Hersey, John: A Bell for Adano
(researched by Patrick Green)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1944 Published silmultaneously in Canada by The Ryerson Press copyright held by John Hersey souce:inspection of first edition
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First edition in gray cloth w/paper dust jacket. 10.1 cm by 14 cm by 2.5 cm souce:inspection of first edition
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
142 leaves [1-2],[3 "other works by John Hersey"],[4 "A bell for Adano"], [5],[6 title page] Forward V-VII 3-269, pg.269 is a note on the type used in the book [270] source:inspection of first edition
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
Not edited or introduced
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
No illustrations
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The book is in excellent condition. The outside is a rather unassuming gray, but is livened by red prints of italian style houses. The dust jacket is a dark red, lightened by light pink letters, and a small cartoonish drawing of a village next to the word "for" on the second line(of three) in the title. There are only minor rips in the jacket, which is made of a heavy paper (similar to that of grocery bags), located at the top of the spine. The book is 55yrs old, but is really in superb condition. The text is Caldonia and is attractive while also easy to read. The text size is large, but not overly so. There is a fair amount of space between lines. souce:inspection of first edition
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is thick, and slightly rough around the edges. It is subtly coarse to the touch, but is not uncomfortable to the fingers. All pages are in fine condition, and are not darkened or stained. (White endpapers). Paper is all of the same stock. source:inspection of first edition
11 Description of binding(s)
Groupings of 10 leaves, interspersed by two leaves bound slightly higher up, are stitched to the board. Each leaf is either slightly farther in or out than the previous leaf, giving a rippled effect when the book is closed. The same is true of the bottoms of the pages, however the tops are all aligned the same.
12 Transcription of title page
A Bell for|ADANO|[jagged rule line]|John Hersey| [two thin parallel rule lines]|Alfred A. Knopf New York 1944|[ two thin parallel rule lines]|[publishers crest (a running dog enclosed by an oval)]| source:inspection of first edition
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
none found
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
On the inside of the jacket there is an advertisment for the purchase of warbonds and warstamps. Jacket design by George Salter source:inspection of first edition
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Alfred A. Knopf only printed one other edition. ACCESSION: 1392914 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano, EDITION: [1st ed.] PLACE: New York, PUBLISHER: A.A. Knopf, YEAR: 1945 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: xi, 111 p. plates. 19 cm. SUBJECT: -- Drama OTHER: Hersey, John, 1914- Bell for Adano. The Knopf sub-publisher "Vintage Books" later published paper- back editions of the book beginning in 1971. ACCESSION: 16979545 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Vintage Books, YEAR: 1988 1971 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vii, 269 p. ; 20 cm. ISBN: 0394756959 (pbk.) : SUBJECT: -- Fiction. -- History -- Allied occupation, 1943-1947 -- Fiction. Knopf did, however, allow other publishers (through special arrangement) to publish their own copies of the 1st edition. Among these were The Sundial Press, The Modern Library, and the Labor Book Club. Source: World Cat and Eureka(RLIN).
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
A Bell for Adano was, and is still being printed in first edition format, formerly by Knopf and now by Random House. It is very likely that many of the 1st editions printed by other publishers are also different impressions. The Vintage books edition is a seperate impression, as are those produced by H. Hamilton, The Sundial Press, Labor Book Club, and The Modern Library. ACCESSION: 16979545 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Vintage Books, YEAR: 1988 1971 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vii, 269 p. ; 20 cm. ISBN: 0394756959 (pbk.) : SUBJECT: -- Fiction. -- History -- Allied occupation, 1943-1947 -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 30295490 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano. PUBLISHER: H. Hamilton, YEAR: 1965 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 269 p. ; 20 cm. NOTES: Originally published Knopf, 1944. ACCESSION: 17632623 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano. PLACE: Garden City, N.Y., PUBLISHER: The Sun Dial Press YEAR: 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 269 p. SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 12382711 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: Detroit : PUBLISHER: Labor Book Club, by special arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, YEAR: 1944 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 269 p. ; 20 cm. SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 3009981 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano, PLACE: New York, PUBLISHER: The Modern library YEAR: 1946 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: viii, 269 p. 19 1/2 cm. SERIES: The Modern library of the world's best books NOTES: "First Modern library edition, 1946." SUBJECT: -- Fiction. Source: World Cat, Eureka(RLIN).
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
A Bell for Adano was reproduced by other publishers in a variety of different formats and editions. Included are several Large print editions, a pocket book version, a limited edition version, and school editions by Amsco, a library edition, and two editions by Bantam Books. ACCESSION: 1243031 AUTHOR: TITLE: A Bell for Adano. EDITION: Large type edition complete and unabridged. PLACE: New York PUBLISHER: Franklin Watts YEAR: 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 269p. SERIES: A Keith Jennison book SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 40935300 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, YEAR: 1945 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 247 p. ; 16 cm. SERIES: Pocket books ; 279 NOTES: "1st printing ... May, 1945." ACCESSION: 24376663 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano EDITION: Large print ed. PLACE: Thorndike, Me. : PUBLISHER: Thorndike Press, YEAR: 1991 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 407 p. ; 23 cm. ISBN: 1560542667 (acid-free, high opacity paper) SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 976437 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York, PUBLISHER: Amsco School Publications YEAR: 1970 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vi,247p. 21cm. SERIES: Amsco literature series NOTES: Completely redesigned and reset. SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 5877560 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Avon, YEAR: 1960 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vi, 222 p. ; 18 cm. NOTES: "Complete and unabridged. " SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 4699411 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano EDITION: Limited ed. PLACE: Franklin Center, Pa. : PUBLISHER: Franklin Library, YEAR: 1978 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 335 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 23021141 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, YEAR: 1980 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vi, 245 p. ; 18 cm. ISBN: 0553145738 SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 8128114 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano EDITION: Bantan pathfinder ed. PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, YEAR: 1965 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: vi, 245 p. ; 18 cm. SERIES: A Bantam Pathfinder edition ; HP107 SUBJECT: -- Fiction. Source: World Cat, Eureka(RLIN), Bibliofind.
6 Last date in print?
Currently being printed in paperback by Random House (re-print of first edition), and in hardback by turtleback. Also being produced by Books on Tape in casette. A Bell for Adano Format: Paperback, 1st ed., 288pp. Publisher: Random House, Incorporated Pub. Date: February 1988 A Bell for Adano Publisher: Books on Tape, Incorporated Pub. Date: May 1981 Edition Desc: Unabridged Source: amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
No information found on exact sales figures. A Bell for Adano was number 9 on the 1944 bestsellers list, and was reported to be selling strongly for it's duration on the PW best sellers list. Source: Hackett's 80 Years of Best Sellers, and Publishers Weekly(April-June 1944).
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No information found on exact sales figures.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Several advertisements were found in the New York Times Book Review. All of the advertisements found stated that the books printed by Alfred A. Knopf conserved paper for the war effort, and also stressed that Knopf would run more advertisements if the NYT hadn't been so short on paper resources. As a result, many of the ads had several different works currently being published by Knopf combined into one ad. Only one of the ads (in the issue coinciding with the novels publication) was designated solely to A Bell for Adano. Sample of the movie poster is included in the "sample advertisement" section. Source: New York Times Book Review, www.classiccollectables.com/pages/45.html
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019991010204704.jpg
11 Other promotion
In all advertisments the book is noted for being an "imperitive." The book, as well as its advertisments strongly promotes the sale of war bonds, and John Hersey is quoted to state the need for continued war bond sales. Source: Inspection of 1st edition, New York Times Book Review (January-June 1944).
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
A Bell for Adano was adapted as a stage play by Paul Osborn and was first produced at the Cort Theater in New York in December, 1944. A movie version was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1945. ACCESSION: 18862587 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano : play in three acts PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Dramatists Play Service, YEAR: 1945 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 84 p. ; 19 cm. NOTES: "A dramatization of the novel of the same name by John Hersey"--Cover. SUBJECT: -- Drama. OTHER: Hersey, John, 1914- Bell for Adano. ACCESSION: 8458080 TITLE: A Bell for Adano : screenplay EDITION: Final script. PLACE: [S.l.] : PUBLISHER: Twentieth Century-Fox, YEAR: 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: [160] leaves ; 30 cm. NOTES: Mimeographed film script; numbered shots, dialogue and action; dated October 27, 1944. Includes blue revision leaves dated through 1/31/45. " ... adapted from the book ... by John Richard Hersey"--Dimmitt, Title guide to the talkies, 914. Directed by Henry King: Halliwell, Filmgoer's companion, 6th ed., p. 402. OTHER: Trotti, Lamar, 1900-1952. King, Henry. Hersey, John, 1914- A bell for Adano. In addition, the book went through several incarnations of audio performances. ACCESSION: 28827410 AUTHOR: Hersey, John, 1914- TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: [S.l. : PUBLISHER: s.n.], YEAR: 1986 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 2 sound cassettes : analog, 15/16 ips. NOTES: For use by the blind and physically handicapped. MUSIC NO: RC 22769 SUBJECT: Talking books. ACCESSION: 21013402 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: Charlotte Hall, MD : PUBLISHER: Recorded Books, YEAR: 1989 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 6 sound cassettes (525 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips NOTES: In container (23 cm.); plot summary on container. Unabridged; work originally published: New York : Knopf, c1944. Narrated by David Green. A young American major, occupying a small Italian town after World War II, helps the townspeople obtain their greatest desire, a new bell. MUSIC NO: 89550; Recorded Books SUBJECT: -- Fiction. OTHER: Green, David. ACCESSION: 10417042 AUTHOR: TITLE: A Bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Caedmon, YEAR: 1983 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 3 sound discs : 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in. NOTES: "Dramatized with music and sound effects." E.G. Marshall, Peter Thomas, Larry Robinson, Gordon Gould, Jerry Terheyden, Earl Hammond, Jenna Whidden. MUSIC NO: SBR 503; Caedmon SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 9436310 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: Newport Beach, Calif. : PUBLISHER: Books on Tape, YEAR: 1981 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 8 sound cassettes (ca 8 hrs.) : 1 7/8 ips, 2 track, mono. NOTES: Read by Dan Lazar. MUSIC NO: 1304; Books on Tape SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ACCESSION: 9411660 AUTHOR: TITLE: A Bell for Adano PLACE: New York : PUBLISHER: Caedmon, YEAR: 1983 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 3 sound cassettes (159 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips., stereo., Dolby processed. NOTES: E.G. Marshall, Peter Thomas, Larry Robinson, Gordon Gould, Jerry Terheyden, Earl Hammond, Jenna Whidden. Dramatizes, with music and sound effects, the novel about an Italian-American major who is military governor of an Italian town in World War II. Focuses on the energetic way in which the major puts the town on its feet, dispensing justice and spreading the idea of democracy. MUSIC NO: SBC 503; Caedmon SUBJECT: -- Fiction. OTHER: Marshall, E. G., 1910- ACCESSION: 9366052 TITLE: A Bell for Adano PLACE: New York, N.Y. : PUBLISHER: Caedmon, YEAR: 1983 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 3 sound discs (159 min.) : 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in. NOTES: Notes by Milt Wisoff on container. E.G. Marshall (Major Joppolo), Peter Thomas, Larry Robinson, Gordon Gould, Jerry Terheyden, Earl Hammond, Jenna Whidden. Music by Antonio Vivaldi ; directed by Ward Botsford. Dramatizes, with music and sound effects, the novel about an Italian-American major who is military governor of an Italian town in World War II. Focuses on the energetic way in which the major puts the town on its feet, dispensing justice and spreading the idea of democracy. ACCESSION: 7896018 AUTHOR: TITLE: A Bell for Adano. PLACE: San Francisco, Ca. : PUBLISHER: Jabberwocky, YEAR: 1980 PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 1 cassette (59 min.) : mono. ACCESSION: 4413195 AUTHOR: TITLE: A Bell for Adano. PLACE: North Hollywood, Ca. : PUBLISHER: Center for Cassette Studies Inc. YEAR: PUB TYPE: Recording FORMAT: 1 cassette. mono. 2-track. SERIES: 20th century American literature MUSIC NO: 6 491. ACCESSION: 3826192 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: London : PUBLISHER: Landsborough, YEAR: 1958 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 223 p. ; 18 cm. SERIES: A Four square book ; 20 SUBJECT: -- Fiction. Sources: World Cat, www.galenet.com, and IMDB.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Multiple translations to other languages: Chinese,Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Hungarian, Thai, Swedish, and Czechoslovakian. An British version was also printed ACCESSION: 39709009 AUTHOR: TITLE: A-tan-no chih chung PLACE: Chëung-chëing : PUBLISHER: kuang pan y¸eh këan she, YEAR: 1945 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 160 p. ; 18 cm. NOTES: Fiction. ALT TITLE: bell for Adano OTHER: Lin, Yu-lan. ACCESSION: 5934532 AUTHOR: TITLE: Una campana para Adano. PLACE: Buenos Aires : PUBLISHER: Editorial Losada, s.a. YEAR: 1945 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 308 p. ; 20 cm. SERIES: Las Grandes novelas de nuestra Època, colecciÛn dirigida por Guillermo de Torre NOTES: At head of title: John Hersey. "TraducciÛn directa de Luis Ech·varri." SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ALT TITLE: A bell for Adano. Spanish ACCESSION: 29959383 AUTHOR: TITLE: ha-Pelishah le-Adano PLACE: Tel-Aviv : PUBLISHER: ha-Sifriyah ha-Yisreíelit, Makor, YEAR: ? 1950 1959 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 211 p. ; 20 cm. ALT TITLE: Bell for Adano. Hebrew ACCESSION: 40935373 AUTHOR: TITLE: Kurtulus «ani = A bell for Adano PLACE: Istanbul : PUBLISHER: Isik Kitaplari, YEAR: 1959 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 257 p. ; 17 cm. SERIES: Isik Kitaplari ; no. 8 NOTES: Translation of A bell for Adano. ACCESSION: 33696213 TITLE: Adano no kane PLACE: Tokyo : PUBLISHER: Tozaishuppansha, YEAR: 1949 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 424 p. ; 19 cm. OTHER: Hersey, John, 1914- Sugiki, Takashi, 1899- A bell for Adano. ACCESSION: 15151794 AUTHOR: TITLE: Harangot AdanÛnak PLACE: Budapest : PUBLISHER: ZrÌnyi, YEAR: 1982 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 359 p. ; 19 cm. NOTES: Hungarian translation of A bell for Adano. ISBN: 9633268087 SUBJECT: -- Fiction. ALT TITLE: Bell for Adano. Hungarian ACCESSION: 13304848 AUTHOR: TITLE: Rakhang ëAdano PLACE: [Phranakhon : PUBLISHER: Pramuan Kanphim, YEAR: 1968 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 500 p. ; 21 cm. NOTES: In Thai. Adapted translation of: A bell for Adano. OTHER: ëAdison Theppricha. A bell for Adano. Thai ACCESSION: 3040029 AUTHOR: TITLE: Klockan i Adano PLACE: Stockholm : PUBLISHER: P.A. Norstedt, YEAR: 1964 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 255p. ; 21cm. NOTES: Translation of A bell for Adano. ALT TITLE: A bell for Adano. Swedish ACCESSION: 2972600 AUTHOR: TITLE: Zvon pro Adano PLACE: Praha : PUBLISHER: LK, YEAR: 1948 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 275p. ; 21cm. NOTES: Translation of A bell for Adano. ALT TITLE: A bell for Adano. Czech ACCESSION: 12812394 AUTHOR: TITLE: A bell for Adano PLACE: London : PUBLISHER: Victor Gollancz, YEAR: 1945 1944 PUB TYPE: Book FORMAT: 183 p. ; 20 cm. SUBJECT: -- Fiction. Source: World Cat, Eureka(RLIN), Bibliofind
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Not serialized
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
No sequels or prequels, however, the author wrote several similar novels both before and after publication of A Bell For Adano. Men in Bataan, and Into the Valley share the WWII theme. Source: Encarta Encyclopedia
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
John Richard Hersey was born in Tienstein, China, in 1914. His parents were Roscoe Monroe Hersey, and Grace Baird. Both his mother and his father were American missionaries, so Hersey grew up within the confines of a missionary compound. He actually had very minimal contact with his Chinese surroundings, and was educated in an American school with children of the other missionaries. This was the manner in which Hersey spent the first ten years of his life, and describes his life while growing up as "no more exciting than the average child's." When his family returned to the United States in 1924, he attended public schools until enrolling at Hotchkiss and Yale, where he majored in History, Arts and Letters. He went on to be a Mellon Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge, and studied eighteenth-century English literature. After a brief stint as Sinclair Lewis's secretary, Hersey went to work for Time, Life, and The New Yorker, as a war correspondent. As a correspondent Hersey worked with little prestige until the publishing of his first novel Men on Bataan. A short while later Hersey got a taste of battle on Guadalcanal, and these experiences soon became the focus of his next book, Into the Valley. Hersey received more attention with the publishing of A Bell for Adano in 1944. He won the Pulitzer Prize for A Bell for Adano in 1945. A year later, in 1946, Hersey published Hiroshima, first in The New Yorker, and later that year in book form. It remains his most read book. His maturation continued with The Wall (1950), a tale of a Warsaw ghetto. His later works, beginning with The Wall, are very different from the quickly written A Bell for Adano (written in a little over 3 weeks). Hersey continued writing up until his death, and actually had Key West Stories published posthumously. Hersey was primarily a writer of fiction, but did publish some biographical material such as The President (1975), which was about Gerald Ford. He also wrote The Algiers Motel Incident (1968), a report about the Detroit riots of 1967. He wrote a great deal, and in all produced 14 novels, and 15 other works of significant length, along with many articles for magazines. John Hersey was first married on April 27, 1940 to Frances Ann Cannon. In this marriage, Hersey had four children: Martin, John, Ann, and Baird. Hersey and Frances divorced in February of 1958, and John remarried in June of the same year to Barbara Day Adams Kauffman. In this second marriage Hersey had another daughter, Brook. Hersey was a Democrat, and campaigned actively with Aldai Stevenson drafting many of his speeches. He was actively involved in many organizations including the Authors League of America, of which he was vice-president, and president. He began teaching in 1971, and was a professor of writing at Yale for 18 years. John Hersey died in Key West Florida on March 23, 1993.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
In 1944 the war in Italy was six months old, when out of nowhere comes a first novel from a little known war correspondent. John Hersey's novel tells the tale of an American serviceman who bridges the culture gap in a small Italian town, and tries his best to influence the situation in a positive manner. The book was written quickly, but was rooted strongly in hard facts, which the author himself had witnessed. With this book, he tries to send a message. Hersey says in his forward of the book , "No other country has such a fund of men who speak the languages of the lands we must invade, who understand the ways and have listened to their parents sing the folk songs and have tasted the wine of the land on the palate of their memories." He also says that, "Until there is a seeming stability in Europe our armies and our arter-armies will have to stay in Europe. Each American who stays may very well be extremely dependent on a Joppolo (the novel's protagonist), not only for language, but for wisdom and justice and the other thins we have to offer Europeans." He sends a strongly patriotic, and yet very truthful, novel out to the public so it comes as no surprise that it sells as well as it does. Jerre Mangione of the New York Times Book Review sums up the novel well by saying "His novel is not a great one, and there will undoubtedly be more profound novels written about the war. But what Mr. Hersey has to say in A Bell for Adano should make the reading public and the Army sit up, take notice and possibly profit from the lessons he has so adroitly woven into his narrative." (Mangione, NYTBR) The book was received well by both the public and by the critics. As a first novel it was highly successful, and is Hersey's most read novel behind Hiroshima. The novel arrived on the best seller lists a month after being published and enjoyed 33 and 20 week runs in the New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly respectively. For the most part, critics received the novel warmly and conceded it's flaws as a trade off for its rapidity in arriving, and for its inherent message. "A Bell for Adano offers an argument well suited to its novelistic form, the conflict that a reasonable and plain person would necessarily feel in carrying out the commands of unjust officials. Though the plot is slight, Hersey gives rich pictures and of people." -Anon., Christian Science Monitor, April 22, 1944, p.10 "A Bell for Adano is a morality tale with oversimplified characters to make points about the battle between good and evil. Hersey is especially effective in capturing the character of the common people, of lower ranking officers and citizens, who reveal both human strength and weakness. Their reactions to the blind warfare machine can remind readers of the difficulties to be faced in the immediate future. -Weeks, Edward. Atlantic, 173, April 1944, p.127. "A Bell for Adano has merit as both a novel and a report. It suggests that government is only as good as the people who govern, with Joppolo offered as a symbol of what is best in the American character or even in all of humanity. Herse's recurrent theme is individual worth, dramatized with his talent for concrete observation rather than theoretical ponderings." -Hindus, Milton. Atlantic, 173, March 1944, p.131. However, there were several detractors of the novel, who were not quite so forgiving of the novels sometimes lightly sketched characters, and its lack of polish. "When Hersey wrote A Bell for Adano, he worked quickly and drew from folk idealism and popular assumptions. There is a good deal of apparent truth in his contrived simplicity; Joppolo is a compendium of the idealized national character. The book is disappointing in that Hersey knows better; he could have avoided the exaggeration and falsifying that go into a popular book, and told the truth about the war as a reporter and an artist. -Trilling, Diana. "fiction in Review." Nation, 158, February 12, 1944. p.194-195. Perhaps the best manifestation of the books good reception is its winning the Pulitzer Prize on May 8, 1945.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
In 1944 the war in Italy was six months old, when out of nowhere comes a first novel from a little known war correspondent. John Hersey's novel tells the tale of an American serviceman who bridges the culture gap in a small Italian town, and tries his best to influence the situation in a positive manner. The book was written quickly, but was rooted strongly in hard facts, which the author himself had witnessed. With this book, he tries to send a message. Hersey says in his forward of the book , "No other country has such a fund of men who speak the languages of the lands we must invade, who understand the ways and have listened to their parents sing the folk songs and have tasted the wine of the land on the palate of their memories." He also says that, "Until there is a seeming stability in Europe our armies and our arter-armies will have to stay in Europe. Each American who stays may very well be extremely dependent on a Joppolo (the novel's protagonist), not only for language, but for wisdom and justice and the other thins we have to offer Europeans." He sends a strongly patriotic, and yet very truthful, novel out to the public so it comes as no surprise that it sells as well as it does. Jerre Mangione of the New York Times Book Review sums up the novel well by saying "His novel is not a great one, and there will undoubtedly be more profound novels written about the war. But what Mr. Hersey has to say in A Bell for Adano should make the reading public and the Army sit up, take notice and possibly profit from the lessons he has so adroitly woven into his narrative." (Mangione, NYTBR) The book was received well by both the public and by the critics. As a first novel it was highly successful, and is Hersey's most read novel behind Hiroshima. The novel arrived on the best seller lists a month after being published and enjoyed 33 and 20 week runs in the New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly respectively. For the most part, critics received the novel warmly and conceded it's flaws as a trade off for its rapidity in arriving, and for its inherent message. "A Bell for Adano offers an argument well suited to its novelistic form, the conflict that a reasonable and plain person would necessarily feel in carrying out the commands of unjust officials. Though the plot is slight, Hersey gives rich pictures and of people." -Anon., Christian Science Monitor, April 22, 1944, p.10 "A Bell for Adano is a morality tale with oversimplified characters to make points about the battle between good and evil. Hersey is especially effective in capturing the character of the common people, of lower ranking officers and citizens, who reveal both human strength and weakness. Their reactions to the blind warfare machine can remind readers of the difficulties to be faced in the immediate future. -Weeks, Edward. Atlantic, 173, April 1944, p.127. "A Bell for Adano has merit as both a novel and a report. It suggests that government is only as good as the people who govern, with Joppolo offered as a symbol of what is best in the American character or even in all of humanity. Herse's recurrent theme is individual worth, dramatized with his talent for concrete observation rather than theoretical ponderings." -Hindus, Milton. Atlantic, 173, March 1944, p.131. However, there were several detractors of the novel, who were not quite so forgiving of the novels sometimes lightly sketched characters, and its lack of polish. "When Hersey wrote A Bell for Adano, he worked quickly and drew from folk idealism and popular assumptions. There is a good deal of apparent truth in his contrived simplicity; Joppolo is a compendium of the idealized national character. The book is disappointing in that Hersey knows better; he could have avoided the exaggeration and falsifying that go into a popular book, and told the truth about the war as a reporter and an artist. -Trilling, Diana. "fiction in Review." Nation, 158, February 12, 1944. p.194-195. Perhaps the best manifestation of the books good reception is its winning the Pulitzer Prize on May 8, 1945.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
In February of 1944, America was fighting World War II in full force. As John Hersey's first novel was hitting the shelves, American troops were heavily involved in both Pacific and Italian campaigns. Meanwhile, the American public was rationing gas, and making sacrifices with food, and more importantly with their loved ones. They listened to their radios for news of troop movements, and dreaded the worst, patiently waiting for the day when an official telegram might be delivered to their doorstep. They knew exactly what was going on. They knew where the troops were, how we were doing at the time and what headway if any was being made, and yet they knew surprisingly little about what was actually taking place in their army and happening to the men in it. What a good time for a war novel to come out! Especially one that dealt with those very same unknown issues. It is surprising that we think very little about what an army does with an area that it has occupied. Hersey's A Bell for Adanocaptured, to a great degree, the many different actions required to keep peace and order perfectly balanced. The book was a best seller not because it's a masterpiece of literature, but because it played well to its audience and because it has all the necessary elements to make its readers feel proud of themselves and their country. Whether Hersey ment to or not he did create a very patriotic offering, and it is reinforced by nearly every aspect of the major's character; his looks, mannerisms, actions and dealings with the locals are all portrayed as being appealing and correct. This is what is appealing about the book, and is why it sold so well. By studying the major's character and the other characters, as well as the audience for books at the time (i.e. topics and advertising ploys that would appeal to them), we can understand why A Bell for Adano was a best seller. "...I beg you to get to know this man Joppolo well. We have need of him. He is our future in the world. Neither the eloquence of Churchill nor the humanness of Roosevelt, no Charter, no four freedoms or fourteen points, no dreamer's diagram so symmetrical and so faultless on paper, no plan, no hope, no treaty -none of these things can guarantee anything. Only men can guarantee, only the behavior of men under pressure, only our Joppolos." -John Hersey The story was based on an article Hersey wrote about his experiences in an Italian village much like the fictional Adano. The article was the product of Hersey's observation of an American major who worked in the AMGOT (American Military Government Occupied Territories) department of the Army. The article, entitled "AMGOT at Work", was published in Life magazine and after 6 weeks it had been transformed into the completed novel A Bell for Adano. There is so much bustle, and so much going on in the office of the major, that it is no wonder Hersey came away with much respect for the major's situation and admiration of his character after the assignment was complete. As far as the translation from fact to fiction goes, Hersey took every person mentioned in the article and turned them into a character in the book. While most of the happenings in the book were based on real events, a few elements like the Patton-like General Marvin and the premise of the bell were purely fictional and served to fill out the storyline. The book was published by Alfred A. Knopf on February 7, 1944. Knopf, along with all other publishers at the time, was subject to the regulations on paper usage. However, their ad campaign for the book was rather ingenious in its design. In the world of advertising there is nothing better than a positive association of your product with another equally good product. Inside of every first edition copy of the novel you are asked to buy war bonds. In the print advertisements there is a blurb at the top of the page about war bonds and their importance to the allied cause with the phrase "After you've read this -you'll buy a war bond." Further down the page there is a write up on the author and the book, over the picture of the book is another phrase, "After you've read this -you'll buy another." To so boldly state that the book will make you want to buy war bonds, is the say that it is heavily patriotic, and supports the allied cause. Futhur dissecting the advertisement, we will notice that the picture of the author is not exactly ordinary. Hersey is not lounging in his home, but rather is wearing his helmet and uniform. By seeing the author clad in his "steel pot," one cannot escape thoughts of soldiers in combat and your curiosity in the book is further heightened. Further more, advertising copy states how the book was named as an "imperative," and makes the book sound very important and prestigious. Knopf truly did a good job of marketing the book despite the restraints they were facing. The book sold well, and remained on the best seller lists of both Publishers Weekly and the New York Times Book Review for an extended period of time. No exact sales figures could be found for the book as it did not make the overall lists of best sellers in Hackett's 80 years of BestSellers. Coming at number nine on the 1944 best seller list, the book did well, but did not find its way into 1945's list. This is probably due to the fact that it wasn't a "great" novel, and it was obvious that many critics shared this belief. It was not considered among the great World War II books like Harry Brown's A Walk in the Sun (1944), or Thomas Heggen's Mr. Roberts. However, it is interesting that the book won the 1944 Pulitzer Prize, which must say something about its significance. Despite a few minor flaws, the book was well received by most critics, with only a handful of staunch detractors. The greatest accusation leveled at the book was that its characters were purposely oversimplified in an attempt to idealize the American characters, and foster a false representation of the situation in order to sell more copies. This however, is a shallow comment, that doesn't hold true when the characters are analyzed. In fact, much of what makes these characters (in particular the natives) loveable and meaningful is their simplicity. You aren't bogged down by endless back stories, and as a result you can pay the attention needed to see the truth in their words and how each character is representative of a group or ideal. The same also seems to hold true for the American characters in the book. Even the major, to a certain extent, is an incomplete character. The question that must be asked its whether this was merely and oversight by the author, that resulted from the haste of his work, or if it exists for a purpose. Most of what makes the novel a good one is the interplay between the characters in the book, and also many of the circumstances that they find themselves in. Much of the time these instances would play to the vanities of the reader; however, there is great truth in the characterization of the villagers put forth by Hersey. While many of the characters, including the major, are lightly colored in some or many areas, they come together on the whole to give meaning to the situation in both real life and in the book. Much of what gives this book its meaning is attributable to the fact that this situation is real and this holds true for most war novels. There is something concrete that makes the text instantly credible, and perhaps that is why detractors like Diana Trilling took wild swipes at the book's stance with the desire to sharpen the line between the fact and fiction. Trilling said that Hersey "could have avoided the exaggeration and falsifying that go into a popular book, and told the truth about the war as a reporter and an artist," but this is an obtuse viewpoint because it comes from her refusal to recognize that this situation is almost entirely rooted in the truth. This is supported by the fact that Hersey includes the unsavory affects of occupation. Poignant vignettes such as drunken American M.P.s ransacking a house, the dealings of the black market, and the shooting of an Italian cartman's mule by General Marvin, show the dark side of the American occupation all too well. These facts prove contrary to Ms. Trilling's ideas of unadulterated patriotism and singularity of view. In addition to this, David Sanders makes a good point directed at Trilling's comments, saying "Hersey wrote a simple book in a hurry, which is not the same as ?falsifying simplification.'" The major's character is a culmination of almost every admirable trait lumped into one person. He is kind, open, generous, deliberate, and sensible above all else. The major has an inborn tie to this small village, which is own Italian heritage. When characters like General Marvin use the words like "wop" or "dego," in reference to the Italian villagers, we automatically include the major with these targets and feel more connected to him. Hersey's decision to make Joppolo an Italian, seems give the reader an instant reason to like him, and serves to make his actions and feelings towards the town credible and valid. It would simply not be enough for the major to be sympathetic, as Americans at the time would have been loathe to sympathize with any of their "enemies." Of course this adds another interesting dynamic to the books success. Why would people buy it, when its main character was an Italian sympathizer? Part of this comes from the fact that these occupied people were no longer seen as any threat, and the other part comes from the nobility of the work and the candor with which it is performed by the major which reflects more on his American position rather than his Italian heritage. The major said himself in his guidelines for running the town, "....Always be accessible to the public. Don't play favorites...." These words serve to show his good intentions, and yet also reaffirm his American impartiality. Many critics have had their say on Joppolo. Milton Hindus said, "Joppolo is offered as a symbol of what is best in the American character or even in all of humanity." This is for the most part true. Hersey, in his forward to the story, clearly states that "Major Victor Joppolo, U.S.A., was a good man. It is the whole reason why I want you to know this story." Hersey constantly reinforces this throughout the book. It serves as his thesis, and he continually comes back to it in the course of the books events. Isn't that a nice play to the American public? Here is a book seemingly dedicated to the glorification of the American war effort, and to all the "fine young Americans" involved in it. It seems to cry out "Look at all the great stuff we do for the world, even when those people don't like us. Aren't we great?" The major always acts with goodwill and compassion, never with the brunt aggression showed by General Marvin. Nancy L. Huse, however, seemed to capture the unfortunate side of the major by saying, "he is only half alive, a shell, as Hersey presents him. There is no one in the novel who can be his equal in compassion because he does not understand his own idealism and cannot convey it to others." It is true to a certain extent, we never know much about why the major is why he is, and we know little about his family and his relationships outside of the army. However, we know what he is, even if not why he is it. As for the other characters, it has been said that the narrator of a story need not be intelligent to impart wisdom. This seems to be the case in A Bell for Adano. All of the Italian characters play a role in the unfolding of the story, and in glorifying the major. In a way, the villagers are like children, and the major is a father. They constantly come to him with their problems, and he consistently finds manageable solutions. One of the most interesting examples of this is how Hersey depicts each first meeting with the major. In every circumstance the villager gives what Hersey calls an "absent-minded fascist salute," and then goes on at length about how anti fascist they are, and how valuable they would be to the American cause. This is comical because what most of these people want is to be left alone, or be reunited with loved ones and relatives. And yet, they still know who is in charge and that they must play by the rules that are not their own, "they had learned during the years of Fascism how to swallow their protests." Another interesting facet of the books success would have to lie in its almost exposaic qualities. In writing the book, Hersey set down to say a few things about the American military. He more clearly said what was right with it in the form of the major, but there are some dark clouds present with the character of General Marvin. Hersey's description of this character could be almost construed as libel if you believe Marvin to represent Patton. "Probably you think of him as one of the heroes of the invasion; the genial, pipe-smoking history-quoting, snappy-looking, map-carrying, adjective-defying divisional commander; the man who still wears spurs (a direct reference to Patton's pearl handled revolvers and cowboy-like dress) even though he rides everywhere in an armored car....you couldn't be blamed for having this picture. You can't get the truth except from the boys who come home and finally limp out of the hospitals and even then the truth is bent by anger. But I can tell you perfectly calmly that General Marvin showed himself during the invasion to be a bad man." There is truth to what Hersey was saying, and that came to light often after the war was over. Patton was egotistical, and determined at all costs to be the liberator of Italy. It was true that Patton was quick to anger, and was reported to have struck a battle fatigued soldier accusing him of being a coward. Though General Marvin is stated as being a fictional character, his similarities to Patton are numerous. Hersey expresses his displeasure with the General repeatedly, and makes all of his actions seem ridiculously stupid. Overreactions and impractical orders abound, and Marvin is made into the supreme evil in the book. He is seen as more menacing then the fascists and the Germans, and is certainly in a position to hurt more of our men then they would be. By exposing this facet of our army, Hersey gives the story its conflict and meaning. However, when compared with many of Hersey's other writings, A Bell for Adano is not nearly as powerful or exposaic. The conflict, although meaningful to a good extent, isn't as powerful as that in Hiroshima (1945), and isn't as grand in its scale as The Wall (1950). Yet, besides Hiroshima, the novel is Hersey's most widely read. Timing might have played a part in this. When Hiroshima was released, Americans were extremely eager to learn about the new nuclear weapons and their effects. One of the major criticisms of The Wall, according to Charles Angoff in his review of the book was that, "it is too soon to deal with Nazi terror in literature; we need ?a prolonged brooding period.'" By all accounts, The Wall , is a better book both in its message and its delivery. This goes back to the reader though, and is commented on by John Cogley while he wrote up The Wall. He said, "It is shameful that apathy permitted the holocaust; the entire debacle evoked less outcry from American Catholics than has been expressed over one obscene novel." So why then was A Bell for Adano a bestseller despite being a simpler and somewhat less epic? Ben Ray Redman sums it up well, "Despite its subject, the novel is gay--yet it conveys a powerful message. It shows Hersey's many-sided talent, playing the range of humor from whimsy to farce and yet able to portray the sober and the serious. Plot construction is tight and admirable; characters are types, but superb examples of good and evil." So, what conclusions can be drawn about the success of A Bell for Adano? We have ruled out that it was a masterpiece of literature, if this was true it would have continued selling long after the war was over. It was not a formulaic novel such as many of today's Tom Clancy or Danielle Steele novels are. Hersey did not have the opportunity to ride any of his past successes with this book, as it was a first novel. What he did have, however, was a good story that was strongly rooted in fact and a brilliantly constructed main character, that sent an important message about American involvement around the world. Once again I will refer the Hersey's forward, "Until there is a seeming stability in Europe, our armies and our after-armies will have to stay in Europe. Each American who stays may very well be dependent on a Joppolo, not only for language, but for wisdom and justice and the other things we think we have to offer Europeans." This holds true even for today, and is easily recognizable in all of our N.A.T.O. involvements. A Bell for Adano was a bestseller for the same reason most good books are bestsellers, its message was something pertinent to the time, and was what its readers wanted to hear. While good advertising can play a part, and name brand recognition truly goes a long way, no book can be shoved down the readers throat if it is unworthy of their time. A Bell for Adano was worthy, and for that reason it was bought and read.
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