marlin fishing off Key West and Cuba, bullfighting in Spain, and African Safari for the same animals he fell in love with at the Field Museum in Chicago when he was a boy.

By setting such a strong male role model, is it any wonder that the feminist movement attacked Hemingway, who died in 1961, and couldn’t then defend himself? The attack of the scholarly ranks began the dissection of Hemingway’s work primarily on the basis of its gender issues. The two main themes that are extracted are: 1. Homosexual activities in stories about bullfighters and soldiers. 2. Lesbianism/dominating women/one dimensional women sprinkled throughout most of the stories. Comley and Scholes say:

 

“[We] tried to show that the many women inscribed in the Hemingway text can be seen as variants of a basic repertory of female types. In examining a range of Hemingway’s fictional women we suggested that his most successful representatives be seen as combining features of more than one of his basic types or as taking on attributes of gender commonly coded as male.

 

Ruland and Bradbury add, “We are also in a time when […] women writers deconstruct male fictions in the quest for a female literary past”. The second theme is well represented by these two points, although I think deconstruction is only a variation on the theme that writers pick their own influences. Hemingway based his female characters on the women in his life; his domineering mother “The dark queen of Hemingway’s inner world” (Lynn), Gertrude Stein, and his wives and lovers.

The strength of Hemingway’s writing is that he wrote primarily from his own perspective. Hemingway wasn’t a woman; he didn’t purport to be one; should he then garner attacks? I think not. There is value in accurately representing a single point of view (male), and this has been ignored by the bulk of modern day feminism. It is not that Hemingway could not write about women, but that he chose instead to bask in a masculine world for all to see.

Hemingway had bigger personal issues than his perceived relationships with women; he was Bipolar. Mental illness and the artistic temperament bring up age-old questions. Do in fact, certain mental illnesses, in Hemingway’s case manic-depressive illness, give the writer the drive that makes him or her write? According to Kay Redfield Jamison, “Manic-depressive illness is much more common in writers and artists than in the general population”, “Most people who suffer from manic-depressive and depressive illness are not unusually creative, and they reap few benefits from their experiences” with these diseases. Again, according to Jamison, “What is even more striking […] is the number of suicides—four, in just two generations of the family: Hemingway’s father, brother, sister, and Hemingway himself”. The rate of suicide among manic-depressives in the population is 18.9%, or almost one in five (Goodwin and Jamison 230). Hemingway’s illness was accentuated and exacerbated by physical challenge.

While on Safari in Africa, Hemingway survived two plane crashes, one right after the other. “Friends remarked that the crashes had in effect made him turn inward and backward” (Lynn 576. Meyers adds, “The injuries from the second crash were much worse and several physical problems were to plague him the rest of his life”. “He had a bad temper, behaved recklessly and irrationally, drank heavily and was frequently out of control. He deliberately placed himself in risky situations in driving, boxing, skiing, fishing, hunting, and war” (Meyers). Many experts would call these, “self-medications” for a bipolar person, as is often the case. All are representative of specific influences on an unmedicated person’s life. Who really knew back then?

These physical and emotional traumas gave Hemingway a unique freedom of expression. The American tradition is that of seeking to be free, not that of being ruled by tradition. It’s of being free to choose ones antecedents. Ruland and Bradbury said, “This constantly renewing search, this constructing and defacing of literary monuments, this borrowing and assimilating and intertextualizing, shows us one way in which literary traditions are constructed—from the inside by the writers themselves” (xvi). Therefore, all American writers are self-made exponents of the world as they see it. In effect, the American way of life breeds apprentice-intellectuals, not suffering from the fashions of the day, and not afraid to dream a new dream.

I believe Hemingway is one of the greatest American writers, if not the greatest. Being at or near this lofty position, I think he, like any other great writer or artist, was then able to choose his own influences and create what he liked. Pandering to the whims of critics, the marketplace or future generations is not, or should not be, anywhere in the mind of such a creative artist.

Manic-depressive illness does not cause artistic ability anymore than earning a driver’s license makes one competitive in a Formula One racing car. It is possible that one may lead to the other, but one does not cause the other. Manic depression, or Bipolar, is at best a destructive mental illness that needs constant monitoring and care.

 

How I or anyone else enjoys Hemingway’s writing will depend entirely on what we bring to the experience; we do not need a secondary source to tell us what Hemingway really meant. In all creative endeavors, the artist and we are one; an interpreter is not part of the equation. As Hemingway writes:

 

If a writer of prose knows enough about 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 iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water (Death).

 

The profound effect is that of the story still moving through you long after reading it.

Whether it was his experience in WWI as an ambulance driver, his onslaught of manic-depressive illness, the women in his life, or his various physical annoyances that truly made the writer, we will never know. Hemingway did a superlative job of drawing the reader into his world; it is one full of adventure and complete with an honest view from the masculine perspective. Ernest Hemingway is in all ways fascinating. His place in literary history is all but assured. The post-modern critics are not correct: Hemingway’s fiction still reads gloriously, and need not be read with annoyance, intrepidity, or a sense of loathsome incompatibility.

 

Works Cited:

 

Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

 

Comley, Nancy R. and Robert E. Scholes. Hemingway’s Genders: rereading the     Hemingway text. New Haven: Yale UP, 1994.

 

Goodwin, Frederick K. and Kay Redfield Jamison. Manic-Depressive Illness. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.

 

Hemingway, Ernest M. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway. Ed. William White. New York: Scribner’s, 1967.

 

Hemingway, Ernest M. Death in the Afternoon. New York: Scribner’s, 1932.

 

Jamison, Kay Redfield. Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. New York: Free Press, 1993.

 

Lynn, Kenneth S. Hemingway. New York: Simon, 1987.

 

Meyers, Jeffrey. Hemingway: A Biography. New York: Harper, 1985.

 

Ruland, Richard and Malcolm Bradbury. From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature. New York: Viking, 1991.

An MA in something….

How does one choose what to do a Masters degree in? What your parents did? What your highest GPA was in? Where the market requires more people with Masters degrees? What feels good? What you didn’t spend enough time working on in your Bachelors degree? What your friends think you should do? What your counselor or spouse thinks you should do? If you can afford it or not? Just what exactly??

Together We Served

Veteran,

I would like to invite you to join the Together We Served website. I think it is by far the best Veteran’s website out there and need not cost you any money. You can find buddies that you served with, display your ribbons/medals, search for reunions, and they even have memorabilia. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and I get the satisfaction of knowing another veteran.

You can Google Together We Served, look for your branch of service, and use my membership #97087 of USAF TWS to sign-up!

Thanks in advance!!

Sgt., USAF 1982-1986

USAF TWS membership # 97087

Blonde in an Acura

I drove home in the wife’s 1991 Toyota SR-5 P/U at about 1400 in the afternoon. I took the Stanwood-Camano Island exit and drove West. At the 2nd intersection there was an old Ford truck trying to turn left, an Acura with a Blonde in it, and plenty of room to get around said truck. After awhile I laid on the horn to get the blonde to get moving and she started vibrating in place. I said F this, snapped the wheel to get around her and zipped down the road. I have always swept back and forth to check mirrors and gauges, when all of a sudden a little white Acura was catching up to me as if I was parked. I remember saying 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and tossing the truck into the ditch, but not quite as she blew through where I had just been. When she finally hit the brakes she slid for a very long time. At the Haggen light she was in the turn lane and I got her to roll down her window and I asked her if she wanted another shot at trying to kill me. She just vibrated in place.

Making a Corvette Dance

When I was very young and lived in Glenview, IL, my neighbor had a red 1964 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. I would stare at that car through my grandmother’s split-rail type fence and weeping willows. I have always loved Corvettes especially the Coke Bottle Vettes, those made from 1968-1982 that are now referred to as C3 Corvettes. Every time I got wound up and went out looking for a Corvette to buy I have always ended up with something else, a Porsche, a Mercedes, a full size Ford Bronco for example. I have always wanted a Vette, but I have never owned one. One day I was bopping down highway 99 in Lynwood, WA just looking around at what car dealers had to offer. I spotted a 1974 black Corvette with a big block and a 4 speed wedged into a little rundown car dealer. I parked and asked about the car and the kid said he would get it out for me. We drove across the street to get $5 gas at Texaco. He let me drive from there. Going North he had me turn right onto a suburban side street. We were bombing down a big toboggan sled kind of hill reaching speeds of about 90 when all of a sudden he told me to take a quick right onto a hairpin that dropped away from the road we had just descended on. Down shifting to 2nd and stomping on the gas made the Vette keep level while the road dropped away from us creating the feeling of grabbing a major wheelie. The kid was screaming at the top of his lungs through that corner and down that hill like we were going to die. Back at the dealership he asked what I thought and I said the car needed too much. I should have bought that car cuz I had just made it dance.