The British Library Acquires J.G. Ballard Archive

According to a report in yesterday’s Guardian, the British Library has acquired J.G. Ballard’s archival material, including hand-written manuscripts, drafts, letters, and photos. The British Library will make Ballard’s materials fully accessible to the public. From the article:

Ballard was a man of routine and, in the first instance, wrote all his work by hand, once saying he could always tell if a novel had been written on a typewriter (and later computer). One of the highlights of the archive is the far from neatly handwritten first 840-page draft of Empire of the Sun, which is a collage of crossings out, revisions, corrections and additions.

After the first draft Ballard would then type it up and ruthlessly go through it again. The second draft of Crash is in the archive and it is even more crazily corrected. Andrews said: “I think some of those individual pages are works of art. There’s a determination and in some cases a violence.” Also in the archive are notepads with headings such as “topics that interest me”, full of his thoughts and ideas for stories and novels, as well as items relating to the Lunghua internment camp of his childhood.

Section from the original Crash manuscript

See more images from the collection here.

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