Men Without Women (short story collection)

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Men Without Women
First edition
AuthorErnest Hemingway
CountryUnited States
GenreShort stories
PublisherCharles Scribner's Sons
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

Men Without Women (1927) is the second collection of short stories written by American author Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961). The volume consists of 14 stories, 10 of which had been previously published in magazines. It was published in October 1927, with a first print-run of approximately 7600 copies at $2.[1]

The subject matter of the stories in the collection includes bullfighting, prizefighting, infidelity, divorce, and death. "The Killers", "Hills Like White Elephants", and "In Another Country" are considered to be among Hemingway's better works.[2]

Stories included in volume[edit]

"The Undefeated"[edit]

"In Another Country"[edit]

"Hills Like White Elephants"[edit]

"The Killers"[edit]

"Che Ti Dice La Patria?"[edit]

"Fifty Grand"[edit]

"A Simple Enquiry"[edit]

"Ten Indians"[edit]

"Ten Indians" follows Hemingway's character Nick Adams as he returns home to his father from an Independence Day celebration with the Garner family. The title is derived from a comment made by Mr. Garner - "That makes nine of them" - after moving an Indian (Native American) who had passed out on the road.

"A Canary for One"[edit]

"An Alpine Idyll"[edit]

"An Alpine Idyll" is another Nick Adams story, which sees a mature Nick and a friend, John, returning from a ski trip in the mountains. The story takes place in spring, with the characters noting that the season was not good for skiing and lamenting that they had stayed in the mountains too long. The story begins with Nick and John witnessing a peasant burial. The story concludes with Nick and John, who had gone into an inn for drinks, having a discussion with the innkeeper and the sexton who had performed the burial. There is a revelation that the peasant widower, who had been snowbound with his dead wife for months, had reportedly kept her body in the woodshed and used her mouth to hold a lantern. The characters wonder whether the story was true, and the innkeeper indicated it must have been, since the peasants were "beasts."

"A Pursuit Race"[edit]

"A Pursuit Race" tells the story of a man involved in a "pursuit race" with a burlesque show. The story takes place within a single hotel room, where the racer's boss finds him. It is first made to seem that the racer is drunk, but it is eventually established that the racer is high on heroin, which is revealed when the racer shows his boss track marks on his arm. The boss attempts to help the racer, but eventually leaves the man alone in the hotel room.

"Today is Friday"[edit]

"Banal Story"[edit]

"Banal Story" is a short parody, which depicts a character reading The Forum magazine. The beginning of the story contains a series of hypothetical questions from the fictional copy of Forum the character is depicted as reading. The story ends with Hemingway describing the death of a bullfighter named Maera, and its aftermath.

"Now I Lay Me"[edit]


Men Without Women was variously received by critics. Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Ray Long praised the story "Fifty Grand", calling it, "one of the best short stories that ever came to my hands...the best prize-fight story I ever read...a remarkable piece of realism."[3]

Some critics, however—among them Lee Wilson Dodd whose article entitled "Simple Annals of the Callous" appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature—found Hemingway's subjects lacking. Joseph Wood Krutch called the stories in Men Without Women "Sordid little catastrophes", involving "very vulgar people."[4]

Hemingway responded to the less favorable reviews with a poem published in The Little Review in May 1929:

                 (For a Mr. Lee Wilson Dodd and Any of His Friends Who Want It)

                     Sing a song of critics
                     pockets full of lye
                     four and twenty critics
                     hope that you will die
                     hope that you will peter out
                     hope that you will fail
                     so they can be the first one
                     be the first to hail
                     any happy weakening or sign of quick decay.
                     (All very much alike, weariness too great,
                     sordid small catastrophes, stack the cards on fate,
                     very vulgar people, annals of the callous,
                     dope fiends, soldiers, prostitutes,
                     men without a gallus)[5]

Hemingway's style, on the other hand, received much acclaim. In the New York Times Book Review, Percy Hutchinson praised him for "language sheered to the bone, colloquial language expended with the utmost frugality; but it is continuous and the effect is one of continuously gathering power."[6] Even Krutch, writing in the Nation in 1927, said of Men Without Women, "It appears to be the most meticulously literal reporting and yet it reproduces dullness without being dull."[6]


  1. ^ Oliver, pp. 218–218
  2. ^ Meyers 1985, pp. 195–196
  3. ^ Long, pp. 2-3
  4. ^ Weeks, Robert P., ed. Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962. Print.
  5. ^ Hemingway, Ernest (May 1929). "Valentine". Little Review. XII: 42.
  6. ^ a b Bryer, Jackson R., ed. "Fifteen Modern American Authors: A Survey of Research and Criticism". Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1969. Print.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]