Title: Keith Douglas Collection
Classmark: BC MS 20c Douglas
Creator(s): Douglas, Keith (1920-1944)
Main language: English
Size and medium: 5 boxes, 4 folders, and 104 vols; manuscript, typescript, photographs, press cuttings, and printed material (some photocopy).
Collection group(s): English Literature
The archives include the following: a large collection of photographs, drawings and paintings by Douglas; 94 books owned by him, 10 of which have autograph additions; 9 holograph poems by Douglas; proofs of his published poems; reports, certificates and testimonials relating to his school, university and army service periods; a large selection of press cuttings which include many reviews of his poetry and prose writings; a selection of periodicals relating to the various periods of his life; a number of other pamphlets, leaflets and memorabilia; three publications by Desmond Graham (his biography of the poet, his selection of prose by Douglas and his article about Douglas' library) and a catalogue of the Keith Douglas exhibition held at the Bodleian Library in 1974.
Keith Castellain Douglas (1920-1944), the war poet and prose writer, was born in Kent, brought up near Cranleigh, Surrey, and educated at Christ's Hospital and Merton College, Oxford, where he edited 'The Cherwell' and wrote stories and poems. At the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered for the army, was trained at Sandhurst and Wickwar, and in 1941 was posted to Palestine. The history of his time in North Africa is told in his memoir 'Alamein to Zem Zem' (1946). He returned to England in 1943 and in 1944 was sent to France. There he was killed in action in Normandy four days after the D-day landings. His 'Complete poems' and a prose miscellany were edited in 1987 and 1985 respectively by Desmond Graham, who had also earlier written his biography, 'Keith Douglas 1920-1944' (1974).
The archive, acquired from 1968-1976 for the Brotherton Collection, was part gift of the poet's mother, Marie Douglas, and part purchase. In 1968 nine holograph poems were bought from Miss Mary Benson. Dr Desmond Graham, Keith Douglas' biographer, assisted in its acquisition and undertook a good deal of checking of materials on behalf of the Library. His correspondence with David Masson at the Brotherton Library throws light on some of the items acquired and is preserved with the Collection as part of its history. Dr Graham organised an exhibition of Keith Douglas' works in 1974 which included the nine holograph poems from Leeds.
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