One of the great things about New York is that it is chock full of museums. Art, culture, books, music, science, there is a museum for it all. The things that makes me giddy is that most museums offer free hours, most are only once a month but many are every week. I choose this week to take advantage of the free hours at the Morgan Library. They are hosting a Jane Austen exhibit through March, that I was eager to check out.
Now if you are unfamiliar with Austen, you are likely a man who has had little or no interaction with women. Surely you have heard of Pride & Prejudice or Mr. Darcy. Austen’s stories center on the lives of women and are mainly stories about people falling in love despite social constructs and the usual obstructions to love. In other words Austen is the foundation of every romantic comedy you have ever seen.
The exhibit showcased many of Jane’s letters to her sister Cassandra. I am sad that hand written letters are seemingly obsolete. Jane had writing on every nook and cranny of the page. Paper was expensive and therefore precious in her time. Her letters were full of wit and good humor. Like every other Jane Austen fan I think Jane and I would be great friends and pen pals if she were around today.
One of the highlights of the exhibit was a complete manuscript of Lady Susan. This is the only surviving full manuscript of any of Jane’s novels. Looking at the pages you can really see the expertise she wielded in her craft.
We spent a lot of time in the Austen exhibit taking everything in, but we also were able to check out J.P. Morgan’s personal library. Wowzers! I love a grand personal library and this is one of the grander I’ve seen. It is my dream to one day have a library; filled floor to ceiling with beautiful hardbound books.
This was just one of the rooms of the library. He had every type of book there; history, children’s books, novels. I personally wouldn’t put them behind the glass doors he had (books shouldn’t be jailed) but it was beautiful nonetheless.
My roommate was so kind as to join me for my little bookworm adventure and we capped off the evening with some hot cocoa and Sense and Sensibility.