Date Published: 1954 to 1994
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Sir Stephen Spender was an English poet, novelist, editor and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.
The collection consists of 23 items dating from 1954 to 1994, 11 items, specifically, 7 letters, 1 typescript, and 4 books from Spender’s library. Later added to this collection another 23 items, 14 ALS, 5 TLS, 3 Telegrams and 1 post card signed.
• ALS to Mr. Hunt, 22 September 1966, tells Hunt that he will be returning to London after spending two weeks in India, asks Hunt to send a copy of his letter to his London address if Hunt had already written to his address in France.
• TLS on Encounter letterhead to Wesley Hartley, 6 November 1957. Thanks Hartley for his letter, received on his return from Switzerland, in which Hartley’s students express an interest in Spender’s work. Refers the students to his autobiography World within World and “Engaged in Writing’, a short novel published in Encounter.
• TLS on Encounter letterhead to Ronald Duncan, 21 May 1954, sends proofs of an article and apologizes for the delay in sending them (“The Wain piece is all that interests us….”). • 2 TLS to Ernest Raymond (prolific novelist) written on headed notepaper from Encounter, 25 Haymarket, London S.W.1. and addressed to 22, The Pryors, East Heath Road, London, N.W.3. The first is dated 20 November, 1956 and consists of about 125 words in which he thanks Raymond for his response to the “telegram from [Arthur] Koestler, [George] Mikes and myself” and mentions a letter he wrote that has appeared in the Times. He then discusses a possible trip to Hungary and wants to know if Raymond manages to obtain a visa. Both he and Mikes feel they should go as co-signatories of the letter. He adds that Koestler will be unable to go as he is technically a Hungarian citizen. The second letter dated 26 November, 1956 consists of about 45 words. Spender thanks Raymond for his letter saying “I greatly appreciate its spirit' and adds that he will keep him informed about the visa situation.
• “Fair copy” signed ts. of poem, “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”, in fine condition. n.d. Poem originally published in 1964 in Stephen Spender's Selected Poems. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum exposes the glaring gaps and marginalisation that occurs ever so often in our societies. The poet aims to portray the conditions of the youngsters residing in the slum. He compares the conditions of the “haves” (Privileged children) and the “have-nots ‘(Underprivileged children of slum). It is perhaps the best example of Spender's political voice resonating throughout a poem.
4 books from Spender’s library:
• Tom Lowenstein. Our After-Fate: Poems. London: Softly Loudly Books 1971. Softy Loudly No. 3. Signed on the front free endpaper: “To Stephen | with much love | Tom June 1973”. Paper covers in green, orange, and black, wire-stitched. Artwork by Andrew Eden. Limited ed. of 300 copies. Very good.
• Francis Warner. Maquettes: A Trilogy of One-Act Plays. Oxford: Oxford Theatre Texts, 1972. Black cloth in dust jacket. Inscribed on the front free endpaper: “For Stephen Spender, | in admiration and friendship, from Francis - | 30th November 1972 | St. Peter’s College.” Very good.
• Tom Lowenstein. Booster: A Game of Divination. London: The Many Press, 1976. Limited ed. one of 200 copies. Paper covers, wire-stitched. Slight smudging on the front cover. Inscribed on the front free endpaper: “For Stephen Spender | hesitantly, but with | warm best wishes, from | the author of this | gallimaufry, | Tom Lowenstein.”
• John Gracen Brown. The Search. [Martinsburg, West Virginia: self-published by the author, 1994]. Silver grey blue cloth in dust jacket. Very good. With a TLS from Brown to Spender, 12 August 1994. The author’s fourth book of poetry.
Later added to this collection…
14 Autographed Letters Signed (ALS);
• In his correspondence, Spender responds to Antonetto’s invitations to come to Italy and to give lectures (“Present State of English Creative Writing”, “The Crisis of Freedom in the World Today”). He sends her photos of himself (not included), tells her about his whereabouts and travels in Italy (for example, touring for the British Council in Naples, Palermo, and Rome) and meetings with various people (for example, Carlo Orlandini in Rome), and gives her contact information about other writers (T.S. Eliot, Rosamond Lehman, and Julian Huxley).
5 Typed Letters Signed (TLS);
• one TLS, 15 September 1951, written by Mark Gerson on Spender’s behalf),
1 postcard card signed;
• 1950-68, to Irma Antonetto, Associazione Culturale Italiana
On consignment with LDRB