An unassuming, ‘sagacious therapist’ is how psychiatrist Prof. Anthony Clare describes Maeve Binchy in the Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. The popular Irish novelist, who died this week in Dublin, was “sensitive in her treatment of the ordinary and everyday, knew her readers and how to satisfy their readerly needs”. Binchy’s entry was submitted by Barbara Hughes.
The Archives holds documentation on this entry and all papers relating to this ambitious piece of work edited by Lorna Sage & published by Cambridge University Press (1999). The Guide includes a few thousand entries from contributors around the world. Sage’s task was to commission the contributors, edit and bring together their submissions.
“My new air-conditioning is wonderful, reduces the Florentine 35 or 36% to a liveable 22, so I sit in the dark dining room in my own atmosphere, conjuring contributors. And the email is working too, on and off, so the Guide should get delivered in September, why not …!”
Correspondence (sometimes frantic) and administrative papers highlight just what’s involved in producing a reference work of such proportions.