A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Ernest Hemingway concerning events during the Italian campaigns during the First World War. The book, which was first published in 1929, is a first-person account of American Frederic Henry, serving as a Lieutenant (“Tenente”) in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army. The title is taken from a poem by 16th-century English dramatist George Peele.
A Farewell to Arms works on two literary levels. First, it is a story concerning the drama and passion of a doomed romance between Henry and a British nurse, Catherine Barkley. Second, it also skillfully contrasts the meaning of personal tragedy against the impersonal destruction wrought by the Great War. Hemingway deftly captures the cynicism of soldiers, the futility of war, and the displacement of populations. Although this was Hemingway’s bleakest novel, its publication cemented his stature as a modern American writer.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A Farewell to Arms #74 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It was first adapted to film in 1932, with further versions in the following decades.[wikipedia]