Bestselling novelist Jeffrey Archer gifts original manuscript of Kane and Abel to Bodleian Libraries

3 December 2019

Bestselling author Jeffrey Archer today visited the Bodleian Libraries to donate his original, hand-written manuscript of Kane and Abel to the Bodleian.

Portrait of Jeffrey Archer

The donation marks the 40th anniversary of Kane and Abelís publication. The classic novel about a rivalry that defines two menís lives was the runaway success of 1979 and 1980, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It has since sold over 32.7 million copies worldwide where it has been printed in 42 languages. It is now on its 121st reprint and is among the top 100 best-selling books in the world. 

The donation of the original manuscript of Kane and Abel comes as part of long-standing commitment on behalf of Jeffrey Archer to donate his archives to the Bodleian Libraries. To celebrate the 40th anniversary Jeffrey will also donate an exclusive, limited edition of Kane and Abel, signed by the author and with endpapers, a silver laminated dust jacket, a ribbon, plus head and tail bands.

Lord Archer said:

"I was touched, surprised and delighted when the Bodleian asked permission to archive the first edition of Kane and Abel."

Dr Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections, said:

Portrait of Jeffrey Archer"Lord Archer is a publishing phenomenon and his novels give us a rich insight into his own creative processes as well as tastes in reading, the marketing and critical reception of texts and the role of the publishing industry more generally in our literary culture. The success of Kane and Abel alone, in its multiple editions and massive popularity, allows us to trace an extraordinary chapter in modern book history. Itís also a jolly good read."

Jeffrey Archer is one of the UKís most popular novelists, with 37 books, 275 million copies sold and 26 Sunday Times number one bestsellers.

Previously he was a Member of Parliament (1969-74) and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (1985-6). He was made a life peer in 1992.

Bodleyís Librarian Richard Ovenden said:

"We are delighted to accept Jeffrey Archerís manuscript and to bring it into the Librariesí collection. The Bodleian has been concerned with tracing the lives and afterlives of books from its earliest days, as well as book history more generally, and it is exciting to add contemporary and popular works to a collection that includes historic writers and literary fiction. We are delighted that Lord Archer has committed this literary manuscript to the Bodleian Libraries."

The Bodleian Libraries boasts extensive holdings of original works of British writers from Jane Austen and Percy Bysshe Shelley to Joanna Trollope and Philip Pullman. These handwritten materials complement a collection of more than 13 million printed items held by the Bodleian Libraries, second in size to the British Library and the largest academic library in Europe.

Images: John Cairns. Copyright Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Back to top