Skip to Content

University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

'A Quieter and Less Eventful Life:' Ernest Hemingway on Writing and Other Pursuits

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
Nov 7, 2011 - Feb 29, 2012

This exhibition has as its heart Ernest Hemingway’s writings on writing and the writing life. Especially in letters to his friends and literary colleagues, Hemingway could be extremely candid about his writing process, how the business of literature works, and how he attempted to strike a balance between his writing and personal life. In the works on display here, many for the first time as recent acquisitions, one can see the apparent contradictions expressed in Hemingway’s desire for having the contemplative life of a fiction writer – the “quieter and less eventful life” he alludes to, only somewhat ironically, in an Esquire article in 1935, his passions as a sportsman,  and his interests in crafting a public persona for himself as war correspondent, literary lion, and “Papa.”


It has now been 10 years since our initial acquisition of the Hemingway collection assembled by the Speiser family, and made possible through the generosity of Edward S. Hallman (1930-2007) and Ellen Speiser Katz. Since then, thanks to continued support from the Donald C. Easterling-Edward S. Hallman Foundation, the University of South Carolina Libraries have been able to acquire a number of important Hemingway items, especially Hemingway letters, that are on display here, many for the first time.