Last summer, I had Lesley Blume on the show to talk about her book Everybody Behaves Badly, which gives the story behind the story of Hemingway’s first big novel, The Sun Also Rises. On today’s show, I talk to an author of another book about this landmark novel, who, instead of providing the historical context of The Sun Also Rises, explores the ideal of manliness Hemingway was trying to get at in the book. His name is Frank Miniter, he’s a journalist and the author of previous books like The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide. His latest is called This Will Make a Man of You: One Man’s Search to Find What Makes Men.
Frank and I discuss Hemingway’s project of creating a new myth of manliness that combined traditional notions of masculinity with modern sensibilities, how Frank Sinatra killed the rugged gentleman and made “cool” a defining feature of modern manliness, and what the running of the bulls can teach us about rites of passage into manhood. We end our conversation talking about Hemingway’s attraction to and repulsion from bullfighting, and why the matador was Hemingway’s ideal symbol of manliness.
- How Frank became interested in Hemingway, and particularly Papa’s code of manhood
- The attributes of a “Hemingway Man”
- How the idea of “cool” kills the old-school gentleman
- How our culture of cool influences society’s idea of manliness
- How Hemingway was, in a modern way, trying to capture traditional ideals of manhood
- What Hemingway’s main characters often have in common
- Does suffering make for the best learning?
- The purpose of Robert Cohn in The Sun Also Rises
- The religious themes in The Sun Also Rises, and Hemingway’s Catholicism
- The history of Pamplona’s running of the bulls
- Frank’s own experience running with the bulls 13 times
- What makes for an effective rite of passage
- Why Americans don’t respond well to the running of the bulls or bullfighting
- The background and cultural significance of bullfighting in Spain
- How matadors, in many ways, encompass Hemingway’s ideal of manhood
- Why culture today looks down upon codes of honor and manhood
- Why everyone should meld the traditional and the modern to form their own code
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide by Frank Miniter
- My podcast with Lesley M. M. Blume about the origins of The Sun Also Rises
- The Libraries of Famous Men: Ernest Hemingway
- Ernest Hemingway Motivational Posters
- Ernest Hemingway’s Guns
- The Hemingway You Didn’t Know: Papa’s Adventures
- My podcast with Matthew Crawford about The World Beyond Your Head
- The Rise and Fall of “Rebel Cool”
- AoM’s Series on Manly Honor
- Joseph Campbell
- My podcast with Waller Newell about the code of man
- Getting Over Your Glory Days
- Reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises by H.R. Stoneback
- The Camino de Santiago
- The Running of the Bulls
- How to Create Your Own Rite of Passage
- The Importance of Male Rites of Passage
- How and Why to Develop a Mighty Moral Code
- The Bushido Code
- The Song of Roland
This Will Make a Man of You is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Frank does a great job making explicit what Hemingway made implicit in The Sun Also Rises. I had several “a-ha” moments while reading the book. Pick up a copy on Amazon. While you’re at it, pick up a copy of The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to brush up on your man skills.
Connect With Frank Miniter
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Recorded on ClearCast.io.
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Last updated: April 6, 2017