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History buffs should look out for references are also made to Valladolid, Segovia, El Escorial and Madrid which were part of the preparation for the siege of Madrid The famous and pivotal scene described in Chapter 10, in which Pilar describes the execution of various fascist figures in her village is said to be drawn from events that took place in Ronda Where Next? Featured Book. Please tick this box if you'd like to receive information and updates from us about our book news. You can unsubscribe from our emails at any time using the unsubscribe link provided in the emails that are sent to you.
What you need to know before your trail
A rival faction? Who knows. My point is that this was Spain, and not England or the United States. Would that, fifty years ago when the Civil War broke out, this distinction had been clear. The fact is that the Republican government in Madrid in could not govern the country; perhaps no government could. Politics were wild: partisan pistoleros roamed the streets, parliamentarians were murdered, the Communist Deputy known as La Pasionaria made blood-curdling speeches in the Cortes, churches were put to the torch.
This hot and tawny peninsula, a piece of Africa attached to Europe, became a killing field. Different or not, however, the mentality of the democratic West became intensely involved in Spanish matters, and, on the evidence of the recent bout of nostalgia aroused by the fiftieth anniversary of the war, it remains involved to this day. The literary critic Alfred Kazin has recently lectured in Spain, and there is fire in his ashes. In the course of it, I lost friends. Since they and their families, the Spanish people, had borne the brunt of the war, they now seemed disposed to let well enough alone.
It has joined the Common Market. The Spanish Communist party is a fossil and Spanish conservatives consider pornography a greater threat than Communism. For most Spaniards, then, the war is over. But not for Kazin. In , a young Communist, Josip Broz, who would be known to history as Tito and who could not then live in his native Yugoslavia, ran an operation in Paris. He funneled volunteers down the road to Spain to fight for the Republic. George Orwell, seething with resentment at the British class system, experienced Spain very temporarily as a deliverance.
In revolutionized Barcelona, he had a kind of social orgasm, seeing at first hand real egalitarianism. Barcelona was the antithesis of Eton. You could get shot for wearing a necktie. Nothing so vital, either in my personal life or the life of the world, has ever come again. At the front, Orwell got a bullet through his neck and went home. John Cornford, the brilliant young Cambridge Communist, died fighting in Madrid.
Auden went briefly to Spain and wrote a great poem about it.
THE BELLS TOLLED FOR US ALL
He was appalled by the carnage, but the poem remains a strong expression of the passions involved. But the poem perfectly expresses an important aspect of the spirit of the time. No wonder Kazin is still so possessive. The exact nature of the Spanish Civil War, imperfectly understood at the time, can be crystallized in retrospect. At least three wars were going on there. First, many people saw the conflict as an early version, a rehearsal, of the coming war against Hitler and Mussolini—indeed, some thought the defeat of the Spanish fascists might forestall that war.
For their part, Mussolini and Hitler, the former eagerly and the latter reluctantly, supported the insurgent Nationalist side represented by Franco. From this perspective, Spain was a struggle between national powers, actually not so dissimilar to an old-fashioned war. Within Spain, however, the conflict had roots that went back at least a century, involving monarchists and republicans, anti-clericals and the Church, landowners and labor unions, Basque and Catalonian separatists and Madrid centralizers, Communists, anarchists, and the fascist Falange.
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Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here In Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Get A Copy. Published by Scribner first published October More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about For Whom the Bell Tolls , please sign up. Why do the characters use such a language like "thou, thee, art"?
Rick The book is written in English, but it implies a translation from Spanish. The reported events were in Spain, and dialog was in Spanish, and Hemingway …more The book is written in English, but it implies a translation from Spanish. The reported events were in Spain, and dialog was in Spanish, and Hemingway often reminds us of this by using untranslated Spanish.
My understanding is that in Spanish, there are formal and informal ways to refer to others, and Hemingway used "Thou" as a translation of a formal Spanish "you". I don't know Spanish though, so I just accepted this as I read the book. I got this from Wikipedia as I started to read the book less. What age is this book appropriate for? Micaela That depends on the maturity of the reader, of course. Given that there is war-related violence described explicitly, including rape, I would venture …more That depends on the maturity of the reader, of course.
Given that there is war-related violence described explicitly, including rape, I would venture to suggest that it might not be appropriate for readers under the age of And that would be for pretty mature young readers. In general, for classroom use, as a teacher, I would suggest Advanced 12th grade and up. See all 11 questions about For Whom the Bell Tolls….
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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 27, Tom rated it did not like it. Ok, before I commit the sacrilege of dismissing this "classic," permit me to establish my Hemingway bona fides: I have read and loved just about everything else he wrote, and have taught Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and many short stories, and had a blast doing it.
I've read Carlos Baker's classic bio, and numerous critical articles on H. I've made the pilgrimage to Key West and taken pictures of his study and the hordes of 6-toed cats. I dig Papa, ok? But I can not stand this book! I should Ok, before I commit the sacrilege of dismissing this "classic," permit me to establish my Hemingway bona fides: I have read and loved just about everything else he wrote, and have taught Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and many short stories, and had a blast doing it.
I should say up front that I've never been able to tolerate it long enough to finish it -- twice. First time was nearly 30 years ago, and as a fairly recently discharged Army troop,I took up this book with much anticipation and excitement. I couldn't get past about half way through. I found the prose so incredibly flat and dull as to be soporific and, yes, I fully understand and appreciate H's famous "Iceberg Principle" of writing -- "the thing left unsaid" etc.
The problem wasn't the "thing left unsaid;" the problem was too many things said, and in a very boring fashion. How could a book with such a dramatic plot be so dull, I wondered in shock? It's all in the language, or lack thereof. I have a theory that great short story writers often don't make great, or even good, novelists, because the voice and style that works so well in the shorter genre just doesn't translate to the longer one John Cheever, case in point; IB Singer, to a lesser extent. Now, of course, H. Take away the language in H's novels, and what are you left with -- borderline juvenile adventures and fantasies, or at best, semi-journalistic accounts.
Compare the opening of Bells with the opening of Farewell to Arms: be honest and tell me if you hear even one faint echo of the magical rhythm of that famous opening in Bells -- anywhere, not just the beginning? And the dialogue, sweet jesus, joseph and mary, I've heard corporate phone recordings with more intonation and human warmth.
A few months ago, our book club selected this novel. At first, I kept my opinions to myself and hoped I would have a different response reading this time. I readily acknowledge that my reading tastes have evolved -- matured, I hope -- significantly over the years, and maybe I just had a tin ear 30 years ago.
Not the case. I couldn't even get beyond the first 6 pgs this time. That flat voice was duller than ever! I've choked down some mediocre books before for the sake of fulfilling my civic duty as a long-standing member of our book club, but I couldn't do it this time. This is not to suggest that the rest of you are wrong.
I have a dear friend who's read more great literature than I can remember, and he loves this book, and expresses great shock when I tell him how much I hate it. But there it is. View all comments. Gazing through the pines he sees a mountain which reminds him of a breast. It is domed, like a breast, but without a nipple, unlike a breast. The breastness of the mountain is superb.
If only it was covered in pine needles and pine trees and had the scent of pine wafting around it. Then Robert would truly be happy. Set during the Spanish Civil War, it is a story about an American dynamiter who is attempting to blow up a bridge in order to counteract Franco's forces. Our main character, Robert Jordan, who is essentially a bad haircut personified, might win the title of 'most boring protagonist to ever appear in print'.
Robert spends most of his time sitting on the forest floor and thinking about breasts. Poor Robert, his life really stinks! When he isn't thinking about boobs, he goes off on fifty-page long flashbacks to his life before the war when he was a young American in Madrid, cornering young girls at house parties and telling them how Kid A is actually the connoisseurs' choice when it comes to Radiohead albums but he has a soft spot for Pablo Honey. What Robert needs is a feminine foil. A woman who can really stand-up to him and someone the reader can truly get behind. So Papa Hemingway shits out Maria, a woman so badly written that the only thing I can remember about her is that her nipples point upwards.
Possibly the most lamentable aspect of Maria's character is the fact that she was raped by a group of fascists, a tragic backstory that Hemingway glosses over into order to talk about what a fantastic rack she has. Hemingway's prose has always been an easy target. I would never, ever stoop so low. In fact, I will say thank god for Hemingway's prose! If For Whom the Bell Tolls was actually written at a literacy level higher than that of a kindergartener then it would genuinely be unreadable.
On top of that, Hemingway makes the frankly strange decision to self-censor all of the obscenities throughout the novel. Hilariously, he also often substitutes obscenities with the word 'obscenity'. So there are genuinely moments in this novel where characters say 'what the obscenity are you doing? My advice to all of you is to stay well away from this mess. There's nothing to see here folks. If you want a good book about a bridge, and hey who doesn't, read Willa Cather's Alexander's Bridge. God, for whom the bell tolls? It tolls for me. View all 36 comments. Aug 26, Jeffrey Keeten rated it liked it.
Quotes From "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Between a war happened in Spain. It was a war for control of the soul of a country.
It was fought between the Republicans, who were democratically elected and the Nationalists, a Fascist group wanting to overthrow the government. Most people were not aware at the time, but really this Civil War was a precursor, a warming pan for World War Two. The Soviet Union and a coalition of other future allies who stayed behind the scenes provided help and advice for the Republicans. Germany and Italy provided support for the Nationalists.
There were international brigades formed up of volunteers from all over the world who came to Spain to fight against fascism. They lost. Francisco Franco, leader of the Nationalists, was the dictator of Spain until his death in Ernest Hemingway went to Spain as a war correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance and was hoping to find some great material for a book. The dialogue is written in an archaic style implying that it is the most correct translation from the Spanish.
The thees and thous are distracting and certainly added some ponderousness to a book that was set in the s not the s. Hemingway in Spain. Robert Jordan is an American who has been trained to be a dynamiter. He joins a band of gypsy freedom fighters up in the hills of Sierra de Guadarrama with orders to blow a bridge that may or may not be important.
The chances of survival are slender because they are too few and the timeline too tight. He meets Maria who has been saved by the band from the Fascists who had tortured and raped her. He falls head over heels in love. Their relationship quickly goes medieval with her begging him for ways to help him: shining his shoes, pouring him wine, mending his clothes, or fetching him something to eat.
She is constantly insecure about her appearance because the Fascists had cut off her hair and she only had a stubble grown back. The relationship is built on the most shallow grounds. It is difficult to conceive that it would have survived a move back into a regular life. Especially when the gypsy witch Pilar tells Maria that she will only feel the earth move three times in her lifetime.
Why three times? It is not known, but Pilar is most certain it can only happen three times. There is a movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper. He certainly is stepping on the toes of the original leader Pablo who used to be a man of great courage, but had lost his desire to want to kill or be killed. He commits an act of treason in an attempt to save the band, but decides in the final moment to come back and help. In some ways he is the most interesting character in the book. A man who is evolved past mindlessness and wants more reason for blowing a bridge or killing people than just to follow orders.
The best scene in the book is the death of a band of guerrillas who are lead by El Sordo. Courage is something Hemingway respects and cowardice is something he worries about. The potential of experiencing his own bout of cowardice or finding it in others is a theme of his life. He is worried that he will be captured and would be forced to kill himself like his father. It puts into question his whole feelings about his father and the way he died.
Hemingway's father killed himself, as did his sister and brother. The curse continued into another generation with the suicide of his granddaughter Margaux. If Hemingway felt the way Jordan did I believe he did. I do wonder if he finally forgave his own father when he became the mechanism of his own death or did he maybe blame his father for cursing the family with suicidal thoughts?
Hemingway posing with his favorite shogun. Later he used it to end his life. I read this book as a teenager and was suitably impressed with Hemingway at the time. Rereading it now, at this point in my life was a struggle. The story is actually very simple, but this is a book that has fallen in a barrel of water and been bloated beyond recognition. Hemingway is famous for his concise sentences and for the precision of his plots, but in this novel he certainly moves away from both of those concepts.
There is a wonderful short novel here hidden behind too much ink. The plot actually becomes tedious and repetitive. Words I thought I would never use to describe a Hemingway novel. It makes me fearful to read others of his books that I have such fine memories of reading. This book was very popular and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
View all 49 comments. Feb 12, stew rated it liked it. I obscenity your transmission. I obscenity in the milk of your ancestors. I, and always and forever I; wandering I, mucking I, obscene obscenity forever and always and milking and transmissing and mucking wandering amongst the forever and the always I; obscenity obscene, mucking milking milk ancestral forever and ever to have and to hold and to be and now and always and forever; this now, wandering now, transmissing now, mucking now, milking now, obscene obscenity now, ancestral now, forever to I obscenity your transmission.
I, and always and forever I; wandering I, mucking I, obscene obscenity forever and always and milking and transmissing and mucking wandering amongst the forever and the always I; obscenity obscene, mucking milking milk ancestral forever and ever to have and to hold and to be and now and always and forever; this now, wandering now, transmissing now, mucking now, milking now, obscene obscenity now, ancestral now, forever to be and to hold and to have always.
View all 15 comments. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.
View all 4 comments. At some point in high school, I decided that I hated Ernest Hemingway. Was it the short story we read in English class? Was it the furniture collection named after him at Gabbert's? Something made me decide that Hemingway was a prick, and after that I dismissed him entirely. This book was beautiful. I don't even like books about war.
Case in point: I scanned half of War and Peace. I think which half is obvious. But this book took five hundred pages to blow up a single bridge. There were tanks to count, grenades to gather, diagrams to be drawn and generals to contact. Somehow all of this managed to be completely enthralling to a reader whose eyes would otherwise glaze over at the mere mention of battalions. I have to admit, a big part of my interest in it was likely due to the whole "American escapes America to live in caves and drink absinthe with the gypsies" thing. Who doesn't want to fantasize about that? And sleeping on pine needles, and falling in love with the gypsy girl!
But mostly: I love how Hemingway writes his dialogue as though it were being directly translated. I love the slow sense of living, the feeling of being in the open air, the way you enter his main character's head through his stream of conscious ramblings. And I love that Robert Jordan is referred to as Robert Jordan throughout the entire book -- the way you refer to famous people, historical figures, the names you must commit to memory. View all 14 comments. Jun 24, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: nobels , books-to-read-before-you-die.
Not my favourite Hemingway, a little bit too slow. But the topic of the Spanish Civil War makes it a good read, and the John Donne poem that gave the novel its title should be yelled, shouted, sung, recited, hummed and whispered by heart over and over again, especially in these times of outlandishly islandish people destroying the world again: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, Not my favourite Hemingway, a little bit too slow.
But the topic of the Spanish Civil War makes it a good read, and the John Donne poem that gave the novel its title should be yelled, shouted, sung, recited, hummed and whispered by heart over and over again, especially in these times of outlandishly islandish people destroying the world again: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
Thank you Hemingway for being involved in mankind! The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by John Donne - Your Daily Poem
The story explores various wartime sentiments such as thoughts of mortality, the possibility of suicide to escape torture and execution at the hands of enemy, camaraderie, betrayal, different political ideologies and bigotry. Ernest Hemingway center in with Ilya Ehrenburg Russian author, left and Gustav Regler German writer, right during the Spanish Civil War The book garnered much attention for Hemingway's incorporation of a strange semi-archaic form of English to represent text translated from Spanish.
Several real-life figures of Marxist background who played a part in the war are mentioned in the text as well. The book was unanimously recommended for the Pulitzer back in but the decision was controversially reversed by the board and no award was given that year.