Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Amos Tutuola:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Tutuola, Amos
Title: Amos Tutuola Collection
Dates: 1940-1997
Extent: 11 boxes, 2 oversize boxes (4.58 linear feet)
Abstract: The Amos Tutuola Collection, 1940-1997, includes holograph and typed manuscripts, transcripts, galleys, and correspondence concerning Tutuola's works, as well as works about Tutuola.
RLIN Record #: TXRC 93-A101
Language: English and Yoruba .
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchases and gifts,1988-2005

Processed by:

Wendy Bowersock (1993), Joan Sibley (1994), Chelsea Dinsmore (2002), Katherine Mosley (2006)

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


Amos Tutuola was born in 1920 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He first entered his home village school at the age of twelve and in 1934 he entered the Lagos High School, under the sponsorship of a family friend. Trouble with the people he lived with sent Tutuola back to school in Abeokuta in 1936 and the death of his father in 1939 forced Tutuola to end his formal education. He returned to Lagos to learn blacksmithing and in 1942 he joined the R.A.F. as a blacksmith.

Despite a somewhat abbreviated formal education, Tutuola originally wrote all of his novels in English. The success of his stories prompted him to translate a number of his works into his native language, Yoruba. While working as a messenger for the Department of Labor, Tutuola wrote the first draft of The Palm-Wine Drinkard, a romance built out of elements of Yoruba folklore. Published by Faber and Faber in London in 1952, The Palm-Wine Drinkard is considered the first of all anglo-phone Nigerian novels. Due to the critical and popular success of this novel, Tutuola became the first Nigerian novelist to win international acclaim. The Palm-Wine Drinkard was followed by My Life in the Bush Ghosts (1954); Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle (1955); The Brave African Huntress (1958); Feather Woman of the Jungle (1962); Ajaiyi and His Inherited Poverty (1967); The Witch Herbalist of the Remote Town (1981); The Wild Hunter in the Bush of Ghosts (written in the late 1940s, but not published until 1982); Pauper, Brawler, Slanderer (1987); and The Village Witch Doctor and Other Stories (1990).

The initial purchase of Tutuola's papers was arranged by University of Houston professor Robert Wren, while additional accessions were facilitated by Tutuola's friend and professor of African and English literature at the University of Texas at Austin, Bernth Lindfors. A number of Tutuola-related materials were the gift of Lindfors, and other pertinent materials are located in the Bernth Lindfors Papers, including a photostat of his typed manuscript Critical Perspectives on Amos Tutuola (1975).

Amos Tutuola died in Nigeria in 1997.


Collins, Harold R. Amos Tutuola. Twayne's World Author Series (TWAS 62). New York: Twayne Publishers, 1969.

Lindfors, Bernth. "Amos Tutuola" in Twentieth Century Caribbean and Black African Writers. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 125. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983.

Owomoyela, Oyekan. Amos Tutuola Revisited. Twayne's World Author Series (TWAS 880). New York: Twayne Publishers, 1999.


The Amos Tutuola Collection, 1940-1997, includes handwritten and typed manuscripts, transcripts, galleys, and correspondence concerning Tutuola's works, as well as works about Tutuola. The collection is arranged in four series: I. Works by Tutuola, 1952-1996 (5 boxes); II. Correspondence, 1950-1997 (2 boxes); III. Works about Tutuola, 1972-1975 (2 boxes); and IV. Personal Papers, 1954-1997 (2 boxes).

Although the Ransom Center's holdings include the handwritten manuscript of Tutuola's earliest published novel, The Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952), the remaining Tutuola manuscripts are much more recent, dating between 1980 and 1990. These include corrected typescripts of Tutuola's The Witch Herbalist of the Remote Town, Pauper, Brawler, and Slanderer, and The Village Witch Doctor and Other Stories. Tutuola's first work, The Wild Hunter in the Bush of Ghosts, written in the late 1940s but not published until 1982, is represented in this collection by photocopies of handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, printouts (some with corrections in Tutuola's hand), and galleys which were used by editor Bernth Lindfors. Also present are several notebooks with stories written in both English and Yoruba. Works from this series are listed in the Index of Works at the end of this guide.

The second series, Correspondence, covers a fairly even mix of personal and business letters. Most of the Faber and Faber correspondence arrived at the HRHRC, as a group, arranged chronologically. Some groups of letters relating to various of Tutuola's works are also separated by topic. All other correspondence, including letters to and from family, friends, fans, and publishers is arranged chronologically. Some of the more frequent correspondents include Peter du Sautoy, Alan Pringle, and others at Faber and Faber; Donald Herdeck of Three Continents Press; Bernth Lindfors; and Robert Wren. Correspondents are listed in the Index of Correspondence at the end of this guide.

The third series, Works about Tutuola, consists of materials relating to the writing and publication of Bernth Lindfors' Critical Perspectives on Amos Tutuola (1975). The material includes research and notes, typescripts, corrected galley proofs, page proofs, correspondence with his editor, Donald E. Herdeck, and permission letters.

The final series, Personal Papers, contains a wide variety of materials including bank records, employment papers, tax papers, programs for and articles about Tutuola's funeral in 1997, royalty statements, and various identity cards. Also present are several photographs of Tutuola and his family.

Other materials associated with Amos Tutuola may be found in the Robert Wren and Bernth Lindfors collections.


Other materials associated with Amos Tutuola may be found in the Robert Wren and Bernth Lindfors collections.


People

Du Sautoy, Peter.

Herdeck, Donald E., 1924- .

Lindfors, Bernth.

Pringle, Alan.

Wren, Robert.

Organizations

Faber & Faber, Ltd.

Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.

Subjects

African fiction (English).

Authors, African.

Authors, Nigerian.

Folklore--Nigeria--Fiction.

Nigerian fiction (English).

Short stories, Nigerian.

Yoruba (African people)--Fiction.

Document Types

First drafts.

Galley proofs.

Scripts.