James T. Farrell letters to William F. Claire

Biographical and Historical Notes

James T. Farrell (1904-1979)

American novelist James T. Farrell (1904-1979) was best known for his Studs Lonigan trilogy.

Much of American novelist James T. Farrell's fiction is set in his hometown of Chicago and addresses issues of the city's working class. Farrell published more than twenty-five novels during his lifetime, as well as numerous collections of stories and works of criticism. In addition to his best known Studs Lonigan trilogy, he wrote a series of five novels centered around the character Danny O'Neill.

Farrell was also active in contemporary politics and is generally associated with writers of the American left who emerged during the 1930s and 1940s. In his later years, Farrell devoted much of his writing to a cycle of novels titled A Universe of Time, which he began writing in the early 1960s and which he projected to include approximately thirty titles.


"James T(homas) Farrell." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). http://ic.galegroup.com (accessed November 12, 2012).

William F. Claire (1935- )

American writer and editor William F. Claire (1935- ) was founding editor and publisher of Voyages, a national literary magazine published in Washington, D.C., during the 1960s and 1970s.

Additionally, Claire has edited and published books relating to Alan Swallow, Mark Van Doren, the poetry of Michelangelo, and physicians as writers. He is also the author of several books of poetry, From a Southern France Notebook (1974), The Strange Coherence of Our Dreams: Poems (1973) and Poems: a Selection (2004).


"William Francis Claire." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). http://ic.galegroup.com (accessed November 12, 2012).

Scope and Content Note

American novelist James T. Farrell (1904-1979) wrote to William F. Claire (1935- ), the editor and publisher of the literary magazine, Voyager, regarding the publication of an excerpt from his unpublished novel, The Vast Present.

Farrell's correspondence with Claire began with a letter written on February 3, 1969, in which he enclosed a manuscript of an excerpt from his novel in progress, The Vast Present for publication in Voyager. In the letters which followed Farrell confirmed permission to publish this piece, discussed ideas in the excerpt, provided a detailed a bibliography of his publications, mentioned his latest publications, and expressed his appreciation for the issue of Voyager which included his work. The final letter in the collection, written on July 31, 1969, listed the names and addresses of individuals and institutions which Claire might contact to offer subscriptions to Voyager.

The collection also includes a cancelled check for $21.00, which was payment for Farrell's excerpt, and a set of galley proofs for the piece. The proofs were corrected and initialed by Farrell.