Collection of papers relating to Edwin Muir (1887-1959)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-445
  • Dates of Creation
      20th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      circa 50 letters, circa 10 other documents, 1 volume, 1 plastic spined volume
  • Location
      Dc.2.76/15, ff.1-4, and 26; Dc.2.76/26; Dc.4.101-103 Muir; Gen. 767/7-8,12; Gen. 1733/125; Gen. 1780; Gen. 1971/1; Gen. 1972; Gen. 2104/6/1-6; Gen. 2180/4; E87.47; E95.76.

Scope and Content

The papers include: preface and contents for We moderns addressed to A. R. Orage editor of The new age and signed Edward Moore (Edwin Muir); lecture by Muir on The estate of poetry; Latitudes, 1924, with manuscript corrections; sonnet, 1951; transcripts of reviews and poem published in The Listener, 1936-1937; corrected typescript, The Voyage, 1945; duplicated typescript Recollections of Edwin and Willa Muir; letters to H. E. Monro, 1925; letters to Alexander Craig Aitken, 1938-1941, and typescript of poems; letter to E. Linklater with corrected typescript of a poem, 1945; letter to Professor G. Shepperson, 1951; Letters to G. M. Brown, 1951-1958; letter to G. A. Shepperson; letter to Derek Stanford about an application to the Royal Society of Literature, 1954; manuscript and typescript documents with reminiscences of Edwin and Willa Muir; and, letters to Glyn Jones, 1954.

Administrative / Biographical History

The literary critic, translator and Scottish poet Edwin Muir was born in Deerness, Orkney, on 15 May 1887. He was educated in Kirkwall but also lived in Glasgow with his family. In 1908 he began writing for the journal The new age edited by A. R. Orage in London. Muir lived in London, writing literary reviews, and he also lived in Prague, at Hellerau near Dresden, and in St. Tropez where he wrote and taught English. It was the publication of The voyage (1946) and The Labyrinth (1949) that brought him recognition as a poet. Translations of Kafka in the 1930s had established his reputation. Other publications include We moderns (1918), and the works of criticism Transition (1926), The three brothers (1931) and Poor Tom 1932). Works of poetry include Narrow place (1943) and One foot in Eden (1956). Edwin Muir died in Cambridge on 3 January 1959.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Letter to Shepperson, acquired from Shepperson, February 1966, Accession no. E66.8. Letters to Brown, transferred from Librarian's files, February 1966, Accession no. E66.9. Letters to Aitken, acquired from A. C. Aitken, December 1966, Accession no. E66.44. Sonnet, purchased May 1970, Accession no. E70.23. Letter to Stanford, purchased 1973, Accession no. E73.53. Lecture, The estate of poetry, and Latitudes with corrections, purchased February 1975, Accession no. E75.9. Typescript The Voyage, and letter to Linklater, acquired February 1981, Accession no. E81.19. Recollections of Edwin and Willa Muir, acquired November 1983, Accession no. E83.66. Letter to Shepperson, acquired Shepperson, February 1987, Accession no. E87.16. McLean reminiscences, acquired February 1987, Accession no. E87.47. Letters to Glyn Jones, purchased October 1995, Accession no. E95.76.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Keay, John. and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Muir related material (check the Indexes for more details): in material related to George Mackay Brown, a letter to Anya presenting a copy of Collected poems, at Gen. 1957/4, and letters of Muir to his wife Willa, at Gen. 1957/4. There is also: a letter to Muir from H. E. Monro, 1925, at Dc.2.76/15, f.5; a letter to Muir from J. C. Furnas, 1954, at Gen. 1733/124; mention of Muir in letters of J. S. Buist, at Gen. 767/10; a recommendation as a temporary teacher in the Dept. of English Literature at Aberdeen University, at Gen. 1730 onwards; mention in a letter of the Countess of Roseberry to Professor John Orr, at Gen. 868/1/43; a letter about Muir from Valda Grieve to H. B. Cruickshank, miscellaneous letters, and letters about a caricature of Muir, at Gen. 886, ff.5, 9, 18, 36, 42-43, 79-80; and, an essay on Muir by George Mackay Brown, 1966, at Gen. 1777.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: autograph drafts of poems, British Library, Manuscript Collections, Ref. Add MS 52409, and letters to Sydney and Violet Schiff, 1924-1960, Ref. Add MS 52920; diary, correspondence and Willa Muir's papers, St. Andrews University Library, see Location register of 20th century English literary MSS 1988; correspondence with BBC, BBC Written Archives Centre, see Location register of 20th century English literary MSS 1988; correspondence with J. Mary Bosdet, Orkney Archives, Ref. DD56 NRA 35510 Bosdet, see NRA(S)3346, and correspondence with E. W. Marwick, NRA 22142 Marwick, and letters (15) to Patricia Swale, 1948-1951, Ref. D1/245 NRA 18898 Orkney misc; letters to Gerald Duckworth and Co., 1938-1939, London University Library, Ref. MS 959 NRA 22777 Duckworth, see Location register of 20th century English literary MSS 1988; letters (10) to Hogarth Press, Reading University Library, see Location register of 20th century English literary MSS 1988; correspondence, literary MSS and papers, 1924-1958, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 9223, 19651-74, and letters to William Montgomerie, Ref. Acc 6855 8240, and letters (12) to Kathleen Raine, 1949-1957, Ref. MS 19703, and letters (10) to Janet Smith, 1935-1958, Ref. MS 19703, and letters to William Soutar, 1940-1943, Ref. MSS 8540 8546; and, letters (10) to Royal Society of Literature, 1953-1955, Royal Society of Literature, see Location register of 20th century English literary MSS 1988.