Collecting, Curating, and Researching Writers’ Libraries, edited by Richard W. Oram and Joseph Nicholson to be published by Scarecrow Press, Rowman & Littlefield, in 2014.
Collecting, Curating, and Researching Writers’ Libraries, edited by Richard W. Oram and Joseph Nicholson, will be published by Scarecrow Press, Rowman & Littlefield in 2014. My contribution to this volume, "Anne Sexton's Modern Library," is the first essay to address Sexton’s personal library, housed in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. This essay considers Sexton’s annotating strategies in the context of her academic self-fashioning, particularly regarding the writers she began to read and annotate as she attended Philip Rahv’s literature course at Brandeis University in the summer of 1960.
Here is the editors’ description of the volume:
Although there are many bibliographies and reconstructions of the private libraries belonging to individual authors and to “association copies,” this is the first general consideration of these libraries, many of which in academic collections. In recent years, book historians have become considerably more interested in the study of provenance, while literary scholars have devoted more attention to authorial annotations. At the same time, the Internet has encouraged both scholarly and hobbyist reconstructions of private libraries (see, for example, the “Legacy Libraries” on Librarything.com). This collection begins with principal editor Richard Oram’s historical overview of writers’ libraries and institutional collecting, focusing primarily on English-language authors. The co-editor, Joseph Nicholson, has provided a definitive review of best cataloging and arrangement practices that facilitate scholarly access. The bookseller Kevin Mac Donnell discusses the marketing of these collections and obstacles to placing intact author libraries in institutions. Also included are case studies by Amanda Golden and David Faulds relating to the personal libraries of the poets Anne Sexton and Ted Hughes, indicating how these collections have the potential to enhance archival research. Fiction writers Iain Sinclair, Russell Banks, Jim Crace, poet Ted Kooser, and biographer Ron Powers describe their (sometimes passionate) relationship with books. The concluding chapter, a location guide to over 500 individual libraries, will be invaluable to scholars and librarians who want to know where writers’ libraries are currently located, what happened to them (if they are known to have been sold or dispersed), and what has been written about them.
The photograph to the left is of me with my Agnes Scott College Lyric Poetry students at the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), Southern Region Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
The students subsequently composed blog postings addressing at least one panel they attended. The blog postings allowed the students to teach each other about the sessions they attended and to draw connections to our reading of American, British, Irish, and Anglophone poetry from the nineteenth century to the present.
Archival Expedition: Part 1
Posted April 15, 2011
By Dr. Amanda Golden, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry
During the Spring 2011 semester, students in Dr. Golden's class completed a paper assignment using MARBL collections. Here, in a series of three blog posts, she talks about the experience she and her students had teaching from and researching in MARBL.
As the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, I have had the opportunity to study Emory’s archival resources this year. This term in my Midcentury Poetics course (American Studies 385, cross listed as English 389 and Women’s Studies 385) we have been analyzing poetic expression following the Second World War. In class, we have analyzed several different types of primary sources—including periodicals, material from writers’ journals, correspondence, and manuscripts—in order to interpret poets’ responses to and roles in shaping midcentury academic and artistic culture. I began the term, for instance, with my images of Sylvia Plath’s annotated copy of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) in order to introduce the difficulty of modernism and post-war poets’ response to it. (Sylvia Plath’s copy of T. S. Eliot’s Complete Poetry and Plays is in the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College.) We also discussed facsimiles of Sylvia Plath’s manuscript drafts of her Ariel (1965) poems housed in Smith College’s Mortimer Rare Book Room, Robert Lowell’s manuscript drafts, which are in Harvard University’s Houghton Library, and examples from Anne Sexton’s teaching notes for a course on her own poetry at Colgate University (1972).
Read the rest of Part I on Emory University's Woodruff Library Blog. See also Part II and Part III.
African American Literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the Digital Present at Georgia Tech, Spring 2014
My spring English 1102 course, “African American Literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the Digital Present,” will address the range and variety of African American literature beginning with the poetry and fiction of the Harlem Renaissance. The writers we will read include Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude MacKay, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston. We will then turn to the poetry of the Black Arts Movement and fiction from the seventies and eighties to the present, including Pearl Cleage’s novel of the Obama Campaign in Atlanta, Till You Hear From Me (2010). The course will conclude with contemporary poetry, including the Atlanta poets Kevin Young, Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, and Jericho Brown. We will also read the poetry of Cornelius Eady, co-founder of the African American Poetry Foundation Cave Canem, who will be visiting Georgia Tech in the spring. Students in this course will complete writing assignments, contribute to a class blog, give group research presentations, and design digital projects. In their projects, the students will investigate and create digital resources for literary, cultural, and historical research.
Today I started working with Pearl Cleage's unprocessed manuscripts at Emory University. My students next term will analyze images of Cleage's early handwritten drafts of Till You Hear From Me alongside the published novel. Emory acquired Cleage's materials in 2012 and recently received a grant to catalogue them. There is a video from Cleage's 2011 visit to Emory here. As the image above reflects, the materials are now in cardboard boxes. After sifting through the contents of several boxes, with the help of Emory's Finding Aid, I located Cleage's manuscripts for Till You Hear From Me. As I soon learned, Cleage often used several colors of ink while sketching her novel on lined, loose leaf pages. These vibrant pages will invite students to explore the visual and linguistic dimensions of Cleage's composition process.
Amanda Golden is an Associate Professor of English at New York Institute of Technology. She is the author of Annotating Modernism: Marginalia and Pedagogy from Virginia Woolf to the Confessional Poets (Routledge, 2020) and editor of This Business of Words: Reassessing Anne Sexton (UP of Florida, 2016). Her research and teaching interests include American and British literature from the nineteenth century to the present, modernism, poetry and poetics, literary archives, composition, and the digital humanities.