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dom sylvester houédard Papers

Date range: c.1920s-1992

Medium: Archive

Important collection of papers of dom sylvester houédard (1924–92), a Benedictine monk of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire. dsh, as he is correctly known, made significant contributions in many fields.

His contribution to theology was outstanding, particularly in the ecumenical movement (he was an expert on Christian-Buddhist relations) and Biblical editing (he played a leading role in the Jerusalem Bible translation of 1961). In the fields of literature and art he was a prime exponent of concrete poetry (visual poetry), his most celebrated poem being ‘Frog-pond-plop’. dsh also corresponded widely with leading poets, artists, theologians and philosophers: his address book was said to have contained 3,000 names. Throughout his life dsh amassed a substantial archive which reflects his wide interests.

There is a vast series of in-letters, as well as three address books which confirm his legendary status as a letter-writer. There is also a large collection of artworks, including three-dimensional poems, poster poems, artists’ books and magazines by dsh and John Furnival of the Openings Press, as well as material by other artists in the forefront of the Concrete Poetry Movement, such as Mary Ellen Solt, Augusto de Campos, Eugen Gomringer and Ian Hamilton Finlay. The archive has wide significance for students of literature, particularly concrete poetry and the private presses, theology and biblical studies, philosophy, art history and cultural studies.

See also:

Further information:

  • Unpublished accession lists.
  • Stella K. Halkyard and C.B. McCully, '"Thoughts of Inventive Brains and the Rich Effusions of Deep Hearts": Some of the Twentieth-Century Literary Archives of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 77, no. 2 (1995), pp. 105-21.
  • Stella Halkyard, ‘Archive Corner 10: An Astronaut of Inner Space’, PN Review, vol. 34 no. 6 (Jul/Aug 2008), pp. 11-14, 79.


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