The Ransom Center recently acquired a major addition to the archive of English writer John Fowles, author of such celebrated works as The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Magus. The first portion of the archive was acquired directly from the author by the Center in 1991. This newly acquired material includes manuscripts and related materials for the works Fowles produced between 1991 and his death in 2005, but it also includes a great deal of personal material that was withheld during the writer's lifetime. If an archive could be said to be composed of materials related to a writer's "life" and "works," this new acquisition would constitute the former.
Of special note in the collection are volumes and volumes of Fowles's journals (in size, the journals would run as long as about 20 novels). Ninety percent of the journals remain unpublished. The collection also includes significant personal correspondence written by Fowles to his parents and to his first wife, Elizabeth. It is rare for a writer's archive to contain such a wealth of original letters written by the author himself.
Manuscripts and typescripts of Fowles's works in the collection include the only extant typescript of his first full-length work, Between, thousands of examples of his poetry (only a small portion of which has been published), the outlines of several unfinished novels, and the manuscript of an unpublished work titled "Virginia Ware."
This collection will provide rich fodder for scholars interested in the work of this important twentieth-century writer. Equally important, however, it will reveal a deeper picture of John Fowles's life.
Other recent acquisitions include:
- The archive of Tim O'Brien, known for his writing about Vietnam in such novels as The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato
- The archive of British writer Barry Unsworth, who won the Man Booker Prize for his 1992 novel Sacred Hunger
- A collection of 275 letters written by Henry Miller to his former lover, German publisher Renate Gerhardt, additional letters from Miller to Count Antonini, and related books and photographs. This collection was the gift of Alexander B. Miller.
- Additional materials for the archive of Bernard Malamud