Joanna Trollope to gift her entire literary archive to the Bodleian Library

Joanna Trollope25 March 2014 

Joanna Trollope, one of the most read British authors, has bequeathed her literary archive to Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.

Joanna Trollope said, ‘The Bodleian is the ideal home for my archive; I couldn't be more honoured. My association with Oxford goes back a long way and continues to this day. Not only was I an Oxford scholar, but so was my father. Moreover, my own daughters were at Oxford colleges and my young grandchildren are educated in the city too. So, it could not be more satisfactory.’ 

This comprehensive literary archive comprises research notes, related correspondence and manuscript drafts of Trollope’s 18 contemporary fiction books, 2 non-fiction publications, 10 historical fiction works first published under her real name and re-issued under the pseudonym Caroline Harvey since 1995, as well as her short stories. The archive also consists of media recordings, articles and interviews about and with the author, professional correspondence, as well as any speeches or lectures that Trollope has made to literary or charity bodies over the length of her professional life.

Joanna Trollope OBE is a University of Oxford alumna, having studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College between 1965 and 1967. Her writing career spans 36 years and encompasses 18 highly-acclaimed bestselling novels, several being adapted for television and stage. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia's Daughters (1983, re-printed 2006) and a contemporary reworking of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility as part of ‘The Austen Project’ (2014). Trollope was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List. In 2012, Joanna was the chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been closely involved with several literary bodies and charities, including the Society of Authors, the RNIB (particularly talking books) and the National Literacy Trust.

Joanna Trollope’s research is meticulous and she is still handwriting all her book manuscripts. These aspects are particularly interesting in an increasingly digital age and will give researchers a fascinating insight into the author’s craft, creative process and her publishing success. Her works have also received scholarly attention for their exploration of the interrelationship between the genres of romance and realism and in relation to gender studies.

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian said: ‘Joanna Trollope’s archive gives us an insight into the craft of an immensely popular writer and flag bearer for fiction. Her novels, always handwritten, are meticulously researched and the collection provides an insight into this process. The archive more generally demonstrates the way in which she has championed literature and literacy through her charitable work, her service on many committees, and her involvement in the judging of numerous literary awards. Her act of generosity to the Bodleian will be appreciated by literary and cultural historians and, through displays, the public who enjoy her writing so deeply.’

Joanna Trollope’s literary archive will join the Bodleian’s important and extensive collection of literary manuscripts, including a number relating to her relative, the Victorian novelist, Anthony Trollope.

The Bodleian Libraries will catalogue the Trollope literary archive so it can become available to readers. A selection of material will also feature in future public displays.

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