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A Farewell to Arms

From Academic Kids

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First Scribner Paperback Fiction Edition, 1995

A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929.

The novel, a love story, draws heavily on Hemingway's experiences as a young soldier in Italy. It tells the story of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, a young American ambulance driver serving in the Italian army during World War I. Henry falls in love with the English nurse Catherine Barkley. After he is wounded at the front by a trench mortar shell, she tends to him in the hospital during his recuperation, and their relationship develops. His recuperation and romance with Catherine end briefly when Henry must return to the front. Henry narrowly escapes death at the hands of fanatical Italian soldiers, who are executing officers separated from their troops during the Italians' disastrous retreat following the Battle of Caporetto. Henry finds Catherine, who is now pregnant, and after a sojourn in an Italian resort, the couple flee to Switzerland on the eve of Henry's arrest for deserting. In Switzerland, Catherine dies during childbirth, and the couple's child is stillborn. A Farewell to Arms is an excellent example of the simple, terse prose style that made Hemingway famous.

A film adaptation of the same name was made in 1932, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was written by Oliver H.P. Garrett and Benjamin Glazer, from the Hemingway novel, and was directed by Frank Borzage. The movie stars Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper and Adolphe Menjou.

The film was remade with the same title in 1957, starring Jennifer Jones, Rock Hudson and Vittorio De Sica and directed by Charles Vidor and John Huston. De Sica was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in this version.

The 1996 movie In Love and War, directed by Richard Attenborough, is a more biographical work, based on the same background as A Farewell to Arms.

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