Bullfighting, Hemingway and the ‘Seduction of Death’

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  07.09.10 | 12:17 PM ET

Merida, Colombia (Photo: blmurch via Flickr, Creative Commons)

Is bullfighting an important tradition that should be preserved? Is it so cruel it should be boycotted and banned? And why was Hemingway so taken with it?

In a fine TNR review of Bullfighting: A Troubled History, Ben Wallace-Wells offers a brief history of the sport and summarizes the perspective of author Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier.

She falls squarely in the reformist camp, and her history argues that the sport seduced artists, who glamorized and abstracted a cruel and ugly pursuit into something that bore little resemblance to bullfighting itself. On the matter of Hemingway she is not subtle. “Hemingway is an emblematic representative of the aficionados who were in love with death,” she writes.

As I’ve noted before, I’ve had my own brushes with death in the bullring. (Via AL Daily)

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