The John McGahern archive consists primarily of drafts of McGahern’s published works, it also includes a small amount of correspondence and other material which relate to publication and John McGahern's writing career in general. The collection includes drafts of all six of John McGahern's published novels as well as drafts of his unpublished novel 'The End or the Beginning of Love'. It also includes drafts of all 37 of his published short stories, and 10 different dramatic pieces, some of which are adaptations of his own work, others of which were never produced.
The collection also includes drafts of most but not all of John McGahern's published non-fiction and several drafts of his autobiographical work Memoir . For the purposes of description drafts are characterized as being either handwritten, typescript or faircopy. 'Faircopy' describes any draft that is almost identical to a published piece and contains few if any handwritten amendments. The vast majority of typescript drafts contain handwritten amendments or additions. In many instances drafts are considered partial in that only part of a longer draft has survived or the original draft was of only part of the complete work. Where drafts consisted of a small number of pages, typically ten or less for novels or three or less for short stories they are described as fragments and grouped together with other fragments of the same format and work for the purposes of description e.g. 'Handwritten fragments of Amongst Women '.
It is clear from the presence of fragments and from the pagination on drafts that not all drafts of every work survive. Indeed this is true for the vast majority of works. The number of drafts of each work in the collection varies considerably, for example while only two drafts and a number of fragments of the short story 'The Recruiting Officer' are included in the collection, in contrast 15 drafts and a number of fragments of the short story 'Parachutes' are included in the collection. This may of course be a reflection of the different writing processes involved in writing the two stories.
In the current issue of the Dublin Review, Anthony Caleshu’s article, “How McGahern Did It” examines the very writing processes that have made McGahern so well recognized as a master of many forms. You can read the article in full here: http://thedublinreview.com/how-mcgahern-did-it/
You can view the catalogue of the John MCGahern archive in full here: http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/cgi-bin/FramedList.cgi?P71