Alan Bennett donates work to the Bodleian

Whilst running late for work this morning (sorry folks!) I got to listen to the part of Today on Radio 4 where they seem to enjoy spending a bit more time on interviews.  The gentle voice of Alan Bennett drifted over the digital airwaves, talking about the "relief" of seeing 100 boxes of his work disappear off in the van, heading to the Bodleian Library. It was announced today that he has donated his literary archive to the Library with papers dating back to the start of his career in 1960. The archive is to be catalogued and will be open to researchers in part by January 2010.

Bennett has shown great generosity in donating his work without charge, seeing it as his way of repaying his free education – "I see this gift as an obligation repaid". This deposit is seen by Dr Sarah Thomas, the Librarian at the Bodleian, as "one of the most
important acquisitions for the library in recent times".

What a wonderful gift to our national treasures from one of our national treasures! Bennett says, "at the Bodleian I shall be rubbing shoulders with Thomas Hardy and Philip Larkin. They might not be all that pleased but I am."

One comment to this post

  •  :  I particularly liked this quote from Bennett in the Guardian today drawing a distinction between his support for the library and his disagreement with the university's policy on top up fees. "I've differed from the university on other things, on their soliciting money from Rupert Murdoch, for instance. But the library is something separate, and however well-endowed the Bodleian is, it's like other libraries; it's strapped for cash, so I don't really think that applies. The philosophy of the library and the philosophy of the university are probably not the same."

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