All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Sunday, March 7, 2021

#ReadThis #ForWhomtheBellTolls by #ErnestHemingway @simonschuster

Previously on Whom You Know, Ernest Hemingway has been featured:

We were perhaps most excited for this novel because of the second word in the title!  It is much more substantial than his other books we've considered in quantity: this is the 12 course meal as opposed to the 5 course.  Hugely influenced by the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway chronicles the protagonist Robert Jordan, an American who seeks to free Spain from facism and is on the side of the International Brigades.  Jordan's mission is to destroy a bridge.  His admirable focus is only matched by his deep love for Maria.

It's not only about war.  It's a love story based in reality, and the level of verbiage and word choice is on par with a diamond from Cartier, Harry Winston or Tiffany's.  The richness in dialogue is unparalleled and just as good if not better than our most favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Of course, the title is derived from the Oxford Book of English Verse and specifically from a John Donne quote which "expressed the interconnectedness of humanity that matched the aspirations of his work." (p. xvi)   Outcomes of wars are obviously wide-reaching.  Patrick and Sean Hemingway, son and grandson respectively, have each written an introduction.  This new edition is enhanced with three short stories about Hemingway's WWII experiences, so if you think you've read it all, perhaps you haven't!

The authenticity of conversation brings purity and elegance to the everyday horrors of war; the clarity and depth will continuously amaze you increasingly with the turning of each page.  The best way to go to war is on your couch inbetween the pages of Hemingway.

Second best to the conversations are the spectacular descriptions and we absolutely adored the Valencia description (p.87)  "[The prawns (i.e. shrimp)] were pink and sweet and there were four bites to a prawn.  Of those we ate many.  Then we ate paella with fresh sea food, clams in their shells, mussels, crayfish and small eels...All the time drinking a white wine, cold, light, and good."  And if that made you hungry, we suggest El Pote.  We loved how it brought us back to warm weather, and equally stunning was the winter description on page 186 which you can bask in in July.  This weekend's weather in New York does not need any reminding of cold.  Best of all is the merry-go-round on page 230.  As the goal gets close to climax on p. 439 the universality of this day of days is particularly moving.

Drafts and original manuscript pictures add quite a bit towards the back from the JFK Library.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is Recommended by Whom You Know; it's dynamite!

About Ernest Hemingway 
Ernest Hemingway did more to influence the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established him as one of the greatest literary lights of the 20th century. His classic novella The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He died in 1961.

Introduced by Hemingway’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this newly annotated edition and literary masterpiece about an American in the Spanish Civil War features early drafts and supplementary material—including three previously uncollected short stories on war by one the greatest writers on the subject in history.

In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from “the good fight,” and one of the foremost classics of war literature in history.

Published in 1940, For Whom the Bell Tolls tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. Robert Jordan is a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain. In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo’s last stand, Hemingway creates a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise. “If the function of a writer is to reveal reality,” Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, “no one ever so completely performed it.” Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author’s previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.

Featuring early drafts and manuscript notes, some of Hemingway’s writings during the Spanish Civil War, and three previously collected stories of his on the subject of war, as well as a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls brings new life to a literary master’s epic like never before.

Back to TOP