Stuart Wright Collection: Cleanth Brooks Papers, 1951-1986

Manuscript Collection #1169-042

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: Stuart Wright Collection: Cleanth Brooks Papers
    Creator: Brooks, Cleanth, 1906-1994
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers of Cleanth Brooks (1951-1986) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Murray, Kentucky-born American editor, literary critic and educator at Yale University, who was influential in the New Criticism movement as editor of The Southern Review, 1935-1942; consisting of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, including Brooks’ signed contract to sell his books and literary periodicals to Stuart Wright & correspondence between Brooks, George Garrett & Stuart Wright; also a reprint of Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks (1951).
    Extent: 0.25 Cubic feet, 0.25 Cubic feet, 1 archival box, 10 items, 21 p.,
  • Description
     

    The Stuart Wright Collection: Cleanth Brooks Papers (1951-1986) document the life and literary career of the noted Murray, Kentucky-born American editor, literary critic who was also an educator at Yale University, who was very influential in the New Criticism movement as editor of The Southern Review, 1935-1942; consisting of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including Brooks' signed contract to sell his books and literary periodicals to Stuart Wright & correspondence between Brooks, George Garrett & Stuart Wright; also a reprint of Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks (1951). The Cleanth Brooks Papers are arranged, in original order, in a two series.

    Series 1: Cary Addition #1 consists of papers (1958, 1986) documenting the life and literary career of Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994), consist of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including Brooks' signed contract to sell his books and literary periodicals to Stuart Wright. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a.

    Series 2: Ludlow Addition #2 consists of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including correspondence between Brooks, George Garrett & Stuart Wright; also a reprint of a review entitled Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks (1951). Series 2 is held in Box 1.b-1.c.

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    Cleanth Brooks was born on October 16, 1906 in Murray, Kentucky to Bessie Lee Witherspoon Brooks and Reverend Cleanth Brooks Senior. Brooks graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelors of Arts and went on to earn a M.A. from Tulane University (1928). Cleanth Brooks continued on, as a Rhodes Scholar, to earn a second B.A. (1931) and Bachelors of Letters (1932) from Exeter College, Oxford. Brooks also received multiple honorary doctorates of literature, from 1963 to 1972, from institutions such as the University of Kentucky, the University of Exeter, Washington and Lee University, Saint Louis University, Tulane University, etc.

    During his years at Vanderbilt, Cleanth was immersed in the creation of the Southern Agrarians and Fugitives literary movements. It was here that Cleanth met Robert Penn Warren where together, they created the New Criticism movement. A mid twentieth century style of literary criticism that analyses the form, structure, meter, rhyme scheme, and imagery of poems. In 1935 Cleanth and Warren would also go on to create The Southern Review, a quarterly literary magazine that showcases fiction, poetry, critical essays, and excerpts from unfinished novels written by emerging and established writers.

    Cleanth Brooks wrote 12 monographs on literature and William Faulkner and publish several essay collections. He died in 1994 at the age of 87 in New Haven from cancer of the esophagus.

    Sources:

    "Cleanth Brooks". [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanth_Brooks

    "Cleanth Brooks". [Obituary] New York Times. Obituaries. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/12/obituaries/cleanth-brooks-yale-professor-and-prominent-new-critic-87.html

    Author: Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of John Leche, 10/7/2016

    Stuart Wright collected and compiled the Cleanth Brooks Papers. 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 106 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers, composers, illustrators, and publishers. 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.

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.02 cubic feet; 0.25 archival box; 2 items; 2 p. Papers (1958, 1986) documenting the life and literary career of Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994), the noted American educator and literary critic, who was influential in the New Criticism movement, and who edited The Southern Review, 1935-1942, consisting of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including Brooks’ signed contract to sell his books and literary periodicals to Stuart Wright. Vendor: Stuart Wright

    20 July 2012, (Ludlow Addition #2), 0.23 cubic feet; 0.75 archival box; 8 items; 19 p. Papers (1951-1986) documenting the life and literary career of Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994), the noted American educator and literary critic, who was influential in the New Criticism movement, and who edited The Southern Review, 1935-1942, consisting of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including correspondence between Brooks, George Garrett & Stuart Wright; also a reprint of Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks (1951). Vendor: Stuart Wright

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011, 7/20/2012

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Stuart Wright Collection: Cleanth Brooks Papers (#1169-042), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King & Dale Wetterhahn, 4/29/2014, 12/8/2015, 3/28/2016, 9/20/2016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 3/28/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 3/28/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of John Leche, 10/7/2016, rev. 11/2/2016; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 01/27/2017.

Container List

  • Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Collection Books
       

      • Box 1
         
        Possibilities of Order : Cleanth Brooks and His Work, The, edited by Lewis P. Simpson (© 1976) Note : 1) Stuart Wright Post-it note : "Signed by RPW [Robert Penn Warren], p. 1" (undated) AN. 1 item. 1 p. ; 2) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], Northford, CT. Letter to Dear George [Garrett] upon receipt of the new Sewanee Review ; congratulates him (26 Oct. 1979) ALS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 3) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], New Haven, CT. Letter to Stuart Wright on his anticipated visit to New Haven (19 June [1983]) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 4) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum] Letter to Stuart Wright declining his invitation to visit Winston-Salem on 13 May (21 May 1983) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 5) National Endowment for the Humanities Invitation to attend 14th Annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities : Literature in a Technological Age, by Cleanth Brooks, (8 May 1985) Printed Card & Registration form. 1 item. 2 p. ; 6) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], New Haven, CT. Letter to Stuart Wright thanking him for his hospitality & describing meeting at Library of Congress attended by Jacque Barzun, John Hope Franklin, Jaroslav Pelikan, John Gross, Gertrude Himmelfarb & Henry Kissinger (21 April 1986) ALS. 1 item. 2 p. ; 7) Anecdotes & Curiosities & : And the Answer it, The Luminary (Spring 1993) Annotated Clipping. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #173.024
    • Printed Materials
       

      • Box 2
         
        Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks, SR [Sewanee Review] Vol. 59, no. 1 [Winter 1951] Reprint. 1 item. 11 p. ; Note : "pp. 1 - 178 reprinted by Kraus Reprint Corporation" ; Pages 1-4, 5-8 not cut ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #189.032-1

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Container List

  • Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Collection Books
       

      • Box 1
         
        Possibilities of Order : Cleanth Brooks and His Work, The, edited by Lewis P. Simpson (© 1976) Note : 1) Stuart Wright Post-it note : "Signed by RPW [Robert Penn Warren], p. 1" (undated) AN. 1 item. 1 p. ; 2) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], Northford, CT. Letter to Dear George [Garrett] upon receipt of the new Sewanee Review ; congratulates him (26 Oct. 1979) ALS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 3) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], New Haven, CT. Letter to Stuart Wright on his anticipated visit to New Haven (19 June [1983]) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 4) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum] Letter to Stuart Wright declining his invitation to visit Winston-Salem on 13 May (21 May 1983) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; 5) National Endowment for the Humanities Invitation to attend 14th Annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities : Literature in a Technological Age, by Cleanth Brooks, (8 May 1985) Printed Card & Registration form. 1 item. 2 p. ; 6) Cleanth Brooks [Tinkum], New Haven, CT. Letter to Stuart Wright thanking him for his hospitality & describing meeting at Library of Congress attended by Jacque Barzun, John Hope Franklin, Jaroslav Pelikan, John Gross, Gertrude Himmelfarb & Henry Kissinger (21 April 1986) ALS. 1 item. 2 p. ; 7) Anecdotes & Curiosities & : And the Answer it, The Luminary (Spring 1993) Annotated Clipping. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #173.024
    • Printed Materials
       

      • Box 2
         
        Milton and the New Criticism, by Cleanth Brooks, SR [Sewanee Review] Vol. 59, no. 1 [Winter 1951] Reprint. 1 item. 11 p. ; Note : "pp. 1 - 178 reprinted by Kraus Reprint Corporation" ; Pages 1-4, 5-8 not cut ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #189.032-1


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