- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
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The Big House, 1957
Collection Description & Creator Information
This collection consists primarily of selected manuscripts and notebooks of 20th-century Irish writer Brendan Behan's most important literary and autobiographical works, covering the vast majority of his writing career, including the years he was imprisoned. In addition, the collection includes a substantial proportion of the writer's slender surviving correspondence as well as some personal ephemera.
There are a significant number of literary drafts, comprising either preliminary notes and drafts or completed manuscripts, including those for The Quare Fellow, An Giall / The Hostage, Borstal Boy, and Confessions of an Irish Rebel, as well as Behan's first play, The Landlady, among others. The typescripts that are represented in the collection, including many embryonic typed fragments of works which were subsequently abandoned, are of particular interest: typing appears to have been, for Behan, a direct extension of the creative thought process. In addition to more developed drafts, unpublished notebooks and loose notes offer significant insight into Behan's writing method. These materials are complemented by manuscripts and typescripts for various articles and essays as well as for a few poems and songs.
Behan's correspondence makes up a relatively minor part of the collection, reflecting the author's professed distaste for letter-writing. Many of the letters in the collection are represented in E.H. Mikhail's The Letters of Brendan Behan (London, 1992).
Much of the description of materials in the collection comes from information provided by the auction house at which the collection was purchased.
- Custodial History:
According to the auction house at which the collection was purchased, the papers are comprised of everything that passed into the possession of Brendan Behan's widow, Beatrice Behan, upon his death.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
The Big House; Brendan Behan Papers, C1596, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA
- Storage Note:
- Firestone Library (mss): Box B-001194