Papers of Donald Davie (1938-2016 [Bulk: 1938-2010], undated), the English-born writer, editor, poet, and educator, relating primarily to Davie's life and literary career, 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, including works by Reginald Gibbons, Robert Shapard, James Thomas, and others.
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).
Sources: "Donald Davie" [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Davie
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 9/17/2012, 11/1/2016.
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.
Stuart Wright Collection: Donald Davie Papers (#1169-003) document the life and literary career of Donald Davie from 1938 - 2010. The Davie Papers are arranged in original order in nine series including an original acquisition of seven series and Cary Addition #1 and Ludlow Addition #2.
Series 1: Correspondence contains correspondence between Robert Lowell and W. D. Snodgrass, 1957-1977, and between Louise Lequire and Stuart Wright, 1989. Series 1 is contained in Box 1.a - 1.b
Series 2: Typescripts and Holographs contains a review by Donald Davie of See and Believe from 1958. Series 2 is held in Box 1.c
Series 3: Miscellaneous contains a scrapbook, clippings and reviews, 1938-1964, by or about Donald Davie. Series 3 is held in 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). Series 4 is held in 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. Series 5 is held in 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. Series 6 is held in Box 3.a - 3.d Series 7: Oversized Materials contains Penelope, poems by Donald Davie published in 1980. Series 7 is held in Box 3.d.os.1
Series 8: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection contains five sub-series, including typescripts, proofs, reprints, loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Collection, 1965-1985, and an oversized poster, 1980. Series 8 is held in Box 4.a - 4.k and 3.os.3 Series 9: Ludlow Addition #2 to the Stuart Wright Collection contains two sub-series, including reprints and loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, 1946-2010; notably including a postcard from George Core to Stuart Wright on the death of Davie 1995. Series 9 is held in Box 4.l - 4.y
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
Purchased from Stuart Wright, 6/21/2010, 10/27/2011, 7/20/2012;
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.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Donald Davie Papers (GEN MSS 439) General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA
Donald Davie Papers, Special Collections in The Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex, United Kingdom
Donald Davie Papers, Special Collections, Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN USA