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University of Texas at Austin

Ronald Sukenick:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Sukenick, Ronald, 1932-
Title: Ronald Sukenick Papers
Dates: 1941-1999
Extent: 105 boxes, 4 oversize boxes (49.06 linear feet), 1 oversize flat file folder, 4 galleys, and 1,239 electronic files (39.8 GB)
Abstract: The papers of this American writer contain drafts of novels, short stories, and literary non-fiction, as well as personal and professional correspondence and material associated with his college and teaching years.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04832
Language: English
Access Open for research. To request access to electronic files, please email Reference.
Restrictions on Use: Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchase, 1999 (Reg. no. 14200)
Processed by Liz Murray, 2000 Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Chance Adams and Brenna Edwards, 2015-2022.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

Spanning six decades from the 1940s to 1990s, this comprehensive collection of Ronald Sukenick, innovative writer, publisher, theorist, and educator, contains drafts of his novels, short stories, and literary non-fiction as well as personal and professional correspondence and material associated with his college and teaching years.
The collection is organized in four Series: Series I. Works (52 boxes), Series II. Correspondence, 1940s-1990s (26 boxes), Series III. Personal/Career-Related (21 boxes), and Series IV. Works of Others (6 boxes).
The first and largest series, Works, is divided into two subseries: A. Books, and B. Other Writings. The book material in Subseries A is arranged by title and includes Sukenick's novels Blown Away, Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues, Mosaic Man, 98.6, Out, and Up. Also present are his short story collections, Doggy Bag and The Death of the Novel and Other Stories, his short fiction work, Endless Short Story, non-fiction narrative, Down and In, and critical work on the theory of fiction, In Form, Digressions on the Act of Fiction. Both his Ph.D. dissertation and subsequent published work Wallace Stevens: Musing the Obscure are also included. Within most titles, the order follows the creative process from notes and drafts to proofs and galleys. Several novels, particularly Blown Away, contain drafts with title changes as the works developed and merged over time. Subseries B includes articles, book blurbs, book-length works, book reviews, letters to editors, a screenplay, and short stories.
The correspondence in Series II ranges from Sukenick's boyhood camp letters of the early 1940s to the more complex professional exchanges between publishers and colleagues through the decades to the 1990s. Arranged in chronological order, the predominately incoming correspondence records his college years at Cornell and Brandeis, frequent European travels including his Fulbright Fellowship in 1958-59, teaching at various universities (especially the University of Colorado, Boulder), and five decades of his professional and personal life. His seminal work with American Book Review, Fiction Collective, and Black Ice is reflected throughout, as is his correspondence with publishers, agents, and colleagues.
Series III contains a combination of personal and career-related material including address books, appointment calendars, personal documents and memorabilia, photographs from Sukenick's childhood through the 1970s, grade school autograph books, college writing assignments as well as his own teaching files, correspondence and material pertaining to the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, articles about him, and reviews of his works.
Sukenick's friends, colleagues, and former students often sent their writings to him, sometimes for critical response as well as keeping him informed of their literary progress. These works are found in Series IV. Works of Others, arranged alphabetically by author. Included are writings of his close friends Ray Federman, Jerome Klinkowitz, and Martin Washburn, as well as a few pieces by his former wife Lynn Luria-Sukenick.
Books, serials, personal effects and audio/video tapes received with the collection have been transferred to departments within the Ransom Center. The nearly 300 journal issues contain Sukenick's published works and represent his other literary involvements, most especially a long run of American Book Review. Also of interest are cassette tapes containing an oral version of Blown Away which Sukenick produced to assure an effective cadence. To that end, he changed the written composition as he went along according to his "hearing" rather than reading of the manuscript. Also included are tapes of his innovative electronic novel "Endless Short Story," interviews with literary notables for Down and In, and a near-final version of the film based on his novel Out.

Ronald Sukenick Papers--Folder List