For Whom the Bell Tolls
by Hemingway, Ernest
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About This Item
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.
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