The Big Read Blog (Archive)

A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway aboard his yacht, Pilar , in 1935. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Almost from the moment he published his first major novel, The Sun Also Rises , in 1926, Hemingway arguably became the most imitated and admired American writer of the century. In 1954, his accomplishments were...
Piggott, Arkansas The Pfeiffer-Janes House. Photo courtesy of Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center When Ernest Hemingway married his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, in 1927, he entered into a prominent Arkansas family. The Pfeiffers owned 60,000 acres of land in rural Piggott, which...
Washington, DC By Adam Kampe Ernest Hemingway, 1918, Milan. Wikimedia Commons Image . Ernest Hemingway?s 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms is set in Italy and Switzerland during World War One---a war in which Hemingway himself participated as an ambulance driver. World War One was one of the turning...
Washington, DC Public domain image of Ernest Hemingway in an American Red Cross Ambulance in Italy, 1918. Hemingway's experience in Italy during WWI provided him the material for his 1929 classic, A Farewell to Arms . After WWI, he worked in Paris as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star ...
Washington, DC "First Dusting" by David Hoffman via Flickr You've finished all of the selections in the Big Read library---now what? Well, if you're like me, then you'll search out other titles by the authors that you've come to know after weeks of reading, discussing, and celebrating. Here are...
October 5 , 2009 Washington, DC A view of Ernest Hemingway's Key West library. Photo by David Kipen Having majored in journalism at the University of Kentucky, Bobbie Ann Mason (a 1983 NEA Literature Fellow) knows a little something about transitioning from journalism to writing fiction. In this...
June 5, 2009 Washington, DC Another sneak peek this morning at Thornton Wilder, who is debuting on The Big Read list this fall. As I read through an advance copy of the Reader?s Guide to The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town , I was struck by the opening quote, taken from a 1929 letter by Wilder...
March was named for Mars, the Roman god of war. According to the Reader's Guide for Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms -- one of three Big Read titles that addresses war-- the novel "became Hemingway's first bestseller, selling 100,000 copies in twelve months. It was adapted for the stage a year...
February 25, 2009 Washington, DC The 81st Academy Awards are already receding into the distant past -- who knew Anne Hathaway could sing!?! -- but still it's worth noting that four film versions of Big Read titles have received Best Picture noms. A Farewell to Arms (1931-32), The Grapes of Wrath (...
November 12, 2008 Washington, DC In honor of Veteran's Day, it seems fitting to pay tribute to Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms , born out of Hemingway's own experiences in World War I. From the Reader's Guide, here's an excerpt about Hemingway's war service from the essay, "Hemingway and...

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