There is a line attributed to Ernest Hemingway — that the first draft of everything is shit — which, of all the beautiful things Hemingway has written, applies most powerfully to the ending of A Farewell to Arms. There are no fewer than 47 alternate endings to the book. Each one is a window into how much he struggled to get it right. The pages, which now sit in the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, show Hemingway writing the same passages over and over. Sometimes the wording was nearly identical, sometimes whole sections were cut out. He would, at one moment of desperation, even send pages to his rival, F. Scott Fitzgerald, for notes.
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