This essay argues for the brilliance and creativity of his early work – the novels The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, and stories like “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” And for the way on which the self-parody Hemingway later became obscures his early genius:

“Those who knew Hemingway well, especially in these early years, reported that his braggadocio was something of a cover: Far from being the swaggering, insouciant rake Hemingwayof lore, he was emotionally fragile, stirred into panics by women’s rejections, prone to insomnia, workaholic and perfectionist (in Paris, he’d spend all day writing and sometimes come home with a single sentence), and given to weird and compulsive record-keeping projects, like tallying exact word counts or tracking his wife’s menstrual rhythms. He was what we would now call a neurotic, and the struggle to make sense of a life suddenly coming apart gave his work the urgency and contours earlier efforts had lacked…

“…What Hemingway captured, in other words, was the familiar, personal, very un-Jamesian experience of processing the world directly in time. His work of this period connects with our animal habits of consciousness. And the struggle it brings to the foreground is the struggle to make sense of—to find a line of narrative through—this disordered experience. Hemingway’s insight was to understand that this struggle was not just a literary one. It’s a fundamental part of how people themselves perceive and try to make sense of the world.”