From Hemingway’s Novels, Keats’ Poems to Nin’s Erotic Stories: Less Words Say More

Article by Gene Schwerman

From the succinct, tight prose of Earnest Hemingway, to the hyper extended imagery of John Keats, to the intense social observations of Anais Nin, again and again we find that brevity is not only the soul of wit, as Shakespeare noted, but also the heart and soul of great literature.

“All good books have one thing in common – they are truer than if they had really happened,” Ernest Hemingway pronounced. If that does not say enough in very few words, try this one: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”

On a less serious note Hemingway wrote: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” On his own writing he said a mouthful in these few words: “For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”

I fell madly in love with Lady Brett Ashley in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises with less actual information about her than with any other woman or ethereal being I have ever loved. No one would accuse Hemingway of writing Erotic Stories, but for me, The Sun Also Rises is exactly that and more.

Erotic Stories are the domain of Anais Nin. Nin not only writes erotic stories in the midst of great literature, she brings much of Hemingway’s minimalist verbiage to the art of doing so. There just aren’t too many authors in any genre with the flair for saying as much in a few words as Nin. “Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.” Nin points out.

Consider these few words:” And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” She paints such a beautiful flower with so few brush strokes. From one of her erotic stories, The Hungarian Adventurer, she sums up her main character quite succinctly thus:

“The Baron almost fell in love with Anita and stayed with her for a longer time than with any woman. She fell in love with him and bore him two children. But after a few years he was off again. The habit was too strong; the habit of freedom and change.”

So in literature less is more as well as in wit. Who then wins the war of fewer words? That’s easy: John Keats. Keats was one of the best of the group of Romantic Poets, and a great poet by any standard. But for saying the most in the fewest words it is hard to beat John Keats.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Eight words defining art throughout history. I’d call that fairly precise.

“‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Under twenty words describing the human condition of man on earth.

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.” A little wordy there John how about this? Feel and be who you are. I think we can excuse the verbosity!

“I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion – I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more – I could be martyred for my religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that.” Martyrdom and the definition of love in a single breath, could someone please hand John that Golden Chalice.

Keats’ book length treatise on the workings of the imagination replete with his own erotic stories is contained in his five stanza poem: Ode on a Grecian Urn. It may take several months to read it in its entirety.

Gene Schwerman is the founder and head marketing consultant for Truly Unique Website Design. Truly Unique works on websites of all varieties, such as, where you can find erotic stories and erotic photography.

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