2012. július 7., szombat
All 47 endings to Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms will be included in a new edition of his 1929 masterpiece published by Scribner next week.
The Nobel Prize-winning American author, talking to The Paris Reviewin 1958, two years before he shot himself at the age of 61, admitted that the final words of A Farewell to Arms, his semi-autobiographical novel about events during the Italian campaigns of World War I in the ambulance corps, had been rewritten “39 times before I was satisfied”.
Now the New York Times is reporting that a new edition of the novel will include all the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other passages in the book, which will appear after an agreement between Hemingway’s estate and Scribner (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). The real number of different endings is 47, something discovered by Seán Hemingway after studying the author's collected writings at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
When he was asked by Paris Review interviewer George Plimpton what had been the reason for so many endings, Hemingway replied: “Getting the words right”.
Hemingway also compiled a list of alternate titles, including Love in War,World Enough and Time, Every Night and All, Of Wounds and Other Causes and The Enchantment, which Hemingway had crossed out. The final title, A Farewell To Arms, is taken from a 16th-century poem by English dramatist George Peele to Queen Elizabeth.
The endings, including one suggested by F Scott Fitzgerald, are in an appendix in the new 330-page edition, whose cover bears the novel’s original artwork, an illustration of topless lovers, by illustrator Rockwell Kent (top left).
The ending that survived Hemingway's revisions, about the death of Frederic Henry's lover, the nurse Catherine Barkley, was:
"It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain."
Among the 47 finales tried out by Hemingway was the so-called 'Nada Ending'
“That is all there is to the story. Catherine died and you will die and I will die and that is all I can promise you.”
and The 'Live-Baby Ending:
“There is no end except death and birth is the only beginning.”
Incidentally, Hemingway's ending to A Farewell To Arms caused consternation when it was made into a film in 1932. Paramount decided, after much disagreement, to keep Hemingway's original ending and fade out after the death of Catherine. This ending was kept for the European release, but a new ending, in which she lives, was later added to the American release.