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For Whom the Bell Tolls

By Hemingway, Ernest




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.

First edition identification and notes

Published in 1940 by Charles Scribner in an initial print run of 75,000 copies at $2.75, a first printing of For Whom the Bell Tolls has the letter A present on the copyright page and may have the Scribner's seal present, although it hasn't been conclusively determined whether this is in fact a point of issue. First state dust jackets do not have a photo credit under the photograph of Hemingway. 


Available copies: For Whom the Bell Tolls By Hemingway, Ernest


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image of For Whom the Bell Tolls.

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

HEMINGWAY, Ernest.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,, 1940. Octavo. Original buff cloth, spine lettered black on red ground, facsimile signature to front board in black, top edge brown, fore edge untrimmed. With the dust jacket. Housed in a custom black half morocco solander box. Spine a little rubbed, a couple of marks to front cover, hinges cracked but holding, text block sound. A very good copy in the jacket with repair to spine panel at front fold, minor loss to spine spine ends, chips to tips, rubbing, nicks and creasing to extremities. First edition, first printing. Inscribed by Hemingway on the front free endpaper, "To Julia Quesada, with all good wishes. Ernest Hemingway. June 18 1953. San Francisco de Paula, Cuba." Hemingway's Cuban house, Finca Vigía, is located in San Francisco de Paula, a suburb of Havana; it was there that he began work on For Whom the Bell Tolls and he bought the property with some of the first royalties. It became his primary residence after the Second World War, until the changing political landscape prompted him to leave for the last time in July 1960. With the relevant issue points: the Scribner's "A" to colophon, and in the first issue jacket without the photographer's credit.

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$15,963.75

image of For Whom the Bell Tolls.

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

HEMINGWAY, Ernest.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,, 1940. Octavo. Original beige cloth, titles to spine in black and red, and to front board in black, brown topstain. Housed in black quarter morcco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Contents toned, spine cocked and rubbed, cloth somewhat marked. Very good. First edition, first printing. With the author's signed presentation inscription beneath an original, non-authorial gift inscription to the front free endpaper, "For Sir Archibald Clark Kerr wishing him all good things all his life from his friend Ernest Hemingway Rangoon April 21 - 1941". Kerr was the Australian-born British diplomat who was at the time of the inscription, British ambassador to China. On meeting Hemingway, Kerr is reported to have said of him, "Tough? Why, I'm tougher than he is!" Kerr would subsequently go on to become ambassador to Russia and then to Washington; he was present at all of the Big Three conferences.

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$12,132.45

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

Scribner's, 1940 A fine first edition (with Scribner's A on the copyright page) in a fine first issue dust jacket (no reference to photographer on back panel), signed by the author Ernest Hemingway on a blank page after the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom-made collector's clamshell case with a leather spine.. Signed by Author(s). 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine/Fine.

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$11,000.00

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

Scribner's, 1940 A near fine first edition (with Scribner's A on the copyright page) in a good first issue dust jacket (no reference to photographer on back panel), inscribed by the author Ernest Hemingway in Cuba on the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom-made collector's clamshell case with a leather spine.. Inscribed by Author(s). 1st Edition. Hardcover. Near Fine/Good.

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$10,000.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls (German)

HEMINGWAY Ernest

1941. First Edition . Signed. HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Wem Die Stunde Schlägt (For Whom the Bell Tolls). Stockholm: Bermann-Fischer, 1941. Octavo, original white cloth, original dust jacket. $9200.First edition in German, Hemingway's own copy, inscribed, “For Frazer [sic] Bragg Drew, best wishes always, Ernest Hemingway. (Note how the Germans omitted the John Donne!) EH. ” As a young teacher, Drew wrote a letter to which Hemingway responded with uncharacteristic kindness, signing six of Drew's books and presenting him with six more ""as an act of contrition"" for taking so long to return the books. Hemingway then invited Drew to visit, and on April 8, 1955, one year after Hemingway won the Nobel Prize, they spent a long afternoon discussing literature, later recounted by Drew in his article ""Unedited Notes on a Visit to Finca Vigia"" (in Bruccoli, Conversations With Ernest Hemingway, 89-98). At the end of Drew's visit Hemingway said ""Let's go up to the house and sign those books of yours."" Hemingway inscribed all the books Drew had brought with him and presented him with many others from his own collection; this rare wartime publication is surely from the group signed that day. The inscription refers to the quotation from John Donne that the title comes from (""…send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee""), printed at the front of the American first edition. For Whom the Bell Tolls first published in 1940; this first edition in German was translated by Paul Baudisch, by the publisher Bermann-Fischer, who had left Nazi Germany for Austria in 1936 only to forced to moved operations to Stockholm in 1938 after the Anschluss. As the situation deteriorated in Sweden, Bermann-Fischer eventually moved operations to New York . With advertising leaf and publisher's postcard laid in. Not in Grissom. With Professor Drew's bookplate.Faint dampstain to front board of book and dust jacket; mild toning to spine, minor wear to edges of dust jacket. A near-fine copy with a wonderful inscription.

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$9,200.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Hemingway, Ernest.

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. First edition, first printing., 1940.. First edition, first printing.. Very slight toning, still fine in near fine, faintly rubbed, price clipped dust jacket with two small chips expertly restored at head of spine, in mylar cover. A very handsome copy.. Tan linen with red title lables. In first issue dust jacket with no photographer's name on rear panel. Signed by the author.

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$9,000.00

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

Scribner's, 1940 A fine first edition (with Scribner's A on the copyright page) in a very good first issue dust jacket (no reference to photographer on back panel), signed by the author Ernest Hemingway on a blank page after the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom-made collector's slip0case.. Signed by Author(s). 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine/Very Good.

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$9,000.00

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

Scribner's, 1940 A fine first edition (with Scribner's A on the copyright page) rebound in leather, inscribed by the author Ernest Hemingway on the dedication page. Housed in a custom-made collector's clamshell case with a leather spine.. Inscribed by Author(s). 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine/No Jacket.

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$9,000.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

NewYork:: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. A magnificent copy of Hemingway's masterpiece sumptuosly bound in full burgundy crushed morocco with gilt tooling and lettering. SIGNED BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY.. First Edition Signed. Full Burgundy Morocco. Fine. 8vo..

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$8,690.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

New York: Scribner's, 1940. First edition. [x], 471, [1] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Publisher's beige cloth. Repaired tear to ffep, not affecting signature, else near fine in first state pictorial dust-jacket (few marginal tears to panels, spine panel faded with some wear to ends). First edition. [x], 471, [1] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Signed First Edition. Signed ("Ernest Hemingway") on the ffep and with the author's calling card pasted to recto of publicity leaf. Hanneman A18a; Grissom A.17.1.a

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$7,500.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls

HEMINGWAY, Ernest

New York:: Charles Scribner's Sons,, 1940. First edition. publisher's cloth in dust jacket. Second small bookplate to front pastedown; some browning to hinges from binder's adhesive; else a very nice copy in a very good jacket with some moderate chipping to the bottom edge. The largest chip slightly affects the "GW" in "Hemingway" at the bottom of the front panel. 8vo,.

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$7,500.00

image of For Whom The Bell Tolls.

For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Hemingway, Ernest

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. First edition, later printing without the Scribners A on the copyright page. Octavo, original cloth. Inscribed by the author, "To Nicholas Wreden with all best wishes Ernest Hemingway." The recipient, Nicholas Wreden was an editorial director at E. P. Dutton, and noted translator of several Russian titles, among them Leo Tolstoy. Some toning to the spine, a very good example in an excellent dust jacket with a few small closed tears. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. For Whom the Bell Tolls combines two of the author's recurring obsessions: war and personal honor. "This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels of American literature Hemingway has struck universal chords, and he has struck them vibrantly" (J. Donald Adams).

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$6,500.00

image of FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Hemingway, Ernest

New York: Chas. Scribner's Sons, 1940. Cloth. Spine somewhat rubbed and darkened, a bit tanned and a trifle shaken, but a sound copy. Later printing of the first edition (without the 'A'). Inscribed by Hemingway on the half- title: "To Max Showalter with all good wishes Ernest Hemingway." Accompanied by two other items: a) another copy, first printing, bearing Max Showalter's ownership signature on the free endsheet (endsheets darkened at gutters, else very good, in defective, but largely complete, dust jacket); and b) Mary Hemingway's HOW IT WAS (New York: Knopf, 1976), first edition, near fine in very good dust jacket, inscribed by Mary Hemingway to Showalter in Los Angeles in the year of publication. Showalter (a.k.a. Casey Adams) enjoyed a long career in film and television, and was a feature player at 20th Century Fox favored by Darryl Zanuck, who required Showalter's assumption of the 'Adams' stage name. Though he was associated with a long list of films and television programs from the 1940s-1980s, we find no record of his credited association with a film adaptation of Hemingway's work. He did, however, originate the role of Ward Cleaver (the Beaver's old man), which later passed to Hugh Beaumont.

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$5,500.00

For Whom The Bell Tolls

HEMINGWAY, Ernest

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955. Hardcover. Near Fine/Very Good+. Inscribed by Hemingway to his very close friend and fishing buddy, Charles Thompson: "For Lorine and Charles with love from Ernest. Sept. 20, 1957." Near fine copy in sun-tanned dust jacket, chipped at the head. A choice association copy of one of Hemingway's most enduring works. The decade or so that Hemingway lived in Key West were among his most productive years as a writer. He wrote in the mornings, fished in the afternoons, and often spent his evenings drinking with friends. One of those friends, many say his best friend, was Charles Thompson, the owner of a marine hardware store and a couple of other businesses. Charles went on an African safari with Ernest, and the character "Old Karl" in ''The Green Hills of Africa'' is based on him. There is also a lot of Charles Thompson in the character Harry Morgan in the novel "To Have and Have Not."

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$5,000.00

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For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hardback)

Ernest Hemingway

Perfection Learning, United States. HardCover. New. NEW BOOK

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$3,850.44

For Whom the Bell Tolls

HEMINGWAY, ERNEST

New York: Scribners, 1940. First Edition, First Issue. From the library of actor, Randolph Scott, with his signature on the front free endpaper and his bookplate affixed to the front pastedown. Very good copy with a hint of darkening and rubbing to the cloth at the spine in a very good lightly used dust jacket with some minor edge wear. Randolph Scott is best known for his film work in the Western genre, appearing in such classics as The Virginian, The Last Round-Up, The Desperadoes, The Nevadan, The Cariboo Trail, Ride the High Country, etc. He became one of the top box-office stars of the 1950s and, in the Westerns of Budd Boetticher especially, a critically important figure in the Western as an art form.

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$3,750.00

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

LikeNew. Early Printing with no Scribner's ""A"" - *Signed, inscribed and dated by Ernest Hemingway on a taped in paper attached to the ffep. ""To Barrett C. Kiesling/ with sincere good wishes / always./ Ernest Hemingway. / Jan 29 1941""- Bound in original cloth with black lettering on red. Includes the original, unclipped dust jacket with publisher's price ($2.75) on upper inside flap. The Jacket is in a removable, clear plastic (Brodart) protector. Mild shelf wear to jacket; a bit of chipping and creasing to edges and corners. - Otherwise, very clean, tight, square, and unmarked. - A Fine signed copy in a vg jacket. - [From the Library of Barrett C. Kiesling. Mr. Kiesling was Publicity Director for MGM (1928 ~ 1955). He also held related positions with: Realart Pictures 1922; Cecil B DeMille 1924-1927; Producers Distributing Corporation, 1927-28; Pathé 1928].\r\n-

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$2,799.95

For Whom The Bell Tolls

HEMINGWAY, ERNEST

New York: Scribner’s, 1940. First Edition. Endpapers a little browned; about fine in a dust jacket with very light wear and an unfaded spine.

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$2,750.00

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

HEMINGWAY, Ernest

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1940. First. First edition. Foxing to the boards and the endpapers, a very good copy in a very near fine (possibly supplied, but was with the book when it came to us) second issue dustwrapper with a little rubbing. Author James Jones's copy with his ownership Signature on the front pastedown. An interesting association between two men who are probably best known for their war novels. .

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$2,500.00

image of For Whom The Bell Tolls.

For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Hemingway, Ernest

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. First Edition. Octavo, original beige cloth. Fine in a near fine first issue dust jacket without the photographer's name on the rear panel, with a touch of rubbing and a closed tear to the rear panel. A very nice example. For Whom the Bell Tolls combines two of the author's recurring obsessions: war and personal honor. "This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels of American literature Hemingway has struck universal chords, and he has struck them vibrantly" (J. Donald Adams).

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$1,800.00