Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mailer sells papers to UT's Ransom Center

Norman Mailer, who'll be one of the many bloggers for Arrianna Huffington's bloggerama, has sold his papers to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT-Austin for a cool $2.5 million.

Turns out he has great affection not only for Texas money but Texans.

When asked about his connection to Texas and why he placed his archive at the Harry Ransom Center, Mailer said:

“A man who went to a famous prep school in the early ’20s said afterward, ‘It was the worst experience of my life and the most valuable.’

“I can say the same about my time in the U.S. Army. In 1944, I came out of Fort Bragg an artillery replacement and was sent to the 112th Regimental Combat Team, originally from San Antonio but now in the Philippines. There I was converted into an infantry rifleman. So I got to know a fair amount about Texas over the next year. And Texans. Most of them were dirt-poor and damn tough. (For years afterward in New York, when trouble was brewing on the street, I would do my best to talk in a Texas accent.)

“To this, I can add a splendid few days I spent in Austin as a lecturer back in the very early ’60s, and I do remember the university as one of the most exciting and open campuses I ever visited.

“Those are ties, but, of course, one acquires many others over 82 years. I’d say the major part of my decision (and pleasure) to have this archive go to the Ransom Center is that you have one of the best, if not, indeed, the greatest collection of literary archives to be found in America. What the hell. Since it’s going to Texas, let’s say one of the best in the world.”

The Mailer collection includes letters he's written and letters he's received, including correspondence from people like Allen Ginsberg, Lillian Hellman, Aldous Huxley, Truman Capote, Stella Adler, LeRoi Jones, John Lennon and Larry McMurtry.

Apparently, there are no poison pen missives from Gore Vidal, Mailer's infamous literary nemesis.

Mailer is 82.

1 comment:

cacafuego said...

2.5 mil?? Hey, i thought people donated their papers to libraries so they would be available for future scholarship; kept together and not auctioned off piecemeal by greedy heirs yadda yadda yadda.

I wonder if their interested in the boxes of letters, research paper drafts and letters from my dad I have up in the attic. I'll let em have it -- cheap.