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2011 articles 2011 articles

The Progress of the Text: The Papers of J. G. Ballard at the British Library

Chris Beckett (notes)

Abstract

The article provides an overview of the archive of J. G. Ballard, acquired by the British Library in 2010. The successive drafts of Ballard’s novels, in manuscript and typescript, comprise the majority of the archive, with the exception of Ballard’s first novel (The Wind from Nowhere) and The Unlimited Dream Company. Ballard’s many short stories, including The Atrocity Exhibition, are not present in the archive, although the papers include an unpublished story, in draft, set in Vermilion Sands. The archive is a rich textual resource, spanning synopses to final texts, which reveals the decisions of composition and indicates the development of Ballard’s distinctive prose style. The article discusses the process of composition, illustrated by textual examples, with particular reference to passages from the autograph manuscript of Empire of the Sun.

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