University of South Carolina

Hemingway exhibit shows quieter side of literary adventurer

Margaret Lamb; Margaret@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-5400

He was Papa Hemingway, the larger-than-life adventurer who turned out spare and powerful prose and had four wives.

Yet the image of the high-octane war correspondent belied a quieter, contemplative side that is explored in a major new exhibition on display at the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Special Collections Library through February 2012.

Titled a “‘A Quieter and Less Eventful Life’: Ernest Hemingway on Writing and Other Pursuits," the exhibition features newly acquired letters and manuscripts and explores Hemingway’s published and unpublished works on writing and the writing life. The items are from the university’s Speiser and Easterling-Hallman Foundation Collection of Ernest Hemingway.

“In these works, and especially in his unpublished letters, there are apparent contradictions between Hemingway’s desire for the quiet, contemplative life of a fiction writer in his prime years and his interests in crafting a public persona as war correspondent, sportsman, and literary lion” said Jeffrey Makala, curator of the exhibit and librarian in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at USC.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the university’s acquisition of the Hemingway collection, which was made possible by a $750,000 gift from alumnus Edward Hallman and a gift in kind from the Speiser family. The collection was built by Philadelphia lawyer and arts patron Maurice Speiser and his son, Raymond Spesier.

Elizabeth Sudduth, director of the Irvin Department, said the exhibit is timely.

“This anniversary is the perfect time to celebrate Mr. Hallman’s most generous gift and to bring the collection and our recent acquisitions, in particular, to the attention of scholars and Hemingway enthusiasts worldwide,” Sudduth said.

The Speiser Collection includes Hemingway's first small-press books, “Three Stories and Ten Poems,” (1923) and “In Our Time” (1924), as well as a comprehensive collection of his works, many with personal inscriptions, and advance copies, galleys, salesmen's dummies, British editions, translations, periodical appearances, and an archive of “The Fifth Column.”

In addition, the collection features Maurice Speiser's correspondence with numerous 20th- century writers and artists including, e.e. cummings, William Faulkner, Lillian Hellman, James G. Huneker, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Carson McCullers, Kenneth Patchen, Ezra Pound, John Steinbeck, Edmund Wilson, George Antheil, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George and Ira Gershwin, Josef Hofmann, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Eugene Ormandy, Serge Prokofieff, Paul Robeson, Arnold Schoenberg, Leopold Stokowski, and Igor Stravinsky.

The Hemingway-Speiser Collection, along with the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald and other holdings by and about 20th- century American authors, make the University of South Carolina Libraries a major research center for scholarly research,” Sudduth said.

The Hemingway exhibit is on display in the Hollings Library, which is accessed through the Thomas Cooper Library at USC, through February 2012. The Hollings Library is open 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Audio tours of the exhibit are available at the Hollings Library front desk and online at the Hollings site.

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Posted: 11/22/11 @ 10:00 PM | Updated: 11/22/11 @ 9:51 PM | Permalink