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Dawson Jackson Papers

Date range: 1927–93.

The poet James Dawson Jackson (1910–94) regarded the art of writing poetry as a lifelong vocation; for him it was the medium through which alienated human beings could apprehend the spiritual concept of unity.

Undeterred by the indifference of publishers and critics, he amassed a corpus of work amounting to more than ten thousand pages of verse, crafted over a period of seventy years. His poetry was inspired by Blake and Whitman, and reflected his own deep commitment to living in harmony with nature.

Dawson Jackson divided his time between writing, travelling and, through financial necessity, working as a translator. His poetry was eventually championed by Manchester’s Carcanet Press and it found a receptive audience, now more attuned to the environmental cause. In 2002 Carcanet posthumously published his Selected Poems.

The archive contains a broad range of material generated by Dawson Jackson during the course of his life, reflecting every aspect of his writing as well as containing important biographical information.

It includes:

  • manuscripts of poetry and prose works, including drafts and typescripts from all stages of the writing process
  • a large quantity of personal and literary correspondence
  • appointment diaries
  • booklets
  • newspaper cuttings
  • publishers’ files
  • printed materials

Significant individuals represented in the archive include: John Lehmann, John Middleton Murry, Richard Church, Harriet Monroe, Victor Gollancz, Herbert Read, Edmund Blunden, Tambimuttu, Joy Scovell, Stephen Spender, Cyril Connolly, Janet Adam Smith, and Anne Ridler.

There are also some papers of his wife Joan Hart, editor and radio actress.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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