Farewell to Arms: The Hemingway Library Edition

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Simon and Schuster, May 22, 2014 - Fiction - 352 pages
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.

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Great additions to a great book. A Farewell to Arms is, to put it simply, a romance short enough to not be boring. Despite its brevity, the characters are well developed and the plot is decent. I'm going to be one of those cliché people that call Hemingway 'sparse', because that's what he is. The writing style is concise yet precise, not overly embellished and flowery, and the story itself is quite moving.
The inclusion of Hemingway's early drafts and alternate endings is mainly a gimmick, but a novel one at that (no pun intended). Although not especially useful, they give you a glimpse into Hemingway's mind and show you all the possibilities he could have ended the story with. Not sure if their inclusion justifies the extra cost over a normal copy of this novel, but it's a neat inclusion for a good edition of this book.

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About the author (2014)

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.

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