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Russell Banks:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Banks, Russell, 1940-
Title: Russell Banks Papers
Dates: 1960s-2001
Extent: 73 boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 19 serial boxes, 2 galley files (38.22 linear feet)
Abstract: The literary papers of American writer Russell Banks span a forty-year career from the early 1960s to 2001. The collection includes material for his novels and collected short stories, from notes and drafts of works to publication material and reviews. Also present are shorter works, such as articles and essays, introductions, plays, poems, reviews, and short stories. The papers contain extensive correspondence, as well as articles about Banks, biographical information, diary notes, contracts, published material, and works by others.
Language: English
Access:

Open for research, except for original computer disks




Acquisition:

Purchase, 2002 (R15005 and R15098)

Processed by:

Liz Murray, 2003

Repository:

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


The literary papers of American writer Russell Banks span a forty-year career from the early 1960s to 2001. The collection includes material for his novels and collected short stories, from notes and drafts of works to publication material and reviews. Also present are shorter works, such as articles and essays, introductions, plays, poems, reviews, and short stories. The papers contain extensive correspondence, as well as articles about Banks, biographical information, diary notes, contracts, published material, and works by others.

The papers are arranged in four series: I. Works; II. Correspondence; III. Other Papers; and IV. Published Material.

Series I is comprised of book-length works, in Subseries A, while shorter works are found in Subseries B. This material is arranged alphabetically by title. Banks's published novels include Affliction, The Book of Jamaica, Cloudsplitter, Continental Drift, Family Life, Hamilton Stark, The Relation of My Imprisonment, Rule of the Bone, and The Sweet Hereafter. Also present are typescript drafts of Banks's unpublished first novel, The Locus. Two of his novels were subsequently adapted to the screen in 1997: Affliction, directed by Paul Schrader, and The Sweet Hereafter, directed by Atom Egoyan. Short story collections include The Angel on the Roof, The New World, Searching for Survivors, Success Stories, and Trailerpark. Also present are text and photographs for The Invisible Stranger, a collaboration with photographer Arturo Patten.

The shorter works in Subseries B include articles for magazines and newspapers, such as The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Atlantic. Article topics cover a wide range of people and places from the Adirondacks, Edinburgh, Seychelles, and the Everglades to Eudora Welty, Billie Holiday, Paul Strand, and Raymond Carver. Banks wrote introductions to works by Nelson Algren, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frank O'Connor, Michael Rumaker, and Mark Twain. Plays, poems, research material for various projects, reviews, and short stories are also included in this subseries.

The correspondence in Series II is organized in three subseries: A. Chronological; B. Individual Correspondents; and C. Career-Related. While Banks kept his correspondence primarily in date order, frequent correspondents were identified separately and housed apart from the chronological files, although there is some crossover between the two. Letters from Bill Corbett, Clarence Major, William Matthews, Joyce Carol Oates, Leon Rooke, Charles Simic, Jonathan Williams, and Arthur Yanoff are particularly numerous. The career-related files found in Subseries C reflect Banks's involvement with the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, the Princeton Writing Program, and the publications Lillabulero and Ploughshares. Files relating to academic appointments, publishing, requests for literary engagements, editorial and writing projects, and readings are also found in this subseries.

The material in Series III Other Papers provides additional information about Banks in the form of articles about him, an autobiographical piece for Contemporary Authors, and a diary written between September 1978 and March 1984. Publishing contracts, interviews, and works by Jane Anderson, Ray Buck, and Brad Mirman are also present.

Numerous articles by and about Banks, excerpts from novels, interviews, reviews, and stories published in literary and popular magazines are found in Series IV Published Material. This material is arranged alphabetically by the title of the periodical, and indexed by title in the Index to Published Material. In cases where both a manuscript and published version exist for the same work, the published version is filed with the manuscript.

The material is in good condition, except for several items in the Hamilton Stark section that are mold-damaged.


Books, video tapes, and sound recordings received with the papers have been transferred to appropriate departments within the Ransom Center.