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Archival Bodies: Twentieth-Century British, Irish, and American Literary Collections

Chen, Amy Hildreth (2013)
Dissertation (244 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Kalaidjian, Walter
Committee Members: Higgins, Geraldine ; Sanders, Mark
Research Fields: Literature, Modern; Literature, American; Literature, English
Keywords: archival studies; poetry and poetics; Anglophone literature
Program: Laney Graduate School, English
Permanent url:


Authors endow their literary collections to academic archives in order to ensure their enduring legacy as writers. Archival institutions pledge not only to organize and preserve an author's papers, but also to promote the writers they acquire to future readers and scholars. While literary collections housed in academic libraries are a relatively contemporary, twentieth-century occurrence, it is only in more recent decades that authors began creating, selling, and monitoring the use of their own materials rather than choosing to have their papers preserved and disseminated after their death. By taking proactive steps to ensure their legacy, writers such as Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, and Lucille Clifton have begun to influence the development of literary criticism and the narration of literary history. My dissertation intervenes in two disciplines, showing that in archival studies, scholars focus on historical materials and miss the unique history of twentieth-century literary collections, while in literary criticism, researchers do not consider how their work in the archive is shaped by collection placement and management.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: 20

Finding the "Insane Chance": Ted Hughes's Archival Intervention

Chapter 2: 81

"The Gallery of the Tongue": Seamus Heaney's Literary Critics

Chapter 3: 147

Tracing an "Inner History": Lucille Clifton and Kevin Young

Conclusion 209

Bibliography 218


Access restricted until 2019-05-26

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