British and Irish Literature
A cornerstorne of the Ransom Center's holdings in English literature is the Cardigan manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (ca. 1450). This is the only complete manuscript of a Chaucer work held at a public university in the United States and is in the same textual family as the Ellesmere Chaucer. The Cardigan Chaucer is complemented by two fragmentary Chaucer manusucripts as well as virtually all the early printed editions of Chaucer, including a leaf of the 1478 Canterbury Tales printed by William Caxton, one of the first books printed in English in England. Additional holdings in sixteenth-century printings of medieval English literature demonstrate how Renaissance readers perceived their vernacular forbearers. Notable verse holdings other than Chaucer include early editions of Gower and Lydgate and two copies of the 1550 printing of Langland's The Vision of Piers Plowman.
Twelve books printed in English before 1501 include the first, Caxton's translation of Raoul le Fevre's Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (Bruges, ca. 1473-1474). This volume is the earliest in the monumental Pforzheimer Library of Early English Literature (1475-1700), one of the most important collections of its kind. The Pforzheimer Library contains over 1,100 first and other early editions of the major writers of the English Renaissance, including Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, Spenser, Bacon, Donne, and Milton, including the Bridgewater copy of Milton's Comus (1637) with the author's annotations; manuscripts in the collection include letters by Donne, Pepys and others. Seventeenth-century holdings in the John Henry Wrenn Library are particularly strong in plays by major and minor writers alike. The Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection contains materials in many genres from across Europe and the British Isles that may be of interest to literary scholars; key English literary items include a commonplace book believed to be owned by Robert Herrick and a Latin exercise composed by Milton in 1624. Of interest to scholars of the manuscript circulation of verse is the Killigrew Miscellany, a manuscript volume from the late seventeenth century with particular strengths in royalist Cavalier poets of the Interregnum.
The collections are particularly rich in the publishing, performance, and reception history of Shakespeare. Early editions in the Pforzheimer, Wrenn, and other collections include several quarto plays printed during Shakespeare's lifetime and all four Folio editions, including three copies of the First Folio (1623).
The general book holdings are rich with editions of Shakespeare's plays and verse from all periods. Some notable items include an extra-illustrated copy of the Halliwell-Phillips edition of Shakespeare's Works (London: Adlard, 1853-1865) containing over 2,000 mounted plates illustrating almost all of the plays, Bowdler's infamous Family Shakespeare (1818), multiple versions of Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, and copies of Shakespeare's plays and poems owned by modern writers including E. E. Cummings, James Joyce, Anne Sexton, Evelyn Waugh, and others. The Frank-Woodward-Burrell Ruth Collection comprises two private libraries formed to support theories contesting the authorship of works attributed to Shakespeare. These materials date from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
Notable materials in the manuscript collections include an 1805 set of William Henry Ireland's Shakespeare forgeries, a heavily annotated promptbook used by Victorian actor Henry Betty in his preparation for the role of Hamlet, and many items representing the interpretation of Shakespeare's works by modern writers and playwrights, including manuscripts for poet Louis Zukofsky's Bottom: On Shakespeare and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Shakespeare in Love.
Scholars interested in Shakespearean performance history will find extensive materials in the Performing Arts and Film collections, including playbills, programs, playscripts, promptbooks, production photographs, financial documents, and costume designs from British and American stage productions and films from the eighteenth century to the present.
The Center built its massive printed holdings in the eighteenth century over many decades, largely through the purchase of several personal libraries, many literary in emphasis. These holdings are an essential resource for scholars seeking to study major writers in verse, prose and drama; landmark editions; and major periodicals. However, they are equally notable for their depth in more ephemeral materials: pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, and pirated editions, including extensive holdings in Grub Street printers. For instance, the collection holds more than ninety items printed by the notorious Edmund Curll.
The eighteenth-century portion of the 6,000-volume library of John Henry Wrenn, acquired in 1918, laid the foundation for the Center's considerable strength in literature of the period. Wrenn attempted to create a complete collection of first editions of the common and uncommon works of major and minor writers: some well-represented figures include Addison, Defoe, Fielding, Gay, Goldsmith, Bernard Mandeville, Pope, Matthew Prior, Smollett, and John Taylor the Water-Poet. The collection includes a large number of ephemeral pamphlets, many satirical.
The Wrenn library's strengths are complemented by the library of Reginald Harvey Griffith, whose 2,500 books, periodicals and pamphlets were collected during Griffith's research for his bibliography of Pope and his work on various writers active at the time of Dryden and Swift.
Another working library, that of George Atherton Aitken, numbers over 3,500 volumes dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century; its eighteenth-century portion contains deep holdings in the poetry of Pope, Congreve and Prior and contains many pamphlet publications; for instance, the collection includes almost 150 satirical publications of Peter Pindar (John Wolcot). The collection is also strong in editions of several of Aitken's research subjects: Addison, Steele, Arbuthnot, Burns, Defoe, and Swift. The manuscript portion of the Aitken collection includes his research notes, copies of manuscripts, and some original manuscripts for these and other figures, including an extensive correspondence among the female friends of Addison's daughter Charlotte.
The massive Ralph T. Howey book collection comprises mostly eighteenth-century materials, and its bibliographic importance rests on the fact that many of the items are "non-firsts": most are second and later editions in multiple issue and state. An additional attraction is the minor nature of many of the works, making the collection a valuable resource for locating more elusive titles and obscure authors. Literary items include memoirs, poetry, novels, essays, plays and poetical miscellanies.
The Queen Anne Collection contains books and pamphlets printed during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), and was built by Addison biographer Peter Smithers. The materials were collected on the premise that they might have been purchased by any intelligent reader of the period and that they were representative of the political, religious, and literary events of Queen Anne's reign, at least as illustrated by the press. A sampling of the collection reveals sixty first editions of Defoe's works as well as plays by Cibber, Motteux, Martin Bladen, Vanbrugh, Gildon, Charles Johnson, Owen Swiney, Addison, Steele, John Dennis and Oldmixon. Female dramatists of the period represented include Susannah Centlivre, Mary Pix, Jane Wiseman and Catherine Trotter. There is also a generous supply of printed verse by Settle, William Pittis, Thomas Tickell, Tate, Edward Smith, Prior, Elijah Fenton, David Crauford, William Shippen, John Pomfret and others, augmented by an intriguing collection of anonymous verse. Mr. Smithers sought contemporary bindings, a discrimination that makes the collection additionally valuable as a source of original bindings from the period.
The Center's holdings in eighteenth-century periodicals and newspapers is among the richest in the world, containing runs and single issues of many rare publications. Powell Stewart's 1950 catalogue of the collection lists 142 discrete periodical and newspaper titles published between 1630 and 1800, and more recent acquisitions have increased holdings in these and further titles. Download a PDF of Stewart's catalog here.
Art holdings that support the literary collections for this period include period portraits in oils, pastels, and other mediums; literary personages portrayed include Robert Burns, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith, Alexander Pope, Sir Walter Scott, and Hester Lynch Piozzi. The 8,000 item Prints Collection of theatrical and other performance images, mostly from the period 1775-1825, contains a large number of images from period plays. See Performing Arts for additional holdings in performance history.
The Center's holdings in literary manuscripts of the eighteenth century are limited to small collections for various major and minor writers including Robert Bland, William Broome (1689-1745), William Combe (1741-1823), Pierce Egan (1772-1849), David Garrick (1717-1779), Thomas Johnson, H. A. Johnston, T. Rolt, Mary Tighe (1772-1810), and others. Commonplace books documenting the tastes of everyday readers from the period include those of Emma Isola, John Lewis Petit (ca. 1760), Stephen Sewall (ca. 1770s-1790s), Isaac Staveley (ca. 1760s), and John Taylor (ca. 1811).
The work of William Blake (1757-1827) includes, among other items, two manuscript letters, a very rare volume of his earliest poetry, Poetical Sketches (1783), as well as his great printing achievement, Songs of Innocence (1789), one of eleven copies (Copy O, possibly printed in 1802) hand-colored by him. Five drawings by the poet can be found along with engraved work executed for commercial assignments.
The Coleridge Family collections include manuscript materials for over one hundred works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), as well as the poet's diaries and letters. Coleridge family members represented by collections include Samuel's wife Sara Fricker Coleridge; their three children: Hartley (1796-1849), Derwent (1800-1883), and Sara (1802-1852), the last of whose poetic career and personal life is particularly well represented; and their grandchildren, including a large collection of materials forErnest Hartley Coleridge (1846-1920). Volumes from the family library are also present.
Manuscript materials by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) cover the poet's entire career—from his juvenile poems to the mature work of his later years. Correspondence with his mother Catherine Gordon Byron, his half-sister Augusta Byron Leigh, and his wife Annabella Milbanke are present, as well as letters dealing with Byron's relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Smaller manuscript collections exist for other writers of the Romantic period. The poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) is represented by manuscripts of works, two commonplace books, and letters to John May. The collection of essayist and critic Charles Lamb (1775-1834) includes manuscript material for over a dozen works by Lamb, his commonplace book, works of others, and correspondence including many letters to William Wordsworth and his family. The Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) collection contains manuscript works and letters and includes a handful of letters by Mary Shelley. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and John Keats (1795-1821) are represented by small selections of manuscript materials and light correspondence
The Miriam Lutcher Stark Library is particularly strong in first and early printed editions of Byron, Shelley, and Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) and includes Hunt's collection of locks of hair of the Romantic Poets and other notable figures of the period.
The large Thomas Crofton Croker (1798-1854) collection contains 2,500 letters received by the antiquary, scientist, and folklorist during the period of 1825-1850 from a wide range of figures, including William Blackwood, Mary Shelley, Georgiana Chatterton, Maria Edgeworth, John Murray (senior and junior), and many others, as well as draft replies by Croker and manuscripts of his own works.
The significant manuscript holdings of George Borrow (1803-1881), a writer with a "gift of tongues"—he reputedly understood twelve languages by eighteen years of age—includes more than two hundred chapter files for his best-selling books on Gypsy life, Lavengro and Romany Rye.
A substantial collection of manuscripts of poet, antiquary and clergyman Robert Stephen Hawker's (1803-1875) contains correspondence with Harriet Watson, and documents related to Hawker's life and work.
The Browning Family collection contains manuscripts of early poetry and essays by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861); correspondence of Robert Browning (1812-1889); materials compiled by the Brownings' daughter-in-law, Fannie Barrett Browning, for a biography of Robert; and photographs and portraits.
Materials related to Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) include nineteen manuscripts and several page proofs. Among a large collection of printed volumes are the two-volume set of Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems (1875) illustrated with original photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron.
More than thirty manuscripts by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) for poems, ballads, and stories are collected with seventy-one pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings by the author used to illustrate his books. First editions of all of Thackeray's works and books from his library may be found in the Metzdorf Thackeray Collection.
The selection of Charles Dickens (1812-1870) materials includes one hundred sixty-eight letters, a virtually complete collection of his published work, books from the author's library, and Dickens ephemera.
Prolific novelist and associate of Dickens, Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) is represented by manuscripts for Jezebel's Daughter, Miss Qwilt, Heart and Science, The Law and the Lady,The Bird Doctor, and numerous shorter works. The holdings are complemented by the correspondence and research materials for Dorothy Sayers's biography of Collins. Additional Collins materials can be found in the Robert Lee Wolff collection.
Scottish novelist Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894), known for his adventure stories for boys, is represented by manuscripts, letters, diaries, family photographs, and notebooks, several of which contain watercolor and pen-and-ink sketches used to illustrate his own books.
Holdings in figures associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement include a large correspondence file, several manuscripts, and seventeen drawings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). Manuscripts by his brother William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919) and his sister Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) are also available, along with a copy of John Ruskin's (1819-1900) pamphlet Pre-Raphaelitism (1851), the first treatise written in support of the movement, as well as a large collection of Ruskin correspondence. Volumes from the Rossettis' library are also present. Over one hundred manuscripts by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), mostly of poetry published in Poems and Ballads (1866), are present along with complete sets of the Pre-Raphaelite publications The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine and The Germ. Critic and artist Charles F. Murray (1849-1919) is represented by manuscript notebooks and a large collection of correspondence. Swinburne's companion Theodore Watts-Dunton (1832-1914) is represented by manuscripts of works and a substantial correspondence.
The collection of novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909) includes manuscripts, correspondence, and documents related to the publication of his works; the Siegfried Sassoon collection includes research materials and multiple drafts for his biography of Meredith and a projected edition of Meredith's poetry.
The work of Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson, 1832-1898) is represented by his manuscripts of poetry, notes, and mathematical exercises, and a collection of photographs, including five personal albums, created by him. Printed materials in the Carroll collections of Warren Weaver and Byron Sewell include a copy, known as the "India Alice," of the exceptionally scarce, suppressed first edition of Alice in Wonderland (1865), three hundred copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (with translations into thirty-four languages), works based on Carroll's books, and a large collection of ephemera.
The Center's book collections include a complete set of imprints of William Morris's (1834-1896) Kelmscott Press including a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer on vellum, and several books from Morris's library. The book holdings are complemented by manuscripts including a notebook of sketches and poems, manuscripts of several verse and prose works, and correspondence.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) is represented by manuscripts for three poems, including "Spring," a number of letters, family photographs, and a collection of drawings of pastoral scenes, as well as page proofs for the first edition of Poems, edited by Robert Bridges.
This collection celebrates the popularity of the Victorian novel, and comprises eighteen thousand volumes of Victorian fiction published in Britain between 1820 and 1910. The collection consists of "triple deckers" (novels in three volumes), issues in monthly parts, yellowback and other reprint editions, and magazine appearances. Although the Wolff Collection includes first editions of the major Victorian novelists, such as Dickens, Thackeray, and George Eliot, its strong suit is works of minor writers, particularly women. This vast collection makes it possible to trace themes in works by a variety of authors and may also be useful for students of publishing history, the marketing of literature, and trade bindings. Wolff's collection of manuscripts by women novelists supplements the books; of particular note is the collection's extensive documentation of the work and life of novelist Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1837-1915).
The Garnett family collections represent Richard Garnett (1835-1906), Keeper of Printed Books in the British Museum; his son, playwright Edward Garnett (1868-1937); translator Constance Garnett (1862-1946), wife of Edward; and their son, novelist David Garnett (1892-1981). The manuscripts and correspondence of this literary family, together with family papers, total more than ten thousand pages. Books from the library of David Garnett are also present.
Manuscripts by Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) relating to his novels Victory, Almayer's Folly, and Chance are accompanied by letters and photographs.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is represented by manuscripts for several stories and poems, as well as letters. Among a large collection of published works is the earliest issue of Kipling's first book, Schoolboy Lyrics (1881).
A collection of manuscripts by A. E. W. Mason (1865-1948), best known for his novel The Four Feathers, includes more than one hundred works—novels, articles, broadcasts, plays, pantomimes, and biographies of Sir Francis Drake and Sir George Alexander.
Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) materials include manuscripts for essays, stories, and radio broadcasts, more than one hundred fifty drawings and frescos, and a large collection of letters.
The Powys family collections represent siblings John Cowper (1872-1963), Theodore Francis (1875-1953), Llewelyn (1884-1939), and Phillipa Powys (1886-1963) in manuscripts by each, sixteen hundred letters written inside the family, additional correspondence to writers and friends, photographic albums showing five generations of the Powys family, press cuttings, business papers, revised proofs and galleys, and personal memorabilia.
Henry Major Tomlinson (1873-1958), known for his novels of seafaring and adventure, is represented by manuscripts for two hundred ninety-nine works, and a sizable collection of letters, along with family correspondence, photos, and volumes from the author's personal library.
Representing the work of novelist and critic Forrest Reid (1876-1947), close friend of E. M. Forster, are manuscripts for five of his novels and his critical study of William Butler Yeats.
Among the seventy-nine original manuscripts by William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) are stories collected in Cakes and Ale, or The Skeleton in the Cupboard, novels, plays, and articles, as well as a large number of letters and photographs. Books from Maugham's personal library are also here.
The manuscripts of A. E. Coppard (1878-1957) range from his first collection of fantastic stories, Adam and Eve and Pinch Me (1921), to his last, autobiographical work, It's Me, Oh Lord (1957). Numerous letters are present, as well as books from the author's library.
A master set of the final page proofs of Ulysses (1922) includes extensive corrections by James Joyce (1882-1941) and Sylvia Beach, among others. Additional manuscripts by Joyce include several poems and a typescript of the opening chapter of Finnegans Wake, which is an important link in the stemma of the work. Further resources for Joyce study can be found in the papers of Edouard Dujardin, J. O. Fourcade, Valery Larbaud, and Maurice Saillet, as well as within the five-hundred sixty-four-volume library Joyce formed in Trieste between 1904 and 1920. Manuscripts and correspondence relating to Ludmilla Savitzky's translation into French of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1924) are also present. The papers in the John Rodker (1894-1955) archive include unpublished letters from Joyce, copies of Rodker's essays on Joyce, rare editions of the second and third printings of Ulysses, and materials documenting Rodker's involvement in these publications. Over six hundred pieces of correspondence, memoranda, and legal briefs from the archive of lawyer Morris L. Ernst chronicle the U.S. censorship battle over Ulysses. The archive of Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969), a close friend and literary collaborator of James Joyce, includes his diary, notes, and journals along with drafts of critical works and translations, and many letters from Joyce, Eliot, and numerous French writers. From the 1920s until Joyce's death in 1941 Gilbert worked closely with the Irish novelist, and in his James Joyce's Ulysses (1930) helped explicate and inform readers about the landmark work. Gilbert quotes extensively from the novel because Ulysses was banned in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1957 the first volume of Joyce's letters, edited by Stuart Gilbert, was published. In addition to his activities as a literary scholar and student of James Joyce, Gilbert had a major career as a literary translator, rendering into English the works of Saint-Exupéry, Malraux, Camus, Sartre, Simenon, Cocteau, and others. The Stuart Gilbert papers embrace material created between 1900 and 1985, documenting Gilbert's literary career. The Ransom Center has a small but significant collection of Lucia Joyce (1907-1982) materials, including two of her diaries, a thirteen page typed manuscript called ´The Real life of James Joyce,é and about thirty letters to and from Lucia with various correspondents, including two letters she wrote as the amanuensis of her father, James Joyce. (See also Italo Svevo in International Literature.)
Best known for his children's books, A. A. Milne (1882-1956) is represented by manuscripts for poems, short stories, essays, novels, and plays. Materials relating to The House at Pooh Corner and When We Were Very Young are complemented by three original drawings by E. H. Shepard.
The papers of Olivia Manning (1908-1980) include manuscripts for a number of works, including many draft versions of the novels in her Balkan trilogy, as well as large groups of letters to Francis King and from Ivy Compton-Burnett, which chronicle the friendships of her fellow novelists.
A collection of drafts, notes, and fragments of the memoirs of Brigit Patmore (1882-1965) reflect upon her close friendships with poet H.D. and other modernists, notably Richard Aldington. Manuscripts, journals, and letters written by her son, writer Derek Patmore, complement the collection.
An extensive collection of manuscripts by the prolific novelist, essayist, and historian Sir Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) includes stories, essays, and novels, as well as working papers for his autobiography, diaries, and a vast correspondence with writers, stage and screen personalities, politicians, and members of the English nobility. Personal effects, such as his writing chair and pipe collection, have been acquired along with the writer's fifteen-thousand-volume library.
The large collection of manuscripts by D. H. Lawrence (1886-1930) includes multiple versions of numerous works such as Women in Love, The Rainbow, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. Additionally, there are books from the library of D. H. and Frieda Lawrence, as well as thirteen hundred letters, numerous photographs, and thirty-two drawings and paintings by the writer. Researchers will find manuscripts of novels, poems, short stories, plays, and other writings, correspondence, transcripts of court hearings, and miscellany that trace the writing career and personal life of Lawrence from 1904. Gems of the collection include a holograph of "Odour of Chrysanthemums" transcribed by Louise Burrows, as well as numerous versions of The Plumed Serpent: Quetzalcoatl and Mr. Noon. Page proofs and paste-ups of Body of God, a series of Lawrence poems published posthumously, are included.
The papers of diarist Una Troubridge (1887-1963), companion to Radclyffe Hall, include her diaries and numerous Hall manuscripts including three distinct manuscript versions of The Well of Loneliness. (See Gay and Lesbian Studies.)
Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is represented by manuscripts of her earliest work, published under the name Kathleen Beauchamp, as well as excerpts from her journals.
The work of Claude Houghton (Claude Oldfield, 1889-1961), whose suspense novels were much admired by Henry Miller, is represented by manuscripts for more than thirty novels, as well as poetry, journals, and correspondence.
Novelist, playwright, and essayist J. B. Priestley (1894-1984) is represented by fifty-one manuscripts, including those for his successful novel The Good Companions and his prize-winning play Dangerous Corner, as well as by a large correspondence file.
William Gerhardi's (1895-1977) manuscript for Futility (1922), based upon experiences as a child during the Russian Revolution, is here, along with God's Fifth Column: a Biography of the Age 1890-1940.
Among the four hundred manuscripts collected in the archive of Nancy Cunard (1896-1965) are her biographies of English writer Norman Douglas and Irish novelist George Moore, as well as her poetry, articles, reviews, travel scrapbooks, and photographs.
Manuscripts of C. S. Forester (1899-1966) include several Horatio Hornblower stories, as well as his novel The African Queen. Accompanying the author's letters are photograph albums and typescripts of the unpublished biography of Forester by his son John.
Manuscripts by Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) include drafts of five novels, two volumes of short stories entirely in the author's hand, essays, reviews, and letters. Books from Bowen's library are also here, alongside correspondence with her publisher, Knopf, Inc.
The archive of V. S. Pritchett (1900-1997) has manuscripts for numerous novels, stories, essays, lectures, and reviews, as well as correspondence.
The papers of James Hanley (1901-1985) contain manuscripts for his censored novel Boy (1932), Captain Bottell, Ebb and Flood, Stoker Bush, and other novels, short stories, and plays. Large numbers of letters to Tom Jones and John Lehmann, along with other correspondence, completes the archive.
Manuscripts for one hundred works by Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) include drafts of Brideshead Revisited and all but two of his other novels, non-fiction works, stories, plays, essays, reviews, and juvenilia. In addition, the archive has diaries, letters, personal memorabilia, correspondence with his agent A. D. Peters, and one hundred original works of art by Waugh (ranging from illustrations for his own books to cartoons, posters, cards, and other designs), along with four thousand volumes from the author's personal library. The Center also houses a collection of the manuscripts and correspondence of Evelyn's brother, Alec Waugh (1898-1981).
In addition to manuscripts for his fiction (including detective novels written under the name Leo Bruce), travel books, and biographies, the extensive archive of Rupert Croft-Cooke (1903-1979) contains correspondence with John Betjeman, Hector Bolitho, Lord Alfred Douglas, and W. S. Maugham. The Croft-Cooke Gypsy Collection contains important published works on Romany history.
Diaries of Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) and his mother Kathleen are here, along with his typescripts for Down There on a Visit and Kathleen and Frank. A related collection includes the voluminous correspondence file of writer Gerald Hamilton (1890-1970), prototype for "Mr. Norris" in Isherwood's Mr. Norris Changes Trains. Thirty of Hamilton's diaries (1940-1970; mostly in French), together with the manuscript for his autobiographical Mr. Norris and I, provide additional perspectives.
Autograph manuscripts and typescripts by Graham Greene (1904-1991) represent some one hundred ninety works, including novels, travel books, screenplays, short stories, articles, six dream diaries, and notebooks. Journals from the 1930s to the 1960s are complemented by a large collection of letters to his wife Vivien and his correspondence files (1950-1991) with his literary agent Gerald Pollinger. Holograph manuscripts are also available for several works including A Burnt-Out Case, Cheap in August, The Comedians, The Honorary Consul, and Our Man in Havana. Many of the novels are also present in screenplay form or edited for different editions. England Made Me, Travels with My Aunt, The Human Factor, and Our Man in Havana are particularly well represented. (A complete list of Greene's works present in the collection is available on the website or in the reading room.)
Included in the large archive of the prolific novelist and short story writer H. E. Bates (1905-1974) are manuscripts for The Darling Buds of May and The Fallow Land.
The collection of C. P. Snow (1905-1980) spans the writer's career, with manuscripts for Snow's novels, stories, book reviews, lectures, radio plays, and essays—contained in dozens of notebooks—as well as his business papers and a correspondence file of several thousand letters. Books from the writer's personal library are also housed here.
T. H. White (James Asto, 1906-1964) is represented by one hundred eight manuscripts for novels, including The Once and Future King, short stories, articles, poems, broadcasts, and reviews. The author's journals, a large collection of letters (including two hundred twenty-nine to novelist David Garnett), and volumes from his personal library, as well as White's sketches, oil paintings, and illustrations, complete the archive.
Manuscripts for novels, stories, and plays comprise the papers of the Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn (1906-1983).
The archive of R. C. Hutchinson (1907-1975) contains manuscripts for novels, short stories, plays, articles, book reviews, broadcasts, humorous sketches, verse, and correspondence dating from 1941-1974.
The original holograph manuscripts of Malcolm Lowry's (1909-1957) Under the Volcano (1947) is complemented by correspondence with his good friend Gerald Noxon and letters about Lowry from his widow, Marjorie, to Richard Costa.
Among materials written by William Cooper (Harry Summerfield Hoff, 1910-2002) are manuscripts for novels, stories, plays, and poems.
The Irish novelist, Flann O'Brien (Brian O Nuallain, 1911-1966), is represented by holograph manuscripts for his masterworks At Swim Two Birds, Faustus Kelly, and The Dalkey Archive.
The archive of Sybille Bedford (1911-2006) is strong in correspondence from Martha Gellhorn and between Bedford and her companion Eda Lord.
Representing novelist Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) are materials relating to all of her novels and biographies, including research notes, manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, contracts, and photographs. Much of the research correspondence is annotated with comments by Fitzgerald as to the significance of each item. Also present is a series of fifty-seven autograph notebooks containing research notes and drafts of work. Particularly well represented in the archive are notes and drafts for Fitzgerald's novels Offshore and Innocence and research materials and drafts for the joint biography of her father and uncles, the Knox brothers.
Materials relating to writer and painter Denton Welch (1915-1948) include manuscripts for his novel Maiden Voyage and numerous poems, as well as paintings and drawings.
The archive of Anthony Burgess (1917-1993) includes material for works such as Byrne, Chatsky, Christ and the Tiger, A Clockwork Orange, Cyrano, A Dead Man in Deptford, Little Wilson and Big God, A Long Trip to Teatime, A Meeting in Valladolid, Mouthful of Air, One Hand Clapping, and You've Had Your Time. Also present are music scores; reviews of books, plays, and music; articles; lectures; contracts; correspondence; and fan mail.
The Doris Lessing (b. 1919) archive contains manuscript material for published and unpublished novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, and nonfiction works, including The Good Terrorist, The Sirian Experiment, The Marriage between Zones Three, Four and Five; The White Princess; Canopus in Argos, Vol. IV; Memoirs of a Survivor; Briefing for a Descent into Hell; The Fifth Child; African Laughter; and Mara and Dann. Also included are lectures, correspondence regarding promotional tours, reviews, and essays.
Representing popular novelist James Barlow (1921-1973) are manuscripts for several novels, including his final unpublished work, Black Country, as well as notebooks recording his travels in Africa.
Materials from writer and actor Philip Callow (b. 1924) include typescript drafts and page proofs for recent works, together with correspondence from Callow's literary agent and English and American publishers on business matters, publicity, proofs, research, and illustrations.
All of Christine Brooke-Rose's (b. 1923) major works, including Textermination, are represented in some form. Many early versions of works are present, and these often reveal original titles. The archive contains original and carbon copy typescripts, holograph manuscripts, computer printouts, notebooks, correspondence, clippings, galley proofs, original and photocopy page proofs, offprints, documents, printed genealogies, publishing contracts, royalty statements, and family papers, ranging in date from 1893 to 1992.
The papers of John Fowles (1926-2005) consist largely of manuscripts, galleys, and page proofs of his works (both published and unpublished), plus accompanying clippings, contracts, correspondence, and research materials. There are also numerous articles, book reviews, dissertations and theses, and other works about Fowles and his work. The remainder of the collection includes a few personal papers and miscellaneous items, such as audio recordings, legal papers, nature observation journals, photographs, receipts, a royalty statement, and school reports. The Center also has his diaries.
Contemporary fiction writers whose archives reside at the Center include Anita Brookner (b. 1928), Barry Unsworth (b. 1930), Penelope Lively (b. 1933), Iain Sinclair (b. 1933), A. C. H. Smith (b. 1935), Julian Barnes (b. 1946), Jim Crace (b. 1946), and Sebastian Barry (b. 1955).
Among original items by novelist George Moore (1852-1933) are several manuscripts, including a play co-written with William Butler Yeats, page proofs for novels and autobiographical works, and numerous letters.
Among materials by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) are manuscripts for more than fifty works and a collection of eight hundred forty-four letters, many written to artist and composer Edmund Dulac and to critic Thomas Sturge Moore.
Manuscript materials relating to poet A. E. (George Russell, 1867-1935) include his notebooks of color sketches, page proofs for his final collection of verse The House of the Titans, and correspondence.
Joseph Maunsell Hone (1882-1959), publisher of fine-press books by many poets and dramatists of the Irish Literary Renaissance, compiled biographies of Yeats and George Moore, as well as English artist Henry Tonks and others. Materials for these works are housed in the Hone collection along with a transcript of Elizabeth Yeats's diary, an account of W. B. Yeats's philosophical and occult ideas, and remembrances of Yeats written by friends and family. Related items include Hone's three hundred-page unpublished manuscript memoir of Maud Gonne (1866-1953), ardent nationalist and a longtime friend of Yeats.
Nearly eight thousand letters written to Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938), patroness of this distinguished literary and artistic circle, are collected along with the manuscripts, photos, and drawings, which often accompanied them.
Manuscripts by novelist E. M. Forster (1879-1970) include several autograph versions of A Passage to India, as well as a collection of the writer's letters, a large portion of which were written to J. R. Ackerley and Malcolm Darling.
Materials by Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) include research notes and the original holograph manuscript for Queen Victoria, as well as the corrected typescript, proof copy, and a dedication copy of the book inscribed to Virginia Woolf. A large number of his letters are contained in the collection of his cousin Mary Hutchinson (1889-1977). Hutchinson's collection also includes 1400 letters by Clive Bell (1881-1964) and extensive correspondence from many other Bloomsbury figures.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is represented by typescripts for "Kew Gardens" and "Thoughts on Peace during an Air Raid," in addition to over five hundred letters. A near-complete collection of books published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf at the Hogarth Press is present along with 130 volumes from her library.
The small but rich Dora Carrington (1893-1932) collection is made up primarily of correspondence between Carrington and her family and friends, including many letters illustrated by Carrington. The Gerald Brenan (1894-1987) collection chronicles Brenan's affair with Carrington through letters and a journal. Manuscripts by Brenan include materials for eight novels or autobiographical works, many unpublished. Manuscripts and letters by his wife, American poet Gamel Woolsey, are also present.
A large collection of typescript articles written by Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) for the North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War date from 1937 and 1938. The novelist Prudencia De Pereda (b. 1912) and Hemingway met during the war and worked together on the commentary for the films Spain in Flames and The Spanish Earth, espousing the Loyalist Republican point of view. Their collaboration is documented in De Pereda's papers.
Complementing Hemingway's dispatches are those by Herbert Lionel Matthews (1900-1977), who covered the Spanish Civil War for the New York Times.
Nancy Cunard's archive contains responses to a series of questionnaires she sent out about the Spanish Civil War for a publication titled Authors Take Sides on the Spanish War.
Papers of the British writer, Christopher Caudwell (Christopher St. John Sprigg, 1907-1937), who joined the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War and was killed in 1937, contain letters to and from his brother T. Stanhope Sprigg, obituary and memorial notices, clippings about the Brigade's activities, and a compilation book of Anarchist propaganda.
The Paul Patrick Rogers (1901-1989) collection, given to the Center in 1971, documents his trip to Spain as an observer during the Spanish Civil War through a diary, photographs, political cartoons, posters, and printed ephemera. These materials include a manuscript poem written and inscribed by Langston Hughes, given to Rogers in Spain.
Additionally, the Center holds a large collection of pamphlets and books (including examples of propaganda from both sides) relating to the war. (See also Art & Art History: Prints, Posters & Broadsides and History: Spanish.)
The unpublished diary of poet and activist George Cecil Ives (1867-1950), friend of Oscar Wilde and other literary figures, fills one hundred twenty-two volumes and includes Ives's forward-thinking ideas about prison reform and homosexuality.
Over one hundred manuscripts by poet and novelist Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), mostly individual poems, are housed here with a large group of Belloc's letters to literary agent A.D. Peters.
The very large archive of poet laureate John Masefield (1878-1967) includes diaries, poetry notebooks, extensive draft versions of his poems, and correspondence with Lord David Cecil, Winston Churchill, Robert Graves, Muriel Spark, Thomas Hardy, and many others.
The Sitwell family collections include the books, poems, articles, and stories of Edith (1887-1964), Osbert (1892-1969), and Sacheverell (1897-1988) Sitwell, most notably the folio notebooks and exercise books in which they wrote. The collection also includes extensive correspondence, personal family memorabilia, scrapbooks, and press cuttings, as well as six hundred volumes from Edith Sitwell's personal library, many annotated by her.
Among the seventy-one manuscripts and typescripts by Robert Graves (1895-1985) is the heavily corrected original manuscript of Count Belisarius.
The work of Louis MacNeice (1907-1963) is represented by five hundred twenty-seven manuscripts, mostly for individual poems, along with seventy-six scripts for radio and television.
A number of letters and poems of W. H. Auden (1907-1973) are collected with libretti written by the poet in collaboration with Chester Kallman (1921-1975). Also contained in the collection are Kallman's manuscripts of poetry and translations, and books from their jointly owned library.
The work of Stephen Spender (1909-1995) is represented by manuscripts for 245 works, as well as diaries and notebooks of poetry and prose.
Among the collection of materials by novelist and poet Henry Treece (1912-1966) are manuscripts for thirty-two novels, over three hundred poems, and fourteen plays, as well as one thousand letters from many American poets.
The eccentric poet Hugo Manning (1913-1977) is represented by a large collection of correspondence, diaries, notebooks containing untitled poems, a book of sketches, and manuscripts of Manning's major poetical works.
The collection of two hundred thirty-nine manuscripts by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) includes drafts of "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," Under Milkwood, and a portion of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, as well as poetry notebooks, pencil sketches, and cartoons.
John Heath-Stubbs (1918-2006) is represented by manuscripts for much of his early poetry his translations of Giacomo Leopardi, and correspondence with T. S. Eliot, Philip Larkin, Vernon Watkins, and other writers.
The virtually complete Charles Tomlinson (b. 1927) material consists of poetry workbooks filled with multiple drafts of individual poems and extensive correspondence files with writers such as Marianne Moore, George Oppen, Octavio Paz, Ted Hughes, and Louis Zukofsky.
The personal and professional papers of poet and novelist George Macbeth (1932-1992) cover primarily the years 1950-1991. Included are diaries, childhood manuscripts and school notebooks, BBC radio scripts, correspondence files, financial papers, and draft manuscripts for such published titles as The Colour of Blood, A War Quartet, The Orlando Poems, Poems from Oby, and My Scotland: Fragments of a State of Mind.
The substantial archive of Peter Redgrove (1932-2003), representing his work in the 1950s and 60s, contains fifty-four large poetry notebooks and manuscripts for more than three hundred individual poems, often present in multiple drafts with heavy revision. Redgrove, a close friend of Ted Hughes's at Cambridge, was a member of the clique of poets known as The Group, which included a number of writers represented by collections, including Philip Hobsbaum (1932-2005), Edward Lucie-Smith (b. 1933), Martin Bell, Zulfikar Ghose (b. 1935), and George Macbeth. Collections of presses and periodicals containing materials relating to these writers include Scorpion Press, Anvil Press, and Ambit.
Manuscripts by Robert Nye (b. 1939) include poetry and prose and are augmented by much of the poet's correspondence. These materials provide detailed evidence of the creation and refinement of Nye's work in poetry, essays, short stories, libretti, plays, novels, and children's literature, as well as in his work on the poet Thomas Chatterton.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) is represented by letters, manuscripts, diaries, and his earliest pamphlets of poetry. The comprehensive Wilfred Owen Collection of World War I Poetry honors Owen (1893-1918), much of whose family correspondence is collected here as well. Hundreds of manuscripts by poet, biographer, critic, and essayist Edmund C. Blunden (1896-1974) are accompanied by a large file of correspondence.
The poet Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918) is represented by a small number of poetry drafts and some correspondence, as well as by copies of his rare print publications.
An extensive group of manuscripts, working papers, correspondence, and publications represent the Oxford Wartime Poets, a small group of poets writing during World War II, of which John Heath-Stubbs (1918-2006), John Drummond Allison (1921-1943), Sidney Keyes (1922-1943), and William Bell were all members.
Among materials by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) are corrected page proofs for The Importance of Being Earnest, an original manuscript of Salome in French, and a heavily corrected typescript of A Good Woman, which became Lady Windermere's Fan. (See also Gay Studies.)
Manuscripts for Lady Bountiful, The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith, and twenty other plays by Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934) are here.
The George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) collection represents one of the most comprehensive groups of works by a single author at the Ransom Center. Manuscripts for four hundred nineteen works, in shorthand and longhand, include Pygmalion, Major Barbara, Saint Joan, and Man and Superman, as well as numerous stories and essays. Revised rehearsal copies of plays are included, along with directors' prompt copies, set sketches, photographs, financial records, books from Shaw's personal library, and a vast accumulation of ephemera such as programs and press cuttings. Shaw's correspondence comprises four thousand letters to performers, publishers, politicians, friends, and the general public, and covers the years 1875 to his death. Several original photos by Shaw are also here, reflecting his work as a practitioner and critic of the photography medium.
The collection of manuscripts by Brinsley MacNamara (A. E. Weldon, 1890-1963), novelist and playwright, comprises two hundred fifty-five works and is housed here with his large correspondence file.
The work of Irish dramatist Paul Vincent Carroll (1900-1968) is represented by manuscript materials for twenty-five plays.
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) is represented by manuscripts for more than thirty-five works, four hundred letters, and a comprehensive collection of printed books including presentation copies, pamphlets, and periodicals with Beckett's contributions, as well as a collection of ephemera and programs for performances of his plays. Except for a small but significant group of letters and manuscripts in the Carlton Lake Collection (see French Literature), the majority of the Ransom Center's Beckett archive is part of the T. E. Hanley Library. This vast collection incorporates manuscripts of every major work by Samuel Beckett, with Murphy, Watt, Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnameable, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape, Play, Mercier and Camier, and How It Is among them. Many of these works are present in both their English and French versions. The archive also includes a comprehensive collection of first editions of all Beckett's works, as well as a large number of critical and biographical editions. The Center houses most of the major correspondences, including those of childhood friend Mary Manning Howe and her mother, Susan Manning, as well as George Reavey, Con Leventhal, Jack MacGowran, Nancy Cunard, Mary Hutchinson, and Kay Boyle. A number of photographs of Beckett can be found in the Carlton Lake Photography Collection. Other collections containing Beckett materials are: Nancy Cunard, Ronald Frederick, Henry Duncan, John Fletcher, Joseph Maunsell Hone, Mary Hutchinson, Hugh Kenner, A. J. Leventhal, New Departures, and George Reavey.
Materials by Ronald Duncan (1914-1982) include manuscripts for plays, stories, and poetry, as well as correspondence.
The papers of British author, composer, and lyricist Sandy Wilson (b. 1924) include his produced and unproduced plays—mostly musicals but also plays for stage and TV—as well as drafts of his published and unpublished works including an autobiography, illustrated book, novels, articles, and short stories, along with correspondence, spanning a sixty-year period from 1930s to 1990s. His musicals, produced worldwide, especially his long-running play The Boy Friend (1952-1994), are well represented. Material related to productions of his plays includes scripts, scores, lyrics, programs, reviews, production photographs, correspondence, and scrapbooks.
The collection of experimental playwright James Saunders (1925-2004) contains notebooks, playscripts, television and film scripts, miscellaneous notes, correspondence, articles, essays, theses, programs, and reviews. The material spans his career from the late 1960s through the early 1990s. His work and interest in fringe theater characterize the latter part of his career. The archive of poet and playwright Bernard Kops (b. 1926) includes manuscripts for Ezra, several versions of Dreams of Anne Frank, Playing Sinatra, and Sophie.
John Osborne's (1929-1994) work as a playwright, author, actor, producer, director, and contributor to numerous newspapers and periodicals is represented in this collection, which consists of holograph manuscripts and notebooks, typescripts, page and galley proofs, correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, scrapbooks, posters, programs, and business documents. The material spans five decades beginning in the mid-1950s just prior to his important play, Look Back in Anger (1956).
The extensive and meticulously detailed archive of Arnold Wesker (b. 1932) makes possible a comprehensive study of every aspect of his lifetime of creative endeavor. The Center has corrected manuscripts of all of his thirty-seven plays (from preliminary notes through multiple drafts and performances), as well as his short fiction, nonfiction, and autobiography. Complementing his written works are myriad related materials (1925-2001): posters, photographs, email diskettes, as well as voluminous personal and business correspondence. Wesker's involvement in many important twentieth-century political, social, and artistic movements can be copiously tracked, especially surrounding the foundation of Centre/Roundhouse Theatre, and the plays Roots and The Kitchen.
The papers of British writer and playwright Simon Gray (b. 1936) fill over 180 boxes. Gray is the author of over 30 plays, including his best-known work, Butley, as well as screenplays, television plays, novels, and memoirs.
The Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) papers consist of nearly all of his major plays, such as Arcadia, Jumpers, The Real Inspector Hound, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Travesties; his screenplays for Shakespeare in Love and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead among others; along with teleplays, radio plays, and many of his lesser-known works and some that were never produced. The collection also contains theater programs, photographs, advertising material, clippings of articles and reviews, and correspondence, ranging in date from 1944 to 1998.
David Hare (b. 1947) is represented by manuscripts (through the mid-1990s), typescripts, notes, posters, and correspondence. Titles include Hare's trilogy, The Absence of War, Racing Demon, and Murmuring Judges, along with related material. Also present is material related to Slag, Teeth 'n' Smiles, Knuckle, Licking Hitler, Plenty, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Temple Fortune, Skylight, Mother Courage and Her Children, and The Life of Galileo.
The papers of Irish novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry (b. 1955) fill nineteen document cases. Drafts of his published and unpublished works, including those for his award-winning play The Steward of Christendom (1995), are complemented by illustrations, personal and business correspondence, photographs, and clippings.
Areas of Study
The Reading Room Will Be Closed:
Monday, January 16
Monday, May 29
Tuesday, July 4
Always closed on Sundays