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Ernest Hemingway – First Edition Books: Identification Guide

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and he was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two nonfiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three nonfiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school, he was a reporter for a few months for The Kansas City Star before leaving for the Italian Front to enlist as an ambulance driver in World War I. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms (1929).

The New York Times wrote in 1926 of Hemingway’s first novel, “No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame.” The Sun Also Rises is written in the spare, tight prose that made Hemingway famous, and, according to James Nagel, “changed the nature of American writing”. In 1954, when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, it was for “his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style.”

Hemingway’s legacy to American literature is his style: writers who came after him either emulated or avoided it. After his reputation was established with the publication of The Sun Also Rises, he became the spokesperson for the post-World War I generation, having established a style to follow. His books were burned in Berlin in 1933, “as being a monument of modern decadence”, and disavowed by his parents as “filth”. Reynolds asserts the legacy is that “[Hemingway] left stories and novels so starkly moving that some have become part of our cultural heritage.

Ernest Hemingway – First Editions Identification Guide

How to Identify First Edition books by Ernest Hemingway Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1924In Our TimeParis: Three Mountain Press, 1924 Boards. Limited edition of 170 copies. Issued without Dust Jacket.
1925In Our TimeNew York: Boni & Liveright, 1925Boards. "Copyright 1925 by Boni & Liveright, Inc.," with Boni & Liveright's Seal on copyright page, ($2.00). No mention of subsequent printings.
1926The Sun Also RisesCharles Scribner's Sons, 1926Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches date on the title page.The word "stopped" is misspelled as "stoppped" on page 181, line 26, ($2.00). Dust jacket front says "IN OUR TIMES", which is corrected in later issues to "IN OUR TIME".
1926The Torrents of SpringCharles Scribner's Sons, 1926Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches date on the title page, ($1.50). Dust Jacket price $1.50, rear panel has a list of books starting with "Important Fiction"
1927Men Without WomenCharles Scribner's Sons, 1927Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches the date on the title page, ($2.00). The first issue of the book has a perfect page number on page 3. The second issue has a slightly damaged "3" that can be found on later printings as well. The dust jacket front lacks review blurbs.
1929A Farewell to ArmsCharles Scribner's Sons, 1929
  • Boards. Two editions, no priority:
  • (A) Limited edition of 510 signed copies issued in a slipcase.
  • (B) Trade edition states 1929 on the title page. © page states 1929 matching title page with a Scribner's seal on the bottom. Two issues, priority as listed:
    • (1) No disclaimer on page X.
    • (2) With disclaimer "None of the characters in this book is a living person, nor are the units or military organizations mentioned actual units or organizations. -E. H." on page X.
The first issue dust jacket front flap has a price of $2.50 and a misspelling - "Katherine Barclay" instead of "Catherine Barkley".
1932Death in the AfternoonCharles Scribner's Sons, 1932Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches the date 1932 on the title page ($3.50). Dust jacket features Toros painting by Roberto Domingo on front panel, and has a $3.50 printed price on the front flap. The back of the dust jacket has reviews for A Farewell to Arms, Men Without Women, The Sun Also Rises, The Torrents of Spring, and In Our Time.
1933Winner Take NothingCharles Scribner's Sons, 1933Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches the date 1933 on the title page ($2.00). Dust Jacket price of $2.50, rear panel has ads for "Books by Ernest Hemingway", rear flap has ads for "Men Without Women" and "In Our Time."
1935Green Hills of AfricaCharles Scribner's Sons, 1935Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches the date 1935 on the tiel page ($2.75). The Dust Jacket has a price of $2.75 on the front flap, a wide green band from spine to the rear cover. Later issue jackets has a smaller green band on the rear cover.
1937To Have and Have NotCharles Scribner's Sons, 1937Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed ($2.50). The Dust Jacket has original price $2.50 on the front flap.
1938The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine StoriesCharles Scribner's Sons, 1938Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed ($2.75). The Dust Jacket has original price $2.75 on the front flap.
1940For Whom the Bell TollsCharles Scribner's Sons, 1940Boards. © page has an "A", matches the date 1940 on the title page ($2.50). The Dust Jacket lacks the photo credit on the reverse under the photo of Hemingway.
1942Men at War: The Best War Stories of All TimeCharles Scribner's Sons, 1942Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, matches the date 1940 on the title page ($3.00). The Dust Jacket price $3.00.
1950Across the River and into the TreesCharles Scribner's Sons, 1950Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, ($3.00). The Dust Jacket has yellow spine lettering (later issue jackets have orange spine letering.)
1952The Old Man and the Sea Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952Boards. © page has an "A" and Scribner's Seal printed, ($2.50). Two variants Dust Jackets, no priority:
  • (A) Back photo of Hemingway tinted blue.
  • (B) Olive tint.
1964A Movable FeastCharles Scribner's Sons, [1964]Boards. Copyright page has Code A-3.64[H], ($4.50). Dust Jacket price of $4.50 on front flap.

Ernest Hemingway – First Printing Dust Jacket Identification Points

Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.

Reference:

BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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