Thursday, 10 March 2016

Complete Prose of James K. Baxter digitised for free access

A lifetime of prose by celebrated New Zealand writer James K. Baxter covering over a million words and four hefty hardback books is being released free on the internet by Victoria University.

Baxter’s prose is now accessible through the NZETC (New Zealand Electronic Text Collection), Victoria University’s large and ever-growing digital resource comprising historical texts, manuscripts, and contemporary texts.

Complete Prose was published as a four-volume set last year by Victoria University Press. It is edited by Baxter scholar John Weir, who began working on the publication 40 years ago. Its publication was met with praise by scholars, critics and Baxter fans.

In his review in the NZ Listener, Baxter scholar Paul Millar said, “Reading Baxter’s Complete Prose en masse offers new and unexpected perspectives on his life and work.”

The four volumes draw on Baxter’s prose writing from his first draft of ‘Before Sunrise’ as a teenager in 1942 to his ‘Confession to the Lord Christ’ shortly before his death in 1972. Reviews, essays, lectures, journal articles, interviews and correspondence with friends and critics are some of what readers will be able to browse. The volumes are a chronicle of Baxter’s life and times, his preferences and prejudices, his crises and turbulent occasions.

Fergus Barrowman, publisher at Victoria University Press, says Complete Prose is a significant addition to Baxter scholarship.

Complete Prose is a testament to Baxter’s huge contribution to New Zealand literature, culture and society. In its digital form, it will be readily accessible to many more readers, which will allow a continuing engagement with Baxter’s work.”