To Use and Use Not

Ernest Hemingway wasn't at all sure how to end his novel A Farewell to Arms. In fact, he wrote dozens of alternate endings that will all be included in a new edition of the 1929 novel.
They have been preserved in the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston since 1979, where Seán Hemingway studied them carefully. (Bernard S. Oldsey, a Hemingway scholar, listed 41 endings in his book “Hemingway’s Hidden Craft,” but Seán Hemingway found 47 variations in manuscripts preserved at the Kennedy Library.)

The alternate endings are labeled and gathered in an appendix in the new edition, a 330-page book whose cover bears the novel’s original artwork, an illustration of a reclining man and woman, both topless.

For close readers of Hemingway the endings are a fascinating glimpse into how the novel could have concluded on a different note, sometimes more blunt and sometimes more optimistic. And since modern authors tend to produce their work on computers, the new edition also serves as an artifact of a bygone craft, with handwritten notes and long passages crossed out, giving readers a sense of an author’s process. (When asked in the 1958 Paris Review interview with George Plimpton what had stumped him, Hemingway said, “Getting the words right.”)

If you've never read the novel, the linked article contains spoilers. Link -via Time NewsFeed

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