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Kenneth Curry Collection of Robert Southey Letters

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3664

The Kenneth Curry Collection of Robert Southey Letters includes Romantic poet Robert Southey's letters, typescript transcriptions collected for University of Tennessee English professor Kenneth Curry's two-volume compilation New Letters of Robert Southey. These typescripts consist of letters that were used in Curry's publication, and ones that did not make it into the compilation. The collection also includes page proofs of New Letters, microfilm, and microfilm prints of Southey letters Curry gathered during research for his book.

Series I: Published Letters of Robert Southey, 1792 January-1838 October 15, circa 1960-1965 -- This series contains edited typescripts of Southey letters used in Curry's two-volume New Letters of Robert Southey. It also includes page proofs of the books as well as edits and annotations to the manuscript.

Series II: Unpublished Letters of Robert Southey, 1792 April 15-1839 September 6, undated -- This series consists of typescripts of Southey letters Curry did not use in his book New Letters of Robert Southey. They do not include editing marks.

Series III: Microfilm of Robert Southey Letters, 1790-1839, undated -- This series includes microfilm reels and microfilm copies of Southey letters obtained during Curry's research at libraries, museums, historical societies and dealers/collectors in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Dates

  • 1792-1839, circa 1960-1969, undated

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript and University Archives collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.

Extent

3.75 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Kenneth Curry Collection of Robert Southey Letters includes Romantic poet Robert Southey's letters, typescript transcriptions collected for University of Tennessee English professor Kenneth Curry's two-volume compilation New Letters of Robert Southey. These typescripts consist of letters that were used in Curry's publication, and ones that did not make it into the compilation. The collection also includes page proofs of New Letters, microfilm, and microfilm prints of Southey letters Curry gathered during research for his book.

Biographical/Historical Note

Romantic poet Robert Southey was born to Robert and Margaret Hill Southey in Wine Street, Bristol, England on August 12, 1774. He attended Westminster School, but was expelled for writing a controversial work in a school publication. He matriculated to Balliol College, Oxford in 1792, but quickly became frustrated, left without earning a degree, and considered emigration. This idea became more attractive after Southey met Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) in June 1794. Together they planned to establish a pantisocracy -- an egalitarian settlement -- in North America. However, the scheme fell through when neither Southey nor Coleridge could finance it. Southey and Coleridge collaborated on writing projects in 1794, including The Fall of Robespierre. Southey also worked with Robert Lovell to publish a book of poems in 1795. The same year, Southey published his first solo collection of poems.

Southey married seamstress Edith Fricker at St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol on November 14, 1795. Since the couple married in secret, Southey traveled with his uncle to Portugal and Spain in the same month without his new wife. Southey, an avid letter writer since his school days, published letters he sent and received during this trip in Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797). He returned to England early the next year and settled with Edith in London. They moved frequently over the next several years, with Southey studied law and worked at several different jobs while he wrote on the side. After the death of their first child, Margaret, in 1803, the couple settled in Greta Hall, Keswick, England so that Edith could be near her sister, Sara, who had married Coleridge. Here, Southey became acquainted with William Wordsworth, who introduced him to a number of other authors. Together, Southey, Wordsworth and Coleridge are now sometimes referred to as the "Lake Poets" because they were romantic poets living in the Lake District. The Southeys had seven more children in Keswick.

Throughout his writing career, he contributed poetry to several publications. His most noteworthy prose and poetry works include Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem (1796), Saint Patrick's Purgatory (1798), After Blenheim (1798), Devil's Thoughts (1799), The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them (1799), Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Madoc (1805), The Curse of Kehama (1810), Roderick the Last of the Goths (1814), and The Doctor (1837), in which "The Story of the Three Bears" was first captured in prose. He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1813, a position he held the rest of his life. After Edith died in 1838, Southey married poet Caroline Anne Bowles (1786-1854) on June 4, 1839. Within three months of their marriage, Southey's health began to steadily deteriorate. He died on March 21, 1843 at his home in Keswick.

Kenneth Curry was born on October 24, 1910 in Orlando, Florida. He earned his AB degree at Rollins College in 1932 and his PhD at Yale University in 1935. Immediately after graduation, Curry began his career with the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Professor of English. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1946 and to Professor in 1960. Curry retired in 1979 as Professor Emeritus. He died in Knoxville, Tennessee on October 13, 1999.

Curry wrote several books during his career, including A Register of Papers: The University of Tennessee Philological Club (1958), New Letters of Robert Southey (1965), Southey (1975), Sir Walter Scott's Edinburgh Annual Register (1977), Robert Southey: A Reference Guide (1977), The Contributions of Robert Southey to the Morning Post (1984), and English at Tennessee, 1794-1988 (1989).

Curry compiled, edited, and annotated the two-volume New Letters of Robert Southey as a way to supplement previous publications that either left out or significantly edited Robert Southey's letters. Curry's compilation includes 497 pieces of correspondence that cover Southey's entire writing career, from 1792 to 1838. However, Curry was unable to include all of Southey's letters in his compilation, admitting that more than 2,000 of Southey's letters either remain unpublished or are included in unreliable publications.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Series I: Published Letters of Robert Southey, 1792 January-1838 October 15, circa 1960-1965 -- This series contains edited typescripts of Southey letters used in Curry's two-volume New Letters of Robert Southey. It also includes page proofs of the books as well as edits and annotations to the manuscript.

Series II: Unpublished Letters of Robert Southey, 1792 April 15-1839 September 6, undated -- This series consists of typescripts of Southey letters Curry did not use in his book New Letters of Robert Southey. They do not include editing marks.

Series III: Microfilm of Robert Southey Letters, 1790-1839, undated -- This series includes microfilm reels and microfilm copies of Southey letters obtained during Curry's research at libraries, museums, historical societies and dealers/collectors in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Previous Citation

Materials in this collection were previously cited as MS.0385, MS.0448, and MS.1131. All materials from previous collections are contained within this collection.

Acquisition Note

Kenneth Curry donated these materials between 1967 and 1984.

Related Archival Materials

Other collections relating to this one include:

Related Materials

  1. MS.1527: Kenneth Curry Papers, 1967
  2. MS.2052: Dr. Kenneth Curry Collection, 1787-1930

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480