For whom the bell tolls: Ernest Hemingway's undiscovered country
Addressing a 1937 Writers Congress in a rare public speech, Ernest Hemingway proclaimed that there is "only one form of government that cannot produce good writers, and that system is fascism. For fascism is a lie told by bullies. A writer who will not lie cannot live and work under fascism." With this rallying cry against the fascist forces in Spain's then year-old Civil War, Hemingway expressed his firm belief in an artist's need to write "what is true," his commitment to freedom, and his passion for the people and culture of Spain, his spiritual home. In 1940, these sentiments came together in Hemingway most celebrated novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, the powerful story of a young American fighting for the Spanish Republic during four suspenseful days in 1937. Allen Josephs, an internationally recognized Hispanist and Hemingway scholar, here provides the first full-length study of the Nobel Prize-winning writer's masterpiece - and the only study to explore its brilliant blend of accurate historical detail with fictional elements on a heroic and mythic scale. His is also the first study to understand the rich role of ecstasy in the novel, particularly in the love between its hero, demolition expert Robert Jordan, and Maria, the Spanish girl who represents her embattled nation.
"The Undiscovered Country" was the title Hemingway had previously chosen for For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Josephs reaches into the heart of the novel to reveal its meaning - as Spain overshadowed by war, as the unknown outcome of the explosion toward which all the action builds, as the unfulfilled future for the lovers Robert Jordan and Maria, and as death, present at every turn of the tale. Most important, Josephs illuminates the enduring message of For Whom the Bell Tolls: that the bloody conflict in Spain, as Hemingway knew from the beginning of the war, was but one example of the global struggle between Right and Left. Robert Jordan, he shows us, knows that the bridge that he is ordered to dynamite "can be the point on which the future of the human race can turn." Indeed, Josephs reminds us, Hemingway's message is for all humanity. As John Donne wrote in the lines from which Hemingway chose the book's final title, "I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."
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Review: For Whom the Bell Tolls: Ernest Hemingway's Undiscovered Country (Twayne's Masterwork Studies #138)User Review - Sean - Goodreads
Allen Joseph's critical work on For Who the Bell Tolls is groundbreaking. Paving the way for works such as HR Stoneback's Reading Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Books like this have turned the mostly ... Read full review
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