Centering on Styron

August 1, 2008

Styron: Author's unparalleled repository expands.

 

Bernard Gotfryd / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

William Styron's notes and drafts of an unfinished novel, as well as letters sent to him by Norman Mailer, Willie Morris, Paul Theroux, and other writers, are among the new materials recently added to the William Styron Papers in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Duke is acquiring the materials from Styron's widow, Rose Styron, and his publisher, Random House, which recently published a collection of Styron's personal essays titled Havanas in Camelot.

The gift from Random House includes manuscripts and typescripts of unpublished stories and essays by Styron '47. In these drafts, Styron revisits his experiences in the Marine Corps, recalls his relationship with his mother, and discusses topics as diverse as depression medication and amusement parks. Robert Loomis '49, Styron's longtime editor at Random House and a friend at Duke, presented the materials to the library.

The library is also in the process of acquiring a significant number of Styron's books, letters, and manuscripts from the Styron family. The books include a copy of the Bible, with Styron's annotations; pristine bound galleys of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, with the publisher's letter to Styron; and a copy of his own Set This House on Fire, with an inscription to himself.

Duke's collection, the largest of its kind, includes drafts of all of Styron's novels, scrapbooks kept by Styron's father documenting his son's professional life, and correspondence dating back to his boyhood.