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Francis Thompson Collection

Date range: 19th-20th centuries

Number of items: 400 items

Francis Thompson (1859–1907), poet and prose writer, was born in Preston, Lancashire, and was an unsuccessful medical student at Owens College from 1876 to 1882 where he failed his examinations three times. He moved to London, where he fell prey to opium addiction and suffered destitution. He published his first volume of poetry in 1893; this included his most famous work, 'The Hound of Heaven'.

This collection was accumulated by John Francis Power and purchased by the Library in 1969. It comprises first editions of Thompson’s poems and prose, with critical and biographical publications. There is an almost complete set of Thompson's works, as described by Stonehill in Bibliographies of Modern Authors (London, 1925). The collection includes an especially fine edition of The Hound of Heaven (Chatto and Windus, 1914). There is also an edition of the Works printed at Bernard Newdigate’s Arden Press for Francis and Wilfrid Meynell (1913); handsomely bound in full vellum, it includes an autograph letter from Wilfrid and two typescript notes from the poet. Wilfrid Meynell was Thompson’s editor, friend and literary executor.

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