Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Wright B. mss., ca. 1930-2010, consist of the correspondence and papers of translator Barbara Wright relating to her English translations of French authors.

Barbara Wright is considered one of the premier English translators of modern French literature. An Englishwoman, born in 1915, Wright studied music in Paris in the years before World War II. She began her career as an art and literary critic before devoting her time to translation. She specialized in "poetic prose" and drama, especially French surrealist and existential writing, but she has translated works in several genres including women's literature, historical fiction, and fantasy. In 1986 she was made an officer in l'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in l'Academie Francaise.

The collection is arranged into the following series: I. Personal; II. Writings, excluding translations; III. Individuals: correspondence and translations; IV. Organizations and publications; V. Radio: scripts and correspondence; VI. Miscellaneous notebooks; VII. Conferences and events; VIII. Collège de 'Pataphysique; IX. Clippings by subject; X. Photographs; XI. Honors and certificates; XII. Miscellaneous.

The authors she has translated and who are represented in the collection include Pierre Albert-Birot, Jean Hamburger, Eugene Ionesco, Pierre Lauer, Robert Pinget, Raymond Queneau, and Nathalie Sarraute. The publishers of Wright's works, with whom there are extensive correspondence files, are Doubleday, Faber & Faber, New Directions, and Red Dust. Also present is a large file of correspondence between Wright and Russell Fitzgerald, an aspiring author and devoted fan of her work from San Francisco, California.

An inventory and a finding aid are available.

Acquired: 2003-2005, 2009, 2010.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.