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AUP Hosts the 18th International Hemingway Conference

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From July 22-28, The American University of Paris hosted The Hemingway Society for the 18th International Hemingway Conference. The theme for this year’s conference, “‘Paris est une fête’… Hemingway’s Moveable Feast,” took inspiration from the Nobel Prize-winning author’s memoir of his time in Paris, and much of the week was a celebration not only of the author but of his legendary connection to the city.

On Sunday, July 22, registrants were welcomed at the Combes Building by AUP Provost Hank Kreuzman, Hemingway Society organizers Matthew Nickel and H.R. Stoneback, and AUP site directors Professors Alice Craven and William Dow. Despite the remarkably warm weather and the record-breaking attendance – over 500 participants – the day provided clear evidence for why the Hemingway Conferences are often playfully dubbed ‘Hemingway Summer Camp.’

The conference officially opened the following day with a special PEN/Hemingway event at the Gustave Eiffel salon at the Eiffel Tower. Attendees were treated to musical performances inspired by Hemingway from Michael Kim Roos and Sarah Gannon, as well as a fascinating insight into Hemingway’s trip to fact check the manuscript of A Moveable Feast from his secretary and daughter-in-law Valerie Hemingway, in conversation with Lesley Blume.  

A military brass band kicked off proceedings on Tuesday, July 24, in the grand Amphithéâtre Richelieu at the Sorbonne University with renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner and La Marseillaise before plenary sessions began. Amongst the highlights of the day were Adam Gopnik, best-selling essayist and staff writer for the New Yorker, who offered an insightful look at Hemingway’s relevance in the 21st century during his talk ‘How we read him now: Hemingway in a new Century’; organizer H.R. Stoneback’s presentation of Poems and Songs of the Great War accompanied by singer Sarah Gannon; and a reflection on language and modernism from Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University.

A major concern of the conference directors was to make this a truly international conference. To that end, committees were established to ensure the input and participation of French, European, Asian and worldwide Hemingway scholars and aficionados. The conference itself represented a broad international and interdisciplinary exploration of Hemingway’s life and writings, with a special emphasis on the Paris he inhabited.

In total, the week offered over 85 paper sessions, including from AUP Professor William Dow who moderated a session coupling two of the 21st century’s heavyweight writers titled: Hemingway and Dos Passos and presented a paper on “Hemingway’s Literary Journalism and Image-Making Modernism.”

As 2018 marks the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary in Paris and around the world, it was particularly fitting to see many panels exploring the presentation of war in Hemingway’s works and the impact of those experiences on him as a writer and individual including a special session on New Perspectives on War & Writing moderated by retired longtime writer and editor at the Kansas City Star, Steve Paul.

Hemingway’s continued influence on the popular imagination of Paris was prominent throughout the conference, notably in a session moderated by AUP Professor Alice Craven who led a discussion on the period of Hemingway’s early years in Paris, recently reintroduced to the public consciousness in Woody Allen’s movie, in a session titled: Midnight in Hemingway’s Paris. Professor Craven also examined one of Hemingway’s most famous short stories in a lecture later in the week titled, “Hemingway and the Language of Film Noir: The Case of ‘The Killers.’”

The week also saw the return of AUP Alumna Breanna Hugon, a graduate of the MA in Cultural Translation, who came to campus for a discussion on the writer and the various adaptions of his prose to the big screen, and gave a paper, “The Translation and Critical Construction of Hemingway in French.”

In his writing, Hemingway vividly captured the daily lives of men and women confronted with some of history’s most momentous events. The week underscored the continued reverberations of Hemingway’s legacy, becoming an international intersection for all those interested in Hemingway as one of the most influential and challenging writers of the twentieth century.

Since 1986 The Hemingway Society has continued the mission of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation that was established in 1965 by Mary Hemingway, Hemingway’s widow. The Foundation was created to support the development of literature “and all forms of literary composition and expression,” and to promote scholarship and studies related to the works and life of Ernest Hemingway.

For more information on the 18th International Hemingway Conference, consult the official conference website.
You can read more about the events of the week on The Hemingway Society Blog