What are Literary Archives?

GLAM recognises the wealth and diversity of literary collections, and therefore does not limit its definition of literary archives to specific formats or record types. Typically, any literary archive may be comprised of some or all of the following:

Literary manuscripts: These are documents (in a range of formats) which relate to all phases of the genetic history of a literary work through the stages of its life cycle – from the avant-texte stage, through the texturalization stage, to the post-text stage. They include documents created during the following phases of work:

  • Pre-compositional phase: notes, sketches, drawings, work plans, notebooks, marginalia, annotations.
  • Compositional phase: rough drafts, reworkings, corrected fair copies.
  • Pre-publication phase: reworkings of manuscript and definitive manuscript.
  • Post-compositional phase: author’s proof copies, editor’s proofs, collated proofs, other prodction records.
  • Post-publication phase: author’s annotated editions of a published work.

Letters: These can be personal (family, friends, lovers), literary and cultural (other writers, artists, musicians, film makers, performers, critics, academics, reviewers), or business-related (agents, publishers, literary organizations and institutions, gas board, bank).

Diaries: These can be personal or engagement diaries.

Audio-Visual Material: This can include photographs, films, videos, tape recordings, CDs, drawings.

E-Records: These can be software files, emails, websites, floppy disks.

Printed Sources: These can be newscuttings, annotated books, journals, magazines.

Legal Documents and economic records: These can be contracts, court proceedings, cheque books, account books, bank statements.

Objects: These might include pens, locks of hair, typewriters, writing desks.

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