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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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12,653123188 (3.96)403
Title:For Whom the Bell Tolls
Authors:Ernest Hemingway
Info:Scribner (1995), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940)


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English (108)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Fine work of art is the best way to describe this very interesting book. If you haven't read it, read this classic. ( )
  AveryBGoodman | May 24, 2016 |
Supposedly uncensored Estonian edition of "For Whom the Bell Tolls", but...

You'll probably wonder why an English speaker would read Ernest Hemingway in an Estonian translation. Aside from the simple answer of "because I can", the main answer is that "For Whom the Bell Tolls” has always been a problematic and awkward read in the original for me.

The reason for that is because Hemingway takes an affected stance as if he was writing in Spanish and the text was being simultaneously translated into English, which results in:

a. Awkward passages of broken English e.g.
"Do you come for us to do another train?" - Chapter 2
"Is the same to me. Better four good than much bad." - Chapter 11
b. Seemingly anachronistic Elizabethan English full of thous, thees and thys in an attempt to approximate the familiar form of address in Spanish e.g.
“... when thou wert wiping thy mother’s milk off thy chin.” - Chapter 11
“But did thee feel the earth move?” - Chapter 13
c. Hemingway’s self censorship with the use of the words “obscenity” & “unprintable” in place of rough language, resulting in passages such as
“Care well for thy unprintable explosive.” - Chapter 3
“I obscenity in the milk of thy tiredness.” - Chapter 9
d. The paradoxical use of those same curse words in the original Spanish, but left untranslated.
“But me cago en la leche, but I will be content when it starts.” - Chapter 39

All of those problems disappear in this supposedly uncensored 2014 edition of Enn Soosaar’s Estonian translation which was first published in 1970. (Unfortunately, I don’t own a copy of that original so I have to guess that the censorship was in the areas of both curse words and politics.) The speaking is translated normally, the Estonian familiar form is not anachronistic, logical choices of relatively minor curse words are used instead of “rõvedus” (obscenity) and the Spanish is translated in footnotes (with one exception that I noticed).

So the only catch is that they may have now printed all of Soosaar’s translation, but they don’t seem to have gone back to check whether he actually translated the entire thing in the first place. i.e. based on at least one example, I suspect Soosaar left untranslated some passages that he felt wouldn’t make it past the then Soviet censor in any case.
In chapter 27 aka "Sordo’s Last Stand" there is a paragraph:
"That they should aid us now," another man said. "That all the cruts* of Russian sucking swindlers should aid us now." He fired and said, “Me cago en tal, I missed.”
In the Estonian translation this reads as:
“Et nad aitaksid meid praegu,” ütles üks meestest. Ta tulistas ja ütles “Me cago en tal. Jälle lasksin mööda.”
You can probably tell that the middle sentence which curses the Russians has been left out in the Estonian. It would have read something like "Et kõik need sittad Vene imejad petturid peaksid aitama meid nüüd.”

Otherwise, this is a terrific translation which now made this work completely readable for me. It would be interesting to know how other international translators solve these sorts of issues.

*Hemingwayspeak for “shits” ( )
  alanteder | Apr 17, 2016 |
Fantastic! The slow pace of the book, together with the stories of the civil war add up to a spectacular book. Pilar's story of the taking of the town is a great, great chapter.

Only negative thing I have to say is that it was sometimes a bit too slow in pace.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
I keep thinking about this book, it is tugging at my soul. Besides the story, the linguist in me is fascinated by Hemmingway's use of "thou" to show the Spanish formality, and "obscenity thyself" or other such tricks to show the cursing (except in the direct Spanish, which will just pop right out at you). Also, of course, the simple use of the poem. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
I tolls for thee. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (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 (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernest Hemingwayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baudisch, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietsch, J.N.C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, SinclairIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
NeelyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, CampbellNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Four Novels: A Farewell to Arms / For Whom The Bell Tolls / The Old Man and the Sea / The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

ROMANZI by Ernest Hemingway

The Novels Of Ernest Hemingway . by Ernest Hemingway

Five Novels: The Sun Also Rises / A Farewell to Arms / To Have and Have Not / The Old Man and the Sea / For Whom the Bell Tolls (FOLIO SOCIETY) by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls / The Snows of Kilimanjaro / Fiesta / The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber / Across the River and into the Trees / The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Book-of-the-Month-Club Set of 5: A Farewell to Arms, A Moveable Feast, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, & The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (The Finca Vigia Edition) (Book-of-the-Month Club) by Ernest Hemingway


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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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Legacy Library: Ernest Hemingway

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