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Far Eastern Novelist & Social Historian's Archive

Far Eastern Novelist & Social Historian's Archive by BARR, Pat[ricia] & John Barr (1955)

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Author: BARR, Pat[ricia] & John Barr
Title: Manuscript, Typescript & Photographic Archive
Year: 1955
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Far East and Norfolk
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
Price: £2950
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Extensive archive (nearly 1 linear metre) of the successful novelist and social historian of China, Japan, India and the far east Pat Barr (1934-2018), author of 19 published books, and her husband, environmental journalist John Barr. Highlights of the collection include an unpublished play about the Victorian writer and traveller, Isabella Bird (of whom Pat Barr wrote a biography), unpublished novels set in 1870s Japan and the far east, an unpublished sequel to the couple's jointly written novel, The Andean Murders, and again by Pat Barr a late unpublished work which stems from her passionately held feminism: The Mature Woman’s Guide to Independent Travel in Asia. Additionally there are loose candid photographs, archival material relating to her many published works and a photo album which records those life-changing early years in Japan, 1957-1960.

Patricia Copping was born in Norwich, went to Norwich High School for Girls, read English at Birmingham University (student magazine Vodka included in archive) and shortly after graduating in 1956 married John Barr, an American environmental journalist. The couple moved to Japan in 1957 where Pat taught at the Yokohama International School while researching and writing the thesis for her master’s degree (see below): these years and the research Barr undertook shaped her whole writing life, in particular her fascination with the far east.

POETRY: folder of typescript poems Patricia Copping, lightly annotated; a single manuscript poem,‘Mobiles’, unsigned. Typescript poem, ‘The Hunt’, begins ‘Outside the senses bungled at the sound - Golden-apple rattle fo the fly-flug feather shots…’

The Writings on Japan and the Japanese of English and American Visitors 1852-1910, University College, London, ff300. Card wrappers. Pat Barr's thesis which took as its theme the letters and lives of early western settlers arriving in Japan after the country’s centuries spent closed to outsiders. It became two books, The Coming of the Barbarians (1967) and The Deer Cry Pavilion (1988), recently reissued under the imprint of Faber Finds.

ALBUM, 1957-1960, mounted photographs and mementos of Pat and John Barr’s Japanese years, notably in Yokohama where Pat is seen taking a principal role in an amateur dramatic production of Quiet Weekend staged by the Yokohama Amateur Dramatic club, also both pictured at Lake Hakone, Kyoto, a heavily militarised Korea, Okinawa, Nagasaki etc.

The Airbase Affair by 'Laurence Hazard' - a pseudonym for Pat and John Barr writing together - ff 246, professional typescript, c1960-65, no annotations, boxed. This appears to be a successor to their jointly written thriller, The Andean Murders, which was published in 1960. Apparently unpublished.

Notebook marked P M Barr Postgraduate English Department, University College, London. Japanese Novel Research Bibliography. Lists of books consulted with comments.

To some acclaim Pat Barr wrote the ‘standard biography’ (her description) of Isabella Bird in 1970, A Curious Life for a Lady: The Story of Isabella Bird . Barr’s Guardian obituary noted that ‘Pat cheerfully acknowledged that she shared many characteristics with her heroine: widows both – Pat at the early age of 36 – and childless, or “childfree”, as Pat would always insist, they were indefatigable travellers despite occasional bouts of ill health... To the end of her days Pat kept a miniature of Isabella on her mantelpiece.'

Isabella: a play in Two Acts by Pat Barr, ff52, word-processed typescript with introductory note on the Victorian traveller Isabella Bird 1831-1904 and on the author. The play appears to be unpublished, no doubt inspired by her earlier biographical study of Bird, Barr describes the play in her introduction as her attempt ‘to explore Isabella’s extremely psychological makeup and the conflicts she faced when she tried to reconcile the demands of her conventional Christian upbringing with her rebellious inner compulsion for far-flung adventure and true independence.’ No record of performance or publication.

(Barr published 19 books including four very popular novels in the 1970s and ‘80s but the archive offers several more unpublished novels and other works.)

Blackish, by Reason of the Ice by Pat Barr, professional typescript novel, perhaps 1990s, ff 141. Apparently unpublished novel set in the 1870s in Hakodate, Japan, in and around the scandalous activities of the United Evangelical Mission, viewed retrospectively after a manuscript is discovered.

Water Under the Bridge. Manuscript notes and annotated typescript of preliminary ideas and drafts for a novel which deals with a family coming to terms with a Japanese prisoner of war experience, narrated by ‘Mrs Lilian Worth, aged seventy-three…’ Probably written 2000-2010.

Grandmother’s Footsteps by Pat Barr and Carolyn Faulder, Plot outline and working notes for a play set in Norfolk. Submitted to Anglia Television with a copy of the submission letter. (Carolyn Faulder subsequently wrote Pat Barr’s obituary in the Guardian).

The Mature Woman’s Guide to Independent Travel in Asia. professional typescript, c100 pages. A brief treatment and outline of content and text of chapters 1-4. Substantial apparently unpublished book-project drawing upon Barr’s extensive experience in south-east Asia. This book was intended to allow other women to pursue the travels that she so admired in the life of Isabella Bird and that she had achieved herself. Probably written 2000-2015

INDIA: In 1976 Barr’s fascination with India resulted in her book The Memsahibs, the Women of Victorian India. There is considerable manuscript evidence of the research that she undertook for this book here.

‘Notes on 19thC India for [?] Book’. Around 100 pages of manuscript notes by Barr, ranging across India’s history, from the time of Warren Hastings onwards.

‘Memories of British Women in India’, 1970s, a large manila envelope labelled by Barr which contains letters and manuscripts in various hands, gathered by Barr during her Indian research. Notably by Muriel L D Thomas who offers personal testimony in her ‘Childhood memories of a voyage from Liverpool to Bombay in 1903’ including a childhood letter on Anchor Line Ship headed paper dated 1903, and copied extracts of her father’s letters.

‘By Area Personal Contacts for British Women in India’. Manuscript notes of contacts that Barr made during her Indian research, recorded in an HMSO notebook which supplies names and addresses and her subjects’ areas of interest such as education.

Envelope of Victorian photographs, mostly reproductions for illustrations, some with notes to verso including Hugh Clifford, Isabella Bird’s House at Selangor and a clear folder of photocopies of Indian research material and photos.

Typescript text of a talk given by Dorothy Middleton (biographer of Isabella Bird) to the Wives’ Fellowship at Oxford, 1982, on her years as a child and young lady in India.


JADE: A NOVEL OF CHINA, Folder containing many reviews and letters about Barr's 1980s novel Jade: A Novel of China which she set at the end of the nineteenth century, young missionary stranded in Tientsin in 1870 during the uprising against foreigners, lots of references to Pearl S Buck and Far Pavilions. With, fan mail including a letter from a book group in Arizona 1984 reviewing ‘Chinese Alice’ and ‘Jade’. Letter from Gary J Scrimgeour, Bloomington, Indiana 1982, (author). Glossy booklet advertising Jade.

CHINESE ALICE, small collection of newspaper cuttings book reviews of PB’s novel Chinese Alice, 1981 together with short biography and publisher’s correspondence about the book.

Malaysia/ Kuala Lumpur, 4 manuscript spiral notebooks in Barr's hand, two are names, dates, phone numbers, one has longer notes on Singapore/ Residents Thoughts, the other longer notes on Kuala Lumpur/Sarawak

Galley proof copies of Barr’s articles ‘The Federal Land Development Authority of Malaysia’ with others for Geographical Magazine, some with photographs. With Information on Observer headed notepaper – list of contacts in Brunei and Sarawak. 2 manuscript letters from readers, one re Barr’s book ‘Taming the Jungle’ re Chinese memories, the other is personal memories of Malaysia from RJH Kemp. Malaysian ephemera including travel information, photos of Old Malaysia

FOREIGN DEVILS: WESTERNERS IN THE FAR EAST, THE 16TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY, by Pat Barr, Topics in History series, Penguin Education, 1970, inscribed ‘author’s copy’, lightly annotated by Pat Barr throughout, possibly when using her own text as a guide for her novel writing.

Letter from Corgi Books to Pat Barr, 1984, regarding the blurb on her book cover which she disliked. “I think you are over-reacting”.

DIARY OF PAT BARR’S MOTHER: Diary of D M Copping of Norwich, dated 1960 recording the trip by the 62 year old to Yokohama on the ship ‘Orsova’, entries tail off over time: visits Trinidad, San Francisco, Vancouver and later meets Pat and John in Yokohama. Left London July 29 1960, last entry December 25 Aden. This trip is partially recorded in the photo album above.

Envelope of Barr family photographs, some annotated, dating from 1950’s -70’s, including Venice, South America, Europe, England, Far East.

John Barr was an American journalist working for the University of Maryland overseas when he met and married Patricia Copping. He wrote Derelict Britain, 1971; The Assaults on our Senses and several environmental titles. He also co-authored at least two novels with his wife who is revealed in this archive as his most influential critic. The archive also contains two full length novels by John Barr alone together with his journalistic output.

The Secretaries, chapters 1-9, typed on versos of University Courses paper and set in Yokohama and Tokyo. The novel has been heavily annotated by Pat Barr in red pen, sometimes praising her husband's work, 'Better than Chapter 1!', often calling out his sexism in the writing. A second file marked ‘Writing II’ contains the typescript of chapters 10-21 also on the verso of enrolment sheets and heavily annotated.

Avocado in the Andes, Typescript novel. Ff 236, not annotated or signed - possibly another collaborative effort by the couple.

A House of Clay – a novel. Book 1, ff94, typescript together with short stories -The Shah is Dead ff17, The Coffin ff20, The Vigil ff68, Homegoing. Each with John Barr, San Francisco address label. No annotations. Apparently unpublished.

Folder marked ‘Miscellaneous freelance articles 1948-1959’ from several publications including the Los Angeles Times, University of Stockholm, Berlin Observer etc. Yellow ‘Go’ magazine folder of travel articles written by JB for various publications early 1960’s. Folder of New Society magazine cuttings – articles by John Barr; New Knowledge and Contact magazines; newspaper cuttings of JB’s articles in the Telegraph, Observer etc; orange sketchbook filled with newspaper cuttings of articles by JB 1961/62; New Society folder JB articles 1964/5. Dixons file with newspaper cuttings of travel writing by JB 1964-5 for Harper’s Bazaar, Guardian, New York Times, Travel Agency etc. Transcript of a BBC radio broadcast to which JB contributed, ‘The Bolivian Coup d’Etat’ on The World Today.
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