"I could not help from criticizing it in parody"

Though Sherwood Anderson's short stories were highly popular and won much critical acclaim, his novels were rather less enthusiastically received (for more information on Anderson see previous note for the same page). His 1925 book, Dark Laughter, is largely considered a failure, however, it was the only novel penned by Anderson that achieved bestseller status. Clearly influenced by Anderson's reading of Ulysses, it concerns a journey down the Mississippi, addressing what are now considered to be racist themes.

According to Michael Reynolds, Hemingway's intention with The Torrents of Spring was twofold: he wanted to publicly signal the end of Anderson's status as his literary mentor, whilst at the same time ensuring a break in publishing contract with Liveright (who also represented Sherwood). Encouraged in his endeavours by both F. Scott Fitzgerald and notably Pauline Pfeiffer, who would become Ernest's second wife, he reasoned that 'no one "with any stuff" could be hurt by satire' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 338). He was wrong. Not only would the move anger Stein, it would also mark the end of his friendship with Sherwood.