The Bruce Marshall Papers: Arrangement

The Bruce Marshall Papers are arranged in series according to subject. These are a Manuscripts series, a Correspondence series, a Clippings series and a small Thesis series. Each series manages to give a different perspective on Bruce Marshall and his works.

The Manuscripts series comprises the first eight boxes of the collection. Contained in it are different drafts of Marshall's books at various stages of publication and editing. The manuscripts range from handwritten notes and manuscripts of works which don't appear to have been published (e.g., Aspects and The Curé of Ars) to a printer's proof of The Yellow Streak. Among the more interesting parts of the series is a draft of Teresa Byrne, written by Marshall under a pseudonym and then later reworked and published as Prayer for a Concubine. The jewel of the series, however, is a manuscript labelled "The White Rabbit in the words of F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas." With this are notes and letters written by Yeo-Thomas for Marshall which clarify details in his story so that Marshall could create the final product. Many of Marshall's notes on the work are also included, along with some notes written by Marshall and annotated by Yeo-Thomas. Other titles in the series are those such as Father Malachy's Miracle, The Bank Audit and The Black Oxen.

The Correspondence series consists of three boxes, containing correspondence to and from Bruce Marshall from 1931, 1951 and 1960 - 1987. The letters from 1931 are mainly letters to Marshall concerning the original publication and the success of Father Malachy's Miracle. There is also discussion of an autobiography Marshall wrote after Malachy which publishers rejected because it was too controversial (No Apology). Among these letters are many congratulations, including a handwritten letter from Evelyn Waugh and a few typewritten letters from Sir Arnold Lunn. There is a gap in the correspondence between this year and 1951, for which there are only two letters. There is again a gap of several years, and the correspondence picks up again in 1960.

Over the twenty seven years of correspondence from 1960 - 1987, we see in detail the process of publication of Marshall's works. This includes communication between Marshall and his various agents (David Higham and Peter Janson-Smith in Great Britain, Erich Linder in Italy, Armitage Watkins in New York, etc.); and between Marshall and his publishers (Constable, Doubleday, Houghton Mifflin, Robert Hale, etc.). As often as he attains success in having works published, we also see him fail on several occasions. We also see rights for a musical version of Father Malachy's Miracle by Robert Wright and George Forrest discussed and many royalties statements for books published all over Europe and in the United States.

Also in the Correspondence series during these years there is a large number of personal letters between Marshall and friends. Among the more prominent of the correspondents is Madelaine Duke, Paul Scott, John Howard Griffin, Geddes MacGregor and René Raymond. Other interesting correspondents include Monsignor Joseph B. Lux, Barbara Yeo-Thomas, Mary (Leonard) Pritchett, and Sylvia Raymond. As Marshall gets older, he enjoys reminiscing, and many old acquaintances from both World Wars make contact with Marshall. There is also a large amount of fan mail, ranging from a woman who claims Marshall's books helped her get over a clinical depression to the frequent autograph collector.

The Clippings series consists of thirteen scrapbooks kept by Marshall with news clippings, mostly regarding his books. While much of the view of Marshall's earlier career is obscured by the absence of his correspondence from the 1920's to the 1950's, the clippings fill in many of the gaps. It is here that we see the public's response to Marshall's work in the first years of his career and certain titles of his books never mentioned in the correspondence (The Stooping Venus, Delilah Upside Down, Luckypenny, etc.). We also see events following the publication of some of his books, as George Brown's School Days is banned in Ireland (Box 13, folder 1, @ 1945) and The Fair Bride is removed from a public library in Scotland with great controversy (Box 13, folder 4, @ 1954).

The Thesis series consists of two doctoral dissertations about Marshall's works, one by a German student and the other by an Italian student. Both theses are written in the authors' native languages and both focus their discussion on Marshall's use of religion in his books.


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