Spender, Stephen, 1909-1905
The collection of books and manuscripts by Stephen (Harold) Spender (1909-95), the English poet, critic and editor, was purchased by the Ransom Center directly from the author over a number of years, beginning in July 1960. Additions to the collection were made from the T.E. Manley Library.
The collection consist of manuscript materials for 245 separately titled works. The majority of the manuscripts are of individual poems, but there are also diaries, prose notebooks and works of criticism. Among the more extensive manuscripts are The Dead Island; Ruins and Visions; and Trial of a Judge. The manuscript materials are recorded in detail in H.B. Kulkarni. Stephen Spender Works and Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography (1976).
Letters by Spender total 480, including those to George Barker (14 letters); Elizabeth Bowen (12); Dorothy Brett (18); John Lehmann (112); Lady Ottoline Morrell (27); and Edith Sitwell (44). Among the 194 letters written to Spender are those from Walter de la Mare (15); John Lehmann (100); and Virginia Woolf (20). The A.D. Peters Literary Agency files contain 2,769 pieces of correspondence and 93 financial statements concerning Spender's literary activities for the years 1943 to 1963.
The collection of books by and about Spender totals approximately 200 volumes and includes a copy of his scarce first book, Nine Experiments: Poems Written at the Age of Eighteen (1928), one of about 30 copies printed by Spender on a hand press. The copy in the Ransom Center is in its original wrappers and was previously owned by Spender's sister-in-law, Erika Spender. Books by Spender include numerous presentation copies from the libraries of Elizabeth Bowen, Nancy Cunard, Wyndham Lewis, Frederic Prokosch, Anne Sexton, Edith Sitwell, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf.
The Iconography Collection holds portraits of Spender by Feliks Topolski and Robert Buhler (1969).
For additional materials by or relating to Spender, see the following collections: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; Elizabeth Hardwick; David Hare; Robert Guy Howarth; Michael Josselson; Francis Henry King; The London Review; Hugo Manning; Nimbus; Derek Parker; John Pudney; and Eric Walter White.