Journal Article

What will survive of us are manuscripts

Jamie Andrews

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 259-271
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhn016
What will survive of us are manuscripts

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This article looks at the policies of, and politics surrounding, the collecting of the literary manuscripts and archives of living and contemporary British writers. The changing institutional attitudes towards the idea of such a collection are charted – from the indifference of the early-twentieth century, to today's seemingly frenzied collecting – and consideration is also given to legislative solutions now being proposed to encourage writers to deposit their papers within the UK. The post-war efforts of figures such as Philip Larkin are crucial to an understanding of evolving attitudes in Britain towards collecting this material, and recently opened files from the Arts Council archives afford an understanding of the steps taken by Larkin and British Museum curators to build, and to define collecting criteria for, their unprecedented (in Britain) new collection.

Journal Article.  9486 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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