Cover Art Collage – A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway in Paris 1924

Happy Sunday everybody!

In today’s examination of cover art designs of Lost Generation novels, were going to look at Ernest Hemingway’s second novel, A Farewell to Arms, published in 1929. Set during World War I it follows the story of Frederic Henry, a lieutenant in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army. The main storyline deals with the romance between Henry and English nurse Catherine Barkley.

Goodreads lists a total of 1,506 different editions of this novel. Let’s take a look at some of the cover art that’s been used throughout the years:

The upper left-hand corner image is the original cover art, designed by Cleonike “Cleon” Damianakes. He was also responsible for the cover art of Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises. Apparently Hemingway was not a fan, writing to his editor of this design, “I cannot admire the awful legs on that woman or the gigantic belly muscles [on the man].”

Personally I like this cover design, but it is arguable whether it is actually applicable to the story within. Many subsequent editions, not surprisingly, have used some sort of war image, or highlighted the romance of the story over everything else, like the second cover in this collage.

What are your thoughts? What should be the primary role of cover art? Is it all simply about marketing and convincing someone to buy the book, or is it more than that? Let us know below!

It’s currently a blizzard here in Chicago, which makes for excellent reading weather. I hope wherever you are, however the weather, you’re able to get in some quality reading today too.


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