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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls (original 1940; edition 1995)

by Ernest Hemingway

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14,563141241 (3.95)467
Title:For Whom the Bell Tolls
Authors:Ernest Hemingway
Info:Scribner (1995), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:50 Book Challenge 2012

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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (Author) (1940)


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» See also 467 mentions

English (125)  Spanish (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  German (1)  All languages (139)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
I wouldn't say it's unrealistic in its portrayal of war with a large side-dish of murder, but at first I read this like-- I must discover what a war novel is-- and I guess what I missed was the goofy translations and local color, the stupid romance and weird sexual violence, and in general the boyish flare: that is, that is to say, that it's entertainment.

Some of the writers of Hemingway's generation probably thought they were a lot cooler and less serious than the Victorians, of whom he was probably one. There's a lot of vanity in that, airy-fairy conceit, pride, although the old guard has a lot of regular conceit, pride. And sometimes people try for a little of both, very occasionally for neither. That's my history of morals, anyway. You pay your money, and you take your choice, as the saying goes.
  smallself | Mar 30, 2019 |
I've never read Hemingway before. I don't know if Hemingway is someone you're "supposed to" read, but I feel like he probably is.

Last week I was looking through the TCM schedule for the upcoming weekend to see what I might want to watch. I noticed "For Whom the Bell Tolls" with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman was playing Saturday afternoon. Since I prefer to read a book before watching its movie adaptation, I decided to give it a try, because I love Ingrid Bergman and would love to watch the film.

I found the book at my library, checked it out, and began reading. My man friend (a feminist and former lit major) noticed what I was reading and commented "Hemingway, huh? Every feminist's favorite writer!" He is certain I will not like this novel nor any other Hemingway story.

And since I am stubborn and determined to prove to him that I can read novels that don't fall into whatever sort of narrowly-focused category he thinks I choose my reading material ... here I am plodding through this nearly 500-page Hemingway novel set in the Spanish Civil War with bizarre-for-the-time-period words like "thou, thy, dost, and hast", and ridiculous descriptions of the main character's love interest like:
"And she blushed when he looked at her, and she sitting, her hands clasped around her knees and the shirt open at the throat, the cup of her breasts uptilted against the shirt, and as he thought of her, his throat was choky and there was a difficulty in walking ..."

Ugh. Gross.
  hejmarguerite | Mar 12, 2019 |
This book has the Hemingway gritty voice. War is hell. People become victims of themselves as influenced by their circumstances.the love story was too obligatory, too perfect and too predictable. Had to read the study aid to see why it was so highly considered. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
Since I had previously read The Sun Also Rises and thought it was a real snooze; I thought I would give Hemingway another try......zzzzzzzzzz. This novel is set in Spain during the Spanish Civil War It is about an American, Robert Jordan, who is working with a guerilla group. His one job is to blow up a bridge. 98% of the book is about his thinking about it and debating it with other guerillas. Absolutely no better than the last Hemingway. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Oct 8, 2018 |
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" is a lengthy book. It is definitely a challenge to read, but I feel once you identify the key themes within the novel, such as the fight between "good and bad", the pages go a little faster. The moral conflict the main character experiences can occasionally be hooking. All in all, you need a lot of time and a lot of patience to read a book like this. It is worth it in the long run, as Hemingway hides lots of meaning and themes within this story, which can be connected to the problems Hemingway faced in the world he lived in. ( )
  D-man.01 | Sep 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
Hemingway the artist is with us again; and it is like having an old friend back. That he should thus go back to his art, after a period of artistic demoralization, and give it a larger scope, that, in an era of general perplexity and panic, he should dramatize the events of the immediate past in terms, not of partisan journalism, but of the common human instincts that make men both fraternal and combative, is a reassuring evidence of the soundness of our intellectual life.
added by danielx | editNew Republic, Edmund Wilson (Jan 23, 2015)
". . . a tremendous piece of work. . . . Mr. Hemingway has always been the writer, but he has never been the master that he is in 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' . . . his finest novel."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Ralph Thompson (Oct 21, 1940)
The greatness of this book is the greatness of these people's triumph over their foreknowledge of death-to-come... For Whom the Bell Tolls, unlike other novels of the Spanish Civil War, is told not in terms of the heroics and dubious politics of the International Brigades, but as a simple human struggle of the Spanish people. The bell in this book tolls for all mankind.
added by jjlong | editTime (Oct 21, 1940)

» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hemingway, ErnestAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baudisch, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietsch, J.N.C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, SinclairIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
NeelyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedrolo, Manuel deForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, CampbellNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesser, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never tend to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. —John Dunne
This book is for Martha Gellhorn
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He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.
Your nationality and your politics did not show when you were dead.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684803356, Paperback)

For Whom the Bell Tolls begins and ends in a pine-scented forest, somewhere in Spain. The year is 1937 and the Spanish Civil War is in full swing. Robert Jordan, a demolitions expert attached to the International Brigades, lies "flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees." The sylvan setting, however, is at sharp odds with the reason Jordan is there: he has come to blow up a bridge on behalf of the antifascist guerrilla forces. He hopes he'll be able to rely on their local leader, Pablo, to help carry out the mission, but upon meeting him, Jordan has his doubts: "I don't like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That's the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out." For Pablo, it seems, has had enough of the war. He has amassed for himself a small herd of horses and wants only to stay quietly in the hills and attract as little attention as possible. Jordan's arrival--and his mission--have seriously alarmed him.
"I am tired of being hunted. Here we are all right. Now if you blow a bridge here, we will be hunted. If they know we are here and hunt for us with planes, they will find us. If they send Moors to hunt us out, they will find us and we must go. I am tired of all this. You hear?" He turned to Robert Jordan. "What right have you, a foreigner, to come to me and tell me what I must do?"
In one short chapter Hemingway lays out the blueprint for what is to come: Jordan's sense of duty versus Pablo's dangerous self-interest and weariness with the war. Complicating matters even more are two members of the guerrilla leader's small band: his "woman" Pilar, and Maria, a young woman whom Pablo rescued from a Republican prison train. Unlike her man, Pilar is still fiercely devoted to the cause and as Pablo's loyalty wanes, she becomes the moral center of the group. Soon Jordan finds himself caught between the two, even as his own resolve is tested by his growing feelings for Maria.

For Whom the Bell Tolls combines two of the author's recurring obsessions: war and personal honor. The pivotal battle scene involving El Sordo's last stand is a showcase for Hemingway's narrative powers, but the quieter, ongoing conflict within Robert Jordan as he struggles to fulfill his mission perhaps at the cost of his own life is a testament to his creator's psychological acuity. By turns brutal and compassionate, it is arguably Hemingway's most mature work and one of the best war novels of the 20th century. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:49 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight," For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create 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.… (more)

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