This week: On Shakespeare’s sonnets, Jacob Lawrence, Piranesi & more.

Jacob Lawrence, . . . Is Life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? —Patrick Henry, 1775, 1955, Egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. Photo: Bob Packert/PEM; © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises & Other Writings 1918–1926, edited by Robert W. Trogdon (Library of America): For about forty years now, one conspicuous gap in the Library of America’s extensive collection of great American writers has been an edition of Ernest Hemingway’s works. Reluctance on the part of Hemingway’s family and his former publisher, Charles Scribner’s Sons, apparently explains the wait. No longer: rights secured, the first volume of a planned series of collected works is now slated for release on September 22, with texts freshly edited by Robert W. Trogdon. The edition will cover Hemingway’s infamous—but sporadically anthologized—years writing in Europe from 1918–26, including uncollected journalism and lesser-known short stories. —IS


All the Sonnets of Shakespeare, edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells (Cambridge University Press): “All the Sonnets of Shakespeare”—but that’s been done before, right? Apparently, not quite like how Paul Edmonson and Stanley Wells have collected them in their new volume out this week from Cambridge University Press. This book includes not just the famous 154 sonnets published as a quarto in 1609, but also all the sonnets Shakespeare included in his plays—as prologues, epilogues, and inside the dialogue itself (recall the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet: “If I profane with my unworthiest hand/ This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:/ My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand/ To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. . . .”). Further, Edmonson and Wells have ordered all these poems not by their original numbering, but in the “probable” chronology of their composition. A controversial solution, no doubt, but one that will surely intrigue scholars and enthusiasts alike. —AS


Jacob Lawrence, In all your intercourse with the natives, treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit . . . —Jefferson to Lewis & Clark, 1803, 1956, Egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. Photo: Bob Packert/PEM; © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through November 1, 2020): In the 1950s, Jacob Lawrence attempted to take the structure of his “Migration Series,” his career-defining sixty-panel cycle of the Great Migration from 1940–41, and apply updated modernist idioms—along with a new vision of an integrated nation—to capturing the full scope of American history. “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” Lawrence’s title for this new series, proved to be all too appropriate for his epic undertaking. “Struggle” also speaks to the arrival of this body of work in a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A show over six years in the making, due in no small part to the painstaking task of locating the series’s many scattered panels, the exhibition was further delayed by the pandemic, which shuttered the Metropolitan for six months. Now, finally, for the first time since 1958, a somber and stirring exhibition organized by Massachusetts’s Peabody Essex Museum, and co-curated by Elizabeth Hutton Turner and Austen Barron Bailly, reunites this work in the city of its creation. Look for my full review in the October issue. —JP


Piranesi Unbound, by Carolyn Yerkes and Heather Hyde Minor (Princeton University Press): Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) is suddenly everywhere. First it was the British Museum’s “Piranesi Drawings” exhibition, which opened in February only to be shut weeks later (the Museum says the show will reopen at some point). Now this September brings the novelist Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi (Bloomsbury), a fantastical tale of the architect in a labyrinth of his own devising. But most interesting, to me at least, is Piranesi Unbound, a new work of scholarship from Carolyn Yerkes and Heather Hyde Minor that approaches the draftsman from a new angle, namely that of books. For while Piranesi is famous now for his individual plates of Carceri (prisons) and Vedute (views), in his day he was known most for books that combined his singular artistic style with accompanying prose descriptions of the plates. To wit, when Angelica Kauffman sketched a portrait of Piranesi around 1764, she showed him not with pen, brush, or etching needle in hand, but instead leaning on a bound volume. Expect to hear more about Yerkes and Minor’s handsome treatment of this unheralded aspect of Piranesi’s career. —BR

From the archive:

“Beyond ‘Civilisation’,” by Drew Oliver (December 2016). A review of Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation by James Stourton.


“Roger Kimball introduces the September Issue.” A new podcast from the Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion.


“Twelve and up,” by Jay Nordlinger. On a Mozart concert at the Salzburg Festival.

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