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Vernon Watkins family letters

  • NLW MS 23185D.
  • File
  • 1948-1967

Forty-five letters and cards, 1948-1967 (mostly 1964-1967), from Vernon Watkins to his mother, Sarah Watkins, 1962-1967 (ff. 1-71), and to his sisters, Marjorie Watkins, 1964 (ff. 72-73), and Dorothy Watkins, 1948-1967 (ff. 74-94 verso), containing mainly personal and family news.

Watkins, Vernon Phillips, 1906-1967

Translations and drama

Autograph and typescript drafts of translations and plays, [1940s]-[1967], by Vernon Watkins, including 'The Salzburg Great World Theatre', [1963], a typescript draft of a translation from the German of Hofmannsthal's play, 'Das Salzburger grosse Welttheater' (ff. 13-63).
It was published, with some revisions, as 'The Salzburg Great Theatre of the World' in Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Selected Plays and Libretti, ed. by Michael Hamburger (New York, 1963), pp. 79-172. Also included are translations from the German, most apparently unpublished, of poems by Rilke, [1948] (f. 2), Theodor Storm, 1962, 1966 (ff. 3-4), Friederich Hölderlin, [1960x1967] (ff. 5-9), and Eduard Mörike, [1960x1967] (f. 12), and a translation from the French of the first seven verses of François Villon's 'Le Petit Testament', [1960x1967] (ff. 10-11); drafts of parts of 'The Island' (ff. 64-75) and 'The Eclipse' (ff. 76-78), two proposed plays by Watkins, [1940x1967]; a verse 'Epilogue for a play', [1940x1967] (ff. 79-80); and 'A Book from Venice', 1948, a poem by Watkins (published in Botteghe Oscure, 2 (1948), 270-1) (f. 2 verso). The translation of Storm's 'Cats' (f. 3) was published in TLS, 9 March 1962, p. 162.

Verse translations

Exercise book, 1938, of Vernon Watkins, containing drafts of translations from German of eight poems by Theodor Storm (ff. 2-4), Rilke (ff. 5-8) and Novalis (ff. 10-11).
Four of the poems (ff. 2-3, 5, 8) were published in Vernon Watkins, Selected Verse Translations (London, 1977), pp. 70-1, 73.

Modern Poetry lectures

Notebook containing autograph drafts, September 1966, of a series of eight lectures entitled 'Modern Poetry Lectures', apparently given by Vernon Watkins at the University College of Swansea.
The lecture notes contain references to various poets, in particular T. S. Eliot (ff. 2-16 passim), W. B. Yeats (ff. 3-31 passim), D. H. Lawrence (ff. 17-24), Wilfred Owen (ff. 24, 26-31) and David Jones (ff. 24-28). Excerpts from the notes were published in Poetry Wales, 12.4 (Spring 1977), 52-55.

Light verse and prose

Autograph and typescript drafts, [c. 1944]-1967, of light verse, acrostics and poems for children by Vernon Watkins, composed 1925-1967 (ff. 1-85), together with drafts for published articles, lectures and radio talks, 1948-[1964] (f. 86-138).
Most of the verse (ff. 1, 3-28, 35-56, 58-68, 71-82) was published in Vernon Watkins, LMNTRE Poems (Swansea, 1999). The prose includes drafts of an article and radio script variously called 'The Place and the Poem', [?1949] (ff. 86-99), 'The Place and the Poem. Swansea' (ff. 100-101) and 'Swansea Poems', 1948 (ff. 102-107), a version of which was published as 'Swansea', Texas Quarterly, 4.4 (Winter 1961), 59-64; 'Poetry of the Second Phase', 1962 (ff. 111-114), partly published as 'The Second Phase in Poetry', Unicorn, 10 (Spring 1963), 9-10; and radio scripts, 'The Need of the Artist', 1962 (ff. 108-110), published in The Listener, 8 November 1962, pp. 756-757, and 'Problems of Communication', 1963 (ff. 115-122), published as 'The Joy of Creation', Listener, 30 April 1964, pp. 720-721.

Published poems

Autograph and typescript drafts, [1944]-[1954], of four poems by Vernon Watkins, published in The Lady with the Unicorn (London, 1948) (ff. 1-3) and The Death Bell (London, 1954) (ff. 4-7).
It includes a manuscript draft, [1944], of 'The Sardine-Fishers' (published as 'Sardine-Fishers at Daybreak') (ff. 2-3).

Poetry, prose and correspondence

Typescript draft, [1940s], of Vernon Watkins's poem 'Yeats in Dublin' (ff. 1-7; see also NLW MS 21263E, ff. 46-58); a radio script, 1958, of Watkins's 'The Ballad of the Mari Lwyd', produced by Douglas Cleverdon and annotated by him (ff. 8-30); and personal and family correspondence, [c. 1946]-1988 (ff. 31-70).

Vernon Watkins letters

Twelve letters, 1949-1967, from Vernon Watkins to various correspondents, together with eleven letters, 1940-1941, to Watkins from J. R. Ackerley, chiefly concerned with the poet's work.

Ackerley, J. R. (Joe Randolph), 1896-1967

Correspondence and papers

Some sixty-five letters, 1944-1967, to Vernon Watkins from various correspondents, who include Aneirin Talfan Davies (1) 1963, Winifred Ellerman (Bryher) (1) 1953, Constantine Fitzgibbon (7, copies of extracts) 1964-1965, Mervyn Levy (1) 1957, and Goronwy Rees (2) 1956; together with copies of three letters, 1965, from Vernon Watkins. Also included are typescript drafts, 1961-1967, by Vernon Watkins for various published and unpublished articles, mainly on aspects of literature, together with two calligraphic manuscripts by W. Emlyn Davies relating to Vernon Watkins.

On Dylan Thomas

Autograph and typescript drafts, 1948-1967, of published poetry and published and unpublished prose by Vernon Watkins, mostly composed following the death of Dylan Thomas in 1953, including drafts of Vernon Watkins's poem 'Elegy for the Latest Dead', 1954, and two unfinished poems by Dylan Thomas, 'Elegy' and 'In Country Heaven', completed by Vernon Watkins; and radio scripts, lecture notes, draft reviews and articles by him relating to Dylan Thomas and his work.

Thomas, Dylan, 1914-1953

Correspondence, S-W

Some ninety-three letters, 1939-1968, mostly to Vernon Watkins, with one to Dorothy Watkins, 1968, from various correspondents (surnames S-W), including Roberto Sanesi (3) 1957-1968, M. J. Tambimuttu (4) 1940-1964, and Grace Williams (12) 1965-1967, together with eight letters, 1950-1964, to various correspondents from Vernon Watkins, some being drafts or copies.

Correspondence, P-R

Some eighty-two letters, 1937-1977, to Vernon Watkins, with a few addressed to Mrs Gwen Watkins, from various correspondents (surnames P-R), including Keidrych Rhys (22, with one copy letter from Vernon Watkins) 1937-1956, and Ceri Richards (26, together with six of Watkins's replies) [c. 1948]-1967.

Correspondence, H-O

Some ninety-eight letters, 1939-1976, to Vernon Watkins, with a few addressed to Mrs Gwen Watkins, from various correspondents (surnames H-O), including Michael Hamburger (12, including two poems) 1949-1967, Alfred Janes (4) 1949-1967, Dr Daniel Jones (5) 1947-1970, Glyn Jones (1) 1945, Professor Gwyn Jones (3) 1939-1976, Ray Howard-Jones (1) 1966, and Roland Mathias (1) 1965.

Correspondence, A-G

Over a hundred letters, 1938-1968, to Vernon Watkins, with a few addressed to Mrs Gwen Watkins, from various correspondents (surnames A-G), including Douglas Cleverdon (14) 1958-1968, Cyril Connolly (1) 1947, T. S. Eliot (1 transcript) 1947, and Roy Fuller (1) 1967.

Radio scripts

Cyclostyled radio scripts, including poetry readings, and talks, 1949-1967, by Vernon Watkins or relating to him and his work.

Verse translations

Autograph and typescript drafts, 1958-1966, of verse translations from Hungarian by Vernon Watkins, together with related correspondence and literal translations by Tamás Kabdebó; some of Watkins's versions of poems by Attila József and Gyula Illyes were published in Kabdebó's editions of their works (1963, 1968, 1971).

Kabdebó, Thomas

Verse translations

Autograph and typescript drafts, [1930s]-1966, of verse translations by Vernon Watkins from Italian and Spanish, apparently mainly unpublished. Extracts from Watkins's translation of Dante's Inferno (ff. 1-55) were broadcast by the BBC in 1966.

Verse translations

Autograph and typescript drafts, [1920s]-1967, of verse translations from German by Vernon Watkins, many apparently unpublished. Proofs and cuttings are included of some poems published in periodicals and anthologies, together with a few notes by Ruth Pryor and original German texts used by Watkins.

Pryor, Ruth.

Verse translations

Autograph and typescript drafts, [1920s]-1967, by Vernon Watkins of verse translations from French, many apparently unpublished. Cuttings are included of some poems published in periodicals and anthologies.

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