Sunday, October 21, 1990

Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls published on this day 50 years ago

First posted 7/4/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

First Publication: October 21, 1940

Category: novel/war story

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from ‘the good fight,’ For Whom the Bell Tolls.” AZ The novel is “a sparse, masculine, world-weary meditation on death, ideology and the savagery of war in general, and the Spanish civil war in particular.” TG It “depicts war not as glorious but disillusioning.” LC

“‘If the function of a writer is to reveal reality,’ Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, ‘no one ever so completely performed it.’ Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author’s previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.’” AZ

Robert Jordan is “a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit” AZ “during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.” WK

“In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo’s last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise.” AZ The story “tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal.” AZ

The novel “was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and became a literary triumph. Based on his achievement in this and other noted works, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.” LC

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