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An Archival Analysis of Ever After: The Pleasure of Storytelling, the Painful Search for the Right Words

Analyse du manuscrit et des archives: le plaisir de la narration et la pénible quête du mot juste dans Ever After
Andrew James
p. 49-60


Grâce à l’acquisition des archives littéraires de Graham Swift par la British Library en 2009, il est désormais possible de retracer les voies de la création swiftienne du premier jet aux épreuves définitives pour chacun des romans. De prime abord, les incessantes récritures d’Ever After semblent ne présenter que peu d’intérêt, dans la mesure où elles ne présentent que peu de changement de contenu. Cependant, il apparaît rapidement que l’auteur attache une grande importance au mot juste. Au fil des ébauches et brouillons, Swift réduit le texte dans le but de maintenir l’ambiguïté, de mettre le récit en cohérence avec la voix du narrateur et d’inviter le lecteur à participer activement à la lecture. Cet article avance que certains aspects du processus de création sont plus douloureux pour Swift que pour d’autres auteurs, dans la mesure où il est obsédé par la quête du mot juste, alors même qu’il doute de la capacité du langage à exprimer ce qu’il souhaite. Par ailleurs, sa tendance grandissante à l’implicite, d’un brouillon à l’autre, atteste son respect pour l’expérience de la lecture. Les errements du narrateur Bill Unwin sont en partie le résultat de son inexpérience, et à travers son récit le lecteurs entrevoit les douloureux premiers pas de l’aspirant romancier. Cependant, ses erreurs conditionnent l’engagement du lecteur en soulevant de nombreuses questions quant à la nature de la vérité, tout en n’offrant de rares réponses.

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  • 1 The British Library’s Graham Swift archive (hereafter referred to parenthetically as GSA) consists (...)
  • 2 Swift told me in private conversation at the conference in Nice on 5 November 2010 that arrangement (...)

1Graham Swift has always called on the mysterious nature of imagination in denying that his novels spring from autobiographical experience.
In a 5 September 1986 letter to a reader curious about his creative process, he declared: ‘Works of fiction are just “dreamed up”. If you can tell me where your dreams come from, I’ll tell you how I write’ (GSA).1 He has also called writing ‘a leap into the unknown’ (Rosenberg 2). He claims that each novel springs from a moment of fleeting inspiration, and that each of these ‘fragmentary, incidental images’ (Begley, paragraph 7) represents ‘some germ of an idea getting at you’ (Rees 3). The inspirational image in Ever After was of ‘the narrator as a boy in Paris, passing a window in which he [saw] some ballet dancers practicing,’ and though Swift is generally willing to discuss such moments what comes after remains shrouded in mystery: ‘it would be very hard for me to go through, even for my own benefit, the process of how I fitted that into everything else’ (Begley, paragraph 7). However, with the acquisition of Swift’s literary archive by the British Library in 2009, it is now possible for scholars to retrace his creative process in each novel from the first cautious draft to the publisher’s proofs.2 At first glance, Swift’s tireless rewriting of Ever After seems to serve little purpose, as there are few changes in content, but a closer look reveals the importance for the author of finding the right words to fit the story. Through the progression of drafts, Swift pares down the text in order to maintain ambiguity, make the narrative fit the voice of the narrator, and invite the reader to engage with the text.

  • 3 See Swift’s full comment in the proofs of a 1991 interview (GSA) on the state of his handwriting, p (...)

2Swift composes in a cramped hand that is often difficult to read,3 and the lined manuscript pages are full of excisions, with hastily scrawled marginalia and arrows leading to additional commentary on the backs of pages. The archival researcher’s patience will certainly be tested but also rewarded; because Swift never approaches his word processor until a novel is complete, the vast majority of the significant changes are made in the handwritten drafts. Many of these changes point to his belief that language is fundamentally unreliable. One might say that while Swift derives pleasure from telling stories, both he and the narrator of Ever After agonise over finding the appropriate words. Over the last fifteen years, Swift has often suggested that language is an inherently flawed (albeit powerful) tool to be used by the artist with caution. In 1997, he said of Ever After’s successor, Last Orders, ‘Articulate language, sophisticated language has the problem of getting tangled up in itself. It’s a system of protection, in a sense. If you take that away you do strip things bare’ (Rosenberg 4). This linguistic obsession resurfaced in an interview about his next novel, The Light of Day, in 2003: ‘again I am using fairly simple language, but often to say very complicated things. That development in my writing is much more important to me than the Booker Prize’ (Hartung 146). It is not surprising, then, to find that Bill Unwin shares Swift’s reservations and fears that his words will misrepresent him. ‘I am not me,’ Bill says in reference to his failed suicide attempt. He then allows that there is no way for the reader to verify the truth of this statement

since you have no means of comparison and only my word to go on. But that is the point: these words, or rather the tone, the pitch, the style of them and consequently of the thoughts that underly them, are not mine. I have penned in my time—long ago—a thesis and an academic paper or two, but I have never begun to write anything as—personal—as this. Yet this way in which I write is surely not me. What would you call it? (Swift 1992, 6).

3And while he advises the reader not to trust in language, he has complete confidence in the emotional power of literature: ‘I still believe it is the speech, the voice of the heart’ (Swift 1992, 7–8). Swift offered similar sentiments in a recent address in Nice, saying that ‘Writing is not about words,’ and good literature expresses what is ‘beyond words.’ However, he also stated that the thrill of writing is in finding ‘something that wasn’t there yesterday . . . and wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for you.’ He labelled the act of creation ‘an intense form of enjoyment’ (Swift 2010).

4Although he often becomes pedantic and the text is littered with references to Shakespeare and the classics, Bill Unwin, like Graham Swift, reminds us that artistic ideas need not be complex. Bill is under administrative scrutiny for his simplistic tutorials in which he urges students to recognise the beauty in literature, and says in his own defence: ‘A great deal of literature—why not be frank?—only states the obvious. A great deal of literature is only (only!) the obvious transformed into the sublime’ (76). He wonders: ‘Why should the simplest, tritest words (excuse this extemporary lecture) touch us with pure delight?’ (77). These appeals to appreciate the obvious reflect the choices he has made in life, for the Parisian ballerinas that captured his childhood imagination were long ago replaced by scantily dressed dancers at the Blue Moon Club in Soho—one of whom became his actress wife—and his goal of writing a scholarly book gives way to a dreamy re-creation. Even if this fictionalization of Matthew Pearce’s life will be devoid of academic merit, Bill’s apologies are excessive and they mark him as a novice storyteller. He seems to expect the reader’s censure for taking ‘The facts, mixed with a good deal of not necessarily false invention . . . I am not in the business of strict historiography. It is a prodigious, a presumptuous task: to take the skeletal remains of a single life and attempt to breathe into them their former actuality’ (100). Cautious yet proud, he announces: ‘Let Matthew be my creation. He would have appreciated the commitment—not to say the irony. And if I conjure out of the Notebooks a complete yet hybrid being, part truth, part fiction, is that so false?’ (100).

  • 4 See the letter of 27 August 2005 to Paul Furness in which Swift refers to the period at York from 1 (...)
  • 5 See Jakob Winnberg’s analysis of Ever After, in which he claims that its metafictionality turns Bil (...)

5Thus, Swift re-enacts his own beginnings as a fiction writer masquerading as a doctoral student. Shortly after he enrolled at York, he began neglecting his research to write short stories4 and he must have felt both excitement at the project’s imaginative possibilities and guilt over the use of academic resources for covert creative activities. Many of the problems with Bill’s narrative, which critics have cited as proof of his unreliability,5 may be seen as the mistakes of a novice writer, such as his predilection for reminding the reader that he is telling a story rather than the truth: ‘Or that is how I like to see it. That is how I wish it to have happened. I give to Matthew’s life that very quality of benign design that he had already glimpsed might be lacking from the universe. I choose to believe that Matthew first met Elizabeth . . .’ (114). The reader, however, has no choice but to accept Bill’s version because he possesses the Pearce Notebooks and only divulges certain sections of them in his narrative. Much of the story is told through imaginative re-enactments, such as the one Bill offers of the initial meeting between Elizabeth Hunt and Matthew Pearce at his father’s shop. At its conclusion, the narrator undercuts the entire scene: ‘I invent all this. I don’t know that this is how it happened. It can’t have been like this simply because I imagine it so’ (120).

6Swift would go on to create another novice storyteller in George Webb, the narrator of The Light of Day. He too pushes his interpretations on the reader and, although he is a policeman turned private detective without any of Bill Unwin’s academic training, it is significant that the two narrators share the same persuasive tone. ‘You have to picture the scene,’ says Bill midway through an explication of the Pearce Notebooks. ‘You have to imagine these scenes in which for most people nothing changes, nothing is essentially different’ (1992, 112). Similarly, when George Webb recreates a tearful scene between Sarah and Kristina, he says, ‘I can see it. You have to put yourself in the scene. The two of them in that kitchen’ (GSA, typescript, 38). Curiously, both novels end with the repetition of these appeals to the reader. Bill Unwin says again, ‘You have to picture the scene. How it was then, on a wet August night in 1957’ (1992, 275) while in the final pages of the typescript of ‘Clear Light of Day,’ the working title for The Light of Day, Swift repeated the following sentence: ‘You have to put yourself in the scene’ (GSA, 191). The repetition was not accidental, for The Light of Day is full of such examples, and Swift went back over the typescript to mark recurring phrases with rectangular boxes and capital Rs.

7In The Light of Day and Ever After Swift uses novice narrators to draw attention to the story-telling process and encourage the reader to engage with the text. Matthew Pearce insists that it is perfectly acceptable to respond on a personal level to the Bible, Lyell’s Principles of Geology, and Darwin’s Origin of Species, just as Bill’s highly subjective response to the Notebooks mirrors Swift’s to Hamlet as a schoolboy at Dulwich College. This play is frequently referred to in Ever After, and a reading of the essay Swift wrote in 1966 reveals that its significance is not just thematic. From the essay’s opening lines Swift signals his intention to directly engage with Shakespeare: ‘The problems of “Hamlet” are not all problems of content. As in “Troilus and Cressida”, there are inconsistencies in the style and quality of the verse, dramatic control and forward movement are not always maintained and there is often a lack of economy in both form and expression’ (GSA, 1). Shakespeare is criticised for writing speeches full of ‘pointless banalities’ and ‘poetic digressions’ (1) and the essayist’s tone is closer to that of a haughty book reviewer than an admiring schoolboy: ‘Whilst there is not much that can be readily called irrelevant, there remains a problem of unity. We are continually wandering from one area of experience to another’ (2); ‘Shakespeare, as we shall see, tries to give “Hamlet” the quality of a world-picture, the universal application that we get in the later tragedies, but at this stage he does not succeed’ (2). Perhaps the judgmental tone can be explained by the vigour of youth, and yet it is remarkable that Swift challenged Shakespeare so directly. Almost thirty years later he would encourage the reader to approach Ever After in much the same manner. At several points, one is expected not only to engage with the text but challenge its reliability. Bill Unwin might be accused of unreliable narration for imagining the scene between Michael Potter and his lover Gabriela that resulted in her leaving a perfume bottle in the car (1992, 176), but it amounts to a challenge to the reader to accept Bill’s story or come up with an alternative version. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that Bill is less interested in telling the story of Matthew Pearce than in recreating his own story. When Michael Potter claims that he ought to have possession of the Pearce notebooks since the spiritual crisis of the mid-nineteenth century is his subject, Bill asks himself, ‘how does anyone find “their subject”?’ (177) and the question has personal, existential overtones. Swift’s answer is that one requires time to read, think, and write. This is the opportunity he took advantage of in graduate school, writing his first experimental stories when he was supposed to be researching Dickens, just as Bill uses the Notebooks and the Ellison Fellowship to develop his creative side.

  • 6 After listening to the presentation version of this paper, Swift agreed that both George Webb and B (...)
  • 7 See the 2003 interview conducted by Boyd Tonkin in which Swift explains the long gaps between his n (...)

8From the author’s perspective, another benefit of using narrators like Bill Unwin and George Webb is that they are capable of stumbling across the truth. They can reveal things through their mistaken interpretations and awkward descriptions that more accomplished storytellers cannot.6 In general, Swift’s tendency to reveal truths only partly or indirectly stems from his determination to heighten ambiguity.7 One of his creative habits in the composition process is to return to a particular word or phrase throughout a scene, showing a different implied meaning with each usage. The meaning may be quite clear in the initial draft, but through cuts and word changes becomes progressively weaker and more ambiguous. One example is in the use of the word ‘type’ in the description of Katherine Potter’s visit to Bill Unwin in chapter eight. After her departure, Bill reflects, ‘She is not my type, not my type at all. What does it mean to say someone is not your type? As if these things are pre-ordained.’ Gina (who would become Gabriella the Italian research assistant in the final version) is not his type either, though she and Katherine are described as different types (longhand 15). This paragraph was completely excised, but the discussion of types would be revived five pages later. The three sentences quoted from page fifteen are then repeated with the addition of the following: ‘As if people run to type’ (longhand 22). In the finished novel, ‘type’ also appears in three different contexts in chapter eight, and while the reader is still made to think of the implications of ‘type’ through repetition, there are no philosophical statements or open-ended questions which clarify the author’s own position. First, Bill reveals that when he feels the occasional prickle of lust he overcomes it by telling himself, ‘Not your type, definitely not your type’ (92), then he refers to Gabriella as ‘definitely not’ his type (94), finally and he calls Katherine in the role of Ophelia ‘Not my type. Not my type at all’ (95). This progression towards ambiguity in the composition process reminds us of one of Swift’s stated literary goals: ‘I don’t want to write novels that solve things,’ he said in a 2008 interview. ‘More mystery by the end, not less!’ (Varsavsky, GSA).

9Furthermore, marginalia can assist the archival researcher in understanding how Swift himself viewed certain characters and scenes at the moment of composition. If he wrote early drafts on a word processor, these reflections and bursts of inspiration would doubtless go unrecorded, but because he uses pen and paper the margins contain a running commentary on the novel in progress. The fifth page of chapter eleven includes the following marginal note: ‘Idea of M[atthew]’s hopes for posterity ︎↔︎ God’s will; nature’s strife.’ On the back of the next page a note for chapter fifteen appears: ‘shld. emphasise more idea of M. and posterity (individuality, “fame”) rather than sense of “Why did he do it”’ (6). Similarly, lines of dialogue for future chapters sometimes surface in the margins, like Sam Ellison’s ‘You gotta have substitoots’ (chapter 11, 8). We return to the ‘substitoots’ line in the next chapter, as Bill says that Sam ‘had a simple . . . expedient’ for death, ‘which he had been applying, in fact, long before my mother breathed her last—“Substitoots! Substitoots”’ (chapter 12, 3).

10An examination of the manuscript also provides insight into the attendant pleasures and pains of composition. In the typescript, Swift drew a long perpendicular line and wrote ‘This is just wonderful’ next to a passage that begins, ‘Do we have souls? Do bees? Did Matthew have a soul?’ In the middle of the marked passage comes this sentence, which is also reproduced unaltered in the published novel: ‘But if the soul is a fiction, why a book—a few ideas set down on the page—make so much difference to the world?’ (1992, 195). Bill Unwin is speculating on Matthew Pearce’s reaction to Darwin, and by wondering aloud about the importance of writing Swift shows that metafictional concerns are indeed of personal significance. In other cases, trails of excisions and discarded pages suggest that certain passages were more painful to write than others. Swift seems to have had particular difficulty depicting Bill Unwin in company. Perhaps because Bill is defined by his lack of personality, Swift might have had difficulty knowing how he would talk and act. Chapter twenty-one in the longhand draft contains a folio of rejected typed pages, with two treatments of the scene in which Katherine Potter visits Bill’s rooms, places his hand on her breast, then listens to the explanation of how Gabriella’s perfume bottle came into his possession. The lexical and orthographic changes are numerous, but of minimal importance. The following passage, which received three treatments, is representative. After Bill explains his reasons for taking the perfume, Swift first wrote: ‘All of which produces another welter, another convulsion of tears.’ Eventually this became: ‘All of which produces another convulsion of forgiveness-seeking, another welter of tears.’

11Swift tinkers with wording not only out of concern for the reliability of language, but because of the kind of writer he is. In a 2006 interview, he stated:

I’m a storyteller and I basically believe that telling is more important than showing. It’s the opposite, I know, of the advice often given to aspiring writers: ‘show, don’t tell.’ Of course it’s often good to tell by showing: an image, a detail, some little concrete touch will sometimes reveal much more than writing a whole paragraph of exposition. Mere exposition is never good. But at a deeper level you have to engage in the vital business of telling.

12Further proof of the emphasis Swift places on telling his stories in the best possible way lies in the folio entitled ‘Things to Reconsider’ and the ‘Revised Pages’ that accompany the manuscript of Ever After. At the top of the list of things to reconsider, Swift put the title, followed by the protagonist’s name: ‘Bill not Paul Unwin?’ Self-critical throughout, Swift worried that the novel’s beginning ‘smacks too much of a certain familiar English/academic kind of novel’; the manuscript is given to Katherine too early (in chapter eight); the letter from Major Pilkington may be unacceptable; ‘Sam’s revelation in the garden to Nar[rator] about father too abrupt’; Matthew’s departure from his wife’s family may not be ‘convincing’; the final chapter has poor rhythm and the penultimate chapter too little dialogue; there is ‘excessive use of exclamation marks’ and a need for ‘more concrete depiction of Ruth’ in her relationship with the narrator. Four small notebook pages follow with problems detected in the typescript represented with page numbers; Swift went over each problem and crossed it out once it had been attended to. He considered carefully even the most minor changes, such as the description of Potter’s car as a ‘cherry-red Saab’ becoming a ‘red Audi.’

13In conclusion, some elements in the creative process are perhaps more painful for Swift than for other writers. He is determined to find the best wording, and yet he does not trust language to represent him. While this may be a philosophical position—the impossibility of arriving at definitive truth through indeterminate language—it is also directly related to the kind of novels Swift aspires to write. Ever After is less concerned with what happens next than it is with the narrator’s feelings about what has already happened. The trouble is that Bill Unwin in mourning does not always know how he feels, nor is he able to express himself. In the discussion of the metamorphosis of Swift’s play on the word ‘type,’ it was shown that in the earliest draft the author asked the reader directly what it means to say that someone is your type, then pondered the notion that people ‘run to type.’ This kind of philosophising is a common feature of the Matthew Pearce Notebooks; in contrast, Bill Unwin’s narrative is marked by the alternation between a dreamy recreation of the past and the struggle to cope with the immediate present. While the collocations of ‘type’ would definitely occur to Graham Swift, accomplished wordsmith and novelist, and possibly to Matthew Pearce, they might not immediately spring to the mind of Bill Unwin. Thus, when Swift appears to struggle with word choice in the novel’s handwritten drafts, he may actually be engaged in the larger struggle of extricating himself from the narrative and changing the wording to match the narrator’s voice.

14Swift’s tendency to tell less and less through the progression of drafts is also indicative of his respect for the reading experience. As evidenced by ‘Things to Reconsider,’ Swift is seriously concerned with the reader’s reaction. Most of the issues raised are not related to the story, but how it is told. And when an author worries over telling too much or too little, or uses words like ‘unacceptable’ or ‘unconvincing’ in reflecting on his manuscript, he is showing immediate awareness of the reader’s needs. If the narrator of Ever After is a novice, its author is not, and an examination of the novel in draft reveals the pains Swift takes to find the most appropriate wording in order to preserve the pleasure of the reading experience.

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Anon., ‘Ending with love’, The Bookseller February 7 1992: 377.

Begley, Adam, ‘Interview with Graham Swift’, 1992, 11 paragraphs, last accessed 20 August 2010:

Bernard, Catherine and Gilles Menegaldo, ‘Interview with Graham Swift,’ University of Poitiers, France, contained in Graham Swift archive, British Library (November 1991): 1–10.

Hartung, Heike, ‘The Challenge of Becoming Another Person’, Anglistik 16 (2005): 139–146.

Malcolm, David, Understanding Graham Swift, Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 2003.

Rees, Jasper, ‘Interview with Graham Swift’, The Telegraph 7 March 2009, 1–3, last accessed 20 August 2010:

Rosenberg, Scott, ‘Interview with Graham Swift’, 1997, 1–6, last accessed 20 August 2010:

Swift, Graham, Personal papers, correspondence and manuscripts contained in the Graham Swift archive, British Library.

Swift, Graham, Shuttlecock, New York: Vintage, 1981.

Swift, Graham, Ever After, New York: Vintage, 1992.

Swift, Graham, ‘Round table with Graham Swift’, at Playfulness and Painfulness conference, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, November 4 2010.

Tolan, Fiona, ‘Interview with Graham Swift’, conducted in London, contained in Graham Swift archive, British Library (August 9 2006), 1–8.

Tonkin, Boyd, ‘Graham Swift: Distant voices, still lives’, The Independent (March 3 2003), last accessed on 15 December 2010:

Varsavsky, Paula, ‘Interview with Graham Swift’, conducted by facsimile for La Gaceta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, contained in Graham Swift archive, British Library (June 25 2008).

Winnberg, Jakob, An Aesthetics of Vulnerability: The Sentimentum and the Novels of Graham Swift, Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2003.

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1 The British Library’s Graham Swift archive (hereafter referred to parenthetically as GSA) consists of his professional correspondence, surviving essays written at Dulwich College and Cambridge University, and the drafts and proofs of all his short stories, first eight novels, and the essay collection Making an Elephant (2009). Any materials that are not available to scholars on the internet or in printed books, or were accessed in the British Library in manuscript form, are cited in this paper as GSA materials.

2 Swift told me in private conversation at the conference in Nice on 5 November 2010 that arrangements had not yet been made regarding the fate of future manuscripts, including those for Wish You Were Here, his ninth novel, which is due out in early 2011.

3 See Swift’s full comment in the proofs of a 1991 interview (GSA) on the state of his handwriting, preceded by an explanation of the merits of longhand composition: ‘Well, I think it’s purely a technical thing. I believe there are certain notes I can make for myself, to myself, as I’m writing which I can only do with a pen, or I can only do quickly with a pen. If you were to look at a typical manuscript page of mine, it would be virtually illogical. I mean, only I can read my own writing. There is a great deal of crossing out, I write a lot in the margin. The important thing for me is to preserve things quickly; they’re coming to my mind, not for immediate writing, but for later on. And I think I can do that best by just putting a marginal note with a pen’ (Bernard and Menegaldo 1).

4 See the letter of 27 August 2005 to Paul Furness in which Swift refers to the period at York from 1970 to 1973 as his ‘apprenticeship’ to the career of writing: ‘It was a fairly secret apprenticeship and how I managed to convince the University for three years I was really doing a Ph.D. I don’t know. Perhaps it just shows things weren’t very stringent. I never got a doctorate, but the irony is that not so long ago York gave me an honorary doctorate anyway’ (GSA).

5 See Jakob Winnberg’s analysis of Ever After, in which he claims that its metafictionality turns Bill Unwin into an unreliable narrator: ‘Unwin scrutinizes his story about Matthew, rather than Swift scrutinizing his story about Unwin, but the passage resembles Fowles’ authorial interventions in The French Lieutenant’s Woman.’ Winnberg asks fitting questions, including: ‘If Unwin picks Pearce’s Notebooks to pieces, why should we not pick Unwin’s narrative to pieces? If there are doubts about Matthew’s marriage, why should there not be doubts about Unwin’s?’ (153). While Winnberg is persuasive, the problem with calling Bill Unwin unreliable lies in the implication that he is a deliberate authorial device. Swift is neither playing games with nor deceiving the reader, but allowing Bill to tell the story in his own (inconsistent and fallible) voice. He thereby invites the reader’s active participation in the text through the inevitable errors and omissions which occur when a novice storyteller relates complex, personal stories. See also David Malcolm’s discussion of Bill Unwin’s untrustworthiness and unreliability (139–142).

6 After listening to the presentation version of this paper, Swift agreed that both George Webb and Bill Unwin ‘stumble on the truth,’ therefore enabling him as author to express things that might have eluded a more polished narrator. However he did object to my pejorative characterisation of them as ‘clumsy,’ which has since been altered to ‘novice.’

7 See the 2003 interview conducted by Boyd Tonkin in which Swift explains the long gaps between his novels in the following way: ‘I write an awful lot more in order to produce what the public sees.’ He says of The Light of Day, which appeared seven years after its predecessor, Last Orders, that he ‘probably wrote the equivalent of two or three other novels’ in draft form.

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Andrew James

Chikushi Jogakuen University, Dazaifu, Japan.
Andrew James is associate professor in the English and Multimedia Studies Department at Chikushi Jogakuen University in Dazaifu, Japan. His most recent publications include essays on literary theory in Teaching Theory (Palgrave, 2011) and Kingsley Amis in Semblance and Significance (Benjamins, 2011). After doing extensive archival research into Amis at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the Huntington Library and Harry Ransom Center in America, he is now focused on the British Library’s Graham Swift Archive. James is primarily concerned with the question of how authorial intent affects the creative process. As a recipient of a JSPS fellowship (Japanese Grants-in-Aid of Scientific Research Program), he is currently engaged in a three-year archival study of Swift’s novels.

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