George Barker papers, 1930-1966
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Brief Description:

This collection includes letters, drafts of poems, plays, novels, reviews and lectures, as well as some of Barker's notebooks and a sketch book of drawings.  The correspondence largely consists of literary correspondence to Barker covering the years 1933 through 1964.  Of particular interest is correspondence from T. S. Eliot, Henry W. Treece, Edwin Muir, John Heath Stubbs, William Empson, John Betjeman, William Butler Yeats and Stephen Spender.  A variety of editors are also represented in the letters, including Julian Symons, Geoffrey Grigson, D. (Derek) S. Savage, John Ackerley, Jack Lindsay, John Lehmann, and Oscar Williams. 

The collection of poetry manuscripts includes about 50 different individual poems and books in various forms.  The proof and galley pages, as well as the published books (see standing volumes), often have Barker's notes, corrections and revisions, giving readers a sense of the poet's composing process, and his need to revise works even after they had been published.  Together with his notebooks, which also contain drafts of poems, the poetry manuscripts provide a fine record of the development of many poems.  There are a number of unpublished poems in this collection also.

Held at:
Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
605 Agriculture Dr.
MC 6632
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-2516
Fax: 618-453-3451
Email: speccoll [at]
Record Series Number: 1/1/MSS 162
Created by: Barker, George (1913-1991)
Volume: 6.0 Boxes
Acquired: 00/00/1963. Additions 1965
Arrangement: Arranged in nine series (1) Correspondence, (2) Essays, (3) Lecture notes, (4) Book reviews, (5) Poetry, (6) Novels and prose, (7) Plays, (8) Notebooks, (9) Standing volumes.
Biographical Note for Barker, George (1913-1991) :

George Barker (1913-1991), a contemporary English writer and poet, was born in Loughton, England. He began writing early and by his early twenties he had already been published by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber, who also helped him to gain appointment as Professor of English Literature in 1939 at Tohoku University (Sendai, Miyagi, Japan).

Early volumes of note by Barker include Thirty Preliminary Poems (1933), Poems (1935) and Calamiterror (1937), which was inspired by the Spanish Civil War.

He eventually traveled to the United States where he began his longtime liaison with writer Elizabeth Smart, by whom he had four of his fifteen children, and about whom he wrote his 1945 novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept and his 1950 novel, The Dead Seagull. His Collected poems were edited by Robert Fraser and published in 1987 by Faber and Faber.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.
Subject Index
Barker, George, 1913-1991
Genres/Forms of Material
Ackerley, John - Correspondence
Barker, George, 1913-1991 - Correspondence
Barker, George, 1913-1991 - Manuscripts
Betjeman, John, 1906-1984 - Correspondence
Eliot, T.S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. - Correspondence
Empson, William, 1906-1984. - Correspondence
Grigson, Geoffrey, 1905-1985 - Correspondence
Heath-Stubbs, John, 1918-2006. - Correspondence
Lehmann, John, 1907- - Correspondence
Lindsay, Jack, 1900-1990. - Correspondence
Manuscripts for publication.
Muir, Edwin, 1887-1959 - Correspondence
Savage, D. S. (Derek S.) - Correspondence
Spender, Stephen, 1909-1995. - Correspondence
Symons, Julian, 1912- - Correspondence
Treece, Henry, 1911-1966. - Correspondence
Williams, Oscar, 1900-1964 - Correspondence
Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 - Correspondence
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright.  Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection.  Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.
Acquisition Notes: Gift
PreferredCitation: [Item], George Barker collection, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.