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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 Hemingway, Ernest

  • Used
  • near fine
  • Hardcover
  • first
Used - Near Fine


First edition, first impression in first issue dust jacket. Original publisher's cloth. Some rubbing to label on spine with toning to edges and a small area of browning to edge of of paste-downs and endpapers. Contents beautifully clean throughout otherwise. The original and unclipped dust jacket has a little soft crease close to fore-edge of upper panel, else in beautiful, fine condition. A fantastic example of one of the author's highlight titles.
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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.