Sheridan Libraries Acquire John Barth Collection

By Brian Shields

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The Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries announced the acquisition of the John Barth Collection, which documents the creative output and career of Professor Emeritus John Barth, the American fiction writer, essayist, and teacher.

Barth, a National Book Award winner, was a leading figure in the university’s Writing Seminars department, and his work is central to 20th-century literary history, especially the development of the contemporary novel, the articulation of international postmodernism, and the identity of Maryland’s Eastern Shore in American literature. He is the author of 17 novels and collections of short fiction and three collections of essays.

“We are very pleased to be the stewards of a collection so closely tied to the history of the university and the life of a beloved professor,” said Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums. “The John Barth Collection will offer researchers unrivaled insight into the development and work of a writer who bridged the gap between regional American fiction and international experimentation.”

The collection contains the complete extant notes and manuscripts for Barth’s published writings and many of his lectures, correspondence between Barth and other major literary figures, all the English-language editions of Barth’s work and many translations, as well as anthologies, journals, and works of criticism that include Barth’s work or scholarship about it.

The John Barth Collection will be the subject of a major exhibition in the fall of 2015, when most of it will also be opened up to researchers.

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John Barth, at the head of the table, teaches at Johns Hopkins in the 1970s. [Image: Sheridan Libraries]