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Additional Styron Letters and Manuscripts Come to the Duke Library


William Styron’s notes and drafts of an unfinished novel and letters sent to him by Norman Mailer, Willie Morris, Paul Theroux, and other writers are among the new manuscripts, typescripts, and books just added to the William Styron Papers at Duke University’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

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

The gift to Duke from Random House includes manuscripts and typescripts of unpublished stories and essays by Styron.  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, Styron’s long-time editor at Random House and his classmate 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. 

The William Styron Papers at Duke is the largest collection of Styron’s manuscripts, correspondence, and personal papers.  The Papers include drafts of all of Styron’s novels, scrapbooks kept by Styron’s father documenting his son’s professional life, and correspondence from Styron’s boyhood to his career as one of America’s most respected novelists.  

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Posted 17 April 2008

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Last modified April 17, 2008 4:04:35 PM EDT