Papers of Park Honan

Scope and Content

Includes manuscript and typescript correspondence particularly letters from David Lodge and Ernst Honigmann. Also contains writers' notebooks and annotated books.

  • journals
  • manuscripts
  • manuscript notebooks
  • postcards
  • typescript papers
  • artworks

Administrative / Biographical History

Leonard Hobart Park Honan (1928-2014) was an American academic and author. Honan originally specialised in Victorian literature, but also became an expert on the Elizabethan era. He wrote on the lives of authors and poets, publishing biographies of writers including Robert Browning, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.
Honan was born in Utica, New York in 1928. In 1948 he went to the University of Chicago to read English. Honan worked briefly at the Friendship Press in New York. In 1952 he married Jeannette Colin in Manhattan. During the Korean War Honan was jailed as a conscientious objector for a short time. Later under the GI bill he was allowed a grant to complete his studies wherever he liked. Honan choose to do his PhD on Browning at University College London. This was published as 'Browning's Characters' in 1961. Afterwards he returned to America but in 1968 took up a post as Lecturer at the University of Birmingham.
In 1985 Honan was appointed Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Leeds. He retired with the title Emeritus Professor in 1993. It was as a biographer that he was known primarily. His most ambitious work 'Shakespeare: A Life' was completed while he held his Chair at Leeds. Many considered it to be the foremost biography of the playwright. Honan continued to write after retiring from the University. He was working on an extensive biography of T. S. Eliot at the time of his death on 27 September 2014.

Access Information

Using Special Collections

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This collection is subject to various access conditions. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details on access.

Acquisition Information

Donated to Special Collections according to the wishes of Park Honan.

Conditions Governing Use


Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.