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March 26 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

“Big Two-Hearted River” Class with Austin Smith

In this class on a Hemingway classic, we’ll consider the tension between Nick Adams’s tenuous psychological state and the physical details of fishing and camping that make this story so vivid. As with so many of Hemingway’s characters, there is more going on under the surface than might be apparent on a first read. We’ll explore how the blackened body of a grasshopper can, for a discerning reader, conjure the horrors of war, and how the difference between a clean river and a muddy swamp can convey as much about the psyche as they do about the watershed. As many times as you read this story, you always see something new in it, and so this class will be a collaborative effort of deep reading in which we’ll help one another find what Hemingway has hidden.

Attendees should have read both parts of “Big Two-Hearted River” before the class, but familiarity with the entire collection in which the story appears – “In Our Time” – will be helpful in our discussion of how this final story involves material that readers of the original collection would have encountered before.

This class will meet at the Library’s Wood River Museum of History and Culture (entrance on 4th Street between Walnut and East Avenues).

Austin Smith is the author of two poetry collections, “Almanac” and “Flyover Country,” both published through the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. He has received National Endowment for the Arts and Wallace Stegner fellowships in prose, and the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship in poetry. He teaches at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco. He is a March Writer-In-Residence with The Community Library at the historic Ernest and Mary Hemingway House.


March 26
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Wood River Museum of History & Culture
580 4th St E
Ketchum,ID83340United States
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(208) 726-8118
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