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Literary Manuscripts

A Selected Checklist of Secondary Readings

This short checklist of readings on literary manuscripts is not intended to be a definitive bibliography on the subject; however the readings cover a range of relevant topics and serve as a good introduction to the study of literary manuscripts.


Arnheim, Rudolf et al. Poets at Work: Essays Based on the Modern Poetry Collection at the Lockwood Memorial Library, University of Buffalo. (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948). Contains essays by the authors Rudolf Arnheim, W. H. Auden, Karl Shapiro, and Donald A. Stauffer. The Introduction by Charles D. Abbott is particularly relevant.

Broderick, John C. "American Literary Manuscripts: An Essay Review," Resources for American Literary Study 6 (Spring 1976): 85-95.

Bustarret, Claire. "Paper Evidence and the Interpretation of the Creative Process in Modern Literary Manuscripts," L'esprit créateur 41 (Summer 2001): 16-28.

Butterick, George. "Modern Literary Manuscripts and Archives: A Field Report," Credences New Series 1 (1980): 81-103.

Drafts, edited by Michel Contat, Denis Hollier and Jacques Neefs, Yale French Studies 89 (1996). This special issue of Yale French Studies is devoted entirely to the scholarly study of drafts and working manuscripts. (Note: Yale French Studies is available online through JSTOR).

Duckett, Kenneth W. Modern Manuscripts (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1975. Duckett's Introduction contains useful comments on some of the unique characteristics of literary manuscripts. Although Modern Manuscripts was published nearly thirty years ago, it remains one of the best sources on personal papers and manuscript collections.

Edel, Leon. The Age of the Archive (Middletown, Ct.: Center for Advanced Studies, Wesleyan, 1966). Monday Evening Papers, No. 7.

Franklin, Phyllis. "Scholars, Librarians, and the Future of Primary Records," College & Research Libraries 54 (September 1993): 397-406.

Gallup, Donald. Pigeons in the Granite: Memories of a Yale Librarian. New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, [1988].

Gallup, Donald . What Mad Pursuits: More Memories of a Yale Librarian. New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, [1998]. These two fascinating memoirs by one of the premier literary manuscript curators of the twentieth century document the development of one of the most important literary collections ever assembled.

Hart, James D. "Search and Research: The Librarian and the Scholar," College & Research Libraries 19 (September 1958): 365-374.

Hodson, Sara S. "Private Lives: Confidentiality in Manuscripts Collections," Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 6 (1991): 108-118.

Howard, Peter. "American Fiction since 1960," in Collectible Books: Some New Paths, ed. Jean Peters (NY: R.R. Bowker Co., 1979), pp. 225-279. (See especially pp. 236-260 in which the author discusses "texts" and contains useful information about proofs and other quasi-manuscript material.

Larkin, Philip. "A Neglected Responsibility," in Required Writing (London: Faber & Faber, 1983), pp. 98-108.

Lopez, Ken. "Why Collect Proofs," (1992) http://lopezbooks.com/articles/proofs.html (29 June 2004).

Overbeck, Lois More. "Researching Literary Manuscripts: A Scholar's Perspective," American Archivist 56 (Winter 1993): 62-69.

Reiman, Donald H. The Study of Modern Manuscripts: Public, Confidential, and Private. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, [1993]. Useful perspective on modern manuscripts from a scholar and bibliographer.

Rota, Anthony. "The Collecting of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts," Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 1 (April 1986): 39-53.

Thorpe, James. The Use of Manuscripts in Literary Research: Problems of Access and Literary Property Rights. (New York: Modern Language Association, 1974). Note: somewhat dated, but written from a useful perspective.


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