Correspondence, literary manuscripts, and printed works of Robert Southey

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS 19c Southey
  • Dates of Creation
      ca. 1797-1839
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      9 vols and 1 box held on part of 1 shelf, manuscript, typescript and printed (1) below is bound in dark green half leather and embossed on the spine in gilt lettering thus: ROBERT SOUTHEY LETTERS TO JOHN MAY ETC.- 1797-1835. Manuscript; (2) below are finely bound in brown half leather cases embossed on their spines in gilt lettering thus: ROBERT SOUTHEY POETICAL MANUSCRIPT(S). The volumes inside are also well bound in ivory full leather with ROBERT SOUTHEY embossed on the outside front covers within a dark green rectangular piece of leather decorated around the edges; (3) below is finely bound in leather with foliated patterns embossed on both covers and the spine, which also bears the gilt lettering: ALBUM VERSES. R.S.; (4) below are bound in brown leather, which is party damaged, tooled, and embossed with gilt lettering thus: ESPRIELLA'S LETTERS and the respective volume numbers in Roman numerals. There is marbling on the edges of the pages and on the inside covers and flyleaves; (5) below are finely bound in red leather embossed with gold decorations and gilt lettering thus: SOUTHEY'S LIFE OF NELSON and the respective volume numbers in Roman numerals. All sides of the pages are gilt-edged

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) A collection of autograph letters written by Robert Southey to John May and others, together with manuscript poems and notes by Robert Southey, and autograph letters to John May from Thomas Arnold of Rugby, John Keble and Francis Walpole, 1797-1835, 1 vol.; (2) 2 vols of poetical manuscripts concerning the Lake District held in cases and including watercolour paintings by Robert Southey, ca. 1830; (3) 1 album of verses by Robert Southey, including family signatures, ca. 1831; (4) Robert Southey's Letters from England, by Dom Manuel Alvarez Espriella, translated from the Spanish, 1807, 3 vols, the author's own interleaved copy with additional notes in his autograph; (5) Robert Southey's The life of Nelson, new edition, London, John Murray, 1824, 2 vols; (6) Miscellaneous loose letters and a set of commonplace notes, including Robert Southey's autograph manuscript poems for Caroline Bowles written before their marriage on 23 April 1839, and his autograph letters to Longman, Hurst and Co., S.C. Hall, and Rev. William Jackson, dated 13 September 1825, 4 June 1829, and 19 January 1832 respectively, all held in 1 box

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Southey (1774-1843), poet and man of letters, was expelled from Westminster School for a protest against flogging, but proceeded in 1792 to Balliol College, Oxford, where he pursued his studies without interference and began Joan of Arc. He was visited there by Coleridge and converted by him to unitarianism and pantisocracy. He was twice married, first to Edith Fricker, who died in 1837, then in 1839 to Caroline Bowles. After visiting Spain and Portugal he settled at Keswick, where he remained and wrote extensively. He became poet laureate in 1813 and was friendly with Wordsworth. For a full assessment of his life and work see the Dictionary of National Biography

Access Information

Access is unrestricted

Acquisition Information

Mainly from the library of Lord Brotherton, but with additional material purchased on various dates from various antiquarian bookdealers


In English

Other Finding Aids

The letters are described in the Library's Letters database