The Bodleian Library to display John le Carre's handwritten manuscripts

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy manuscript

February 24, 2011

John le Carré has donated his literary archive to Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

Eighty five boxes of le Carré’s handwritten and typed drafts of his most famous works, such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, will feature in the display. Personal and family papers, private photographs and other correspondence will follow later.

Le Carré studied at Oxford, as did his fictional character Smiley; le Carré said “Oxford was Smiley’s spiritual home, as it is mine. And while I have the greatest respect for American universities, the Bodleian is where I shall most happily rest.”

The Bodleian plans to make the archive available online and it will be an indispensable research resource. Richard Ovenden, keeper of special collections and associate director of the Bodleian Libraries, said “There are 17 boxes of papers relating to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy alone. Looking through them shows you the genesis of this story that entered popular culture. We are enormously grateful that John le Carré has made his archive available to the Bodleian. He is such an important writer and having arguably his most famous book on show will be a wonderful way to celebrate both World Book Day and his archive.”

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