KINSELLA, THOMAS.
Thomas Kinsella papers, 1951-2009

Emory University

Robert W. Woodruff Library

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zj24


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kinsella, Thomas.
Title: Thomas Kinsella papers, 1951-2009
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 774
Extent: 51 linear feet (95 boxes), 5 oversized bound volumes (OBV), and 94 oversized papers folder (OP)
Abstract:Literary papers of Irish poet Thomas Kinsella which include manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and correspondence.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance for access to unprocessed born digital materials in this collection. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to unprocessed born digital materials.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction. No special restrictions apply.

Related Materials in This Repository

Desmond O'Grady papers

Source

Purchase, 1995 with subsequent additions.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Thomas Kinsella papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Gavin Drummond, 2002.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Thomas Kinsella was born in Dublin on May 4, 1928. He was educated at the Model School, Inchicore, and at the Christian Brothers O'Connell School before receiving a scholarship to attend University College, Dublin. He left college to join the civil service in 1946 but completed an arts degree as an evening student.

In the early 1950s, Kinsella began writing poetry and short stories, and in 1952 the Dolmen Press issued his first two chapbooks, The Starlit Eye and Three Legendary Sonnets. During the mid-1950s he also translated a number of old Irish texts, including Longes Mac n-Usnig, The Breastplate of Saint Patrick, and Thirty-Three Triads, translations which began a life-long interest in Ireland's historical and literary past.

In 1955 Kinsella married Eleanor Walsh. The collection Poems, published the following year by the Dolmen Press, was dedicated to her. In 1958 his first major collection, Another September, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was published to critical acclaim. This was followed by Moralities (1960) and Downstream (1962). In 1962 Oxford University Press published a selection of Kinsella's early poems in the anthology Six Irish Poets.

Kinsella rose to the rank of Assistant Principal Officer in the Department of Finance, before leaving the civil service in 1965 to become artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University. He was also elected to the Irish Academy of Letters that same year. While at Southern Illinois, he published Wormwood (winner of the Denis Devlin Memorial Award in 1967) and Nightwalker and Other Poems. The latter collection, issued by Alfred Knopf, first introduced his work to a large American audience. In 1968 Oxford University Press again anthologized a selection of his poems alongside work by poets Douglas Livingstone and Anne Sexton.

In the mid-1960s Kinsella delivered a lecture on the Irish literary tradition which was later printed as Davis, Mangan, Ferguson? Tradition and the Irish Writer. His study of Ireland's literary past led him in the late-1960s to his translation of Táin Bó Cuailnge published with illustrations by Louis le Brocquy in 1969.

In 1972 Kinsella published Butcher's Dozen, a response to the Widgery Report on the killing of thirteen civil rights demonstrators in Derry on "Bloody Sunday." The poem was appeared under Kinsella's own Peppercanister imprint, and from this point forward he would follow the pattern of self-publishing his new work under the Peppercanister imprint before reissuing the revised work in trade editions. Butcher's Dozen was followed by A Selected Life, Finistere, and Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems that same year, and Vertical Man and The Good Fight in 1973. The early Peppercanister work was later collected in Fifteen Dead.

The second series of Peppercanister publications included One, A Technical Supplement, and Song of the Night and Other Poems. Later Peppercanister work has included The Messenger, Songs of the Psyche, Her Vertical Smile, Out of Ireland, St. Catherine's Clock, One Fond Embrace, Personal Places, Poems from Centre City, Madonna, Open Court, The Pen Shop, The Familiar, Godhead, Citizen of the World, and Littlebody.

Kinsella has also translated a selection of 17th-19th century Irish verse, An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed, and edited the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse. In addition, he has expanded his study of Irish literary history in the recent critical work The Dual Tradition. A collected edition of his poems was published in 1996 by Oxford University Press; a subsequent, fuller anthology was published by Carcanet in 2001.

Thomas Kinsella was born in Dublin on May 4, 1928. He was educated at the Model School, Inchicore, and at the Christian Brothers O'Connell School before receiving a scholarship to attend University College, Dublin. He left college to join the civil service in 1946 but completed an arts degree as an evening student.

In the early 1950s, Kinsella began writing poetry and short stories, and in 1952 the Dolmen Press issued his first two chapbooks, The Starlit Eye and Three Legendary Sonnets. During the mid-1950s he also translated a number of old Irish texts, including Longes Mac n-Usnig, The Breastplate of Saint Patrick, and Thirty-Three Triads, translations which began a life-long interest in Ireland's historical and literary past.

In 1955 Kinsella married Eleanor Walsh. The collection Poems, published the following year by the Dolmen Press, was dedicated to her. In 1958 his first major collection, Another September, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was published to critical acclaim. This was followed by Moralities (1960) and Downstream (1962). In 1962 Oxford University Press published a selection of Kinsella's early poems in the anthology Six Irish Poets.

Kinsella rose to the rank of Assistant Principal Officer in the Department of Finance, before leaving the civil service in 1965 to become artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University. He was also elected to the Irish Academy of Letters that same year. While at Southern Illinois, he published Wormwood (winner of the Denis Devlin Memorial Award in 1967) and Nightwalker and Other Poems. The latter collection, issued by Alfred Knopf, first introduced his work to a large American audience. In 1968 Oxford University Press again anthologized a selection of his poems alongside work by poets Douglas Livingstone and Anne Sexton.

In the mid-1960s Kinsella delivered a lecture on the Irish literary tradition which was later printed as Davis, Mangan, Ferguson? Tradition and the Irish Writer. His study of Ireland's literary past led him in the late-1960s to his translation of Táin Bó Cuailnge published with illustrations by Louis le Brocquy in 1969.

In 1972 Kinsella published Butcher's Dozen, a response to the Widgery Report on the killing of thirteen civil rights demonstrators in Derry on "Bloody Sunday." The poem was appeared under Kinsella's own Peppercanister imprint, and from this point forward he would follow the pattern of self-publishing his new work under the Peppercanister imprint before reissuing the revised work in trade editions. Butcher's Dozen was followed by A Selected Life, Finistere, and Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems that same year, and Vertical Man and The Good Fight in 1973. The early Peppercanister work was later collected in Fifteen Dead.

The second series of Peppercanister publications included One, A Technical Supplement, and Song of the Night and Other Poems. Later Peppercanister work has included The Messenger, Songs of the Psyche, Her Vertical Smile, Out of Ireland, St. Catherine's Clock, One Fond Embrace, Personal Places, Poems from Centre City, Madonna, Open Court, The Pen Shop, The Familiar, Godhead, Citizen of the World, and Littlebody.

Kinsella has also translated a selection of 17th-19th century Irish verse, An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed, and edited the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse. In addition, he has expanded his study of Irish literary history in the recent critical work The Dual Tradition. A collected edition of his poems was published in 1996 by Oxford University Press; a subsequent, fuller anthology was published by Carcanet in 2001.

Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Kinsella papers are largely made up of manuscript drafts of poems from each of Kinsella's published collections, beginning with his earliest chapbooks published in 1952 and continuing through his Collected Poems (Carcanet), published in 2001. These extensive files of manuscripts drafts, typescripts, and proofs document in detail the development of Kinsella's poetry. Other materials related to the publication of his work is present in the files, including materials related to design, printing, and promotion of the work. A small number of letters are also present: usually correspondence also related to the publication or promotion of the work. In addition, the papers contain files related to his translation of Irish texts including files related to The Tain, An Duanaire, and the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse, as well as drafts of his critical study of Ireland's literary heritage, The Dual Tradition. The collection also contains clippings, scrapbooks, and a small number of photographs.

It should be noted that Kinsella was unusually organized in his arrangement of his own materials and this archive has tried as far as possible to reproduce the characteristics of his own organization.

Arrangement Note

Organized into six series: (1) Writings by Thomas Kinsella, (2) Printed material, (3) Photographs, (4) Correspondence and miscellany, (5) Collected material, and (6) Unprocessed additions.


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