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A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell To Arms (original 1929; edition 1929)

by Ernest Hemingway

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15,098169127 (3.75)406
Title:A Farewell To Arms
Authors:Ernest Hemingway
Info:Scribner (1995), Edition: 9th, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:fiction, owned

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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929)


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English (154)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (169)
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Has ever anything like A Farewell To Arms been written? Anything where the humor is so unfailing, the romance so perfect, the movement of the plot so unforced, so perfectly congruent with the reader's imagination and personal experience, so real? The answer, at least while I am still numbly reveling in the aftertaste, seems to be no. There is something uniquely genuine about A Farewell, especially in its unforced, minimalist construction, perfectly suffused with the subtle wisdoms which are never overstated, and resultingly even more powerful. Only something written from an experience so close to the heart can be expected to deliver such a vivid feeling of the beautiful and sad duality of the human experience. Truly, it is in itself, an experience of a lifetime. ( )
  AZG1001 | Mar 31, 2016 |
The novel is divided into five books. In the first book, Henry meets and attempts to seduce Catherine Barkley and their relationship begins. While on the Italian front, Henry is wounded in the knee by a mortar shell and sent to a hospital in Milan. The second book shows the growth of Henry and Catherine's relationship as they spend time together in Milan over the summer. Henry falls in love with Catherine and by the time he is healed, Catherine is three months pregnant. In the third book, Henry returns to his unit, but not long after, the Austro-Germans break through the Italian lines in the Battle of Caporetto, and the Italians retreat. Henry kills an engineering sergeant for insubordination. After falling behind and catching up again, Henry is taken to a place by the "battle police" where officers are being interrogated and executed for the "treachery" that supposedly led to the Italian defeat. However, after hearing the execution of a Lt.Colonel, Henry escapes by jumping into a river. In the fourth book, Catherine and Henry reunite and flee to Switzerland in a rowing boat. In the final book, Henry and Catherine live a quiet life in the mountains until she goes into labour. After a long and painful labour, their son is stillborn. Catherine begins to haemorrhage and soon dies, leaving Henry to return to their hotel in the rain.

[edit] Characters
Frederic Henry, often simply called "Tenente" ("Lieutenant"), is the narrator of the story. Henry is a volunteer ambulance driver from the United States. In Henry, we see the beginnings of what comes to be called Hemingway's "Code Hero": Henry is stoic under duress or pain; he modestly deflects praise for his contributions to the war; he is unflappable under fire; he does his work. He is a "man's man," in that his thoughts revolve on women ("girls") and drink. He participates in and seems to enjoy the banal, everyday conversation between the soldiers. He is attracted to the simple goodness of the priest, who, like Henry (who is not religious), sticks to his beliefs despite the war's constant presence.
Catherine Barkley is an English V.A.D (which is similar to a nurse). She volunteered in the war at the same time her fiance of eight years joined the army. He was killed in the Battle of Somme. She is English, professional and deeply feeling. Her sexual desires and her simple desire for companionship are sometimes at odds with her needs to tend to the ill. Like the code hero, she handles conflicting needs with grace, giving to both, but shorting none. Feminist thinkers will see in Catherine Hemingway's perfect woman: wise and cynical in many ways, her wisdom cannot contain her desire. As Henry gives his health and youth to the war effort, Catherine's chief heroism is to accept the pain and death of childbirth stoically. Barkley has been "consistently ignored" as a code hero, probably because she is a woman [5]
Rinaldi is a physician through whom Hemingway draws his idea of an Italian male. Sketched somewhat jingoistically, Rinaldi is unfailingly exuberant, ignoring small details that would stop his large and giving gestures. He loves women and drinking, bearing a bottle of the latter and tales of the former to his friend Henry as Henry recovers from his wounds. He enjoys performing surgery, seeing it as an enjoyable challenge; he greets his friend Frederic Henry with a formal European-style kiss. He usually refers to Henry as "baby". Rinaldi is a form of the code hero as well. He allows Hemingway to explore another, non-Anglo-American, way of being male, of facing even a difficult world, an injured Italy, with joie de vivre, ignoring all danger, giving himself. Henry reunites with a tired and syphilitic Rinaldi in the middle of the novel, illustrating the flaws of this approach to the war and to life.
The Priest The chaplain in Henry's unit. Baited by the other officers, he is befriended by Henry, to whom he offers spiritual advice. The last time we see this character, his faith is wavering. Can also be interpreted as a "Code Hero".
Helen Ferguson Catherine's friend and fellow nurse.
Passini and Bonello Ambulance drivers serving under Henry.
Manera, Gavuzzi, Gordini, Piani and Aymo Other ambulance drivers.
Mrs. Walker An American nurse at the American hospital in Milan.
Miss Gage Another American nurse, sympathetic to Henry and Catherine's affair.
Dr. Valentini A surgeon who is highly competent and full of joie de vivre.
Meyers A gloomy American expatriate.
Ettore Moretti An Italian-American Officer from San Francisco serving in the Italian army.
Ralph Simmons An American student of opera and Henry's friend.
Count Greffi An old but vigorous Italian whom Henry knows from Stresa and who serves as a mentor to Henry.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
This is as close to a romance novel that I'll get. ( )
  jimifenway | Feb 2, 2016 |
Widely considered to be on the greatest anti-war novels ever written, A Farewell to Arms, tells the story of American Frederic Henry and his experiences as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army during WWI. During the course of the war, he meets and falls in love with a British nurse, Catherine Barkley, and the novel gradually begins to focus on their love affair, the war itself only a backdrop to their romance.

Reading this, I didn't get the sense that the novel itself was a piece of anti-war literature. While it focused heavily on the nonsensical realities of war, it never came across as dogmatically stating that war is wrong. Rather it seemed to say that war is brutal, dirty, and nasty. Hemingway doesn't romanticize war as many other authors seem to have done in the past and still do to this day. This is what I like about Hemingway. He is honest and straightforward, making his novels very readable. On the other hand, he is one of those men who can't write a female character to save his life. Catherine is insipid, cloying, and downright annoying. Her character made it very hard to enjoy the novel. Not only did I not like her, but she seemed to drag down Frederic as well when they were together. He went from an intriguing multi-dimensional character to one who could only utter phrases about how grand she was and unable to have any thoughts or actions that did not revolve around her. While I appreciated the juxtaposition of their love affair against the backdrop of war, I felt the novel ultimately suffered from the inclusion of Catherine. I think that were the author someone who could better draft a female character, this novel could have gone from being an interesting examination of the singular tragedy of life to something truly spectacular. ( )
1 vote Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |

Fredrick Henry is a young American, serving as an ambulance driver with the Italian army during WWI. He meets a lovely English nurse, Catherine Barkley, and when he is wounded she devotes herself to his care. Their relationship blooms even as the war continues to suck all hope of a normal life from all those mired in it. More and more disillusioned by the war and threatened not only by the enemy but by the Italians on whose behalf he is fighting, Henry seeks solace with Miss Barkley, and the two of them dream of peace and comfort and a normal life.

Hemingway himself served as an ambulance driver during WWI, was wounded and received a medal for valor. This novel is one of his earlier works and his style is still a little raw, in my opinion. Yes, he explores the alienation and human tragedy of war, but I never get the feeling that there is a clear sense of purpose or a just cause for which to fight. Henry seems just to have gone to war for the excitement and simple “maleness” of battle. Don’t misunderstand me … I do not think Hemingway is glorifying war. There are plenty of scenes that give the reader the sense of the horrors of the situation, the mind-numbing boredom interrupted by moment of sheer terror, the bone-weary exhaustion of days spent trudging through rain-soaked terrain without shelter, adequate food or rest.

And then there is the love story. I think my main complaint with this work is that I never really connect to the central characters. Their dialogue seems stilted and over simplified. I don’t really feel love between them. I see them, instead, as two lonely people connected by the circumstances in which they find themselves. I admit to a few fleeting thoughts of “what might have been,” but in general I don’t care enough about them.

NOTE: The cover of my book is completely different ... yellow, with a purple center block and a black-and-white illustration of a nurse and soldier. But the ISBN number is an exact match ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
In its sustained, inexorable movement, its throbbing preoccupation with flesh and blood and nerves rather than the fanciful fabrics of intellect, it fulfills the prophecies that his most excited admirers have made about Ernest Hemingway... in its depiction of War, the novel bears comparison with its best predecessors. But it is in the hero's perhaps unethical quitting of the battle line to be with the woman whom he has gotten with child that it achieves its greatest significance.
added by jjlong | editTime (Oct 14, 1929)
It is a moving and beautiful book.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hemingway, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bleck, CathieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, Ford MadoxIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, PatrickForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, SeánIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Renner, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuck, MaryCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vranken, KatjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, Robert PennIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Romanzi volume I 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

The Sun Also Rises / A Farewell to Arms / The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Four Book Set (QP) {Complete Short Stories; Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sun Also Rises} 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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684801469, Paperback)

As a youth of 18, Ernest Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War. Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead and was sent to France. Then he transferred to Italy where he became the first American wounded in that country during World War I. Hemingway came out of the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, 10 years later, spin into literary gold with A Farewell to Arms. This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits:
I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know.
The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine.

Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:43 -0400)

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An American officer in the Italian ambulance corps and an English Red Cross nurse find love on the battlefield during WW I.

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