File NLW MS 24194E. - In parenthesis: BBC introduction

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 24194E.


In parenthesis: BBC introduction


  • [1946] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

3 ff. (foliated 1-3; text on rectos only) ; 330 x 205 mm.

Cloth clamshell box, 'JONES - INTRODUCTION TO IN PARENTHESIS' (gold on leather label on spine), 'Ex Libris W.S.R' (label inside box).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

David Jones (1895-1974) was an accomplished artist who produced watercolours, illustrations and inscriptions, and who also gained acclaim as a poet, especially as the author of In Parenthesis in 1937, and the long prose poem The Anathemata in 1952.
David Walter Jones was born in Brockley, Kent, on 1 November 1895. His mother, Alice Ann née Bradshaw, was from London, and his father, James Jones, was originally from Holywell, Flintshire. He attended the Camberwell School of Art from 1910-1914, and the Westminster School of Art from 1919-1921.
He joined the London Welsh Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1915 and served as a private with them until 1918. This experience had a profound effect on him, and his first book, In Parenthesis (1937), is an epic war poem which deals with the period he spent in France.
In 1921 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church, adopting Michael as a middle name. This was a defining moment in his life and work. In the same year he met Eric Gill and joined Gill's community at Ditchling, Sussex, where he learnt wood-engraving. In 1924 he became engaged to Petra Gill and often visited the family at Capel y ffin, near Abergavenny. His engagement with Petra was broken off in 1927 and subsequently he never married.
Between 1928 and 1932 he moved around a great deal, producing watercolours and also writing. In 1933 he suffered a breakdown in health and endured repeated periods of ill-health from then onwards. He virtually stopped painting until 1937. In 1937 Faber published In Parenthesis, which T. S. Eliot regarded as 'a work of genius'. He was awarded the Hawthornden prize for it in 1938.
He was based at the parental home at Brockley until his mother's death in 1937. He then lived in Notting Hill, and from about 1946 lived in Harrow on the Hill. In 1970 he fell ill after breaking a bone in his hip and resided at Calvary Nursing Home, Harrow until his death in 1974.
A volume of essays Epoch and Artist was published by Faber in 1959, followed by The Fatigue (1965), The Tribune's Visitations (1969) and The Introduction to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1972). The Sleeping Lord (1974) and The Roman Quarry (1981) were published posthumously.
In 1955 he was awarded the CBE, and also the Harriet Monroe memorial prize. In 1960 he was awarded the degree of D. Litt from The University of Wales and became both Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1961. He was awarded the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold medal in 1964 and the Welsh Arts Council Literature Prize in 1969.

Archival history

Sold by Christie's from the collection of William S. Reese.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Christie's; New York; Purchased at auction, lot 367 (with NLW MS 24193B); 26 May 2022; 993575404702419.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A manuscript draft, [1946], of David Jones's introduction to the BBC radio production of his war poem 'In Parenthesis', first transmitted on the Third Programme, 19 November 1946. The draft contains deletions and revisions in ink and pencil in the hand of the author.
This draft is much closer to the script in its final typescript form (see NLW, David Jones (Artist and Writer) Papers LP5/3, ff. vii-x) than are the other extant drafts (ibid, LP5/4, ff. 1-9). The only significant changes that remained to be incorporated are: a new sentence to replace the line at the beginning of f. 2, the loss of a reference to Brittany (f. 2), the truncation of a section on Maximus the Great (f. 2) and a much expanded ending, with a list of four quotes to be taken directly from the book's introduction substituted with the full quotations (f. 3). The introduction was pre-recorded by Jones; the remainder of the programme was performed live by the cast on 19 November, with a live repeat the following evening.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of David Jones copyright can be found at (viewed October 2022).

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For other material relating to the 1946 broadcast see NLW, David Jones (Artist and Writer) Papers LP5/3-4; for a proof copy of the first print edition of In Parenthesis, purchased with this manuscript, see NLW MS 24193B.

Notes area


Purchased with financial assistance from The Friends of the National Libraries.


Title based on contents.

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Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

October 2022.




Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Jones.

Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 24194E.