"Hemingway" quote check
April 2, 2020 1:17 AM   Subscribe

Lately people around me have been quoting Ernest Hemingway, from "A Farewell to Arms", saying:

– Who is that on the trenches by your side?
– And does it matter?
– More than the war itself.

But this doesn't seem to be a quote from AFTA, or even EH, at all.

Does anyone know where it's from? (If indeed it is from anything?)

This site (from Brazil) takes a look and can't establish the provenance. It also has the Portuguese translation, which I how I have been hearing it:
– Quem está nas trincheiras ao teu lado?
– E isso importa?
– Mais do que a própria guerra.

Any help much appreciated.
posted by chavenet to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possibly from George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia"? Orwell fought in the trenches in the Spanish Civil War. A bit of Googling finds at least one quote from the book with similar sentiment: “In trench warfare five things are important: firewood, food, tobacco, candles, and the enemy. In winter on the Zaragoza front they were important in that order, with the enemy a bad last."
posted by beagle at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also was thinking of the Spanish Civil War, and specifically, of the order “Men to the Front, Women to the Home Front”, when women were forcibly removed from the front lines. A lot of people who fought in it felt this was a betrayal of principles - that if the commitment to equality didn’t include the way the war was fought, there was no victory even if they won.
posted by corb at 1:28 PM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Portuguese version is in a 2016 book here, but only again loosely cites Hemingway. Searching the English version in Google Books turns up nothing so far.
posted by WCityMike at 5:21 PM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

You could see if the Quote Investigator will take the case. Amusingly, his book is entitled Hemingway Didn't Say That, although it doesn't seem to relate to your quote.
posted by WCityMike at 5:38 PM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

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