Fiedler, Leslie (1917-2003)
Scope:
The Leslie Fiedler collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, professional material, audio recordings, and photographs.

Manuscripts by Fiedler in the collection include book-length criticism and non-fiction, essays, reviews, poetry, fiction, memoirs, speeches, introductions and prefaces, notes, articles, and other items. Manuscripts for books in the collection (all published by Stein Day except where noted include two early abandoned novels Weaving, Weeping and Lies (ca. 1940) and The Two Pockets (ca. 1941), as well as his novels The Second Stone (1963), Back to China (Stein Day, 1965), and The Messengers Will Come No More (1974). Books of criticism include An End to Innocence (1955); Love and Death in the American Novel (Criterion, 1960; revised ed., 1966); No! In Thunder (Beacon Press, 1960); The Riddle of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Basic Books, 1962); Waiting for the End (1964); The Continuing Debate: Essays on Education, edited by Fiedler and Jacob Vinocur (St. Martin’s, 1965); The Return of the Vanishing American (1968); Collected Essays (1971); The Stranger in Shakespeare (1972); In Dreams Awake: A Historical-Critical Anthology of Science Fiction, edited by Fiedler (Dell, 1976); Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self (Simon and Schuster, 1978); Olaf Stapeldon (Oxford University Press, 1982); What Was Literature? (Simon and Schuster, 1982); Fiedler on the Roof (Godine, 1991); and Tyranny of the Normal (Godine, 1996).

Also present are the short story collections present include Pull Down Vanity and Other Stories (Lippincott, 1962) and Nude Croquet and Other Stories (1969), as well as Fiedler’s memoir Being Busted (1969). All of Fielder’s manuscripts are present in variant drafts; besides holograph drafts, the collection also contains numerous typed drafts of essays and books, often corrected by Fiedler and sometimes by an editor. The manuscripts for Being Busted and Freaks also include Fiedler’s research material and other supporting documents. Freaks includes a letter to Fiedler from a reader, describing his personal experience as a circus freak who toured with the Barnum and Bailey circus in the 1930s. Being Busted includes a partial transcript of the testimony of the police informant behind Fiedler’s arrest, as well as documents regarding the Fiedler Legal Defense Fund.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive, making up more than half of the total amount of material. The letters, which date from the 1940s to 2003, are primarily professional in nature, though some significant personal correspondence is also present. The familial letters, consisting of correspondence between Fiedler, his family, children, grandchildren, and both wives, includes a batch of letters written from Fiedler to his family while he was stationed in the Pacific during World War II (Fiedler served in the Marines, primarily as a Japanese translator). Also present is a good deal of fan mail (positive and negative) from readers. Notable personal correspondents are too numerous to list in full; they include Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, W. H. Auden, John Barth, Saul Bellow, Anthony Burgess, Robert Coover, Robert Creeley, Samuel R. Delany, David Diamond, Harlan Ellison, T. S. Eliot, Nuala O’Faolin, Philip Jose Farmer, James Farrell, William Faulkner, Lukas Foss, William Gass, Allen Ginsberg, David Godine, Erica Jong, Henry Kissinger, Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Timothy Leary, Gordon Lish, Norman Mailer, Barnard Malamud, Dwight McDonald, Marshall McLuhan, Czeslaw Milosz, Richard Nixon, Joyce Carol Oates, Camille Paglia, George Plimpton, Normon Podhoretz, Frederick Pohl, Philip Rahv, John Crowe Ransom, Ishmael Reed, Delmore Schwartz, Karl Shapiro, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stephen Spender, Lionel Trilling, and Barbara Tuchman.
The professional correspondence includes letters to and from publishers, universities, SUNY Buffalo faculty, graduate students; and letters regarding recommendations, reprints, blurb requests (which Fiedler never granted, though he was generous in allowing others to quote or reprint his own work), reviews, and other similar subjects.

Especially notable among the correspondence are: T. S. Eliot’s letters to Fiedler, defending himself against Fiedler’s charges of anti-Semitism; Philip Jose Farmer’s letters documenting a dispute between him and Kurt Vonnegut, regarding a novel Farmer wrote under the pseudonym of Vonnegut’s recurring character “Kilgore Trout” (Fiedler ended up mediating between them); Harlan Ellison’s letters, documenting various problems with his as-yet unrealized third Dangerous Visions anthology; a long letter from Erica Jong discussing the role of Jewish women in modern literature; a letter from Camille Paglia claiming him as an early inspiration for her own critical outlook; Fiedler’s letters to Nixon and Kissinger from 1969, urging the U.S. to intervene to stop the genocide in Biafra; and several letters from Fiedler and others regarding his controversial and tenure at the University of Montana.

Printed material in the collection consists of the published versions of Fiedler’s writings. Included are essays, reviews, introductions, and articles. This material is not very great in quantity. Also present are the galley proofs for several works by Fiedler.

Professional material in the collection primarily consists of biographical and bibliographical material on Fiedler, including a short autobiographical piece. Also included are Fiedler’s teaching notes regarding several subjects; interviews conducted with Fiedler; and partial drafts of Mark Royden Winchell’s biography Too Good to be True: The Life and Work of Leslie Fiedler (published 2002), along with some letters to and from Winchell.

Audio recordings in the collection include an interview with Fiedler from 1989; a lecture by John Barth; and two lectures by Fiedler.

Photographs in the collection consist of sixteen color slides taken as publicity shots for Fiedler. Other photographs are present in the research material for Freaks (see above).

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Notable Figures
1. Fiedler, Leslie A.
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. LGBT Subject Guide
3. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Subject Guide