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A Farewell to Arms (Forum Locked Forum Locked)
 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : A Farewell to Arms
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Morten
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Posted: 15 May 2006 at 3:41am | IP Logged Quote Morten

I recently read that when F. Scott Fitzgerald first read Hemingway's unfinished manuscript of A Farewell to Arms (back then they were still close), he proposed that Hemingway end it much earlier. Fitzgerald's ending is when Frederic and Catherine are reunited in Stresa. The last sentences would then be:

"The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."

Of the page which the above passage ends, Fitzgerald wrote to Hemingway: "This is one of the most beautiful pages in all English literature." Appearantly Fitz made a lot of corrections or suggestions to the manuscript Hemingway sent him. He tried, however, to balance his faultfinding with praise and at the end of his comments he wrote: "A beautiful book it is!", wich Hemingway responded to by writing "Kiss my ass" in the margin..

Does anyone else support Fitzgerald's suggestion of the ending? According to my copy of A Farewell to Arms, that would have meant scrapping about 70 pages...



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docnme
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Posted: 15 May 2006 at 11:17pm | IP Logged Quote docnme

Hello Mortem,

Where did you ever read that Fitzgerald read Hemingway's unfinished ms of "A Farewell To Arms"? I have never read that. Never heard that he made those comments either.

The quote from Hemingway is a good one. He knew what he meant. He also knew where he would end the book.

If Fitzgerald really said, 'This is one of the most beautiful pages in all English Literature' , No wonder Hemingway said, K-M-A., it wasn't  meant to be that kind of a page, it would not take much to make him say it anyway, let alone if he thought someone was being condescending.

Well, we know where they both ended up as far as writing goes.

Best,

docnme



Edited by docnme on 15 May 2006 at 11:28pm


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Paul Hammersten
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Posted: 16 May 2006 at 4:25pm | IP Logged Quote Paul Hammersten

Fitzgerald must have consciously or unconsciously realized chapter 34 contains the heart of the book.

1st Corinthians 13 is at the heart of all of Hemingway's major works...most notably the book under discussion, TOMATS, Islands in The Stream...

However I agree with docme.

There are the short rains in AFTA, the long rains, and the showers of blessing.

Interleaved among the pages of Chapter 34 of his completed manuscript Hemingway placed a piece of paper ...among the notations on the paper was the phrase ' Hill of Heaven '. [The book of  Ezekiel in the Bible chapter 34:26  { note the chapter ' 34 ' in both books! } ]

Send me a SASE and I will send you a copy of my meditation on A FAREWELL TO ARMS that expains all this.

Best

Paul

 



Edited by Paul Hammersten on 16 May 2006 at 4:28pm


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Posted: 17 May 2006 at 11:28am | IP Logged Quote HemingwayCenter

Fitzgerald did actually make the recommendations that Morten outlined above.

He recommended a lot of cutting (the same way he recommended cutting a huge chunk of the beginning of The Sun Also Rises), but this time Hemingway didn't follow his advice, although he considered it.

The Fitgerald quote in a long detailed letter to Hemingway was "Why not end the book with that wonderful paragraph on P. 241.  It is the most eloquent in the book + could end it rather gently + well. "

Hemingway did actually play around with moving that passage about the world breaking every one and many being strong at the broken places to the end of the book, but then moved it back to its original spot.

For a complete account of this you can read it in Matthew J. Bruccoli's "Fitzgerald and Hemingway:  A Dangerous Friendship."



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docnme
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Posted: 28 May 2006 at 1:19am | IP Logged Quote docnme

Hello Morten:

Just finished reading" Fitzgerald and Hemingway A Dangerous Friendship" by Matthew J. Bruccoli.  WELL, YOU WERE RIGHT,  at least close enough. I was surprised at many things that I read in that book.  I was not surprised about E.H., The book pretty much describes his behavior and actions the same as we have read  many places.  I was surprised that Fitzgerald read his mss. before publication and more surprised that E.H. made many changes that Fitz. suggested.  Even in T.S.A.R. Pages 67-69 and 114-116 pretty much clears that up. I would say that he certainly made the right decisions with what he did or did not change.

Thank You Mark for pointing that book out to me.  It is a good one.

Best, docnme



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Peter Krynicki
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Posted: 30 May 2006 at 11:56am | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

Another good book that covers some of tis is A. Scott Berg's biography of Maxwell Perkins - MP, Editor of Genius. Berg was at Princeton and Carlos Baker was his advisor.

 

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