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Book Title: For Whom The Bell Tolls|
The author of the book: Ernest Hemingway
ISBN 13: 9780099289821
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.73 MB
Edition: Vintage Classics
Date of issue: May 27th 1999
Read full description of the books For Whom The Bell Tolls:Ok, before I commit the sacrilege of dismissing this "classic," permit me to establish my Hemingway bona fides: I have read and loved just about everything else he wrote, and have taught Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and many short stories, and had a blast doing it. I've read Carlos Baker's classic bio, and numerous critical articles on H. I've made the pilgrimage to Key West and taken pictures of his study and the hordes of 6-toed cats. I dig Papa, ok?
But I can not stand this book! I should say up front that I've never been able to tolerate it long enough to finish it -- twice. First time was nearly 30 years ago, and as a fairly recently discharged Army troop,I took up this book with much anticipation and excitement. I couldn't get past about half way through. I found the prose so incredibly flat and dull as to be soporific (and, yes, I fully understand and appreciate H's famous "Iceberg Principle" of writing -- "the thing left unsaid" etc). The problem wasn't the "thing left unsaid;" the problem was too many things said, and in a very boring fashion. How could a book with such a dramatic plot be so dull, I wondered in shock? It's all in the language, or lack thereof. I have a theory that great short story writers often don't make great, or even good, novelists, because the voice and style that works so well in the shorter genre just doesn't translate to the longer one (John Cheever, case in point; IB Singer, to a lesser extent). Now, of course, H. did write great novels; this just isn't one of them. Take away the language in H's novels, and what are you left with -- borderline juvenile adventures and fantasies, or at best, semi-journalistic accounts.
Compare the opening of Bells with the opening of Farewell to Arms: be honest and tell me if you hear even one faint echo of the magical rhythm of that famous opening in Bells -- anywhere, not just the beginning? And the dialogue, sweet jesus, joseph and mary, I've heard corporate phone recordings with more intonation and human warmth.
A few months ago, our book club selected this novel. At first, I kept my opinions to myself and hoped I would have a different response reading this time. I readily acknowledge that my reading tastes have evolved -- matured, I hope -- significantly over the years, and maybe I just had a tin ear 30 years ago. Not the case. I couldn't even get beyond the first 6 pgs this time. That flat voice was duller than ever! "Waterboarding would be more tolerable than reading 400+ pages of this stuff," I thought. I've choked down some mediocre books before for the sake of fulfilling my civic duty as a long-standing member of our book club, but I couldn't do it this time.
This is not to suggest that the rest of you are wrong. I have a dear friend who's read more great literature than I can remember, and he loves this book, and expresses great shock when I tell him how much I hate it. But there it is.
Read information about the authorErnest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature.
Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school he reported for a few months for The Kansas City Star, before leaving for the Italian front to enlist with the World War I ambulance drivers. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. In 1922, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent, and fell under the influence of the modernist writers and artists of the 1920s "Lost Generation" expatriate community. The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel, was published in 1926.
After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer. They divorced after he returned from Spanish Civil War where he had acted as a journalist, and after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. Martha Gellhorn became his third wife in 1940. They separated when he met Mary Welsh in London during World War II; during which he was present at the Normandy Landings and liberation of Paris.
Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two plane crashes that left him in pain or ill-health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway had permanent residences in Key West, Florida, and Cuba during the 1930s and 1940s, but in 1959 he moved from Cuba to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.
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