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British Library archive 'offers unique insight into Ballard's craft'

30th July 2010

The J.G. Ballard archive now held by the British Library offers a unique insight into how the writer went about his craft.

After being given exclusive access to the documents, the Daily Telegraph's Tim Martin claimed that one of the archive's 'jewels' is the typescript for Crash, which has been annotated by the author.

'The effort of writing the book … comes through in Ballard's frantic typescript, in which sentence after sentence is razored through in red pen as the author revises and revises in search of his trademark emotionless glide,' he explained.

Martin revealed that one of the earlier drafts of the controversial novel, which follows two men who gain erotic pleasure from car crashes, contains a note that the author has left to remind himself to 'stress good aspects'.

The journalist added that the original manuscript for the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun is another highlight of the collection and includes a wealth of rewritten and alternative passages.

Announcing the acquisition of the archive last month, the British Library revealed it contains a number of letters in which Ballard expresses his views on topics such as film, art, the Kennedy assassination and the early Blair years.
 

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