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Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-5732
Date: September 17, 1999

Princeton Library Exhibition Celebrates Ernest Hemingway Centennial

PRINCETON, N.J. -- A centennial exhibition on Ernest Hemingway, entitled "'one true sentence': Hemingway and the Art of Fiction," opens October 4th in the Main Exhibition Gallery of Firestone Library at Princeton University. The exhibition focuses on the Nobel Prize-winning author's fiction and his thoughts on the art of writing, not the hunting, fishing, bullfighting, and war reporting exploits that often claimed the headlines and contributed to making him an icon, unique in American literary history. Black-and-white enlargements of photographs from his life form the background on the gallery walls to exhibition cases that capture the full color of all of Hemingway's novels and collections of stories.

In A Moveable Feast, his posthumously published work about his early Paris years, Hemingway talked about writing "truly:"

. . . Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. . . .

The first "true" sentences of all his fictional works are presented in the exhibition and supported by original letters that Hemingway wrote to his editors at Charles Scribner's Sons about his writing. Enlargements of selections from Hemingway's 1958 interview on the art of fiction appear throughout the gallery, and visitors can view all of his books in both first and current editions (all of his work remains in print). Eleven original oil paintings whose images were used on Scribner paperback editions from the 1960s through the 1980s add lustre to the exhibition. Several cases are devoted to related topics, such as Hemingway and Reading, Hemingway and Publicity, and Hemingway and Critics.

An additional feature of the exhibition is a touchscreen-operated kiosk where visitors can choose from a number of audio clips to listen to Hemingway reading his Nobel Prize speech, a poem, or part of a work in progress.

Visitors to the gallery will receive, while supplies last, a twenty-page keepsake entitled "Hemingway at One Hundred: A Publisher's Perspective," an illustrated article by Charles Scribner III, son of Hemingway's last publisher and former Princeton trustee.

The exhibition is free and open to the public through January 9, 2000 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon till 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

 Please Note: The following photos are available at

(Photo credits: Dept. of Rare Books & Special Collections, Princeton University Library)