Skip to main content

David Gascoyne collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 529

Scope and Contents

The David Gascoyne collection encompasses accessions of single manuscripts and groups of manuscripts pertaining to David Gascoyne acquired by gift or purchase from various sources by the Beinecke Library.

The papers span most of Gascoyne's career from 1945 onward. The material from the 1940s is primarily correspondence, notebooks and journals, while later material from the 1970s through the1990s includes sound recordings, original artwork, typescripts and other material related to publication as well as notebooks.

Gascoyne's notebooks contain diverse genres of writings including notes and drafts for correspondence, prose, poetic writing, and lists (which are often bibliographic). In addition to traditional literary genres, Gascoyne's works include collections of found images and writings. One such collection, "A Little Book of Bits and Pieces," is bound into a volume; a second comprises a planned work entitled "Works of Novalis, Translated by Various Hands."

The bulk of the correspondence in the collection relates to the editing and publishing of Gascoyne's works and to the management of his literary career, though some addresses literary and philosophical topics. Other correspondence is personal, such as Gascoyne's postcards to his parents.

The largest single accession in the collection is that of Alan Clodd, Gascoyne's agent and publisher. In addition to correspondence, notebooks, artwork, photographs and audio recordings, the Alan Clodd collection includes papers from several volumes that Clodd helped prepare for publication, including Selected Prose, Selected Verse Translations and Gascoyne's planned publication Surrealism Resurveyed.


  • circa 1910-2002


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French, including Gascoyne's translations of French poetry into English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 19 (audiocassettes): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Portions of the collection are microfilmed, as noted on individual folders.

Conditions Governing Use

The David Gascoyne Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection of documents acquired by gift and purchase from various sources. Source information is noted on the folders or in series descriptions. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.


The collection is organized into four series: Correspondence, Writings, Other Papers, and Alan Clodd Collection of David Gascoyne. The first three series are of mixed provenance, as indicated by accession numbers on individual folders.


11.83 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of correspondence, writings (including notes, journals and manuscripts), artwork, photographs and audio cassettes which document the career of poet and translator David Gascoyne.

David Emery Gascoyne, 1916-2001

The poet and translator David Emery Gascoyne was born October 10, 1916 in Harrow, England and died November 25, 2001. His early career was characterized by a precocious energy that produced two volumes of poetry (Roman Balcony and Other Poems, 1932 and Man's Life is This Meat, 1936), a novel (Opening Day, 1933) and a critical survey (A Short Survey of Surrealism, 1935) by the time he was twenty. He became one of the leading representatives of British Surrealism and was an important liaison between French and British circles. His diaries from the late 1930s are particularly well known and provide an excellent picture of the Parisian avant-garde on the brink of the Second World War.

Gascoyne published several volumes of poetry in his early productive stage, but after 1956 he published little new poetry. His later work focused on lectures and appearances, essays, reviews, translations and the publication of his journals. His most criticially acclaimed later works include Night Thoughts and The Sun at Midnight. He also had a long-standing relationship with Enitharmon Press, founded in 1967 by Alan Clodd, which resulted in numerous publications.

Gascoyne's intense poetic sensitivity (often characterized as visionary or mystical) was tempered by severe depression and he devoted many years to recovery. It was during a stay at a hospital on the Isle of Wight that he met Judy Tyler Lewis, whom he married in 1975. He had four stepchildren.

Guide to the David Gascoyne Collection
by Beinecke Staff
September 1995
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.