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The Blue Guitar

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

Laura Shanahan

Laura Shanahan is Head of Research Collections, leading the Departments of Early Printed Books & Special Collections, Manuscripts & Archives, Music and Maps. Since joining Trinity in 2018, she has been focussed on increasing philanthropic support for collections-related activity, including the development of the Virtual Trinity Library, and has a particular interest in project-based working.