14: a winning number?

The wheel has spun over at the Classics Club and our destiny (at least until April 1) is now clear. The ball in the spinathon landed on number 14 which for me means I will be reading………        

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway 


My first reaction was ugh having tried to read Hemingway many years ago and not liking the experience one jot. It was For Whom the Bell Tolls which my English teacher had recommended but which I gave up on after only a few chapters. But I’ve always wondered since if I was doing him an injustice – after all he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature  – so when the time came to put my classics club list together, I thought I’d better give him another go. Farewell to Arms was written much earlier than For Whom the Bell Tolls and though the two novels both deal with the human effect of war, the former is meant to be much darker in tone.

Amazingly, Hemingway wrote 47 different endings to Farewell to Arms. He gave an interview in 1958 ( a few years before he shot himself) in which he admitted that the final words of A Farewell to Arms, had been rewritten “39 times before I was satisfied”. Asked what was the reason why he kept rewriting he said” “Getting the words right”. Hemingway was apparently an inveterate re-writer, often changing his text until the very last moment to perfect the style he called the iceberg theory – where the facts float above water; the supporting structure and symbolism operate out of sight.  Sounds like this could be a challenging read…….


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

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