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Francis Stuart papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 0

Francis Stuart papers, 1932-1971 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Finding aid encoded, Finding aid encoded, January 15, 2007

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Collection Overview

Title: Francis Stuart papers, 1932-1971Add to your cart.

ID: 1/4/MSS 052

Primary Creator: Stuart, Francis, (1902-2000.)

Extent: 1.0 Cubic Feet

Arrangement: Arranged by material types: manuscripts, workbooks, correspondence and publisher files.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2013

Subjects: Autobiographical fiction

Forms of Material: Authors, Irish - 20th century - Manuscripts, Gonne, Iseult, 1894-1954 - Correspondence, Novelists, Irish. - 20th century - Correspondence

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Francis Stuart Papers consist of four materials types: manuscripts, workbooks, correspondence and publisher files.  Although the collection covers the years during which almost all of Stuart's novels and plays were published, the documentation of his known literary work is thin.  The papers document well only the author's work from 1940 to 1975, including only two published novels, Victors and Vanquished (1959) and Black List (1975).  The thirties, during which Stuart wrote some of his best known novels such as The Coloured Dome, and Try the Sky, are not covered by this collection.  It provides, however, extensive notes and manuscripts of some of his unpublished novels, among them: The Water Gardener, A Trip Down the River, and Back to Suffer.  The papers contain complete manuscripts of Black List and two of his five published plays.  The major part of the third series of this collection, letters and clippings, is related to Stuart's literary work.  Nevertheless, some information about the writer's life and interests is given through the correspondence with his wife, Iseult Gonne, and acquaintances.

The Manuscript section (1940-1971), the largest segment of the collection, contains primarily drafts of novels, plays, and short stories by Francis Stuart.  Included in this series are the drafts of his unpublished novels Back to Suffer (begun in June 1960), A Trip Down the River (begun in November 1962) as well as a fragment of The Water Gardener (begun in November 1962).  This series also documents a large part of Stuart's plays.  Researchers interested in the development of an individual work will find Stuart's novel, Victors and Vanquished, to be the most extensively documented work in this and the following series.

The Workbook section of this collection contains notes on some of Stuart's published and unpublised novels, most of which are included in the manuscripts section.  This largely contains extensive notes on Victors and Vanquished.

The Correspondence section includes letters from Stuart's family, friends, and acquaintances, among them such notables as Heinrich Boll, Compton Mackenzie, Liam O'Flaherty (1 folder), Ethel Mannin, George Duhamel, Ezra Pound, and George Bernard Shaw.  Most of these letters contain literary criticism with regard to Stuart's works.  This series also contains correspondence with Stuart's publishers, among them one folder with letters from Victor Gollancz LTD., who published a great part of the author's novels.  The collection also includes personal letters from his wife, Iseult Gonne Stuart, documenting family matters.

The publisher files are from Victor Gollancz Ltd for all of Stuart's eleven books for them.  These files date from 1932 to 1998 and include original signed contracts, reader's reports, correspondence and rights materials.

Biographical Note

Henry Francis Stuart was born in Townsville, Australia on April 29, 1902 of Irish Protestant parents, Elizabeth and Henry Irwin Stuart, from County Antrim, Ulster.  Shortly thereafter, his father died and mother and son returned to Ireland.  Stuart attended day school in Dublin, and later boarding school in England, including years at Rugby.  At seventeen, Stuart wanted to be a poet, which led him to seek out Dublin writers of the time, including George Russell.  At one salon, he met Iseult Gonne, the daughter of leading actress and figure in the Irish Nationalist movement, Maud Gonne MacBride, and Lucien Millevoye, a French deputy.  After converting to Catholicism, Stuart and Iseult married.  Their meeting and courtship are described in the manuscript of Black List, Section H (Box 1, folder 2) in greater detail.

After the death of their infant daughter, Delores, Stuart and Iseult toured the continent in an effort to take their minds off the tragedy.  When they returned to Ireland, the Civil War was beginning.  Iseult's mother had turned her house into a hospital and both Iseult and Stuart were pressed into service.  Stuart also smuggled arms for the Republican Army and was arrested by government troops.  He remained in jail until November of 1923.  While in prison, Stuart's reading of Dostoevsky and his acquaintance with Jim Phelan (or Sean Lane, as he is called in Black List), contributed to Stuart's later articulated theory that an artist can develop best when either ignored or despised by society, on which thesis many of his later actions were based.

Soon after release from prison, Stuart published his first book of poetry.  This small book of poems garnered acclaim from William Butler Yeats, and from Poetry magazine in Chicago (which published some of his poems) and won an award under the name of H. Stuart (See Harriet Monroe's letter - Box 1, folder 20).

In 1924, Stuart and his wife rented a cottage in Glencree, County Wicklow where in 1926 their son, Ian, was born.  In 1930, they purchased a larger house at Glendalough called Laragh Castle, in County Wicklow, where Stuart established a modest poultry farm.  The next year, his daughter, Katherine, was born, and his first novel, Women and God, was published.  During the next eight years, Stuart lived at Laragh with some extended stays abroad, principally in London and Paris.  He wrote about ten books during this period.  In April of 1939, Stuart went alone on a lecture and readings circuit in Germany at various universities and was offered a job as lecturer in modern English and Irish literature at Berlin University, which he accepted.  He returned home in July of 1939 for a summer vacation, and in spite of the outbreak of war, in January of 1940, managed to return to Germany to his post, again leaving his wife and children in Ireland.

Later, Stuart fell in love with one of his former students at the university, Madeleine Gertrude Meissner, whom he tried to get out of Germany at the end of the war.  Being of Polish-German origin, she would not have been safe in a Berlin overrun by Russian troops, and Stuart wished to take her back to Ireland with him.  In the fall of 1945, Stuart tried in vain to find a means to get them both to Ireland, including writing to Iseult for help.  Letters from his wife to Stuart during this period are of special interest (Box 1, folder 23).

Unable to get himself and Miss Meissner to Ireland, Stuart returned to Lake Constance where Miss Meissner was staying. A few days later, both were arrested and held without charges until the following spring.  Later that year, they were released.  Stuart and Meissner spent the next three years in Frieburg, Germany, where he wrote Redemption and Pillar of a Cloud.

In 1949, Stuart moved to Paris for two years, where he published The Flowering Cross, and two earlier books were translated into French.  Stuart moved to London in 1951 with Miss Meissner.  In 1954, following Iseult's death, Stuart married Meissner, and in 1958, the Stuarts relocated in County Meath in Ireland.

Subject/Index Terms

Autobiographical fiction

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

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 Source: Purchased.

Preferred Citation: [after identification of item(s)], Francis Stuart papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Processing Information: Finding aid updated in December 2013 when addition was added.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Manuscript: Back to Suffer, 1960, 491 pp., AMS, at beginning: Begun June 19, 1960. An unpublished novelAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Manuscript: Black List, Section H. 1971, pages 1-508, handwritten, early draft of novel.Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Manuscript: Black List, Section H. 1971, pages 509 - 1058, handwritten, Early draft of novel.Add to your cart.
Folder 4: [Dustjacket of] Black List, Section H. 1971 Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press.Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Manuscript: "Extracts from the Journal of Apatriate." 1950, [1]-2-7-[8] 1, TMs, A short story, published in Envoy: A Review of Literature and Art v. 3, no. 12 (December, 1950) p. 57-66.Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Manuscript: Flynn's Last Dive: A Play. 1962, [i-ii]-1-75-[iii] 1, TMs (mimeographed), performed at the Pembroke Theater, March 1962.Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Manuscript: "Minou." 1959. [1]-2-20 1, TMs (carbon), a short story, published in Good Housekeeping, March 1959.Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Manuscript: Strange Guest. 1940, [i-ii]-[1]-2-89 1, TMs (carbon), a play, performed at the Abbey Theatre, December, 1940.Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Manuscript: A Trip Down the River.  1959, 556 pp. AMs, an unpublished novel begun November 15, 1959.Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Manuscript: Victors and VanquishedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Manuscript: Victors and VanquishedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Manuscript: Victors and VanquishedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Manuscript: Water GardnerAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Workbooks 1-5Add to your cart.

1)  "Nov. 1945 1. A." November 1945, [a1-a24-b12-b1] p. AMs, notes for a novel in part A; texts of letters for novel in part B.

2)  "Notes for Novel, Sept. 1955. Victors and Vanquished"; 1955.[1-132]  p., AMs, notes on "German novel'; last date July 1956.

3)  "Notes 2, November, 1956." 1956, [1-88] p., AMs notes for Victors and Vanquished; thoughts on Tolstoy and others; last date in May 1957.

4)  "Notes 3; Notes for Novel, June 1957." 1957, [1-25] p., AMs, notes for Victors and Vanquished, and possible other novels.

5)  "Notebook A. December, 1957. July, 1958-December 1958", 1958 [1-119] p., AMs, notes for an unfinished novel and for Angels of Providence.

Folder 15: Workbooks 6-10Add to your cart.

6) "Notes B; Novel. Nov. 1959." 1959, [1-69] p. AMs, notes for A Trip Down the River; thoughts on previous book, The Flowering Cross, and on other writers.

7)  "Notes B. July, 1960-October, 1960." 1960, [1-60] p., AMs, notes or Back to Suffer and To Be a Novelist; thoughts on Bellow and others.

8)  "November, 1962. Notes I." 1962, [1-74] p., AMs, notes for The Water Gardener; thoughts on Grass and others.

9)  "The Low Ebb: Notes 2." 1963, [1-28] p., AMs, comments on creativity and writing; some notes on The Water Gardener; last date in March 1963.

10)  "May, 1963; Notes 3." 1963, [1-53] p., AMs, notes begin 1961; overview of characters in his books.

Folder 16: Correspondence: Boll-Gill and MacMillanAdd to your cart.

1)   Boll, Heinrich (1917-   ), ALS, 1 p., 9 November, 1955., FS "Liebe Francis Stuart", in German, envelope attached [didn't see you in London, see us in Koln.]

2)   Duhamel, Georges (1884-  ). TLS, 1 p., 30 January 1950. FS "Monsieur," in French, envelope attached [compares something in Column of Fire with Hardy.]

3)   Gill, Michael.  TLS, 1 p., 26 March, 1970.  FS "Dear Francis," [rejection of what was later Black List, Section H.] envelope attached, clipping attached (see 4)

4)   Stuart, Francis (1902-   ).  clipping.  12 June, 1970. "Letter to the Editor," Irish Times, [remonstrates Irish publishers for driving out writers]

Folder 17: Correspondence: Victor Gollancz LTD.Add to your cart.

5)   Gollancz, Victor. TLS, 1 p., 19 March 1948.  FS "Dear Francis Stuart," [Pillar of Cloud; will read; reader thinks great.]

6)   Gollancz, Victor. TLS, 1 p., 28 October 1948. FS "Dear Francis Stuart," [Will read "Psalm Above the Fish Shop" (later Redemption) chief reader thinks it finer than Pillar of Cloud.]

7)   Gollancz, Victor. TLS, 1 p., 11 March 1949, FS "My Dear Francis," [Sends enclosure, something for the Times Literary Supplement (not included); working on new novel?] envelope attached.

8)   Gollancz, Victor. TLS, 1 p., 2 August 1949, FS "My dear Francis Stuart," [Wants to publish The Flowering Cross; suggests minor changes.]

9)   Hodges, Emilia, TLS. 1 p., 5 October, 1950. FS "Dear Mr. Stuart," [Explains misunderstanding; Devin Garrity hasn't answered about the contract for The Flowering Cross.]

10)  Gollancz, Victor.  TLS 2 p., 19 July 1954. FS "My dear Francis Stuart," [Read and liked The Pilgrimage, but one plot defect.]

Folder 18: Correspondence: Maude Gonne-Thomas MacAnnaAdd to your cart.

11)  Gonne, Maud (1866-1953) ALS, 1 p., 22 March 1939. FS "Grim Dear," [Said Great Squire proved his genius] envelope attached

12)  Liddell-Hart, Sir Basil Henry (1895-  ) ALS, 1p., 17 December1935. FS "Dear Sir," [Thanked him for the experience of reading worthwhile book.]

14)  MacAnna, Thomas. ALS 1 p., Saturday [17 October 1970] FS. “Dear Francis,” [Tells of banning by directors of the Abbey Theatre of play Who Fears to Speak? about MacSwiney]

15)  Deanne, Michael. clipping, 21 October 1970, “Abbey rejects MacSwiney play,” Irish Press.

Folder 19: Correspondence: Compton MackenzieAdd to your cart.
16)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) ALS, 1 p., 9 February 1932. FS “Dear Mr. Stuart,” [Praises Pigeon Irish.] envelope attached 17)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) TLS, 2 p., 21 February 1932. FS “Dear Mr. Stuart,” [Invites Stuart to meet him; recalls drolly Glendalough] 18)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) TLS. 1p., 27 February 1933. FS “Dear Stuart,” [Will spend time straightening out finances; reviews of Try the Sky impudent] enclosure and envelope attached (see 19). 19)  Movrogordato, John. ALS 1 p., 30 January 1933. CM “My dear Monty” [Praises Try the Sky; says only Priestly of reviewers saw its value.] 20)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) TLS. 1 p., August 1935. FS “Dear Stuart:” [Comments on the house he’s building; on Angel of Pity] envelope attached 21)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) TLS. 1 p., 29 June 1936, FS “My dear Francis Stuart:” [Asks what Stuart’s doing; may visit Ireland later] envelope attached 22)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) ALS. Christmas Eve of 1936, FS “My dear Francis Stuart:” [Inquires about his work, his last book; refers to G. B. Shaw and H. G. Wells] envelope attached 23)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) ALS, 1 p., 14 August 195? , FS “Dear Stuart:” [Am distractedly busy; your last book was good.] envelope attached 24)  Mackenzie, Compton (1883-  ) ALS, 1 p., 21 July 1951, FS “Dear Francis Stuart:” [Invites Stuart and his wife for visit; gives particulars of connections to travel there] envelope attached
Folder 20: Correspondence: Mannin-MorganAdd to your cart.
25)  Mannin, Ethel (1900-  ) TLS, 2 p., 17 May 1949, FS “Dearest Francis” [Apologizes and gives reasons for not liking Redemption] envelope attached 26)  Rubenstein, H. F., TLS, 1 p., 18 April 1950, EM “Dear Miss Mannin,” [Advised best course against E. H. Cookridge and his book Secrets of the British Service is to let Stuart’s reading public judge from his work; letter from Miss Mannin to Stuart TLS on back] envelope attached 27)  Monroe, Harriet (1861?-1936) ALS, 1p., 22 April 1936, FS “My dear Mr. Stuart;” [Inquires if Stuart is the same H. Stuart who won a Poetry magazine poetry award ten years earlier] envelope attached 28)  Morgan, Charles (1894-1958) ALS, 1 p., 7 June 1939. FS “Dear Mr. Stuart:” [Was very grateful for Stuart’s letter and mention of Morgan in lectures in Germany; political difficulties increase, cutting off the best in Germany]
Folder 21: Correspondence: Liam O'FlahertyAdd to your cart.
29)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) TLS, 2 p., 14 February 1932, FS “Dear Francis,” [Relates the trying time he had in London and his move to Sussex] envelope attached 30)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) ALS, 3 p., 26? February 1932, FS “Dear Francis,” [Comments on racehorses, particularly a filly, on American influence on taste, and on spurious French titles] 31)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) TLS, 1 p., n.d., FS “Dear Francis,” [Comments on Stuart’s great review, warns against a swelled head; Asks about Elizabeth; speaks of difficulty settling down] 32)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) ALS, 2 p., Thursday, 21 July 1932, FS “Dear Francis,” [Describes living situation and Pegeen; thanks Iseult for unnamed favor] envelope attached 33)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) TLS, 1 p., 6 October 1932, FS “Dear Francis,” [Asks about Yeats’ academy; may buy a tower in Galway] envelope attached 34)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) ALS, 1 p., Tuesday lunch, 19 November 1935. FS “Dear Francis,” [Gives address of girl who wants to meet Stuart] envelope attached 35)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) TLS, 1 p., Thursday, [28 November, 1935], FS “Dear Francis,” [Explains previous luncheon note; speaks of the reviews of Angel of Pity; suggests the Jazz Spangled Dollarland] 36)  O’Flaherty, Liam (1896-  ) ALS, 1 p., n.d., [13 July] FS “Dear Francis,” [Offers to give any advice on training quarters; asks does Stuart have any good tips like the last he gave] envelope attached
Folder 22: Correspondence: Pound-ShawAdd to your cart.
37)  Pound, Ezra (1885-  ) ALS. 1 p., [2? May, 1951] FS “Thanks.” [Has        “…unslakeable thirst for news…will be glad to try a novel…seldom able to finish one.”] aerogram 38)  Ryan, Frank, ALS. 1 p., 15 October 1943, FS “Dear Francis,” [Reports he is recuperating in Berlin; trying to find a house with a housekeeper, or may move to Luxembourg or elsewhere] 39)  Shaw, George Bernard  (1856-1950) and Yeats, William Butler (1865-1925) TLS 1p., holograph n.d., FS “Dear Sir,” [invited Stuart to support Irish Academy of Letters.]
Folder 23: Correspondence: Iseult Gonne Stuart - Helene WeigelAdd to your cart.
40)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) TLS, 1 p., 17 October [1945?] FS “My darling Francis,” [Explains money situation; had word from External Affairs that Stuart had gone back to Austria; will try to sell ivory tankard and Jacobean cabinet to raise money] envelope attached 41)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) ALS, 4 p., 27 October [1945?] FS  “My darling Francis,” [Tried to arrange to send a parcel for Gertrud; peregrinations to have 25  sent to Stuart; gives news of Ian and Kay; speaks of her love for gardening, and of dear friends] envelope attached 42)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) ALS, 2 p., 1 November [1945?] FS “May darling Francis,” [Pleads that Stuart not go to camp; not to feel guilty about taking money now; regrets having written about the money pinch] envelope attached 43)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) TLS, 1 p., 24 August 1951, FS “Dear Grim,” [Tells of approaching marriage of their son Chet (Ian); asks him not to mention family affairs to Ethel Mannin; says money is still quite tight; suggests he have children] envelope attached 44)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) ALS, 3 p., 2 May [1953?] FS “Dear Grim,” [Tells of Maud Gonne’s death; invites him to spend a few days with them at a later date; regrets no note from him] envelope attached 45)  Stuart, Iseult Gonne (1895?-1954) ALS 3 p., [15?] May 1953, FS “Dear Grim,” [Thanks him for letter; regrets that he cannot visit; feels their daughter Kay needs his guidance; gives criticism of his writing; says she doesn’t expect to live much longer] envelope attached 46)  Weigel, Helene (1900-  ) TLS, 1 p., 28 July 1970, Mr. and Mrs., FS “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Stuart,” [Says rehearsals have started, please come] envelope attached
Folder 24: Publisher's files: The Flowering Cross, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Publisher's files: Victors and The Vanquished, 1958Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Publisher's files: Try the Sky, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Publisher's files: Redemption, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Publisher's files: The Pillar of Cloud, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Publisher's files: The Chariot, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Publisher's files: The Coloured Dome, 1932Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Publisher's files: Pigeon Irish, 1932Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Publisher's files: Glory, 1933Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Publisher's file:  Good Friday's Daughter, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Publisher's files: Angels of Providence, 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Publisher's files: The Pilgrimage, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Publisher's files, 1949-1998Add to your cart.

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