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am 30. Mai 2000
I read this in high school about twenty years ago, and recently decided to revisit this work. I think this is an important thing to do. As our lives change, quite often the meaning of great books change to us also, and we can gain an even richer experience. I am sorry to report that this is not the case with this novel. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I would suggest that this book is a long way from resembling the great canon of work that is Hemingway's.
Now don't start screaming yet. Please bear with me. To begin with, don't we seem to have a rather idealized version of our hero's girlfriend? She is blonde, slender and beautiful; falls in love with him immediately; and without any complications. Every time she is with him, everything is just "grand." Isn't this just a little too perfect? We know she is Scottish, but what else? She has no brothers, sisters, or mother and father that we know of. What indeed, is she doing in Italy, other than simply being available? She's not much of an idealist. After all, it didn't take much convincing for her to leave the war, just as our hero did. Who is she?
For that matter, what about Mr. Henry? He is an American fighting in the Italian army as an ambulance driver during World War I. Yes, I know this is true of Hemingway's life, but as fiction, we need more clarity. Isn't this a little unusual? Why is he there? He never explains. He's there, he gets wounded, he fights again, he gets sick of it, he leaves. Even more annoying, his family always seems to send him money when he gets in a jam. The perfect out. Who are they, and why do they do this?
Even worse is the contrived ending. I won't give away the details, but wow, he sure comes away clean. As George Carlin said in a comedy routine: "Boy, you ARE a good sport!" It is a bit much.
Don't get me wrong. Hemingway was a great writer, and there is a lot of good stuff in here. His relationships with the Italians and his description of the retreat ring true. But there is too much missing for this to be considered a great novel on its own. If you want the best of Hemingway, you have to go further. Start with "For Whom the Bell Tolls," if you don't believe me, or any of the hundreds of great short stories he has. Even this one is a very good read. But remember, he wrote it at the tender age of 30, and clearly, his best work was yet to come.
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am 30. Juli 2014
Nüchterne Romantik, sofern das geht. Hemingway erzählt aus nächster Nähe von der Kriegserfahrung an der Alpenfront. Ein Merkmal ist dabei die Romantik, die der Geschichte der beiden Protagonisten innewohnt. Dadurch unterscheidet sich der Roman wesentlich von anderen Kriegsromanen. Sehr anschaulich wird die unmittelbare Umgebung der Isonzo-Front und der militärische Verlauf mit der Persönlichkeitsgeschichte Hemingways verwoben. Es entstehen stimmungsvolle Bilder doch lässt leidet die Dramatik und Spannung der Geschichte unter der knappen Erzählform, so dass die Geschichte zuweilen nüchtern, kaum ergreifend wirkt. Interessant sind die literaturwissenschaftlichen Zugaben dieser Ausgabe, man muss diese aber für den Aufpreis nicht unbedingt haben. Bei den alternativen Schlüssen handelt es sich z.B. meist nur um Sätze und das abgebildete Manuskriptmaterial ist zu selektiv, als das es ein Quellenstudium ersetzen könnte, daher ist der Anhang der 'Special Edition' eher als eine bibliophile Zutat zu bewerten.
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am 25. April 2016
Gelesen auf English:

Handlung des Buches ist das Leben eines amerikanischen Sanitäters bei dem Königreich Italien in Zeiten des ersten Weltkrieges. (biografisch)

Wenig über den Krieg, mehr über Romanzen und Leben mit Verletzungen. Gibt sehr guten Eindruck über damalige moralische Gegebenheiten und Kameradschaft an sich im Anblick historischer Umwälzungen.
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This book clearly deserves more than five stars.

A Farewell to Arms is the semi-autobiographical tale of an American lieutenant in the Italian army near the end of World War I. Though the book's action, you will see the gradual distintegration of the hero's commitment to the conflict and his faltering attempts to create a new personna. While this is clearly one of the greatest anti-war books of all time, it transcends that genre to look more directly at the nature of life's challenges and how we meet them. As such, A Farewell to Arms ranks as one of the greatest of all American philosphical novels as well. For Hemingway aficionados, you will be fascinated to see his ornate writing style before he developed his eventual, much-admired spare form. This is stream of consciousness Hemingway at its best.

Lieutenant Henry is a man caught in the drift of events, without knowing what he stands for. He does his duty, but often out of habit rather than principle. When the full force of man and nature turn on him, he reverts to his instincts for self-survival. He wants little to do with the world, except in taking those delights that most please him. In the course of realizing and trying to overcome his emotional weaknesses, he simply isolates himself in new ways. Even love can only touch him when it is defined solely in his own terms.

Hemingway sees personal progress as only being possible through extreme pain. "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." That's the good news. The bad news is that "those that will not break it kills." The world kills "the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially."

This theme is carried out by the challenges of being a lieutenant in the ambulance corps, then being wounded in a mortar attack, going through surgery and recovery, dealing with a murderous retreat, and ultimately falling in love and dealing with loss. Lieutenant Henry is increasingly overwhelmed, and finds himself willing to attempt less and less. Although the story does not carry him forward through the rest of his life, you imagine that he remains an emotional cripple from these experiences for the rest of his life . . . having little faith or interest in his fellow humans.

All of Hemingway's characters are emotionally crippled in one way or the other. Even if a shell does not hit them, they will never be the same from their war experiences. Whether they are driven by fear, love, or duty, the result is the same -- a disillusioned numbness that limits their ability to be alive. When pressed by the exigencies of the moment, each retreats to lick his or her wounds . . . cut off effectively from support. Whatever fine or infamous human emotion drives them, also condemns them.

One of the particularly haunting aspects of the book is the portrayal of war as unending and inescapable. A modern reader naturally knows when World War I ended. At the time, people wondered if it would go on for a hundred years. That despair is well captured here. Another unforgettable feature is raising the question of who the enemy really is. Lieutenant Henry discovers that those be befriends, his allies, and nature itself can be even more dangerous to him than the military enemy ever has been. You get a chilling sense of the dark side of civilization that few novels even attempt to portray.

Hemingway left Illinois at 17 to join the Kansas City Star as a reporter. He volunteered with the Red Cross in World War I at 18, first serving on the French front and later with the Italians. He was severely wounded in Italy, and was awarded the Italian Croce di Guerra. The first third of the book probably mirrors his own experiences very closely, and you will find a youthful vividness in those pages that will effectively put you amongst the battles and the boring sameness of waiting in between.

Many have considered what man's inhumanity to man really means. World War I was one of the greatest examples of this terrible tendency. Reading this book provides a good opportunity to reconsider your own views about the meaning of such times in human history, and what the right things are to do. Imagine that you are any of the characters in this book. What could and should you have done differently? What would have been the probable consequences? What would have been the meaning of your decisions and actions? What lessons can you apply from this today?

Basically, this book argues that moral progress only occurs through suffering. How else have you learned? How else could you learn? What does that mean about Hemingway's thesis?

Look for the best . . . as well as seeing the best in the worst.
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am 27. November 2012
I am not going to say anything about the novel: no one needs to read an Amazon customer's review to find out that A Farewell to Arms is one of the really great 20th-century novels.
My grouse is this: I paid the extra for the hardback Everyman edition, because all the books in this series that I had bought over the last one or two years (including e.g. Hemingway's Collected Stories) not only had a sturdy and attractive cloth-covered hard binding, but they also had a properly sewn block, so that the book opens flat without cracking and does not fall apart after a fair amount of use. However, inside that nice hard cover, this one has a merely glued spine, which cracks more easily than most paperbacks. Everyman have got rid of one of their main distinguishing features that gave them an edge over most other publishers. (The same is true of the Arden Shakespeare: now I go for second-hand copies at least a few years old in the hope of getting a sewn one rather than a glued one.) I shall probably avoid Everyman in future, whereas I had become quite a fan.
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am 17. Januar 2000
Despite criticism of its "harshly realistic" dialogue and the rather simple outer layer to the plot, A Farewell to Arms has emerged as one of the greatest war story ever written. Known for his wealth of experience gained in the brutality of battlefields, Hemingway gained instant fame with his highly autobiographical tale of a tenuous love caught in the sweeping wave of WWI.
Set in Italy, the story unfolds when a young American ambulance driver, Henry, meets a gorgeous English nurse, Catherine Berkley, for the first time. Perhaps it was due to the powerful binding hands of the war that Berkley confides in Henry of her tragic love and places instant faith in him. At first, Henry regards Catherine only as an unwonted addition to his foreign "episodes" after he convinces himself that this feeling of strong attraction is only the ramification of war, of loneliness, and of the desire to share one's misery with someone else. Yet as their affair progresses, especially after Henry was wounded and put on covalence leave, he begins to see the sparkle of his passion for Catherine expands into this glowing fire of love. War is a vital component in Henry and Catherine's relationship as they plot their future together with war as their perpetual constraint; they only lean on one another more when Henry was forced to return to the front after learning Catherine is pregnant. The irony of their love is the shared conviction that their affair is in some way a representation of matrimony; refusing to marry Henry after he has learnt of her pregnancy, Catherine urges Henry to go back to where he belongs. During the retreat, Henry deserts the army in order to escape the persecution that awaits all officers. Fleeing back to the side of his love ready to sacrifice his life in order to be with her, Henry prepares Catherine for the journey of their lives. The ending, set in a Swedish hospital, is by no means a reconciling "period" to the long sentence with few commas even.
Hemingway's own tragic romance is beautifully depicted by the movie made from Agnes Wiensky's novel, In Love and War. In some way, despite occasional righteousness and victors' justice, war is an opening to the broader side of nature's hideousness. Wars are not meant to be sweet and gentle, even if they are enshrouded with the divine touch of patriotism and of love. Henry and Catherine had grace under the soaring siege of WWI because they didn't just observe the on-going war as a superfluous event, but as a contagion of fear from which they must flee. And in fact they do flee to freedom. Through Hemingway's laconic and rough narration, few insights emerges above the surface; yet, what his pen doesn't convey on the surface is an even deeper well that awaits discovery and understanding, and that is the reality apart from the polish plane of prose.
Some asks if the setting has been different, could A farewell to arms have been culminated by a more jovial ending that may in some way capture the triumphant nature of love. After all, we as a species do rise above history, more often triumphant than not. But Hemingway is not only a survivor of two wars, he is also the keeper of poignant memories of his own love loss. It doesn't necessarily mean that Henry and Catherine's love was killed by war-it was finished by fate. Their love never died, it is immortal in the sense that their tale is an on-going story without end. Their love is as great as love can be even without ornamental phrases fictional lovers whisper in each other's ears; one gesture, one glance, one word is enough to convince each other as well as the readers how strong the war has made them to be, as one.
Men make war, true enough for most of Hemingway's works, but also, more significantly, wars make men. Hemingway is one of those who were certainly made stronger by not only triumph, but also losses in the hands of fate and of Self.
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am 27. März 2000
It is World War I. the fighting between the allied and enemy forces throughout Europe has worn on for months. Almost everyone is tired of the fighting but continue to serve for the good of their countries. For an American serving in the Italian Army, who lacks the patriotism for the country he serves, it becomes quite difficult to focus on the importance of the cause at hand. The discovery of love by Fredrico Henry proves to be a major distraction that ultimately affects the remainder of his presence (or lack of presence) in the war and his subsequent lifestyle. Ernest Hemingway left A Farewell to Arms, although with many sub-themes, with a focus on the classic theme of love and war. The focus on these two themes is evident in the way the two affect each other and in the organization that Hemingway used in the novel. Because the main character narrates the story himself the reader has a keen insight on his true feelings on both love and war. We find in the beginning of the novel that Henry has no incredibly strong viewpoint on the war itself, he seems not to like or dislike it. It is not until the presence of a person who creates love and passion in his life that a true standpoint begins to form. It is the desire to return to love that gives him the inspiration to break from his present situation later in the story. The other major character that could be considered more static, as compared to the dynamic nature of Henry's character, is Catherine. With her love and dedication she produces the inspiration in Henry that creates the changes in his character. The presence of the conflict of war in the novel is used to show the changes that it too can have directly or indirectly on a person's outlook on life. The novel is organized in a manner that seems to separate the effects of love on a life and the effects of war on that same person. The primary chapters of the book deal with the terrible images and injuries that Henry encounters during the fighting. Hemingway does an excellent job at painting a picture of the horrifying aspects of war during a specific battle scene early in the story. He also does a great job in later parts of the story at relaying the way that Henry and Catherine feel about each other. He does this with detailed inner monologues on the part of Henry, and complex but easy to understand dialogues between the two lovers. At the very beginning the novel is somewhat hard to get into because the narration starts by trying to pull the reader into an event (the war) that has already started. There is though some action that pulls you quickly into the plot, and is then followed by the basis of Henry and Catherine's romance. The book is organized in to chapters within books one through five. This separation of parts of the book, and the flow of the writing proves to make A Farewell to Arms an easy reader. One difficulty that a reader may encounter while experiencing this reading may be the complex dialogues. Sometimes the dialogues carry on for so long that it becomes hard to keep track of who is talking at what time. At times it may be necessary to go and read back through the text to understand exactly who is speaking in order to retain its significance. The plot overall is not hard to understand or hard to follow and creates a quite rewarding experience in the end. While reading this book it became quite easy to get close to the characters. Characterization is utilized well by Hemmingway to achieve this true knowledge of both Henry, and Catherine at times. The message of the book can be looked at as one that stresses the importance of love in trying times of chaos. This novel also gives an insight to the softer sides of the war. Although brutal at times, it gives outlooks into the slower and less action pact parts of fighting that are not often seen in a war novel, such as time spent with other soldiers in the mess hall, strong friendships, time in the hospital and the bliss of residing in a country neutral to the war.
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"A Farewell To Arms" ist ein herausragendes Werk, wenn nicht gar das Beste, welches Mister Hemingway jemals verfasst hat. In dem Filmklassiker "Licence to Kill" kommt es übrigens zu klaren Anspielungen auf dieses Buch.
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am 3. Dezember 2013
The book is set in the first world war so you would suspect it to be rather sombre.
The great thing is that the author manages to bring humour and love to the dire situations of his characters.
Great read!
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am 30. Juni 2000
Okay, I don't mean to be critical of Hemingway's writings. I mean I can hardly call myself an expert since I've only read A Farewell to Arms. And to tell the truth it's all I desire to read. The only reason I picked it up was because it was on my high school summer reading list. I know he's well known for his writing, but I found it rather asinine. I'm sorry, but his short, choppy writing style just didn't work with me. Maybe I like it when books go into deep detail and take awhile to say one thing, or maybe it's just that I haven't let Hemingway grow on me yet. The only reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 2 is because I thought he did a wonderful job at portraying a love story during the brink of war. So if you must read this book, read it for the story line and not the author.
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