Suddenly This Summer
HRC grabs some more real estate
By Kimberley Jones,
4:56PM, Wed. May 14, 2008
Two announcements from UT's Harry Ransom Center landed in our in-box this morning detailing acquisitions both big and small – although I suppose when you're talking about authors of this stature, no acquisition counts as too small.
The first is the addition of two unpublished letters to the HRC's pre-existing Tennessee Williams collection. Both letters are written by the lauded American playwright to Pancho Rodriguez Gonzalez, who inspired the character of Stanley Kowalski in Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and was, as the HRC's press release puts it, Williams' "former intimate" (a rather coy moniker for a man who, according to Donald Spoto's 1994 biography The Kindness of Strangers , was on the losing end of a passionate and devoted affair with Williams).
Correspondence also figures in the HRC's second acquisition, although we're pretty sure these pen pals never slept together. The 77 letters from John Steinbeck to his friend and business associate Henry S. White date from October 1948 to August 1949 and track a particularly depressed period of Steinbeck's life, as he was reeling from domestic troubles and the accidental death of his best friend. (On the breakup of his second marriage, Steinbeck writes, "I'm kind of used up Henry and will be for a little while until I get ironed out inside. The scars are deeper than I thought.") The letters join the HRC's already impressive Steinbeck archive, which includes the manuscript for East of Eden and a concurrent daily journal, as well as a similar journal for The Grapes of Wrath.