The Blue Guitar
John Banville is one of Ireland's great contemporary authors. The Library of Trinity College Dublin is fortunate to have acquired three tranches of his literary archive.
Many of Banville's manuscript drafts are in beautiful bound notebooks, suggesting an aesthetic consideration in advance of the act of writing. In this notebook, Banville develops the ideas that will result in the novel The blue guitar, published in September 2015. The Banville archive also includes, for example, 21 typescript and annotated drafts of his 2005 Booker Prize-winning novel The sea, permitting the reader insights into the artistic process of an exceptional writer.
Within his notebooks, there is detailed evidence of Banville's working methods: words and phrases are considered, abandoned or reworked. His italic handwriting is elegantly formed, rendering each page a thing of beauty. For example, in this section of the novel where the protagonist, Oliver Orme, seeks to express a challenging thought, Banville reworks sections of text to distil the atmosphere of the passage:
'What I want to say is
[Dirty rotten scheming bastards, every one of them.]
Storm today. Amazing [gusts of winds, battering on the
house. Battering? Wrong]
Storm today. Amazing winds [battering the house]
smacking against the house, [the weather in a rage.]
Shivering its timbers.'
Shelfmark: TCD MS 11517
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