Personal,Critical Quarterlyand general correspondence files

Scope and Content

This series contains 17 correspondence files generated by Brian Cox. They have been grouped together here because their contents are similar in nature. They include personal and general correspondence files containing letters from poets, writers, publishers, academics and politicians; these are sometimes arranged according to a specific subject, such as letters received in response to Cox's poetry collection Emeritus; elsewhere they simply contain general correspondence received over a particular period. In two cases, correspondence with specific poets (Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes) has been removed from the main sequence and stored separately; these form the first two files in the sequence, although there is further correspondence with Hughes in some of the other files. Finally, there are some files generated by Cox in his capacity as poetry editor of Critical Quarterly, a role he took up again in January 1998. These contain his correspondence with contributors to the journal, many of whom are also personal friends. Cox's work for the journal now relates solely to the poetry contributions; it is carried out from home, and consists largely of correspondence rather than administrative papers or literary manuscripts; it is therefore most appropriately housed with his other general correspondence files.

Topics covered in the correspondence include: comments from other writers and critics on Cox's own poetry and his autobiography; the publication of his poems in journals like the American Sewanee Review and Hudson Review; the writing and activities of other poets; the selection of contributions for publication in Critical Quarterly; the Arvon Foundation; the Verbal Arts Campaign; the teaching of creative writing generally; the Kingman Committee, National Curriculum English Working Group and the Cox Report; Cox's receipt of a CBE; his work for North West Arts and the Arts Council; and television appearances. Some correspondents, such as Frederick Morgan and George Core, appear quite frequently. Other correspondents include: John Betjeman; A.S. Byatt; HRH Prince Charles; Roald Dahl; Roy Fuller; Thom Gunn; Sophie Hannah; Tony Harrison; John Holloway; Frank Kermode; Jayanta Mahapatra; Andrew Motion; Norman Nicholson; Craig Raine; Michael Schmidt; Louis Simpson; R.S. Thomas; and Charles Tomlinson.


In the case of files which contain a relatively small quantity of correspondence and large groupings of letters from the same correspondent, correspondents are listed alphabetically, with specific references to their letters supplied in brackets after their names. In the case of bulkier files which contain letters from numerous different correspondents, contents are listed piece by piece in order of occurrence (which is usually chronological, according to Cox's own arrangement). Where letters are listed individually in file descriptions the following rules apply: a correspondent's name alone denotes incoming letter or letters; 'correspondence' refers to incoming letters along with Cox's copy replies; and 'letter to' denotes an outgoing copy letter from Cox only. Numerous correspondents refer to poems they are enclosing for the consideration of Cox as poetry editor of Critical Quarterly; these manuscripts do not survive in the archive unless explicitly stated.