Papers of Anthony Simon Thwaite

Scope and Content

The material comprises manuscript drafts, typescripts and ten notebooks (including journals of a visit to Libya), chiefly relating to Thwaite's poetry collections The Owl in the Tree (1963), The Stones of Emptiness (1967), A Portion for Foxes (1977) and The Deserts of Hesperides (1969) a travel book on Libya. There are twenty four letters of correspondence between Anthony Thwaite and Jon Stallworthy (Oxford University Press) (1965-1968) about the publication of The Stones of Emptiness. In addition to manuscript and typescript poems there is the script of a play entitled 'Hagoromo' by Anthony Thwaite in one of his notebooks (1973) and notes on visits to North Africa, Yugoslavia and Italy. The notebooks also act as diaries of Thwaite's time as a lecturer for the British Council at the University of Benhazi in Libya, his sabbatical at the University of East Anglia and ideas for radio programmes. They also detail archaeological sites of special interest and excavations in North Africa. Accompanying these literary manuscripts is a bundle of transcripts and photocopies of letters by Philip Larkin, assembled by Thwaite for his edition of the Selected letters (1992).

Administrative / Biographical History

Anthony Simon Thwaite was born in Chester in 1930 and spent the years of the second world war with an aunt in Washington DC where he went to school. On his return he was boarded at Kingswood School, Bath, before studying at Christ Church Oxford. While there he edited Isis and co-edited Trio and Oxford Poetry 1954. From 1955 to 1957 he was Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at Tokyo University. On his return to England he became a producer of features for the BBC Third Programme and then , from 1962 to 1965 was literary editor of the Listener. From 1965 to 1967 he was Assistant Professor of English at the University of Libya, Benghazi. Later he became editor of The New Statesman, co-editor of Encounter and Director of Andre Deutsch Ltd. He had a sabbatical year as writer in residence at the University of East Anglia in 1972.

Thwaite published his first book of poems with the Fantasy Press in 1953 and his second Home Truths with the Marvell Press two years after Philip Larkin's The Less Deceived in 1957. He is literary executor of the estate of Philip Larkin, for whom he produced Larkin at Sixty (1982), later editing The Collected Poems (1988) and Selected Letters (1992).

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

U DP155/1-5 purchased in 1970; U DP155/6-16 purchased in November 1979; U DP155/17 donated in June 1990; and U DP155/18 donated in May 1994, all directly from Anthony Thwaite.

Related Material

Other papers of Anthony Thwaite are at U DP151/4, U DP181 and U DP188

Archives of the poetry magazines Wave [U DP158] and Phoenix [U DP162]

Papers of Philip Larkin [U DPL]

Other repositories:

University of Reading; National Sound Archive; BBC written archives; Northamptonshire Record Office; Brotherton Library (Leeds); John Rylands Library (Manchester); East Sussex Record Office


  • Thwaite, Anthony, Twentieth Century English Poetry (1978)
  • Thwaite, Anthony, Introduction to Larkin at Sixty (1982)