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For whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For whom the bell tolls (1940)

by Ernest Hemingway

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Title:For whom the bell tolls
Authors:Ernest Hemingway
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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940)


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English (97)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (109)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Ajenjo. ( )
  JorgeCarvajal | Feb 13, 2015 |
It isn't a great sign when the epigraph is the part of a novel that you found most affecting and memorable. For me this was the case with For Whom The Bell Tolls.

There were some interesting segments here, like the depiction of how a town was rid of fascists or the chapter where soldiers wait for the enemy mortars to arrive, but most of the book just wasn't interesting to me, nor did it feel authentic or personal. For a less removed depiction of the Spanish Civil War try reading A Moment of War by Laurie Lee. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
The best novel of an overrated writer. Compelling. For once his minimalist writing is well used in creating an aura of imminent danger. Good book. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The problem with Ernest Hemingway I guess is that, well, he's Ernest Hemingway.

He was the first author in modern days who consciously forced an image of himself out on the world - and that image was a big bluff self-contained "Man's Man" who could shoot and fish and drink and run with the bulls with the best of them.

And one who let us say had complicated relationships with women.

So a book like For Whom The Bell Tolls it has to come with a lot of baggage.

Easy to forget that Hemingway also hung around with Gertrude Stein and was in his own way constantly experimenting with prose style and narrative structure.

You probably know the plot - from the movie anyway. Spanish Civil War. American in love with Spain joins up with a ragtag band of Rebels to blow up a bridge.

Along the way he meets and falls in love with a damaged young girl, a child of the forest, and meets others who represent archetypes of different kinds of people in Spain.

Farmers who just want a bit of land to farm. Generals who order their soldiers to kill and sometimes stop and wonder why. Foolish people and angry people and complex loving people too. Each one has his story and his moment.

The futility of war. How quickly idealism changes into something else, but never quite quite dies.

Can't say enough about the writing - it's tight and clear and at times deeply lyrical. The chapters about the massacre of the "Fascists" and the clear sharp description of El Sordo's last stand are amazing and almost journalistic.

And yet . . . and yet. I think to see Hemingway as a "Journalist" is to miss something. He's after bigger game here, I think. (He even sneaks in a little tribute quote to Stein late in the book - just to see if you're paying attention.)

A lot of people in my book group had trouble with it - or with him. But I cared deeply about the people and stood openmouthed in awe at the writing. Sometimes it's too formal and sometimes it doesn't work - but when it does work it's amazing.

A big ambitious book with a lot of little lovely surprises. Give it a try. ( )
  magicians_nephew | Jun 5, 2014 |
Oh boy. The printer almost did me in with this one. I got to page 442 and the next page was 412. Only the fact that Jim had the text on Kindle saved me from self-explosion. And it's a library book! Didn't anyone tell the librarian about the defect?!?!

ok. got that said. Now, about the book.

I was somewhat surprised by how many people in my f2f reading group actively disliked this book. They objected to Hemingway's portrayal of women (gee, the younger one is pretty naive, and the older one isn't. right). They objected to his attempt to represent the difference between 'usted' and 'tu' in Spanish by using 'you' and 'thou', etc. in English. And I admit that some of the attempts to make the text sound like a translation from the Spanish were worse than awkward,and the editor did the story no favor in insisting that the naturally obscene language be masked so clumsily.

But what about the story? What about the naive volunteer trying his best to be a good soldier for a cause he thinks he believes in, in spite of what we know about the errors and excesses of that cause? The partisan band in the hills, trying to say alive so that they can go back to being farmers and vintners, each one delineated as a distinct person with frailties and honor in unique proportion? And the honesty of the brutality on both sides of this gruesome war, the ineptitude and cynicism of the commanders, the pain of both dying and killing, and the fatalism war can engender.

The intense writing made me see everything as if through a close-up lens. Although the language can seem moderately straightforward (and no, it's not all simple declarative sentences by any means), I had to slow down to capture the vivid detail, even when I wanted to story to move faster because the tension mounts even though the inevitability of the outcome seems clearer every step of the way.

Bad grammar, bad usage can pull me right out of a mediocre story, but nothing could pull me out of this one. ( )
1 vote ffortsa | May 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (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

4 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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