Complementing an archive of Manning Papers already received
at the HRHRC, this collection spans his writing career from the 1930s to his
death in 1977. Included are holograph notebooks and manuscripts, typescripts,
galleys, scrapbooks, address books, mixed-medium drawings and sketch books,
photographs, audio tapes, personal papers, and works of others. This collection
is divided into seven Series: Holograph Notebooks; Works, Journals;
Correspondence; Personal; Village Press Materials; and Writings of Others.
Manning's numerous holograph notebooks follow a consistent
arrangement, which includes sequential page numbering followed by topical
indexing (for example "Words and phrases for expansion, p.67-69"). Entries
sometimes dated, but due to the topical subdivisions, the dates are more random
than chronological. While Manning labeled some of the notebooks with the titles
of his works, they are frequently untitled. Notebooks in Subseries A are
arranged by the first date that appears in the notebook, usually within the
first ten pages. From the number of overlapping dates, it appears that Manning
maintained work on several notebooks simultaneously. Notebooks with titles
arranged alphabetically in Subseries B. Notebooks which were neither dated
titled are arranged according to their length in Subseries C, and are followed
by notebook fragments.
The works in Series II are arranged alphabetically by title
and include many forms of writing including prose, poetry, playscripts, essays,
lectures, articles, and short stories. While some are holograph manuscripts,
the majority are corrected typescripts, which Manning usually signed and dated.
In the inventory, dates in parentheses are publication dates, while the
remaining dates are those Manning assigned to the completed drafts. The works
are all typescripts, unless specifically described as holograph manuscripts.
Numerous versions exist for most titles and some, such as
The Secret Sea, were published
more than once in successive, expanded versions. In addition, galleys exist for
Dear Little Prince,
Encounter in Crete,
The It and the Odyssey of Henry
This Room Before Sunrise. A large
amount of holograph and typescript fragments is also present. Manning's works
were bound in heavily soiled and worn two-prong binders with paper covers.
During processing, the material was disbound and the covers discarded due to
their poor condition, although covers with descriptions have been retained.
Apparently Manning bound his typescripts without the benefit of a hole punch,
for the majority of his pages have been roughly cut out to allow placement over
the two metal prongs. Frequently, the pages were bound with the last page on
top, so the order of the work is reversed.
The journals in Series III are chronologically-dated
typescripts in two sequences: 1943-45 and 1967-70. The years 1943-1944
represent "fragments from a Journal" and are titled
"We Are Earthbound, So We
Fly." These entries describe the war years, Manning's hospitalization
and discharge from the service, VE day, and his reflections on the war and its
aftermath. The journals for the later years are more literary in nature and,
like some of the holograph notebooks, provide continual reworking of the same
textual passages, both verse and prose. In an April 29, 1975 letter to F. W.
Roberts, Director of the Humanities Research Center, Manning described his
journals as "a compulsive endeavor …. They seem to be full of inner
outpourings, factual things, trivia and so on…it is a personal and intimate
record of someone witnessing the crumbling of an epoch …."
Manning's correspondence in Series IV dates from 1957 to 1994
and, like his other material, was bound in binders, with the exception of
box files. No arrangement has been imposed on his correspondence, which
contains incoming letters, greeting and post cards, Manning's carbon copies
letters sent to others, and some manuscript material. The correspondence was
disbound and left in its original order, thus date sequences overlap and no
alphabetical or subject order exists. Typically, each binder contained
correspondence with friends, acquaintances, editors, publishers, book dealers,
Reuters colleagues, fellow Spiritualists and healers, and university libraries
in all parts of the world. Manning regularly sent gratis copies of his works
friends, literary figures, editors, publishers, and libraries. Correspondence
between Manning and Dr. F. W. Roberts, then director of the HRHRC, records
receipt of manuscript material from Manning extending over a period of thirty
years. A small amount of correspondence, dating after Manning's death, exists
between his brother, Jack Percal, and others concerning Manning's life and
Series V, Personal, contains Manning's address books, a
record book, drawings, photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and
personal papers. His numerous address books record addresses of friends,
authors, poets, publishers, editors, periodicals, universities, cultural
associations, and book stores. Often a dated notation of manuscripts sent
individuals and libraries is provided. For example, just two weeks before
death, Manning sent a signed, corrected copy of
Dylan Thomas to the University of
In a record book dating from the 1970s, Manning kept a
"Letters Diary" wherein he recorded the names and dates of letters sent.
Meticulously indexed, this book contains numerous sections pertaining to
subjects such as his finances, books loans, books to buy, possible library
recipients in locations such as Teheran, Guyana, Ethiopia, Japan, and Pakistan,
as well as listings of people and places to whom he sent his manuscripts.
Manning's drawings, usually rendered in bound sketchbooks,
commonly employ red, blue, black, orange, and green ball point ink, although
some also include pastel and crayon. His drawings use geometric shapes such
circles, triangles, and lines that form repeated patterns, sometimes quite
dense and dark. In addition to his abstract works, Manning favored portraiture
in which the face emerges through, or is framed by, geometric designs. One
his drawings was featured on the cover of Bertram Rota's Catalogue 168, Winter
1970. Offered for sale, the drawing is described as "Original crayon head
shoulder portrait of Henry Miller. Drawn from life in London. 1969."
The earliest photographs in the collection record Manning's
stay in Pisek, Czechoslovakia in 1929 while studying violin with Otakar Sevcik.
Also included are photographs of Manning taken in Vienna (1937), Buenos Aires
(1939), Hampstead, London (1952), with Jorge Luis Borges in London (1971),
with Miriam Patchen (undated), as well as photographs of Manning, alone and
with others, spanning his lifetime. Also included is a photographic
reproduction of a drawing of Manning by the Argentinean artist Mauricio
Lasansky while Manning stayed in the artist's home in Cordoba in 1942. A
photograph of sculptor David McFall's bust of Manning is also present. After
Manning's death, McFall designed a memorial plaque which was placed at
Manning's residence in Belsize Square, London.
Manning's four scrapbooks contain newspaper and magazine
clippings ranging from works published in Buenos Aires in 1938 to a piece
Samuel Beckett appearing in
Adam International Review in
1970. Included are Manning's poetry, book reviews, essays, and articles as well
as reviews of his own works in publications such as
The Times Literary Supplement,
The Manchester Guardian,
The New English Weekly,
Argentina Libre, and
Agonía. A number of similar
clippings exist apart from the scrapbooks, especially articles published in
Argentinean newspapers, plus reviews of Manning's published works.
Other personal papers include Manning's birth and death
certificates, Deed Poll on Change of Name, passports, Argentinean identity
card, press cards, army records, obituaries, memorials, miscellaneous items,
and audio tapes.
From 1973-1974, Manning collaborated in the publications and
activities of the Village Bookshop (London) and was associated with the Village
Press owner/editor, Jeffrey Kwinter. Manning was instrumental in bringing
print works by Henry Miller, Alfred Perlès, and Colin Wilson. Series VI
contains Village Press proofs, galleys, and other publication material for
works published in 1974. Among the other authors represented are Oloff DeWet,
Arthur Guirdham, Anaïs Nin, Mervyn Peake, John Cowper Powys, Douglas Stone,
Alan Watts. In its first newsletter, the Village Bookshop stated "Our basic
criteria in selecting which writers and subjects to specialise in, is that
radiate the magical, mysterious approach to this experience of being
The final series, Writings of Others, contains works, mostly
typescripts and galleys, by Jorge Luis Borges, David Gascoyne, G. Wilson
Knight, Kenneth Patchen, Alfred Perlès, Jeremy Reed, Peter Mason, M. Kianush,
and Oonagh Lahr.
A small number of periodical issues were transferred to the
HRC book collection.