Personal Papers of Kathleen Raine

Scope and Content

The papers comprise a manuscript book of poetry, the title page inscribed 'Begun on 7th November 1998, on the anniversary of my mother's birthday'. The volume contains some 40 poems, many of them re-workings of earlier versions and several appear as work in progress. Some poems are given dates which pre-date the volume, probably the date of first writing. Included in the volume is one poem dedicated to KR from Samuel Menashe, the New York poet whose work was published in 'Temenos'. The poem, 'Eyes' is written in another hand and dated 20 May 1997. [The volume contains poems dated from as early as 1986; presumably KR copied them into the volume.]

Administrative / Biographical History

Kathleen Raine was born in London, her father was a schoolmaster, and the family strict Methodists. She was sent to stay with an aunt in rural Northumberland for the duration of World War I, an idyllic childhood period she later recalled in 'Farewell Happy Fields' (1973). She was educated at Ilford County High School and came to Girton as an Exhibitioner to read Natural Sciences then Moral Sciences 1926-29. While she was at Cambridge she began writing poetry and also made long-term friendships with other aspiring writers. She had a brief marriage to a fellow student, Hugh Sykes Davies, then to fellow poet and sociologist Charles Madge with whom she had 2 children, a son and a daughter (the daughter came to Girton 1952). The marriage broke up in 1940. Her first volume of poetry 'Stone and Flower' illustrated with drawings by Barbara Hepworth was published in 1943. There followed a prolific output of work which continued throughout her life. In addition to poetry, she wrote scholarly and critical work particularly on Blake and Yeats. In 1955, towards the end of her relationship with the naturalist and writer Gavin Maxwell (with whom she shared a love of Northumbria and a fascination in the occult), she returned to Girton as Research Fellow working on Blake (work which led to the Mellon lectures 'Blake and Tradition') and also lectured in English for College 1955-61. In 1981 she co-founded Temenos Review of the Arts of the Imagination with the ambition to affirm 'at the highest level of scholarship and talent, and in terms of the contemporary situation, of the Sacred' and soon became sole editor with a devoted international following. Nine years later she established the Temenos Academy, a teaching organisation which received the patronage of the Prince of Wales. She received numerous awards and honours including honorary doctorates from Leicester, Durham and Caen Universities, the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry (1992) and the CBE (2000). She taught and lectured in the USA, India and Ireland, published 4 volumes of autobiography, and her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese and Hindi.

Access Information

Please cite as Girton College Archive, Cambridge, Personal Papers of Kathleen Raine, GCPP Raine

Acquisition Information

The volume was offered to Girton at her mother's behest by Kathleen Raine's daughter, Anna Hopewell (Madge 1952) and collected from her by the Archivist, July 2004. Kathleen Raine was first approached by the College in 1997, as part of an initiative to collect the contemporary literary manuscripts of alumni.

Other Finding Aids

As at Sep 2008 an online catalogue was available at

Archivist's Note

Collection Description taken from JANUS in Sep 2008 as part of Genesis 2008 Project

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright holder is Kathleen Raine's literary executor, Brian Keeble who reserves the right to refuse permission to publish material to any person he considers likely to use it in an inappropriate manner.


Kathleen Raine's literary executor, Brian Keeble was compiling a collection of her poetry (including unpublished poems) at the time of accession and may include some from the volume.