British Library buys poet's 40,000 emails
Elaborate signatures, perfumed missives and intimate scribbled secrets are set to disappear from literary archives as they become increasingly full of one-line emails, spam and Amazon.co.uk receipts.
The British Library has paid £32,000 for the poet Wendy Cope's archive, which includes 40,000 emails from 2004 to the present. It is the biggest email archive acquisition in the library's history, probably in Britain, and is a landmark on the way to correspondence archives becoming fully digital.
"It anticipates the way it's going," said the former poet laureate Andrew Motion, a friend of Cope's. "We just don't write letters any more, we do it all by email."
According to Cope, her email archive contains many emails which "are not interesting at all" as well as written requests for fees. The archive contains exchanges between Cope and Motion over the latter's appointment as poet laureate in 1999. Any controversial information, says Cope, is to be held in a classified "closed" file.
She said her emails tended to be "little and often" compared to her longer, less frequently written letters.
"It's new territory for us," said Rachel Foss, lead curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library. "This is the second major email acquisition we've made after Harold Pinter's archive in 2007, but contains more material than that. We are increasingly acquiring digital material; this is going to be the norm as we move forward and we are going to get to the stage where emails replace physical letters."
The archive also includes 15 storage boxes containing drafts of poems, jottings of ideas and "to do" lists. There are songs the poet wrote while working as a teacher earlier in her career.
Life & Style blogs
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
Victoria Beckham's clothing sales double to £30 million in one year
GTA 5: Christmas arrives in Los Santos as update brings snowball fights, festive jumpers and a homing missile launcher
'Tis the season!: Google celebrates Christmas Eve with second animated Doodle
Christmas 2014: Jesus was not born in a stable, says theologian
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...