Bestselling author Jeffrey Archer today visited the Bodleian Library to donate his original, hand-written manuscript of Kane and Abel to the Bodleian. 

The donation marks the 40th anniversary of Kane and Abel’s publication.

The novel about a rivalry that defines two men’s lives was the runaway success of 1979 and 1980, reaching number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

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It has since sold over 32.7 million copies worldwide where it has been printed in 42 languages.

It is now on its 121st reprint and is among the top 100 best-selling books in the world.  


The donation of the original manuscript of Kane and Abel comes as part of long-standing commitment on behalf of Jeffrey Archer to donate his archives to the Bodleian.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary Lord Archer will also donate an exclusive, limited edition of Kane and Abel, signed by the author and with endpapers and a silver laminated dustjacket.

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Lord Archer said: "I was touched, surprised and delighted when the Bodleian asked permission to archive the first edition of Kane and Abel.”

Dr Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections said: "Lord Archer is a publishing phenomenon and his novels give us a rich insight into his own creative processes as well as tastes in reading, the marketing and critical reception of texts and the role of the publishing industry more generally in our literary culture.

"The success of Kane and Abel alone, in its multiple editions and massive popularity, allows us to trace an extraordinary chapter in modern book history. It’s also a jolly good read." 

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Jeffrey Archer is one of the UK’s most popular novelists, with 37 books, 275 million copies sold and 26 Sunday Times number one bestsellers.


Previously he was a MP (1969-74) and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (1985-86).

Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden said: "We are delighted to accept Jeffrey Archer’s manuscript and to bring it into the library's collection.

"The Bodleian has been concerned with tracing the lives and afterlives of books from its earliest days, as well as book history more generally, and it is exciting to add contemporary and popular works to a collection that includes historic writers and literary fiction.

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"We are delighted that Lord Archer has committed this literary manuscript to the Bodleian.” 

The Bodleian boasts many original works of British writers from Jane Austen and Percy Bysshe Shelley to Joanna Trollope and Philip Pullman.

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These handwritten materials complement a collection of more than 13 million printed items held by the Bodleian, second in size to the British Library and the largest academic library in Europe.