For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, First Blakiston Edition, 1940

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls. Philadelphia: The Blakiston Company, 1940. First Blakiston Edition. Rebound in quarter navy leather and cloth boards, with gilt titles, gilt tooling, and raised bands to the spine, and with a custom archival slipcase.

This is the first Blakiston edition of the classic Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. For Whom the Bell Tolls is an unembellished, blunt commentary on the nature of war and death. The book draws inspiration from Hemingway’s time as a war correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War.

Hemingway first started writing For Whom the Bell Tolls in Cuba and later finished it in Sun Valley, Idaho. Although the book was first published in October of 1940 by Charles Scribner's Sons, in New York, this particular book was published in Philadelphia by The Blakiston Company. It is a rare, wartime edition with matching first edition printing errors, as sublicensed by the original publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons. During WWII, publishers were subject to government-issued paper rationing and Blakiston had paper to spare.  Charles Scribner’s Sons worked with The Blakiston Company due to their own wartime paper shortages. This Blakiston Company printing used the original Charles Scribner’s Sons first edition design and was published in the same year. 

Upon publication, For Whom The Bell Tolls received strong praise. "This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels of American literature. Hemingway has struck universal chords and he has struck them vibrantly" (J. Donald Adams).

Hemingway (1899-1961) was an American author and journalist. His distinctive writing style, characterized by economy of words and dry understatement, strongly influenced 20th-century fiction, as did his life of adventure and his public image. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Hemingway was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After leaving high school, he worked for a few months as a reporter for The Kansas City Star, before leaving for the Italian front to become an ambulance driver during World War I. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home within the year; his wartime experiences became the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. In 1922, Hemingway married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives, and the couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent. During his time there, he met and was influenced by modernist writers and artists of the 1920s expatriate community known as the "Lost Generation".

He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works during his lifetime; a further three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are now considered classics of American literature.


Overall very good condition. First Blakiston edition. Octavo. Professionally rebound in quarter leather  and cloth boards with raised bands, gilt embossed titles, and gilt detailing on the spine. Internally, the pages are slightly toned from age but are clean, healthy, and without damage otherwise. 410pp. The book is housed in a custom matching archival slipcase, with an inlay photograph of Hemingway and his gilt embossed facsimile signature on the front.

Book Dimensions: 8 1/4" H x 6" W x 1 3/8" D.

With Slipcase: 8 5/8" H x 6 1/8" W x 1 7/8" D.

Related Items