Ouachita Baptist University professor Dr. Raouf J. Halaby presented a paper at the 16th biennial international conference of The Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society. The conference was held at Venice International University in Venice, Italy, June 22-27.
The six-day conference drew more than 400 participants from 15 countries. Halaby, professor of visual arts and English, presented his paper, “The Theme of the Quest: Gilgamesh and Enkidu as Prototypes for Hemingway’s Robert Jordan, Frederic Henry, and Santiago,” as part of a panel on “Hemingway: Trauma, Memory, Geography, and the Quest.”
“Drawing on Joseph Campbell’s notions on the cycle of the monomyth, the paper draws on the ancient Mesopotamian epic poem The Epic of Gilgamesh and draws parallels between Gilgamesh and his alter-ego, Enkidu, and the three protagonists in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea,” Halaby said. “Drawing on the archetypal pattern, the paper compares the theme of the quest in these works.”
Halaby has served on faculty at Ouachita for more than 40 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Ouachita and his master’s and doctorate degrees from East Texas State University.
Like many authors, artists and musicians, Venice was one of Hemingway’s favorite cities. Conference attendees not only participated in academic sessions related to the author and his works but also explored the area that was influential in his life. For example, Halaby joined a one-day excursion to the Piava delta, where Hemingway, as an 18-year-old ambulance driver with the American Red Cross, was injured by an explosion. He drew on this experience in his acclaimed A Farewell to Arms. Poet and Hemingway scholar H.R. Stoneback also officiated a poetry reading by Hemingway’s daughter-in-law, Valerie Hemingway, on the island of Torcello, another of the author’s favorite sites.
According to its website, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation was established in 1965 by Hemingway’s widow, Mary Hemingway, “for the purposes of awakening, sustaining an interest in, promoting, fostering, stimulating, supporting, improving and developing literature and all forms of literary composition and expression.” In 1980, the Hemingway Society was formed by a group of scholars, and this group was invited by Hemingway’s sons to merge with the foundation in 1986. The organization continues to support literary achievements in general, and especially the work of Hemingway.
For more information, contact Dr. Raouf Halaby at email@example.com.
By Brooke Zimny