Literary manuscripts 2011: Dealing meaning, 17 October

The Business of Archives: handling the remains of Shelley and Larkin

The first class in the series “Dealing meaning” was given by Joan Winterkorn (Bernard Quaritch Ltd). How to keep a literary archive together, and why this was important, were the themes of her talk, and she drew examples of how literary archives endured or were dispersed by means of encounters between authors, families, and collectors; estates and auctioneers; and dealers and libraries.

Considering the impact for scholarship of the Abinger Shelley Papers, Winterkorn pointed to individual items of significance for literary studies (the drafts of Frankenstein that showed Percy Shelley’s interventions) and those providing insights into the personal histories of the writers (such as the journals of Percy and Mary Shelley’s sometimes tempestuous times together).

Participants examine items from the collections at the masterclass.

Winterkorn referred to two collections that had come to the Bodleian Library in recent years:

The Abinger Collection of material from the Godwin and Shelley families [Bought by the library in 2004; since then the Bodleian has put further effort into a catalogue, linked here, and displaying the material, with items from the NYPL’s Pforzheimer Collection, in the exhibition Shelley’s Ghost.]

Philip Larkin’s letters to Monica Jones, a selection of which have been published as Letters to Monica in the volume edited by Anthony Thwaite, and complementing the Larkin Estate Collection at the University of Hull.

A display of the full surviving draft manuscript of Frankenstein can be seen in a Turning the Pages display here:

See more masterclasses this term on the CSB calendar.