Harry Crews papers

Harry Crews papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: previous hitCrews next hit, Harry, 1935-
Title: Harry Crews next hit papers
Dates: 1953-2006
Quantity: 43.8 Linear feet (77 document boxes, 7 half boxes, 6 oversized boxes)
Abstract:The collection consists of the literary papers of American writer Harry previous hitCrews next hit. These papers document his writing career up through the publication of his twentieth book, An American Family: The Child With the Curious Marking (2006). Typed and holograph manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, conference material, awards, literary and film contracts, financial statements, and photographs make up the bulk of materials, which generally date from the mid-1960s onward.
Coll. Number: ms3340

Biographical/Historical Note

Harry previous hitCrews next hit was born in 1935, in Bacon County, Georgia. He has been a carnival barker, light-heavyweight boxer and a bartender. He left Georgia at the age of 18 to pull a hitch in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. With the GI Bill he went to the University of Florida and upon graduation started to write, the only thing he’d ever wanted to do, and never looked back.

previous hitCrews next hit has been described as “a dark chronicler of human vanity and folly,” an artist in depicting “the world of the misbegotten, the freaks and misfits and malcontents in whose strange doings previous hitCrews next hit is able to locate a genuine if quirky humanity” (Washington Post Book World). “Harry previous hitCrews next hit has a talent all his own,” remarked American novelist Norman Mailer of previous hitCrews next hit’s 1976 novel A Feast of Snakes. “He begins where James Dickey left off.”

He has 21 titles: novels, collections of essays, a memoir and a play entitled Blood Issue, commissioned by and first produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and published by the University of Kentucky in a volume entitled Southern Playwrights. His most recent books are Body, Scar Lover, and The Knockout Artist. Two one hour documentaries have been made of this life and work, one by PBS entitled Rough South, and one by an independent producer, Film Noir, entitled Guilty As Charged.

previous hitCrews next hit’ 1978 memoir A Childhood: The Biography of a Place tells of his growing up in rural southern Georgia and of coming to terms with that culture as an adult. “It’s easy to despise poor folks,” said one reviewer of A Childhood in The New York Times Book Review. “A Childhood makes it more difficult. It raises almost to a level of heroism these people who seem of a different century…. A Childhood is not about a forgotten America, it is about a part of America that has rarely, except in books like this, been properly discovered.”

He has been a columnist for Esquire magazine, and was a contributing editor for Fame magazine of New York City, and contributing editor for Southern magazine of Little Rock, Arkansas.

He has had an NEA grant, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and also won the award from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines of America for the best piece of nonfiction published in any literary magazine in 1977. That essay, “One Bright February Morning,” appeared in Shenandoah. He was on the staff of Breadloaf Writers Conference for six consecutive years, and has long since lost count of the number of universities and colleges at which he has lectured and read. previous hitCrews next hit currently lives and works in Florida and will continue to write until the final curtain comes down. His work has been published in France, Italy, Holland, Israel, and England.


Scope and Content Note

The literary papers of American writer Harry previous hitCrews next hit (1953-2006) document his writing career up through the publication of his twentieth book, An American Family: The Child With the Curious Marking (2006). Typed and holograph manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, conference material, awards, literary and film contracts, financial statements, and photographs make up the bulk of materials, which generally date from the mid-1960s onward.

The Correspondence series (1962-2005) begins with correspondence between previous hitCrews next hit and his mentor Andrew Lytle (who first published previous hitCrews next hit in The Sewanee Review), letters from college friends/apprentice writers with whom previous hitCrews next hit struggled to generate novels for publication, and rejection slips and correspondences from prospective literary agents and publishers.

Letters in the middle and late 1960s document the period when previous hitCrews next hit published his first two novels -- The Gospel Singer, Naked in Garden Hills - and include correspondence with his first literary agent, Bert Cochran, of American Authors, Inc., with John Hawkins of Paul Reynolds, Inc., who succeeded Cochran, and with previous hitCrews next hit' editor at William Morrow, Jim Landis.

The letters between previous hitCrews next hit and Landis, who would edit previous hitCrews next hit' first five novels between 1967 and 1972, are particularly rich in material on the writer's composition process and concerning his ideas about characterization and theme. At this time, also, correspondence appears from other American writers - John Ciardi, Seymour Epstein, Maxine Kumin, William Meredith, Henry Van Dyke and others -- with whom previous hitCrews next hit became acquainted through the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the University of Florida Writers Conference, the latter which he co-directed between 1970-1974 with fellow UF writer and professor Smith Kirkpatrick. (Other writers represented in the Correspondence include Malcolm Braly, Robert Olen Butler, Erskine Caldwell, Daniel Mark Epstein, Barry Hannah, Jim Harrison, Joseph Heller, James Leo Herlihy, William Hjortsberg, Maxine Kumin, Norman Mailer, Tom McGuane, Tim McLaurin, Donn Pearce, James Tiptree, Dan Wakefield, Charles Willeford and Miller Williams.)

In the 1970s there is also correspondence between previous hitCrews next hit and his friend an