What is it about?

Ernest Hemingway wrote about 400 pages of information about bullfighting in Spain. At first, readers may not think Death in the Afternoon is worth the read--especially since it does deal quite a bit with "gory"/"gore-y" bullfighting details. However, this non-fiction work really informs us about Hemingway's relationship to Spain and its intertextual presence across his corpus. Furthermore, when we apply geocritical theories to the text, we as readers learn more about Hemingway's representations of Spain. Ultimately, Death in the Afternoon pairs well with The Sun Also Rises, and Hemingway's focus on bullfighting turns out to be one of the many sports he writes about to represent American culture.

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Why is it important?

Many scholars and critics have worked on the concept of space in Hemingway's writing. There are even numerous existing maps to accompany his works of fiction. This article is the first to attempt the mapping of Spain as represented in his non-fiction work, Death in the Afternoon.


Death in the Afternoon has often been overlooked by critics, and its topic, mainly that of bullfighting, may not seem very attractive from a twenty-first century perspective. However, this non-fiction work is filled with several important reading clues to understand the sportsmanship of Hemingway's writing and to get a bigger-picture perspective on the place and space of Spain in his writing.

Amy Wells
Universite de Caen Normandie

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: From the Baedeker to the bull ring and the boxing ring: spaces of sport in Death in the Afternoon (1932), Sport in History, May 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/17460263.2019.1613258.
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