I just love this book. The ending is perfect, but I would enjoy reading the alternatives.
Those who admire Hemingway’s work now can get a look inside his creative process for writing those endings. This edition of A Farewell to Arms, from Hemingway’s longtime publisher Scribner (now a division of Simon & Schuster), boasts the same handsome art deco jacket design as the first edition. It includes an illuminating introduction Hemingway wrote for the 1948 edition of the book, as well as a new and rather oblique “personal foreword” by Hemingway’s only surviving son, Patrick, and a thoughtful new introduction by grandson Sean Hemingway, a curator of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This edition’s most notable aspect is those 39 — or 41, or 47, depending on who’s counting — alternative endings, as well as early drafts of other portions of the book, omitted passages, and more than 40 alternative titles.
The book includes photos of several of those manuscript pages, handwritten or typed, marked with Hemingway’s cross-outs, arrows, interpolations, all in a neat, small hand…
…One that Hemingway tried and abandoned after it was suggested by his frenemy F. Scott Fitzgerald has a marginal scribble: “Kiss my a—. E.H.”