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For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls
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For Whom the Bell Tolls - 1940

by Ernest Hemingway

  • Used
  • first


New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. First Edition, First Printing. First edition, first printing with Scribner's "A" on the copyright page. The book measures approximately 9" x 6", 471 numbered pages. With its original first issue dust jacket, lacking the photographer's credit on the rear panel. The dust jacket is in good plus condition. The original price of $2.75 is present on the front flap. Moderate chipping and wear to the extremities and flap folds, with significant chips missing from several areas. Creasing and some paper loss evident on the extremities as well. The book is in very good minus condition. The boards are well preserved with firm edges. Boards have minor staining and the spine is darkened. Previous owner's signature, stamp, and old bookseller ticket on the front endpaper. The binding is sound. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is one of Hemingway's biggest literary triumphs. Written in 1939 and finished in 1940, the first edition was published in October of that year, with a print run of 75,000 copies. The novel was inspired by Hemingway's experiences as a journalist in Spain during its civil war. The plot centers on an American dynamiter who joins forces with an anti-fascist troupe to carry out the detonation of a bridge. What unfolds is a story of bravery, deception, love, and agony. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is certainly one of Ernest Hemingway's greatest novels. Were it not for the war and politics of the time, this novel would have been the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1941 - as the jurors voted unanimously in favor of the award. Please view the many other rare titles available for purchase at our store. We are always interested in purchasing individual or collections of fine books. Inventory # (L3-24).
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Ernestoic Books, where you can find the most sought after Modern First Editions. As our name suggests, Ernest Hemingway is our specialty and our passion. We guarantee the condition of every book we sell. Returns may be made within 14 days of receipt for any reason. We are always interested in purchasing individual or collections of fine books.

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About this book

Many consider For Whom the Bell Tolls to be author Ernest Hemingway’s finest work. Inspired by Hemingway’s time as a war correspondent for The North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls is a stark and brutal commentary on the nature of war, sacrifice, and death. In fact, many believe his work is among the best depictions of the Spanish Civil War written. As with some of Hemingway’s other work, many of the characters, experiences, and events were based off real people and battles Hemingway saw. 

One of the most interesting qualities of For Whom the Bell Tolls is the use and restraint of profanity. Even though Hemingway had already written much about war and tribulations and had never seemed inclined to limit the use of vulgar language, For Whom the Bell Tolls is a clear exemption. When writing dialogue, Hemingway would insert the word “obscenity” instead of writing the exact word or phrase. There has been a lot of discussion about the reason for such omissions, and while some believe Hemingway was worried about the book being banned and thus wanted to make the book as reader-friendly as possible for a brutally violent war novel, others believe the omissions of profanity was due to transliteration problems and the author’s attempt to be as honest to the dialogue he heard as possible. 

There is no arguing with the legacy and influence Hemingway had not only on American culture, but also on generations of future writers. The Beatnik generation referred to Hemingway as “Papa” with a quite reverence, and Hemingway inspired countless journalists with his in-depth profiles and wartime articles. Even the cities where he wrote his books are now places for pilgrimage among his most devoted fans. Hemingway first started writing For Whom the Bell Tolls in Cuba and later finished it in Sun Valley, Idaho. In fact, both hotel rooms are now popular tourist destinations.

First Edition Identification

Published in 1940 by Charles Scribner in an initial print run of 75,000 copies at $2.75, a first printing of For Whom the Bell Tolls has the letter A present on the copyright page and may have the Scribner's seal present, although it hasn't been conclusively determined whether this is in fact a point of issue. First state dust jackets do not have a photo credit under the photograph of Hemingway.