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A Farewell to Arms, Jonathan Cape Edition

Hemingway, Ernest

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ISBN 10: 4871876152 / ISBN 13: 9784871876155
Published by Ishi Press
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Title: A Farewell to Arms, Jonathan Cape Edition

Publisher: Ishi Press


Book Condition:New

About this title


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is without doubt one of the great masterpieces of world literature. According to one account, Hemingway had a contract with another publisher to publish “A Farewell to Arms”, but his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald convinced him to break that contract and go with Scribner instead. A Farewell to Arms was first published by Jonathan Cape in London in 1929. This is definitely the first edition published in the UK. Hemingway was living in Paris at the time and since Paris is closer to London that is a reason why the London edition came first. There are significant differences between the British Edition and the USA Edition. To be sure, they are not exactly the same. The pagination is different. Chapter 31 starts on page 239 of the Jonathan Cape edition but on page 204 of the Google Books edition. On page 215, he kills a sergeant because the sergeant refused to help them dig a car out of the mud. This happens on page 186 of the USA edition.


As a youth of 18, Ernest Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War. Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead and was sent to France. Then he transferred to Italy where he became the first American wounded in that country during World War I. Hemingway came out of the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, 10 years later, spin into literary gold with A Farewell to Arms. This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits:

I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know.
The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine.

Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss. --Alix Wilber

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