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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 3 series: Series I: Correspondence, 1971-2007;Series II: Writings and Notes, Undated, 1986-1996; Series III: Biographical Material, 1945-1992.
Papers contain material related to the personal and professional life of literary and cultural critic Richard Poirier. The bulk of the papers contain files related to Poirier's scholarly writing, but there is also correspondence related to his role as a professor, literary critic, and editor of the Raritan: A Quarterly Review. The papers comprise only a small part of the Poirier collection; the majority of the collection contains books from Poirier's library, most annotated (some heavily) and many inscribed by their authors. The books reflect both Poirier's interest in the American literary tradition and his network of friends and admirers within the literary community.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Box 3, Folder 13 contains student papers and is restricted until 2056.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Richard Poirier Collection; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
No additional material expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Carrie Hintz 06/--/2011.
Finding aid written Carrie Hintz 06/--/2011.
2011-06-17 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Richard Poirier, an American literary and cultural critic, professor of literature, and founder of Raritan: A Quarterly Review, was born September 9, 1925 in Gloucester Massachusetts. Poirier served in the Army during World War II, and upon returning from combat enrolled in Amherst College where he earned his B.A. He continued his studies in literature first at Yale where he earned his MA, and later at Harvard where he received a PhD in 1960.
Poirier taught at Harvard from 1958-1963, but he spent the majority academic career at Rutgers University where he was a prominent member and sometimes Chair of the English Department from 1963-2002.
Richard Poirier was not only a highly regarded scholar and teacher, but a well-respected editor and publisher as well. He co-founded the Library of America publishing venture in 1979. The Library of America is a non-profit publisher focused on publishing and preserving American poetry, fiction, and essays, often producing volumes of collected works that published pieces that would otherwise be out of print. He also co-founded Raritan: A Quarterly Review, out of what he perceived to be a dearth of serious criticism on American literature and culture that engaged both academics and non-academics.
Poirier regularly contributed essays and reviews to publications such as The Partisan Review (which he edited from 1963-1973), The New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books. He authored a number of books, including works on Henry James, Robert Frost, and Ralph Waldo Emerson and collections of criticism such as The Perfoming Self: Compositions and Decompositions in the Languages of Contemporary Life.
Richard Poirier died in his Manhattan home on August 15, 2009.