Henry Williamson: manuscript of 'The Owl'

Scope and Content

Manuscript of 'The Owl', with corrections. 'The owl' is an unpublished short story from the very beginning of Williamson's writing career, running to twenty five manuscript pages in his hand. The climax of the story is a romantic encounter which is echoed by the behaviour of two owls. The manuscript comes from a collection of books and manuscripts given to a girlfriend, Susan Connely and includes the envelope Willliamson used to send the manuscript to her.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Williamson (1895-1977), writer, was born in south London and educated at Colfe's Grammar School, Lewisham. He fought in the army in the First World War and gained a deep sense of the futility of conflict as a result. He worked as a journalist for a short while before writing his first novel, 'The Beautiful Years', in 1921. This became volume one of a quartet, named 'The Flax of Dreams'. At the same time he moved to North Devon and, in 1927, wrote there 'Tarka the Otter', the book on which his fame most heavily rests, and 'A Patriot's Progress' (1930), based on his trench experiences. After 'Salar the Salmon' (1935) he became an outspoken supporter of German reform and British fascism, which led to his being briefly interned at the start of the war. His postwar work, which is arguably his most important, is a cycle of fifteen novels entitled, 'A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight', which was completed in 1960.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Library purchase

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Sue Inskip, 24 Jul 2009

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Related Material

he Henry Williamson Society Book Collection consisting of all published works of Williamson is also available for reference at Special Collections and is listed in full on the Library's online OPAC.

The following Williamson archive collections are held at Special Collections: EUL MS 43, 71,74, 78, 91, 106, 111, 126, 239, 282, 356 and 374.

Papers relating to Henry Williamson are also held at the following repositories: Dartmouth College Library, USA; Savage Club, London; Reading University Library; King's College London; Royal Society of Literature; and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.