Scope and arrangement
This collection documents Morris Dickstein's activities as an academic and author, comprising his intellectual output from throughout his career. The Alphabetical Files consist of drafts and notes for Dickstein's books, essays, reviews, and lectures, as well as letters from prominent literary figures responding to Dickstein's criticisms. These files also document his administrative duties, both at academic institutions and for conferences, seminars, publications, and awards. The Biographical Files are comprised of a small amount of documents and letters related to Dickstein's personal life. The Correspondence is primarily made up of letters from editors and fellow academics, and features wide-ranging intellectual exchanges and discussions surrounding their professional and personal lives. Electronic Records primarily encompass Dickstein's essay and review drafts, some not present in the alphabetical files, and outgoing professional letters.
The Morris Dickstein papers are arranged in four series:
- 1962-201237.5 boxes
This series documents Dickstein's intellectual output throughout his career. The series is organized alphabetically by folder title, i.e. essay title, book review ordered by last name of the author, personal subject or correspondence file, or organization name. Occasionally, Dickstein, or his editors, assigned his essays multiple titles; when known, both titles are listed.
The files contain annotated drafts of books, essays, reviews, conference papers, and lectures, as well as Dickstein's research notes and clippings. Files frequently contain letters relating to editing and publication issues, as well as letters from authors in response to his criticism or analysis of their work. Of note are letters from Russell Banks, Saul Bellow, Harold Bloom, Malcolm Bradbury, Allen Ginsberg, Lillian Hellman, Cynthia Ozick, Henry Roth, Edward Said, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Diane Trilling, Lionel Trilling, and John Updike, among others. Also notable is more sustained correspondence with fellow academics and literary editors, such as Michael Aeschliman, Daniel Bell, Stanley Burnshaw, Basic Books Inc. editor Erwin Glikes, Jeffrey Peter Hart, Geoffrey H. Hartman, Ken Johnston, Herb Liebowitz of Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Jerome J. McGann, and Paul Zweig. These concern their intellectual pursuits as well as their professional and personal activities.
This series also contains material from Dickstein's time at Columbia and Yale in the 1960s, including his dissertation proposal with comments by his advisor, Lionel Trilling.
Though there is some overlap, the Electronic Records series contains additional book, essay, and lecture drafts not found among these files.
- 1940-19990.5 box
This series contains items documenting Dickstein's personal and professional life. Among these materials are short biographical write-ups prepared for book jackets and academic events; diplomas; letters from family members, such as Dickstein's mother Anne; a portrait photograph of Dickstein from the early 1960s; and multiple versions of his curriculum vitae. Additional drafts of Dickstein's curriculum vita, dated 1994-1997, can be found in the Electronic Records series.
- 1962-20117 boxes
This series, ordered chronologically by year, contains Dickstein's incoming correspondence from throughout his academic career along with a small amount of outgoing letters and letter drafts (photocopies and printouts). Many of the letters are from fellow humanities scholars, including professors in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. These letters concern various academic endeavors (writing, conference planning, teaching) and discussions of literature and culture. Other writers include magazine, journal, and university press editors; grant and fellowship coordinators; and university administrators (particularly from Queens College).
Dickstein maintained extended correspondence with Allen N. Fitchen at the University of Chicago Press over the publication of his first book, Keats and his Poetry: A Study in Development, as well as with Barbara Speyer, William Phillips, and Edith Kurzweil at Partisan Review. Other letter-writers of note include Gene H. Bell of Williams College, philosopher Marshall Berman, Italian translator Francesco Binni, Jim Bloom of Muhlenberg College, literary agent Georges Borchardt, Daniel Born of Marietta College, Bob Boyers at Bennington College and Skidmore College, Malcolm Bradbury, Ray Carney of Boston University, George Core of the Sewanee Review, Bernard Dick, Philip French of the BBC, Lawyer Martin Margulies, Mike Novak of Saint Mary College in Kansas, Carol Orr at Princeton University Press, Janice Price of Methuen and Company, and Abby Zito of Middlebury College.
Additional letters, particularly those from prominent authors and critics from outside of Dickstein's immediate intellectual circle, can be found in the Alphabetical Files series. The bulk of the collection's outgoing letters are in the Electronic Records series.
- 1986-200010.61 Megabytes (992 files
This series consists of 992 WordPerfect files on 51 5.25-inch floppy disks. Files are arranged by year according to last modified dates as recorded in the original file system metadata. Files with no modification dates are listed as undated.
File content includes Dickstein's curriculum vitae (1994-1997); outgoing correspondence, such as conference planning materials (1986-2000); and professional files, primarily course materials (course descriptions, syllabi, and assignments) and drafts of book chapters, articles, essays, and reviews (1981-1999). Although some of these documents mirror items in the paper records, many, especially Dickstein's letters and essay drafts, are not found elsewhere in the collection.
Access to this series is available in the Reading Room where researchers can browse, keyword search, and view the records.