The war seemed as far away as the football games of some one else’s college.

Alternate Endings

HemingwayA Farewell to Arms has never been one of my favorite books, but it does contain what is possibly my favorite line ever written: “The war seemed as far away as the football games of some one else’s college.”

I had no idea but am not surprised in the least to learn that Hemingway penned forty or more alternate endings to his wartime masterpiece before deciding to conclude it the way he did.

I particularly like this version, which was suggested to him by his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald:

The world breaks everyone, and those it does not break it kills.

It kills the very good and 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.

h/t to Rich for the link

2024-01-27: Broken links in this post have been removed and/or updated.
Alternate Endings

This post is part of The Hemingway Collection, an archive of essays, images, and hyperlinks to interesting articles about the great American author.

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What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

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You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.