A calendar of selected letters of James Hanley from the Northern Illinois University Libraries
This thesis catalogues and describes selected correspondence in Northern Illinois University's collection of the neglected British novelist and playwright James Hanley. Taken from NIU's collection of letters from Hanley to Norman Unger and Anthony Ward as well as those written to Hanley from theatrical and literary agents, the calendar illuminates Hanley's lifetime career as a writer. The contents are described and annotated with a focus on historical events and prominent literary and theatrical figures that influenced Hanley's writing. The author's experience of reduced, often oppressive conditions in England after the Second World War as seen in his letters to his American friend Norman Unger shows the source of themes of oppression and freedom in the common man that was often a large part of his novels. The letters from theatrical and literary agents illuminate the opportunities afforded to struggling writers by the rise of the television and film industry, an industry that shaped both the direction and theme of Hanley's writing. The difficult realities of Hanley's writing career are also made evident by his frequent letters attempting to promote and sell his works to in different critics and audiences. Finally, James Hanley is seen in the last stages of his career in his letters to Anthony Ward selling off a lifetime of work with bitterness and resignation.