Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2003 Newsletter

Collections on Parade: Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh


Graham Greene. Date and photographer


Dustjacket of "A Burnt-out Case" by
Graham Greene (1961).

"My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane."
—Graham Greene, International Herald Tribune, 7 October 1977

"In the dying world I come from, quotation is a national vice."
—Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One (1948)

It is especially fitting that the Ransom Center adds to its preeminent Waugh and Greene collections as we approach the centennials of the two authors, an event to be celebrated in an exhibition set to open September 2004 in the Ransom Galleries.

Waugh and Greene were friends and contemporaries, and although they seemed to have widely differing personalities, some aspects of their lives followed similar pathways. Both men were converts to the Catholic Church, but with different views on religion. In much of Greene's major fiction, his characters are preoccupied with theological matters, especially the individual's relationship to the Church and to God. Both struggled with religious ideology through their work (especially Waugh in Brideshead Revisited and Greene in The End of the Affair and The Heart of the Matter), and this is perhaps, aside from their friendship, the greatest link between them.

The exhibition will, among other things, explore the parallels in their lives and works. Visitors will have the chance to reflect on contrasts in the authors' childhood experiences, religious values, relationships (both amicable and otherwise), personal writings, and their respective influence on other writers. The exhibition will feature original manuscripts, correspondence, personal effects, and a selection of retrospective screenings of the authors' cinematic and television adaptations.

Already included in the Graham Greene Collection are the typescripts and page proofs for the majority of the author's major works, such as A Burnt-Out Case, The Comedians, and Our Man in Havana, as well as personal papers, journals, correspondence, and various other effects. Newly acquired materials consist of Greene's handwritten National Service Form, a review by Greene of The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, and Waugh's corrections to the proofs of The End of the Affair, in addition to the typescripts of a body of fiction and non-fiction short works such as "The Dangerous Edge," "The Nightmare Republic," and the introduction to The Third Man.

The Evelyn Waugh Collection is made up primarily of holograph and typescript manuscripts for some 100 works by Waugh, including drafts of Brideshead Revisited and A Handful of Dust, as well as diaries, journals, correspondence, personal papers, rare book collections, criticism, and 241 works of art by and related to Waugh. The recent acquisitions feature 12 autograph letters, three postcards, and a number of letters by Waugh's relatives. Also received in December by the Center were the working papers of Anthony Newnham relating to a bibliography of Waugh.

The acquisition of these materials serves to strengthen the Center's collections of these two foremost British writers of the Twentieth Century.  


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