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Harold Brodkey Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Folder 1

Manuscripts, Folder 2

Material Toward Books, Folder 3-4

Print Materials, Folder 5

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Harold Brodkey Papers, 1973-1991 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: Harold Brodkey Papers, 1973-1991Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1973-1991

ID: MS/MS/ms016

Primary Creator: Brodkey, Harold

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 05/01/1987

Languages: English, German, Italian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of a typed letter from Brodkey to Stephen Berg, four typescript poems by Brodkey, galley sheets of the poem "Play," an uncorrected page proof of Women and Angels, and various books and periodicals containing Brodkey's work. The majority of the print material has been transferred to Rare Books

Collection Historical Note

Harold Brodkey (October 25, 1930 – January 26, 1996) was an American writer and novelist.  Born Aaron Roy Weintraub Staunton, Illinois, he was  raised in University City, Missouri outside St. Louis. After graduating from Harvard University in 1952, Brodkey began his writing career by contributing short stories to The New Yorker and other magazines. His stories have won him two first-place O. Henry Awards.

Brodkey's career began promisingly with the short story collection First Love and Other Sorrows, which received widespread critical praise at the time of its 1958 publication. Soon thereafter, in 1964, Brodkey signed a book contract with Random House for his first novel, titled A Party of Animals (it was also referred to as The Animal Corner). The unfinished novel was subsequently resold to Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1970, and later to Knopf in 1979. During this period, Brodkey published a number of stories, most of them in the New Yorker, that dealt with a set of recurring characters—the evidently autobiographical Wiley Silenowicz and his adoptive family—and which were announced as fragments of the novel.

In addition to publishing, Brodkey earned a living during this period by writing television pilot scripts for NBC, and teaching at Cornell University. Three long stories from A Party of Animals were collected in Women and Angels (1985), and a larger number (including those three) in 1988's Stories in an Almost Classical Mode. Evidently Brodkey had decided to omit them from the novel, for when in 1991 he published The Runaway Soul, a very long (835-page) novel dramatizing Wiley's early life, no material from Stories in an Almost Classical Mode was included. The novel seems to be either A Party of Animals under a new title or the first volume of an eventual multi-volume work. Brodkey made some comments that suggested the latter, but no further material was published in his lifetime, or has been since.

In 1993, Brodkey announced in The New Yorker that he had contracted AIDS. He later wrote This Wild Darkness about his battle with the disease. At the time of his death in 1996, he was living in New York City with his wife, novelist Ellen Brodkey (née Ellen Schwamm).

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Purchase and gift

Acquisition Method:

Purchase from Harold Brodkey

Gift of Joseph Palecek

Accession number 2012.032, purchase from Clouds Hill Books, 2012: November 27

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Folder 1],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Folder 2],
[Series 3: Material Toward Books, Folder 3-4],
[Series 4: Print Materials, Folder 5],

Series 1: Correspondence, Folder 1Add to your cart.
Item 1: Brodkey to Stephen Berg, 1976: July 8Add to your cart.
Typed letter, 1 page

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Folder 1],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, Folder 2],
[Series 3: Material Toward Books, Folder 3-4],
[Series 4: Print Materials, Folder 5],

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