Lot 579
Sold for £ 5,280 (US$ 7,015) inc. premium

Lot Details
The papers of Sir Israel Gollancz, comprising letters to him, together with some to distinguished colleagues such as W.W. Skeat and F.J. Furnivall, by distinguished correspondents (many represented by groups or series of letters) including Sir James Frazer, George Bernard Shaw ("...By the way, why does the B.A. select for the Warton Lecture the man [Newbolt] who has just proclaimed that any English writer whose reputation has reached Europe is a neurotic degenerate? I don't mind; but what will the others say?..."), J.A.H. Murray of the Oxford English Dictionary (group, including a remarkable letter of 25 January 1901: "I thank you warmly for your kind letter, and esp. for what you say about the Dictionary. It reminds me that there are a choice few who value it, and appreciate the work which it represents. Sometimes I forget that there are any who do so, and then I am apt to lose faith in it myself, and wonder whether I am only a poor fool to devote to it all my time and strength. Especially at the beginning of the new year & new century, when I remember me how much there is still to do, and think of the labour and travail of past years, esp. of the past four, I have asked myself again and again whether it is not all a mistake, and I have only partially found an answer. I cannot say that I begin the second half of the work with either the buoyancy or the faith with which I entered upon it first. The strain of the work is great and not always easy to sustain, & I wonder whether I can stand it long enough...", and a fine letter by him on the Gawain poet and West Midlands dialect), Gordon Craig (asking him to edit an English publication of his Cranach Hamlet, 26 January 1929: "I am today in Weimar seeing a German version of 'Hamlet' through one of the finest presses in Europe - 'The Cranach Press' over which Count Kessler watches..."), Sir John Rhys, Sir Frederic Kenyon, Stopford A. Brooke, Alois Brandl (series), G.O. Trevelyan (group), Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, William Archer, Sir William Watson (about the Shakespeare Memorial Committee, 1905), Israel Zangwill, Sir Ian Hamilton (requesting Beefeaters at the Ralegh Tercentenary of 1918), Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, A.J. (Lord) Balfour (series, on BA business and the Jerusalem books gift), W.W. Skeat, Sir Walter Besant, Sir Henry Newbolt, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Hallam Tennyson (group, on behalf of his father, one sending Tennyson's 'Pearl' poem), Sir Edmund Gosse, Henry Arthur Jones (group), Austen Chamberlain ("...As your task of providing for the selection of British books to be presented to the Imperial University of Tokyo is now drawing towards its close, I wish to express my gratitude for the care, scholarship, and devotion you have so freely given to the carrying out of this work..."), Frank Ashton-Gwatkin of the Foreign Office ("...a telegram was sent by he Foreign Office to H.M. Ambassador at Tokyo...'Shakespeare Association of Great Britain rejoices to learn of foundation of Shakespeare Association of Japan and sends fraternal greetings and heartiest congratulations and good wishes. Signed: Gollancz, Chairman...'"), Sanki Ichikawa (President of the Shakespeare Association of Japan), Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, William Aldis Wright (group), W.P. Ker (series: "I shall accept your division, & take as my share 1 the Modern English Authors 2 Modern English to Middle English 3 Chaucer"), Sir Edward Maunde Thompson (series, on Edward III's cryptosignum and other matters), Robert Bridges (series, some inserted in a copy of his Poems Written in the Year MCMXIII), Henry Morley, M.E. Sadler, Sir Squire Bancroft, Harley Granville-Barker, Roger Fry (illuminated spoof), J.P. Gilson, Will Rothenstein, James Bryce, Norman M'Clean, J.W. Mackail, R.W. Chambers, Rennell Rodd, Sir Sidney Colvin, Alfred Perceval Graves, Lord Northcliffe, A.C. Bradley, Sir Sidney Lee, Bertram Dobell, F.S. Ellis, Siegfried Wagner, Lord Haldane, Alfred W. Pollard, Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick, A.W. Ward, Alice and Wilfrid Meynell, Lord Curzon ("Dear Sir I Gollaancz/ I am afraid I cannot support your appeal as I am not in favour of a National Theatre/ yrs flly/ Curzon"), H.A.L. Fisher (group), Sir Herbert Thompson, Charlotte Stopes, Henry Bradley (two fine etymological letters), F.T. Palgrave, Kuno Meyer, Sir William Ramsay, Sir George Grierson, Alfred Noyes, Ramsay MacDonald, Sir John Stainer (on song books), G.G. Coulton, Edwin A. Abbott (series), Sir Lionel Cust, Sir George F. Hill, Canon Rawnsley (founder of the National Trust, verse), the army chaplain Theodore Hardy VC DSO MC (a movingly diffident letter written to Gollancz, an old college friend, a fortnight before being killed on the Western Front, see the ODNB), Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, Dame Madge Kendal, Mabel Day (Gollancz's assistant, collaborator and subsequent editor, series), and others, including Frida Mond and cousins of the family; with some drafts of outgoing letters by Gollancz himself; and a quantity of manuscripts or typescripts by him (including his lecture 'Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice": A Mediaevelist's Exposition', 'Early English Poetry', 'Fairy Land', and 'Anglo Saxon Bookcraft'), comprising several hundred letters in all; plus printed ephemera, etc.


  • The papers of one of the founding fathers of English literature as an academic discipline. These letters find Sir Israel Gollancz (1863-1930) acting in a quite extraordinary array of capacities: as the first ever Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of London, as founding Secretary of the British Academy (through which he sponsored the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and chairs in Portuguese and Spanish literature), as Honorary Secretary of the Shakespeare Memorial National Theatre Trust (through which he lobbied for the creation of a National Theatre), as Honorary Director of the Early English Text Society, as President of the Philological Society, as Chairman of the Shakespeare Association, as organizer of the first Anglo-American conference of professors of English literature, as organizer of the Milton and Ralegh tercentenaries, as member or associate of many foreign academic bodies (including the French Shakespeare Society, the Anglo-Spanish Society, and the Shakespeare Association of Japan), and above all as textual editor and translator, especially of the Gawain Poet's Pearl. Although this collection clearly does not represent the sum total of Gollancz's papers, it could well be the largest portion that has survived: the only other group of his papers that we have been able to track down is a file held by the National Theatre. Some of his outgoing letters are held at the Senate House. Not only does the present archive preserve an exceptional cross-section of correspondence from the period when the study of English literature was becoming established as an academic discipline, but it also provides a valuable source for the study of cross-currents between politics and academia; a subject that - especially in regard to Shakespeare - has received a good deal of attention in recent years. The archive also has material of value to Jewish studies, Celtic studies, and several other areas of interest.
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