for whom the bell tolls

for whom the bell tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls noun

  1. a novel (1940) by Ernest Hemingway.

for whom the bell tolls in Culture for whom the bell tolls

An expression from a sermon by John Donne. Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The line also suggests that we all will die: the bell will toll for each one of us. (See No man is an island.)

Note The twentieth-century American author Ernest Hemingway named a novel For Whom the Bell Tolls; the book is set during the Spanish Civil War.

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