The Department of English and the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London have won an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the British Library, for the project: ‘Ways of Seeing John Berger: Researching the British Library’s John Berger Archive’.
Applications are sought for doctoral award to study John Berger archive – to be supervised by Professor Max Saunders, Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre, and Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library.
The writer and critic John Berger’s donation to the British Library of a substantial collection of papers in 2009 was widely reported
in the national and international media. The archive covers all aspects of Berger’s uniquely varied career as novelist, cultural collaborator, and influential art critic. Berger’s work has had an enormous impact across a range of disciplines and activities. He has been a major creative presence in the literary world, for his fiction, drama, and cultural journalism. He transformed Anglo-Saxon art history, and revolutionised the presentation of cultural material in the media. A major reassessment of his work across some or all of these fields would in itself be an event of cultural significance. It is envisaged, however, that this project would prompt a more sustained consideration of the political and social role of the cultural industries and the heritage sector in the light of Berger’s provocative work in this area.
The Berger archive contains over 100 file boxes of drafts, scripts, reviews, and correspondence. It includes drafts of some of Berger’s best-known fiction, including the 1972 Booker Prize-winning novel G, the trilogy Into their Labours, and the recent Booker-nominated novel From A to X. A series of leather-bound notebooks contain drafts and notes for Berger’s controversial first novel, A Painter of Our Time (1958). The archive also covers his work in other media; especially documents relating to his landmark book and television series Ways of Seeing, and his work with theatre companies such as Complicité and New York’s The Talking Band, as well as letters and scripts relating to Berger’s collaborations with the Swiss film director Alain Tanner.
Please see here
for more information.
John Berger’s early novels A Painter of Our Time
and Corker’s Freedom
will be published in beautiful
new editions this summer. A Seventh Man – his seminal exploration of migrant workers, illuminated by the celebrated photographer Jean Mohr – will follow as an updated edition with new material in the autumn.
Said to be John’s favourite out of all his books, A Seventh Man asks Why does the Western economy depend on the importing of migrants to do its most menial work? Why are the owners of those arms and hands treated like replaceable parts of a machine? What compels the migrant worker to leave their own country and accept this humiliation?
John Berger and Jean Mohr set out to consider the migrant worker’s life – their material circumstances and inner feelings – and in doing so, revealed how the migrant is not on the margins of modern experience, but is absolutely central to it. First published in 1975, this finely wrought exploration of the migrant’s world, and Western preconceptions of it, remains as urgent as ever.
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