Faulkner Vs. Hemingway (Literary Beefs)

Everybody’s a critic. Here’s two literary greats dishing it out. There’s a point to this – 

William Faulkner: Hemingway, he has no courage, has never crawled out on a limb. He has never been known to use a word that might cause the reader to check with a dictionary to see if it is properly used.

Ernest Hemingway: Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use. Remember, anybody who pulls his erudition or education on you hasn’t any.

I’m more of a Hemingway guy personally, but – you can see where both of them are coming from here. 

Nobody has it all right. 

From the top, status games are still status games. 

It’s all still petty. 

One thing matters though – 

Great art. 

These aren’t the words or quotes that matter. They’re just a reminder how human the greats are. 

What really matters is what we do when we’re not playing the status games. When we’re writing. When we’re creating. 

Ps. full disclosure: I’m on Team Hemingway. Here are some old posts. Maybe someday I’ll get more into Faulkner, but while those books made me think hard when I read them (mostly for school I think), when I revisit Hemingway, as I often have over the years, I feel hard. I still cry every time I read The Old Man and the Sea. I still fall apart for a day when I read A Farewell to Arms. And I’ll probably keep re-reading both for the rest of my life. 

Pss. Ok maybe I’ll get The Sound and The Fury out again, fine.

h/t Dylano/Essayful for the inspiration. If interested, check out this Britannica summary of the feud too.