Hemingway, Ernest: For Whom the Bell Tolls
(researched by James Beglis)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
1. FOR WHOM | THE BELL TOLLS | by Ernest | Hemingway | New York |Charles Scribnerís Sons | 1940. 8 1/4 x 5 5/8. Published October 21, 1940, at $2.75. The first printing consisted of 75,0000 copies. SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway, A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
2. Issued in nubby beige cloth SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway, A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
4. [i] - [x] + 1-[472] SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway, A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
5. The book is neither edited nor introduced.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
6. The book is not illustrated.
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?)
8. Issued in nubby beige cloth with the author's signature stamped in black on the front cover. Stamped in black on the backstrip: [four rules on indented red block] | FOR WHOM | THE BELL | TOLLS | [short rule] | HEMINGWAY[all on indented red block] | [four rules on indented red block] | [two rules, in red] | SCRIBNERS [on indented red block] | [two rules, in red]. Bottom edges trimmed, fore edges untrimmed; top edges stained brown. SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway, A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967. The typography is easily legible and the characters are seriph. The physical presentation is simple but attractive and the book appears to be well printed. SOURCE: visual inspection of 1st edition copy.
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?)
10. The paper appears to be sturdy and of fairly good quality. The surface area of the paper is smooth, but the edges are somewhat rough and rather unevenly alligned with one another. SOURCE: visual inspection of first edition
11 Description of binding(s)
11. The binding appears to be strong and in good condition. SOURCE: visual inspection of first edition
12 Transcription of title page
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
14. Manuscript and typescript, 1,160 pages, all but approximately 350 pages in holograph. Complete working draft, heavily revised. Chapter 32 in two slightly variant versions. Currently on deposit at Harvard University. SOURCE: The Hemingway Manuscripts, An Inventory, by Philip Young and Charles W.Mann, University Park and London, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1969.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
15. By December 28, 1940, sales stood at 189,000 copies and by April 4, 1941, sales had risen to 491,000 copies. An advance issue of 15 copies, which measured 8 5/8 x 5 3/4, were bound uncut in the same cloth as the first edition.î SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway, A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967.
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
For Whom the Bell Tolls was chosen as the Book-of-the-Month Club selection for November 1940. First printing consisted of 135,000 copies. An unrevised proof was issued in a brown paper cover for the Book-of-the-Month Club judges. 7 3/4 x 6 1/2. 476 pages, printed on right side only. A note explains that the last two chapters are omitted because the author wanted to read the proofs up to that point "before perfecting the end." Reprint edition: April 1957, 8 1/4 x 5 1/2, MODERN STANDARD AUTHORS |FOR WHOM | THE BELL TOLLS | By | ERNEST | HEMINGWAY | NEW YORK | CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS. Issued in black backstrip over silver-gray covers. The authorís signature is stamped in silver on the black cloth section of the front cover. Stamped in silver on the backstrip: [thick rule] | FOR WHOM | THE BELL | TOLLS | [ornament] | ERNEST | HEMINGWAY | [ornament] | SCRIBNERS | [thick rule]. All edges trimmed. The dust jacket is red, white, and black, with a photograph of Hemingway on the front cover. Paperback edition: 1960, 8 x 5 3/8, FOR WHOM | THE BELL TOLLS | By | ERNEST| HEMINGWAY | NEW YORK | CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS. Issued in gray stiff paper covers printed in black, red, and white. No. SL 4 of the Scribner Library series. Uniform edition: 1962, 8 x 5 1/2, FOR WHOM | THE BELL TOLLS | By | ERNEST| HEMINGWAY | NEW YORK | CHARLES SCRIBNERíS SONS. Issued in rose cloth. Stamped in gold on the front cover: [ornament] FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS [ornament]. Backstrip: the title is stamped in gold on a black block.; the authorís name and the publisherís name are stamped in black on gold blocks. All edges trimmed. The rose dust jacket is printed in the uniform design, in purple, white, and black. Reprint edition: July 1966, 8 1/4 x 5 1/2, ERNEST | HEMINGWAY | [ornament] | For Whom | the Bell Tolls | CHARLES SCRIBNERíS SONS | New York. Issued in dark blue cloth. Stamped on the front cover: FOR WHOM | THE BELL TOLLS [title in gold] | broken rule, in bright blue] | [design of a quill pen, in silver]. Top and bottom edges trimmed, fore eges untrimmed. Light blue endpapers. Part of a three vloume set offered as introductory selection by the Literary Guild of America, Inc.
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?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
5. Reprint edition: 1942, P.F. Collier & Son Corporation Limited Illustrated Edition: 1942, Princeton University Press Overseas edition: [1945?], Overseas Editions, Inc. Reprint edition: July 1944, Grosset & Dunlap Reprint edition: July 1944, Doubleday Reprint edition: September 1944, Sun Dial Books Reprint edition: September 11, 1944, The Blakiston Company Paperback edition: March 1951, Bantam Books SOURCE: Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography, by Audre Hanneman, Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1967. For Whom the Bell Tolls, (Book Notes Ser.), 1986, pap., Barron. For Whom the Bell Tolls, large type ed., 766 p., 1994, Hall. SOURCE: Books in Print, Volume 2 For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1996, Simon & Schuster Trade, trade cloth SOURCE: Webcats, Books in Print, http://sbweb2.med.iacnet.com/infot...ession/592/945/9001265/3!xrn_2&bkm
6 Last date in print?
6. For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1996, Simon & Schuster Trade, trade cloth SOURCE: Webcats, Books in Print, http://sbweb2.med.iacnet.com/infot...ession/592/945/9001265/3!xrn_2&bkm
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
7. Total copies sold through 1975: 805,400 SOURCE: 80 Years of Bestsellers, 1895-1975
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
9. The majority of the advertisements were placed in Publisherís Weekly and in the New York Times Book Review. Scribner began to caption the ads for this book: "Something for everybody." The full-length Hemingway novel that you have been waiting for. -Publisher's Weekly Orders placed with your bookseller now will assure your receiving on publication date, October 21st, your first-edition copy of a novel that surpasseseven the authorís sensationally popular ëA Farewell to Arms. -New York Times Book Review Wherever books are read and talked about For Whom the Bell Tolls is the book of the year. Greeted by an unprecedented outburst of praise by reviewers from one end of America to the other; established over-night as the runaway bestseller throughout the country; hailed as a superb love story, a tremendous novel of action; one of the great war-novels of all time; a novel that ranks with the major novels in American Literature-- For Whom the Bell Tolls is the novel that has something for you...í The claims in this ad were supported by the two-page Publisherís Weekly ad for 30 November, which consisted entirely of quotations, seventeen of them, from booksellers around the nation claiming to be doubling and tripling their orders for the book they simply could not keep in stock. SOURCE: Marketing Ernest Hemingway: Scribnersí Advertising in Publishers Weekly and the New York Times Book Review, 1929-1941. by John Fenstermaker, published in the Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1978, edited by Matthew Bruccoli and Richard Layman, Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, Michigan, 1979.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019980223140029.jpg
11 Other promotion
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
12. Feature Film: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Paramount, Release Date: July, 1943 Running Time: 170 minutes Executive producer: B.G. DeSylva Produced and directed by Sam Wood Screenplay by Dudley Nichols Starring Gary Cooper as Robert Jordan , and Ingrid Bergman as Maria SOURCE: Hemingway and the Movies, by Frank M. Laurence, Jackson, Mississippi, University Press of Mississippi, 1981.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
a.) Estonian (For Whom the Bell Tolls). Tallinn: Eesti raamat, 1970. 527 pages. Afterword by K. Simonov b.) French Oeuvre romanesques: Reportages de guerre / poemes a Mary. Tome II. paris: Gallimard, 1969. [Bibliotheque de la Pleiade, v. 207] 1,760 pages. Edited by Roger Asselineau. Forward, notes, and bibliography by the editor. c.) Regional Languages of India Ghanaghanato ghantada. Bombay: Majestic Book Stall, 1965. 487 pages. Illustrated. Translated into Marathi by Digambar Balkrishma Mokasi. Deva-dundubhi baje kar babe. Calcutta: Srihumi Publishing Co., 1966. 614 pages. Translated into Assamese by Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya. Kahapaom ghanta baje. Cuttack: Rashtrabhasa pustak bhandar, 1966. 553 pages. Translated into Oriya by Nagendrakumar Ray. Manimuzhangunnatu arkku venti. Kottayam: Sahitya pravarthaka C.S., 1967. 643 pages. Translated into Malayalam by A. N. Nambiar. d.) Lebanese Liman tuqraía al-Ajras. Beirut: Dar Maktabat alíHaiat, 1969. 576 pages. Translated by Kheiri Himad. e.) Rumanian Pentru cine bat clopotele. Bucharest: Editura pentru Literatura Universala, 1965. 602 pages. Translated by Dumitru Mazilu. Preface by Radu Lupan. Pentru cine bat clopotele. Bucharest: Editura Minaerva, 1971. 2 volumes. 341 pages; 377 pages. Translated by Dumitru Mazilu. Preface, by Dan Grigorescu, on pp. v-ix. Chronology on pp. xi-xviii. f.) Russian and Other Slavic Translations Po komu bíje dzvin. Kiev: Rad. pisímennik, 1969. 507 pages. Illustrated. Translated into Ukranian by Mar Pintevsíkyj. g.) Spanish Por quien doblan las campanas. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1968. 556 pages. Translated by Lola de Aguado. Per qui toquen les campanes. Barcelona: Proa, 1971. 2 volumes. Translated into Catalan. h.) Yugoslav Za kim zuono zuoni. Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 1967. Translated into Croatian. SOURCE: Supplement To Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography. By Audre Hanneman. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1975.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Ernest Hemingway was born in the small town of Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899. His father taught him how to hunt and fish, and he pursued these activities throughout his life. He attended Oak Park High School and River Forest High School, where he excelled in English. He graduated from Oak Park High School in June, 1917. Hemingway spurned college, instead he tried several times to enlist in the military, but was rejected due to a bad left eye. He went to Kansas City and worked briefly as a cub reporter for the "Kansas City Star". Hemingway joined the Red Cross in may of 1918. He was in jured by a mortar at the river di Piave, in Italy. He had over 200 metal fragments lodged in his legs and had been shot in the knees by a heavy machine gun, but still managed to carry a wounded soldier a hundred and fifty yards to safety. He convalesced for several months in the Ospedale Croce Rossa Americana, in Milan. He met a British Red Cross nurse named Agnes Krowsky and fell in love with her, but she eventually refused him. Hemingway returned to Oak Park, Illinois, January 21, 1919. His mother kicked him out of the house when he refused to find a job. He moved to Chicago and worked for "The Toronto Star" and as a sparing partner for boxers. He met Hadley Richardson in 1921. He then moved with his wife to Paris as a correspondent. There, he met several of the famous "expatriates" such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ford Maddox Ford, who encouraged him in his writing. In 1923 His first book "Three Stories and Ten Poems" was published. In 1924, "In Our Time" was published in Paris, and a year later in New York. In May of 1926, he published "Torrents of Spring," and later that year "The Sun Also Rises" was published. It was the latter novel that established Hemingway as one of the preeminent writers of the time. In 1927, Hemingway divorced Hadley and married Pauline Pfieffer, moving with her to Key West, Florida. That same year "Men Without Women" was published. In 1928, Hemingway's father committed suicide. On September 27, 1929, "A Farewell to Arms" was published. On September 23, 1932, "Death in the Afternoon" was published, and in October of 1933, "Winner Take Nothing". This same year Hemingway went on a safari in Africa. In 1935, "Green Hills of Africa" was published. In 1936, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" were published. In 1937, Hemingway went to Spain as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, and "To Have and Have Not" was published. In 1940, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was published, and Hemingway divorced Pauline and married Martha Gellhorn. Hemingway moved to his farm, Finca Vigia, in Cuba in 1942. Persuaded by his wife, he went to Europe to cover W.W.II. In 1945, he divorced Martha after an unhappy marriage and a year later he married Mary Welsh. In 1950, "Across the River and into the Trees" was published. "The Old Man and the Sea" was published in 1952, and won the Pulitzer Prize, and two years later, the Nobel Prize. Hemingway was forced to move to his cabin in Ketchum, Idaho when the communists came to power in Cuba. He became increasingly depressed and was hospitalized twice at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. On April 23rd, Hemingway attempted suicide, and July 2nd, 1961, Hemingway shot himself in the head with a shotgun, committing suicide. Most of Hemingway's manuscripts are in possession of his wife, Mary Hemingway. Harvard University has one of the nation's largest holdings of Hemingway manuscripts.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published on October 21st, 1940, it was greeted with a flood of reviews, mostly in praise of the book. The book reasserted Hemingway as one of the preemminent American authors; this novel was judged to be a great improvement from his last one: The Fifth Column. Ernest Hemingway talked about For Whom the Bell Tolls with Robert van Gelder on August 11, 1940, in an interview for the New York Times Book Review called "Ernest Hemingway Talks of Work and War". For Whom the Bell Tolls was reviewed by: Henry Seidel Canby in Book-of-the-Month Club News (Oct., 1940), pp. 2-3; Edwin Seaver in Direction, III (Oct., 1940), 18-19; Dorothy Parker in PM (Oct. 20, 1940) p.42; John Chamberlain in N.Y. Herald Tribune Books (Oct. 20, 1940) pp. 1, 2. Photograph; J. Donald Adams in N.Y. Times Book Review (Oct. 20, 1940), p.1; in Newsweek, XVI (Oct. 21, 1940), 50; Ralph Thompson in NY Times (Oct. 21, 1940), p. 15; in Time, XXXVI (Oct. 21, 1940), 94-95. For a more extensive list of reviews, see Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography.
Edmund Wilson's review in New Republic, CIII (Oct. 28, 1940), was typical of the favorable reviews of this book: Hemingway the artist is with us again; and it is like having an old friend back. This book is also a new departure. It is Hemingway's first attempt to compose a full-length novel, with real characters and a built-up story... There is in For Whom the Bell Tolls an imagination for social and political phenomena such as he has hardly given evidence of before.... The author has begun to externalize the elements of a complex personality in human figures that have a more complete existence than those of his previous stories. (591-592)
Graham Greene wrote in the Spectator, CLXVI (March 7, 1941), that: [Hemingway] has brought out of the Spanish war a subtlety and sympathy which were not there before and an expression which no longer fights shy of anything that literature can lend him.... Nobody need be afraid that this will be propaganda first and literature only second. It stands with [Andre] Malruax's magnificent novel of the Republican air force as a record more truthful than history, because it deals with the emotions of men, with the ugliness of their idealism, and the cynicism and jealousy that are mixed up in the best causes..... (258)
Not all of the reviews were necessarily favorable, however, some were bitter and critical. J. N. Vaughan wrote in the Commonweal, XXXIII (Dec. 13,1940): As a conservative estimate, one million dollars will be spent by American readers for this book. They will get for their money 34 pages of permanent value. These 34 pages tell of a massacre happening in a little Spanish town in the early days of the Civil War....Personal participation in massacre in order to know it ?from the inside' is no longer indispensible. You can get it from pages 96 to 130 of For Whom the Bell Tolls.... Of the main story little need be said. It is infinitely inferior to Hemingway's prior work. (210)
This last review appears to be one of the few exceptions to an overwhelmingly favorable reception to the book. Most of the reviewers agreed that in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway's style had reached full maturity and produced a novel of lasting popularity and literary merit.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published on October 21st, 1940, it was greeted with a flood of reviews, mostly in praise of the book. The book reasserted Hemingway as one of the preemminent American authors; this novel was judged to be a great improvement from his last one: The Fifth Column. Ernest Hemingway talked about For Whom the Bell Tolls with Robert van Gelder on August 11, 1940, in an interview for the New York Times Book Review called "Ernest Hemingway Talks of Work and War". For Whom the Bell Tolls was reviewed by: Henry Seidel Canby in Book-of-the-Month Club News (Oct., 1940), pp. 2-3; Edwin Seaver in Direction, III (Oct., 1940), 18-19; Dorothy Parker in PM (Oct. 20, 1940) p.42; John Chamberlain in N.Y. Herald Tribune Books (Oct. 20, 1940) pp. 1, 2. Photograph; J. Donald Adams in N.Y. Times Book Review (Oct. 20, 1940), p.1; in Newsweek, XVI (Oct. 21, 1940), 50; Ralph Thompson in NY Times (Oct. 21, 1940), p. 15; in Time, XXXVI (Oct. 21, 1940), 94-95. For a more extensive list of reviews, see Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography.
Edmund Wilson's review in New Republic, CIII (Oct. 28, 1940), was typical of the favorable reviews of this book: Hemingway the artist is with us again; and it is like having an old friend back. This book is also a new departure. It is Hemingway's first attempt to compose a full-length novel, with real characters and a built-up story... There is in For Whom the Bell Tolls an imagination for social and political phenomena such as he has hardly given evidence of before.... The author has begun to externalize the elements of a complex personality in human figures that have a more complete existence than those of his previous stories. (591-592)
Graham Greene wrote in the Spectator, CLXVI (March 7, 1941), that: [Hemingway] has brought out of the Spanish war a subtlety and sympathy which were not there before and an expression which no longer fights shy of anything that literature can lend him.... Nobody need be afraid that this will be propaganda first and literature only second. It stands with [Andre] Malruax's magnificent novel of the Republican air force as a record more truthful than history, because it deals with the emotions of men, with the ugliness of their idealism, and the cynicism and jealousy that are mixed up in the best causes..... (258)
Not all of the reviews were necessarily favorable, however, some were bitter and critical. J. N. Vaughan wrote in the Commonweal, XXXIII (Dec. 13,1940): As a conservative estimate, one million dollars will be spent by American readers for this book. They will get for their money 34 pages of permanent value. These 34 pages tell of a massacre happening in a little Spanish town in the early days of the Civil War....Personal participation in massacre in order to know it ?from the inside' is no longer indispensible. You can get it from pages 96 to 130 of For Whom the Bell Tolls.... Of the main story little need be said. It is infinitely inferior to Hemingway's prior work. (210)
This last review appears to be one of the few exceptions to an overwhelmingly favorable reception to the book. Most of the reviewers agreed that in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway's style had reached full maturity and produced a novel of lasting popularity and literary merit.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
For Whom the Bell Tolls was successful for a variety of reason. The book has many different qualities, including of a romantic love story, of a story of war and adventure, of a story of ideology, and of a story of tragedy. These different facets of the book serve to make it an accessible story to a wide spectrum of readers. The book has survived as one of the best American novels because in addition to a well-crafted story line and unforgettable characters and imagery, the is more to this book than the typical best-seller of today, such as The Firm. In The Firm, the story is extremely well done, the pace is unusually quick and exciting, but the characters, in general, lack development and there is not a tangible philosophy propounded by the author; the simple goal of the novel is to be entertaining. In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway composed a novel of great pace and increasing suspense and tension as the moment for blasting the bridge approaches, but in addition to providing an enthralling plot, Hemingway presents the reader with more than merely a good story. The publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls was highly anticipated as Hemingway was a highly controversial author, with nearly as many ardent critics as supporters. The whirlwind of reviews and blockbuster sales was quite unexpected by the literary culture of the time. People knew and expected a novel about the Spanish Civil War from Ernest Hemingway because of his well known affection for the country and its inhabitants displayed in his earlier works. Hemingway's knowledge and understanding of the Spanish people and the country equipped him with the tools to write a novel concerning the war with more authority than any other author, and people were quite curious to see what Hemingway would produce, since he had not had any great successes in recent years. Hemingway did not want to rush his production of For Whom the Bell Tolls. He was angered by other authors who went and observed the Spanish Civil War for a short time and then immediately churned out a book based upon it before the war was even over. Hemingway stayed in Spain for most of the three years of the Civil War, carefully observing and gathering material for his upcoming book. He wrote to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, about the other authors writing about the Spanish Civil War, singling out Andre Malraux's novel, Man's Hope, for his harshest criticism:
Really will have quite a lot to write when this all over. Am very careful to remember and not waste it in dispatches. When finished am going to settle down and write and the pricks and fakers like Malraux who pulled out in February 1937 to write gigantic masterpisses before it all really started will have a good lesson when write ordinary sized book with the old stuff unfaked in it. When the book finally came out, the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable. The book met and surpassed the high expectations andstandards that the reviewers had set for Hemingway. Many reviewers called it his best book to date and praised its many qualities from the vivid imagery of his accounts of atrocities, to the extraordinary development of the characters, to the heroism and realism in the novel, but most importantly, the reviewers realized that Hemingway completely understood the subject matter: the politics of the war, the romantic relationship, the characteristics of the Spaniards, the imminent danger. Reviewers such as Dorothy Parker also noticed a new maturity and fluidity in his writing style that was quite different than his previous works, writing in the New York PM, on October 20th, 1940: This is not a book of three days, but of all time... beyond all comparison, Ernest Hemingway's finest book. It is not necessary politely to introduce that statement by the words 'I think.' It is so, and that is all there is to it. It is not written in his staccato manner. The pack of little Hemingway's who ran along after his old style cannot hope to copy the well and flow of his new one... But nobody can write as Ernest Hemingway can of a man and a woman together, their completion and their fulfillment. And nobody can get such excitement upon a printed page. I think that what you do about this book of Ernest Hemingway's is point to it and say, 'Here is a book.' As you would stand below Everest and say, 'Here is a mountain.'
In addition to the enormous amount of reviews that For Whom the Bell Tolls was generating, news about a film version sparked more interest in the book. Paramount bought the film rights of the book for what was then a record amount of $136,000. The film also generated a bit more controversy for what was already a rather controversial novel. Certain violent scenes were edited by some state censorship boards, and many scenes were either toned down or omitted entirely. Paramount wanted to eliminate nearly every reference to specific politics, replacing Fascism and Communism with innocuous allusions to different "causes". Hemingway decided that he wanted the film to be more political than he had intended the book to be, asking that anti-Fascist propaganda be presented in the film in an attempt at a last ditch effort to resuscitate the Republican side. In the end, the movie made very few and very subtle political references. The State Department made a few suggestions, as well, concerning the movie script accurately portraying America's neutral position in regards to the war. The controversy did not affect the movie's popularity, and with stars such as Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in the lead roles it was an enormous success. The American people were divided over the Spanish Civil War. On one side were the Fascists, and on the other side were the Republicans, who were strongly supported by the Communists. Many Americans were indecisive as to which side they should support, not wanting to ally themselves to the Fascists or the Communists. Hemingway went to Spain during the war, and allied himself to the side of the Republicans, prompting many people to accuse him of being a Communist sympathizer, an accusation that Hemingway vehemently denied. While in Spain, however, Hemingway did cooperate with the Communists in their guerrilla efforts. But when the book was published, people realized that Hemingway did not write the book as a novel of propaganda, but because he genuinely cared for the country and wanted to relate the destruction and death that was ripping the land apart. He outraged many Republicans who felt that he had betrayed them by accurately exposing the disorder and chaos of the Russian Communists and their bungling generals, and by reporting atrocities committed on both sides. Hemingway was against Fascism but he did not intend to bias his book against it, because he wanted to portray the facts, then allow the reader to make his own judgment. The controversy over which side was in the right did not hurt the book's popularity, but likely influenced it in a positive manner because where there is controversy, there is curiosity, and curiosity can only help a book's sale figures. The intent of Hemingway was to write a book that could be read universally, regardless of political persuasion. James Gray, in "Tenderly Tolls the Bell", writes that: All the Hemingway Themes are restated here: the courage of which human nature is capable when it has managed to identify itself with a moral issue; the humor that is ever present in the story of the appetites; the tenderness that declares itself in honest passion.
Judging from the extensive translations of For Whom the Bell Tolls into foreign languages around the world, and the criticisms and essays on the book just now emerging from countries half-way around the world, Hemingway appears to have accomplished his goal. One of the reasons that For Whom the Bell Tolls was so popular, and remains so today, is the feeling of impossibility that the book evokes in the reader. The futility of Robert Jordan's assignment (blowing the bridge), the limited resources he has to work with, the many obstacles he has to overcome (Pablo), and the blossoming love between him and the beautiful Maria, lead the reader to ask oneself why does Robert Jordan stay and see his mission through until the end. Jordan is well aware that the Fascists are winning the war, as he is well aware that his blowing the bridge will not accomplish anything in the war, but will most likely result in his death. This premonition of failure and untimely death are strengthened to the point of foreknowledge when Pilar reads his palm, but refuses to say what she sees there, allowing the reader, and Robert Jordan, to infer the worst. Robert Jordan stays because of his ideology. He believes in the Republic. He wants it to survive, and he is willing to sacrifice his life for his beliefs. He is a man of principles, and with the help, and at times, despite the hindrance, of a cast of characters that are as well constructed as if they were taken from a Shakespearean play, he resolves to see his mission through until the end. Hemingway's characters are three dimensional; they feel every human emotion from the sublime to the base. Pilar is a tough, crude woman who controls the group now that her husband, Pablo, has lost his courage. Pablo has become disenchanted with the war and has taken to drinking. He resents Robert Jordan's presence, and struggles to maintain his authority over the group of guerrillas that he used to command. He presents a diabolical and perverse character. Robert Jordan cannot trust him and never knows what to expect from him. His character creates a mood of tension and suspense, as he lurks in the background with ambiguous intentions. Anselmo is the model of a perfect soldier. Even though he is an old man, he is tireless, and unflaggingly loyal and responsible. He is dedicated to the cause, and Hemingway shapes his character to be one of the most likeable characters in the novel. This group of guerrillas, fighting against the Fascists, gives the reader the impression of David fighting against Goliath. They are stuck behind enemy lines and could be discovered at any time by the enemy. They are equipped with a few horses while the enemy drives armored cars. They have no additional support or reinforcements, except for a similar group several miles away under the leadership of El Sordo. The bridge that is to be blown up is heavily guarded and they no longer have any detonators for the bridge. The reader cannot help sympathizing with this band of guerrillas who, realizing that they have but a small chance of surviving, persevere with their plans to blow the bridge. Elements of heroism, romance, and tragedy, come together in For Whom the Bell Tolls, creating a novel with universal qualities. The romance between Robert Jordan and Maria was such a powerful part of the book that the producers of the film concentrated the focus of the movie on the romantic aspects between the two and made the blowing of the bridge an interesting subplot. The romance was passionate and intense, with the relationship progressing at an incredible rate because Robert Jordan are only together for three days before the bridge is scheduled to be destroyed. Jordan wishes their love could last and that they could lead a normal life, but he refuses to deceive himself, knowing that in all likelihood he would die trying to blow the bridge. Hemingway makes the love between Robert Jordan and Maria come alive. The realism of For Whom the Bell Tolls is another important aspect of the story. Hemingway tries to make every character and every scene as real and true to life as possible. The hero of the novel, Robert Jordan, is not impervious to the standard human reaction to potential death: fear. He is not portrayed as an emotionless man of steel, but one that makes typical human blunders and feels typical human emotions. Nor is the character of Pablo an entirely evil and menacing presence. He used to be a great and brave leader, and although he grew embittered with the war effort, there are times when he is helpful, particularly at the end, after he repented his betrayal of Robert Jordan, he proves himself to still be a valuable asset to the guerrilla group. Hemingway does not just provide one side of a character or a situation, but allows the reader to see both sides, as Clifton Fadiman said in his review of the book:
I do not much care whether or not this is a 'great' book. I feel that it is what Hemingway wanted it to be: a true book. It is written with only one prejudice-- a prejudice in favor of the common human being. But that is a prejudice not easy to arrive at and which only major writers can movingly express.
For Whom the Bell Tolls has accumulated thousands of pages of bibliographic matter over the past 58 years. The incredible interest in this novel and the continual discussion that it provokes proves that it has literary qualities that surpass the standard best-seller. The book has the typical characteristics of best-sellers such as Peyton Place and The Firm, but whereas those books disappear after a few years, For Whom the Bell Tolls has remained a prominent and respected work of American fiction because of the many different levels of the story: romance, heroism, tragedy, and realism.
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