A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, First UK Edition, Second State, in Original Dust Jacket, 1929

Hemingway, Ernest, A Farewell to Arms. London:  Jonathan Cape, 1929. First British edition, second printing. Presented in original dust jacket with custom clamshell case.

This is a first British edition of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Published originally by Charles Scribner’s Sons in the US, this UK version was published in the same year by Jonathan Cape in 1929 and printed by J. and J. Gray in Great Britain. The book has the original magenta-colored cloth boards with the original fourth-impression dust jacket designed by Thyre Lee Elliott.

Set during World War I, this novel tells the story of a young American Lieutenant serving as an ambulance driver in Italy struggling through love and war. The story is told through first person narration detailing many aspects of war that would have been very familiar to readers at the time, as the book was published only 11 years after the 1918 armistice. The simple, direct tone his character uses when giving his un-romanticized account of the war later defined Hemingway’s writing style.

A Farewell to Arms is loosely based on Hemingway’s own experiences. The author briefly served overseas as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army, sustained injuries, and met a nurse who he eventually proposed marriage to but was declined. The novel’s post-war disillusionist subject assigned Hemingway to the “Lost Generation” of Modernist artists. The novel secured Hemingway’s place as a popular American author and became his first bestselling book.


First British edition with original boards and dust jacket. The word “serious” is printed correctly on page 66. The book is in overall very good condition with only slightly sunned spine, discoloration along the edges of the boards, and slightly loose binding at top. Otherwise tight binding. All pages are present and without tears. Original dust jacket is worn along edges with some minor creases. Inside covers of dust jacket are chipped as well as some loss at the bottom left corner but no text is obstructed. Original dust jacket has been preserved in plastic.

Original magenta cloth boards feature gilt embossed title, author, and publisher as well as an embossed maker’s mark on the reverse. The book is housed in a custom cloth and quarter leather clamshell. Gilt tooling, raised bands, and title, author, and publishing information on spine of clamshell. Cover of clamshell features a gilt signature and photo of the author.

Book dimensions: 8” H x 5.5” W x 1.25” D. 

Clamshell dimension: 9” H x 6.5” W x 2” D.

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