|Title:||Stuart Wright Collection: Donald Davie Papers|
Davie, Donald, 1922-1995
Wright, Stuart T., 1948-
|Repository:||ECU Manuscript Collection|
|Abstract:||Papers (1938-1989) of the English-born writer, editor, poet, and educator, Donald Davie, including correspondence, typescripts, holographs, miscellaneous materials and loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, proofs of published works, audio-visual materials, printed materials, and oversized materials related primarily to Davie’s literary career.|
|Extent:||1.0 Cubic feet, 3 archival boxes, 1 oversized folder, 107 items.|
21 June 2010, 1.0 cubic feet; 3 archival boxes & 1 oversized folder; 107 items; 992 p.; Papers (1938-1989) of the English-born writer, editor, poet, and educator, Donald Davie, including correspondence, typescripts, holographs, miscellaneous materials and loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, proofs of published works, audio-visual materials, printed materials, and oversized materials related primarily to Davie’s literary career. Vendor: Stuart Wright.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Stuart Wright Collection-Donald Davie Papers (#1169-003) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Shelby Sapp, revised 11/19/2010; final inventory by Krystal Cook revised 1/18/2011; revised by Douglas Tuers, 4/20/2011; finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 10/27/2011; revised by Dick Wolfe & Jonathan Dembo, 5/17/2012; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 6/26/2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 7/16/2012.
Donald Davie was born 17 July 1922 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England into a Baptist family. He was educated at Barnsley Hogate Grammar School and later attended St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, until World War II interrupted his studies. During the war Davie served in the Royal Navy in Arctic Russia, where he taught himself the language. In the last year of the war, in Devon, he married Doreen John. After the war Davie returned to Cambridge where he earned a Ph. D. in English in 1951.
Davie made a career as a writer of poetry and literary criticism. He returned to Cambridge in 1958, and in 1964 was made the first Professor of English at the new University of Essex. He taught English at the University of Essex from 1964 until 1968, when he moved to Stanford University, where he succeeded Yvor Winters, 1968-1978. In 1978, he relocated to Vanderbilt University, where he taught until his retirement in 1988. Davie died 18 September 1995 in Exeter, Devon, England.
Davie wrote on the technique of poetry in books such as Purity of Diction in English Verse, and in smaller articles such as “Some Notes on Rhythm in Verse.” Davie's criticism and poetry show his strong interest in modernist and pre-modernist techniques. He wrote eloquently and sympathetically about British modernist poetry in Under Briggflatts, while in Thomas Hardy and British Poetry he defended the pre-modernist verse tradition. He is featured in the Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse (1980). The Davie Papers contain materials relating to the following works by Donald Davie: Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor (1976), Augustan Lyric (1974), and The Late Augustans: Longer Poems of the Later Eighteenth Century (1958).
Stuart T. Wright
The Donald Davie Papers were collected and compiled by Stuart T. Wright. Wright was born on 30 March 1948 in Roxboro, North Carolina. He was the son of Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965). An avid reader as a boy, Wright developed a strong interest in the American Civil War and with his father toured many of the war’s battlefields searching for artifacts and studying the history of the era. At the age of 12, he won a statewide “Johnny Reb” essay contest and by the age of 15 had visited every major battlefield of the Civil War. Wright attended Roxboro High School, from which he graduated in 1966. It was during these years that he developed an interest in collecting historical books and manuscripts and began relationships with a number of local collectors and dealers.
In the fall of 1966, Wright enrolled at Wake Forest University as a pre-med, history, German and music student. Wright earned a B.A. in German and music in 1970. As a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Wright focused his studies on Southern history and literature, his ambition being to build an authoritative Southern Studies collection for the university. He received a master's degree in Southern Studies in 1973 and a second master's degree in U.S. History in 1980. Additionally Wright holds a professional degree from England in a medically related field. It was while studying there that he became interested in Thomas Wolfe, the noted North Carolina native and novelist.
Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Wright began to develop his collections more systematically, acquiring many first editions of Southern writers. In 1976 he began teaching at Reynolda House, a Wake Forest University affiliate dedicated to the arts and arts education. Wright taught classes in American music as well as human anatomy for art students. In 1978 Wright became Lecturer in Education at Wake Forest University. During his 10 years teaching at Wake Forest University, Wright authored numerous works of Civil War and North Carolina history, and dozens of articles, bibliographies, essays and reviews on Southern literature and the writers whose papers he collected. In addition, he developed a strong interest in the writings of the English poet Donald Davie and the Minnesota-born poet Richard Eberhart, whose works he also collected.
At the same time, Wright also began a career as a publisher by starting Palaemon Press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. By 1984, Palaemon Press had produced 316 titles, consisting mainly of broadsides and limited editions, of the poetry and essays of such Southern writers as A. R. Ammons, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, William Goyen, George Garrett, and Eudora Welty. He also built comprehensive collections and compiled book-length descriptive bibliographies of A.R. Ammons, Andrew Lytle, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, William Goyen, Walker Percy, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, George Garrett, Richard Eberhart, and Donald Davie. As well as serving as editor of the contemporary literature section of the Bulletin of Bibliography throughout the 1980s, Wright also contributed pioneering checklists of the writings of Southern poets Henry Taylor, Charles Wright, and Robert Morgan. For Meckler Publishing he served as series editor for a number of book-length bibliographies and checklists. In recognition of these accomplishments, when he was just 32, Wright was elected to membership in New York's prestigious Grolier Club.
All of these works are represented in the Stuart Wright Collection. In his dealings with these various authors Wright made consistent efforts to acquire personal papers, letters and documents, photographs, manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and published materials to supplement his continuing activities as a purchaser of their works. In this way, Wright acquired perhaps a majority of his overall collection. Over the years a number of biographers used Wright’s collection to aid their research. For example, James A. Grimshaw, Jr. used the collection extensively for his Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1922-1979 published by the University Press of Virginia, in 1981 and Craig S. Abbott did so as well for John Crowe Ransom: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by Whitston Publishing Company, Inc. in 1999. Joseph Blotner also used the Wright collection in researching Robert Penn Warren: A Biography, published by Random House in 1997.
Nevertheless, from the mid- to late 1980s, Wright began to look for a permanent home for his collection, which he felt had grown too large and yet had been too little used. Unable to find a repository willing to accept the entire collection under suitable conditions, he sold a number of individual author collections to Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Emory University. It was not until 2010 that he reached agreement to house the remaining, and largest part of his collection at East Carolina University. The Stuart Wright Collection in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection of J.Y. Joyner Library includes 22 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers. The related Stuart Wright Book Collection holds several thousand volumes by or about many of the same writers. Many of these volumes contain annotations, inscriptions, and insertions that reveal much about the authors in the collection and their relationships with one another. In 1998 Wright moved to England, and since 2001 he has resided in the medieval market town of Ludlow, in Shropshire.
The collection contains material relating to Donald Davie’s literary career from 1938 to 1989. The Core Papers are arranged in original order in seven series.
Series 1: Correspondence contains correspondence between Robert Lowell and W. D. Snodgrass, 1957-1977, and between Louise Lequire and Stuart Wright, 1989. The entire series is contained in Box 1.a-1.b
Series 2: Typescript and Holograph contains a review by Donald Davie of See and Believe from 1958. Box 1.c
Series 3: Miscellaneous contains a scrapbook, clippings and reviews, 1938-1964, by or about Donald Davie. Box 1.d-1.e
Series 4: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from Stuart Wright Book Collection contains a scrapbook, clippings and reviews, 1938-1964, by or about Donald Davie. It includes loose manuscript items related to Dr. S. Bann, Sir John Betjeman, Donald Davie, Richard Ghormley Eberhart, Margaret Drabble, Peter Jones, Carolyn J. Proctor, Peter Russell, Charles Tomlinson, and Stuart Wright, transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, 1953-1983. The loose manuscripts are linked to the book of origin by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #38.4). Box 1.f-1.zzh
Series 5: Proofs contains editors’ proofs of novels and poetry relating to Donald Davie, including Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor, Augustan Lyric, The Seizure of Power by Czeslaw Wieniewska, and Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form, by John Hollander. The series dates from the 1953-1983. Box 2.a-2.h
Series 6: Audio Visual and Printed Materials contains recordings of poetry readings and printed poems and advertisement. Series 6 dates from the 1959-1989. Box 3.a-3.d
Series 7: Oversized Materials contains Penelope, poems by Donald Davie published in 1980. Folder 3.d.os.1
Note to Researchers: Series 4: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of items found in and transferred from works in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, associated with, or owned by Donald Davie; they include notes and bookmarks inserted by Donald Davie, Stuart Wright, and others; correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, etc. relating to the published works but some used merely as bookmarks, found between the pages of Donald Davie-related books in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. The items appear to have been filed in the books by Donald Davie, or by Stuart Wright. The items usually, but not always, relate the book in which they were found and to Donald Davie. This series also includes materials related to Robert Lowell, Stuart Wright, and others. Series four material is arranged according to the book in which it was found; descriptions of the loose items may be found in the notes sections of each folder. The loose manuscripts are linked to the book of origin by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #28.90). Box 1.f – 2.h