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“Hemingway” App Too Terse for Hemingway

“Did Hemingway really want to write like Hemingway?” asks Ian Crouch in his New Yorker post about a new “Hemingway” editing app developed by brothers Adam and Ben Long. The app “makes your writing bold and clear” à la Hemingway. Both boldness and clarity sound positive (I almost put an adverb there, but am now feeling self-conscious). One must ask, however, whether the style used to describe expatriates in Paris in the 1920’s should be the same as, say, that used to discuss Jamie Lee Curtis’s Activia endorsement. From the results of passing Hemingway’s own text through the Hemingway wringer, Hemingway himself appears too verbose for Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises far more byzantine than anything the author of The Sun Also Rises author would have written. As a writer, there’s appeal in having a device that wrist-slaps you for self-indulgence, but it also seems dangerously like a literary Instagram filter, shading all writing the hue of “bold and clear” gruffness and alcoholism.

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