Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars at The Morgan Library & Museum

Ask any English Lit major if they have a take on Authorial Intention/Authority, and they’re bound to have a well-articulated and robust opinion. They may say the author or the author’s experiences or both are immaterial, or they may say they are absolutely essential to the understanding and enjoyment of a literary work. Even if you have an opinion, and regardless of what that opinion happens to be, you’ll likely find the collaboration between the Morgan Library & Museum and the John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum – the first major exhibition devoted entirely to Ernest Hemingway – fascinating. Spanning the author’s life, but primarily focused on the periods of the first and second World Wars, the exhibit beautifully articulates the connection between the author and his experiences, both as inspiration for his writing and detriment to his sanity. Among the treasure trove included in the exhibit are manuscripts and transcripts of his major novels, as well as correspondence from such notable literary figures as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. There’s even wartime correspondence from none other than J. D. Salinger, in which he begins his missive with the cheeky salutation, “Dear Papa”.

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