for Pamplona

The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway
The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway's circle, and the action is based on real events. Hemingway first visited the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona in 1923, where he was following his recent passion for bullfighting.

Based on Hemingway’s motley circle of friends and real events, The Sun also Rises describes the Lost Generation, decadent, disillusioned, angsty and damaged by the horrors of the Great War. In 1924, a hard drinking, fast living group of British and American friends travels from Paris to Pamplona. The little town lies in the fiercely independent Basque region, apart from the rest of Europe and thus the Great War, and maybe therefor is attractive to the friends, who are constantly and aimlessly transiting from one place to the next. The Sun also Rises is a war-, as well as a love-story. Jake Barnes, an American journalist, who was badly injured and rendered impotent during WWI, is deeply in love with Brett, an aristocratic, beautiful femme fatale. Due to his impotence she refuses to have a relationship with him and he is forced to witness and accept her sexual promiscuity. In Pamplona they watch the corrida, the running of the bulls and the bullfights during the Fiesta de San Fermin and wander from bar to bar in a state of constant exhilaration and drunkenness. The loosely knit, highly dysfunctional family of Jake, Brett and their friends are incapable of expressing their feelings and emotions, except in a destructive or cynical manner or when they are insanely drunk (which they often enough are). They embark on fleeting romantic affairs, that leave them isolated, emotionally drained, heart broken and violently fighting each other. The novel finishes with Lady Brett saying: "Oh Jake… we could have had such a damn good time together", to which Jake replies: "Isn’t it pretty to think so?".

Sonja Junkers

Sonja Junkers


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