Item NLW MS 23981E, ff. 74-75. - Dannie Abse: Down the M4

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23981E, ff. 74-75.


Dannie Abse: Down the M4


  • [1972], 1993 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 ff.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Dannie Abse was born in 1923 in Cardiff, Glamorgan. He studied at the Welsh National School of Medicine, and at King's College and Westminster Hospital in London, qualifying as a doctor in 1943. He entered clinical practice, and was a specialist at the Central Medical Establishment chest clinic, 1954-1989. He is a prolific writer and poet. He is deeply interested by 1930s politics and the Spanish Civil War, which formed the background to his schooldays. His poetry is influenced by his Jewish heritage, Welsh nationality, and his life as a family man and a London suburban dweller. He has published seven volumes of poetry and seven plays. He was Senior Fellow of the Humanities at Princeton University (1973-1974), and president of the Poetry Society (1978-1992). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983, Fellow of the Welsh Academy of Letters in 1992 (President since 1995), Honorary Fellow at the University of Wales College of Medicine (1999), and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wales (1989) and the University of Glamorgan (1997). He was given a Cholmondeley Award (1985). Abse is married to the art historian Joan Mercer, and together they edited, Voices in the Gallery: Poems and Pictures (1986) and The Music Lover's Literary Companion (1988). They live in Glamorgan.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Bonhams (auction of Roy Davids Collection, Part III); London; Purchased at auction, lot 2; 10 April 2013; 006509703.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Autograph draft, [1972], of Dannie Abse's poem 'Down the M4', containing autograph revisions, deletions and variant readings (f. 74).
Also included is a typescript fair copy of his poem 'Talking to Blake', with a manuscript note to Roy [Davids], dated 28 May 1993 (f. 75). 'Down the M4' was collected (as the first in a sequence of four poems entitled 'Car journeys') in Dannie Abse, Funland and Other Poems (London, 1973), p. 27; 'Talking to Blake' was first collected in Dannie Abse, On the Evening Road (London, 1994), p. 3.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Dannie Abse copyright can be found at (viewed July 2013).

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For further manuscript and typescript drafts (both earlier and later) of 'Down the M4' see NLW, Dannie Abse Papers 39 and 125/5-7.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 23981E, ff. 74-75.

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Virtua system control number


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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 23981E, ff. 74-75.