Papers of Bernard Spencer

Bernard Spencer (1909-1963) contributed to and helped to edit New Verse.  During World War II and after he worked for the British Council, with postings in Greece, Egypt, Spain and Italy. During his time in Cairo he began the magazine Personal Landscape as well as writing for the British Council's journal Citadel.

The collection consists of manuscript and typescript poems; letters from Bernard Spencer to Ian Fletcher and others; photographs and material relating to an exhibition held in the University Library in 1982.

During 2008 this archive was added to by means of two bequests facilitated by Professor Peter Robinson from the Department of English and American Literature at the University of Reading. The first of these (MS 5369) is the remainder of the papers, excluding some personal mementos, which were in the possession of Spencer's widow, Anne Humphreys. These include additional manuscripts of poetry, translations, and prose, along with correspondence, photographs, and other miscellaneous items.

The second bequest (MS 5370) is a collection of documents, correspondence, and a few photographs donated by Professor Roger Bowen, on his retirement from the University of Arizona in 2008. These were assembled in the course of his work on the Collected Poems of Bernard Spencer (Oxford University Press, 1981) and other research on the poet and his milieu.

As part of a series of events to celebrate the poet's centenary in 2009, two exhibitions of archive material from the papers of Bernard Spencer have been assembled and designed by Professor Peter Robinson. Bernard Spencer's second book of poems, The Twist in the Plotting, is our featured item for November 2009.

More information

  • A printed catalogue is available: Bernard Spencer at Reading : catalogue of the Bernard Spencer collection at the University of Reading. Catalogue by Verity Hunt. Introduction by Peter Robinson. Reading : University of Reading, 2009.
  • A full description is available on our online database or download a pdf here (1.32KB)
  • Manuscript numbers MS 2413, 5369, 5370.
literature correspondence, personal papers, literary manuscripts spencer bernard

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