Francis Stuart | English | SIU

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Francis Stuart

Francis Stuart Papers

The Francis Stuart Papers, covering the years 1932 to 1971, consist of three series: manuscripts, workbooks, and letters and clippings. Although the collection covers the years during which almost all of Stuart's novels and plays were published, the papers document well only the author's work from 1940-1975, including two published novels, Victors and Vanquished (1959) and Black List, Section H (1975).

The manuscripts, 1940-1971, the largest segment of the collection, contain primarily drafts of novels, plays, and short stories by Stuart. Included in this series are the drafts of the unpublished novels Back to Suffer (begun in June 1960), A Trip Down the River (begun in November 1959), as well as a fragment of The Water Gardener (begun in November 1962). Two of Stuart's published novels, Black List, Section H and Victors and Vanquished, and two plays, Flynn's Last Dive and Strange Guest are also here. Researchers interested in the development of an individual work will find Stuart's novel Victors and Vanquished to be the most extensively documented work in this and the workbooks series, which contains, in chronological order, notes on some of Stuart's published and unpublished novels, most of which are already included in the manuscript series.

The letters and clippings file includes letters from Stuart's family, friends, and acquaintances, among them the writers Heinrich Boll, Compton Mackenzie, Liam O'Flaherty, Ezra Pound, and George Bernard Shaw. Most of these letters relate to literary matters, including criticism of Stuart's works and discussion of the other writers' works. This series also contains correspondence with Stuart's publishers, including many from Victor Gollancz, Ltd., who published a great number of the author's novels. There are also personal letters from his wife, Iseult Gonne Stuart, documenting family matters. Additional Francis Stuart material includes a 1932 letter from Stuart to Dr. Percy Fridenberg and manuscripts of two poems, "In April" and "Be As a Trembling Petal." Also collected is an early autograph letter dated 15 January 1924.

Geoffery Elborn Collection of Francis Stuart Papers

The collection contains materials related to Elborn's biography Francis Stuart: A Life (1990), including sixty-five pages of extensively annotated typescripts by Francis Stuart as well as several letters from Stuart and a signed original photograph. The collection also includes several typescript versions of chapters of the biography, correspondence about Stuart from friends and acquaintances, and 300 pages of transcriptions by the biographer from Stuart's personal diary covering the years 1942-1960.

The correspondence from Stuart to Elborn is both personal and professional, with corrections for (and comments on) drafts of the biography, as well as a discussion of old friends from before the war. Typescripts include Stuart's lectures on Beckett's Murphy and Malone Dies, and Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, reminiscences of Flann O'Brien in the 1930s and 1950s, and "What is Truth?," and "Upheavals in Literature." Some of these include Stuart's autograph revisions and notes. The collection contains correspondence to Elborn from Stuart's old friends, acquaintances, children of people Stuart knew, and government officials, including replies to Elborn's requests for government documents relating to Stuart's activities during World War II. In addition to the transcriptions from Stuart's diary, the collection includes annotated typescripts of many chapters of the biography, photocopies of an interview, numerous reviews and articles, copies of transcriptions of Stuart's war broadcasts from Germany, and photocopies of a large number of letters to and from Stuart.

W.J. McCormack Collection of Francis Stuart Papers 1949-1974

This collection contains correspondence, typescripts, and other material, mainly relating to A Festschrift for Francis Stuart on His Seventieth Birthday, 28th April 1972, edited by McCormack and published by Dolmen Press in 1972. The correspondence includes twenty-two original letters from Stuart, nearly all to McCormack, as well as several letters to McCormack from others. In addition, there are several typescripts of short works by Stuart, galley proofs and unsewn gatherings of the festschrift, a typescript of John Jordan's "Things to Live For," which is part of the festschrift, and miscellaneous ephemera relating to a lecture and play by Stuart.

Stuart's letters to McCormack, covering the years 1969-1974, discuss several of his novels, his ideas on violence and prison and their effects on writers, and on being neglected by the public. Stuart also discusses his Saville Hicks Memorial Lecture "The Meaning of Freedom," Who Fears to Speak (his play about Terence Mac Swiney), an interview with Frank Kermode, and the poems of McCormack, John Berryman, and John Jordan. The collection contains two drafts of "The Meaning of Freedom," one signed, with revisions and corrections by Stuart, the other a later version with an introduction, a few corrections, and a letter to the Reverend Kenneth Wright. An unsigned typescript of Stuart's short story "The Stormy Petrel," with minor corrections apparently made by the author, is also included in the collection. Although the dates of the collection are 1949-1974, the only item composed prior to 1969 is a short letter from Stuart to the President of the Irish Academy of Letters dated 24 September 1949.