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Editor’s Note

“Hemingway's Finest...”

This semi-autobiographical account of an improbable love during WWI showcases Hemingway at his finest. The haunting descriptions of destruction, despair & hope evoke every emotion.
Scribd Editor
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway’s craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway’s own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.

Topics: Italy, Realistic, Dark, War, World War 1, Love, Deserters, Death, First Person Narration, Modernism, 20th Century, Male Author, American Author, Tragic, Expat Life, Semi-Autobiographical, 1910s, Switzerland, Male Protagonists, Soldiers, and Military

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781451681871
List price: $12.99
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worth reading for....more
I lived with this book, i carried by myself everywhere to the last word. more
I've read many of Ernest Hemingway's most revered short stories, and I've read one of his more acclaimed novels, The Sun Also Rises. I like Hemingway for the most part. He wrote good stories, but the style was very bare. I think Hemingway tried to strip down his stories as much as possible and, though he was good at it, this has always annoyed me a little. When I'm sipping coffee and nibbling on doughnuts with fellow literati, we make jokes about various authors. I often crack jokes on poor Hemingway and his pronoun-leading sentences.Well, the joke is on me.A Farewell to Arms is a tremendous novel. It employs Hemingway's signature simplicity, but it is not as simple as I remember Hemingway's other works being. He used elegant language and description more freely, but never more than you'd expect from Hemingway. This blend makes for a wonderful novel, a novel that lets the story and the characters speak for themselves. It is well-casted, well-plotted, and paced perfectly. It is thrilling and heartbreaking. This, for me, was a surprisingly good novel.Now, I wasn't a big fan of Catherine Barkley and without reading other reviews, I would guess, aside from the ending for some, this is the most griped about element of this book. Hemingway was “a man's writer” and his life story portrays him as machismo, but Hemingway could still write a descent female character, certainly better than some others. Catherine was not one of these. She's weak and annoying and ignorant; yet she's strong, entertaining, and very intelligent. Perhaps Catherine was a bit crazy, a bit damaged. Now if Hemingway wrote all his female characters this way, I would assume he was just an idiot. Since he doesn't, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. There may be people like Catherine in the world, but with Hemingway's bare style—refusing to explain Catherine—I struggled to understand her and had difficulty getting past her juvenile dialogue. What was it that Frederic saw in her?Catherine aside, which admittedly is a large part of the book, I thought A Farewell to Arms was spectacular. It's real and it's memorable. Is Hemingway over-hyped by academia? Absolutely, at least in my experience; but that's not to say that he wasn't a really great writer and master of the pared down narrative. So I'll be more careful about the Hemingway jokes. Orwell is easier to poke fun at anyway.more
The way I listened to the audiobook version of this novel narrated by John Slattery didn’t do it justice. Being on holidays, away from home and my usual commuting and exercising habits, I listened in short grabs, either just before going to sleep or when I woke up in the early hours of the morning and wanted to get back to sleep again. I had to re-listen to bits I'd missed by dozing off, which does not make for a smooth and cohesive literary experience. In addition, it’s a reasonably short book, but it’s taken me a month or so to finish, which is not good when I have such a poor memory for plot details. That said, I enjoyed the book much more than I thought I would. I've not read a huge amount of Hemingway, although I've read enough to know that he's not my favourite writer. However, I like the deceptive simplicity of Hemingway's prose - a simplicity extraordinarily difficult to achieve. I also like the way in which Hemingway used his personal experience of being a volunteer ambulance driver at the Italian front during World War I to ground the plot. And I appreciate the complete absence bull fighting in this novel, a passion of Hemingway's to which I cannot relate. Slattery’s narration is excellent. Thankfully, he’s not one of those male narrators who heads into the falsetto range when voicing a female character. Overall, this has been an unusual audiobook experience for me, but a worthwhile one nevertheless.more
Read all 68 reviews

Reviews

worth reading for....more
I lived with this book, i carried by myself everywhere to the last word. more
I've read many of Ernest Hemingway's most revered short stories, and I've read one of his more acclaimed novels, The Sun Also Rises. I like Hemingway for the most part. He wrote good stories, but the style was very bare. I think Hemingway tried to strip down his stories as much as possible and, though he was good at it, this has always annoyed me a little. When I'm sipping coffee and nibbling on doughnuts with fellow literati, we make jokes about various authors. I often crack jokes on poor Hemingway and his pronoun-leading sentences.Well, the joke is on me.A Farewell to Arms is a tremendous novel. It employs Hemingway's signature simplicity, but it is not as simple as I remember Hemingway's other works being. He used elegant language and description more freely, but never more than you'd expect from Hemingway. This blend makes for a wonderful novel, a novel that lets the story and the characters speak for themselves. It is well-casted, well-plotted, and paced perfectly. It is thrilling and heartbreaking. This, for me, was a surprisingly good novel.Now, I wasn't a big fan of Catherine Barkley and without reading other reviews, I would guess, aside from the ending for some, this is the most griped about element of this book. Hemingway was “a man's writer” and his life story portrays him as machismo, but Hemingway could still write a descent female character, certainly better than some others. Catherine was not one of these. She's weak and annoying and ignorant; yet she's strong, entertaining, and very intelligent. Perhaps Catherine was a bit crazy, a bit damaged. Now if Hemingway wrote all his female characters this way, I would assume he was just an idiot. Since he doesn't, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. There may be people like Catherine in the world, but with Hemingway's bare style—refusing to explain Catherine—I struggled to understand her and had difficulty getting past her juvenile dialogue. What was it that Frederic saw in her?Catherine aside, which admittedly is a large part of the book, I thought A Farewell to Arms was spectacular. It's real and it's memorable. Is Hemingway over-hyped by academia? Absolutely, at least in my experience; but that's not to say that he wasn't a really great writer and master of the pared down narrative. So I'll be more careful about the Hemingway jokes. Orwell is easier to poke fun at anyway.more
The way I listened to the audiobook version of this novel narrated by John Slattery didn’t do it justice. Being on holidays, away from home and my usual commuting and exercising habits, I listened in short grabs, either just before going to sleep or when I woke up in the early hours of the morning and wanted to get back to sleep again. I had to re-listen to bits I'd missed by dozing off, which does not make for a smooth and cohesive literary experience. In addition, it’s a reasonably short book, but it’s taken me a month or so to finish, which is not good when I have such a poor memory for plot details. That said, I enjoyed the book much more than I thought I would. I've not read a huge amount of Hemingway, although I've read enough to know that he's not my favourite writer. However, I like the deceptive simplicity of Hemingway's prose - a simplicity extraordinarily difficult to achieve. I also like the way in which Hemingway used his personal experience of being a volunteer ambulance driver at the Italian front during World War I to ground the plot. And I appreciate the complete absence bull fighting in this novel, a passion of Hemingway's to which I cannot relate. Slattery’s narration is excellent. Thankfully, he’s not one of those male narrators who heads into the falsetto range when voicing a female character. Overall, this has been an unusual audiobook experience for me, but a worthwhile one nevertheless.more
Intimate and devestating. A perfect example of of Hemingway's writing style: Say what you and no more.more
I read this for the first time in high school, and perhaps once in college, and I still enjoy it very much. Though the ending is quite tragic, the gradual change in Frederick Henry from one who doesn't care about much of anything to a man who cares only for Catherine is quite compelling. Hemingway's style of writing is blunt and to the point, and while he is often criticized for creating misogynistic, alcoholic male leads, in this case I feel he has created something of the opposite. Henry cuts down on his drinking, to an extent, because of Catherine, and he also truly loves her. Granted, their relationship seems to be one of Catherine being subordinate to him, but this isn't always the case ("I never felt like a whore before" she says upon being brought into a hotel room in Milan, which Henry feels bad about) and I do believe that Frederick comes to love Catherine for who she is, and not merely because she tries to please him.

But more than the relationship between Frederick and Catherine, this book has always been about the absolute destructiveness and ultimate pointlessness of war to me. From the first chapter ("only 7000 died" from the cholera) to Imo's death to the absurdity of Henry being shot at by the Italians because they believe him to be a German, Hemingway shows again and again that in the time of war, chaos and loss are dominant and death comes for all. There are also numerous references to how war in the end does very little for the common man; Frederick mentions several times about there being only victory or defeat, and how in the end, neither changes all that much.more
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