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Brian Cox Papers

Date range: 1965-2002

Medium: Archive

The personal archive of Professor Charles Brian Cox (1928-2008), former John Edward Taylor Professor of English at Manchester University.

As well as being a significant poet in his own right, Brian Cox was deeply concerned with the teaching of English, serving as Chair and later President of the National Council of Educational Standards, and Chair of the National Curriculum English Working Group. He came to national prominence as the originator of the Black Papers, first published in 1969, which initiated a major debate in education that still rages today. He was also the co-founder, with his lifelong friend A. E. Dyson, of the literary journal Critical Quarterly.

The archive falls broadly into two parts. The first and largest concerns education, including files relating to the Black Papers, the campaign for Freedom in the Academic Community,the National Council for Educational Standards and conferences for teachers of English. The second comprises material arising from Cox’s literary activities - as a poet and as editor of Critical Quarterly.

Correspondents represented in the archive include:

  • Kingsley Amis
  • Jacques Barzun
  • John Betjeman
  • Anne Cluysenaar
  • Cyril Burt
  • Rhodes Boyson
  • A. S. Byatt
  • Robert Conquest
  • Thom Gunn
  • Sophie Hannah
  • Tony Harrison
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Ted Hughes
  • Frank Kermode
  • Philip Larkin
  • Andrew Motion
  • Iris Murdoch
  • Norman Nicholson
  • Craig Raine
  • Michael Schmidt
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • R. S. Thomas
  • Charles Tomlinson

See also:

Further information:

  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • C. B. Cox, The Great Betrayal: Memoirs of a Life in Education (London, 1992).
  • 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.


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