Robert Nye Manuscripts

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes, largely: working notes; drafts; typescripts; correspondence; source material; and, publishing house material. The collection, received at various points since the 1990s, is formed by the following components:

MSS 2881-2916 (35 archive boxes), containing material relating to:

  • - Merlin - working notes, drafts, typescript, copies of source material, proofs, copies of poster, and cover design
  • - Faust - notebooks, corrected/uncorrected typescript, copies of source material
  • - The voyage of the Destiny - typescript, proofs, copies of source material
  • - The memoirs of Lord Byron - notes, manuscripts and typescripts
  • - Falstaff - typescript versions for solo performance, fliers
  • - various BBC scripts (late-19060s-1970s)
  • - material relating to short stories and other smaller works, such as: The facts of lief, The bird of the golden land, Wishing gold, and Owain Glendwyr etc
  • - correspondence (1970s-1992), files on financial matters, colour transparencies etc
  • - Mrs Shakespeare - miscellaneous criticism, talks and essays, typescripts, proofs and reviews
  • - The life and death of my Lord Gilles de Rais - notes, letters, typescript, proofs
  • - and, other material

MSS 2938-2940 (3 archive boxes), which contain:

  • - correspondence (1992-1996)

MSS 3122-3123 (2 archive boxes), containing material relating to:

  • - Collected poems - notebooks, manuscript material, tyescript material, correspondence, proofs, dust-jacket proofs
  • - Henry James and other poems - proofs
  • - material relating to Spine-chilling tales or later title Lord Fox and other spine chilling tales

E99.39 (10 archive boxes), containing material relating to:

  • - Mrs. Shakespeare - a play for radio
  • - drafts of book reviews for the Scotsman, The Times, the Literary Review, and the Sunday Telegraph, 1996-1999
  • - obituaries (notes and drafts and texts)
  • - Nye's own correspondence; and letters from correspondents
  • - The late Mr. Shakespeare - drafts, typescript, author's proof etc
  • - reviews

E2004.1 (1 folder/envelope), containing:

  • - correspondence between Robert Graecen and Robert Nye (1970s) and relating to items (poetry) for publishing, and relating to the reviewing of poetry

E2005.30 (13 archive boxes), containing:

  • - manuscript and typescript notes of reviews for The Scotsman and the Times 2002-2005; notes for The life and death of my Lord Gilles de Rais, Selection of the poems of Laura Riding, The late Mr. Shakespeare, and Mr. Shakespeare: the complete works; Gingember: a drama in three acts; also, correspondence
  • - correspondence
  • - How delightful to meet Mr. Hodgson!
  • - original drafts of biography of the Scottish poet Norman Cameron with related correspondence; draft of study of Seamus Heaney; typescript of unpublished autobiography of Sean Haldane and unpublished biography of Ralph Hodgson
  • - notes for novels and notes toward The good thief; typescript of unpublished play by Bill Watson; proofs of novel Tiberius, by Alan Massie; proofs of Bloodaxe book of contemporary women poets
  • - manuscript and typescript drafts and correction to poems for The rain and the glass: 99 poems, new and selected; and, corrected proofs of Sixteen poems

E2008.46 (6 archive boxes), containing:

  • - drafts of poems 2005-2008
  • - copies of outgoing correspondence, October 2005-July 2008
  • - some poems by Clere Parsons, Thomas Chatterton, and Ernest Dowson
  • - holograph and corrected typescripts of critical pieces for the Scotsman, the London Magazine, and the Tablet
  • - incoming correspondence

Administrative / Biographical History

The writer Robert Nye was born 15 March 1939 in London. He attended Southend High School, a traditional grammar school, and began writing when he was thirteen. Between leaving school in 1955 and starting to write full-time in 1961, he held a variety of jobs including newspaper reporter, milkman, labourer in a market-garden, and ward orderly in a sanatorium. These jobs supported him in his poetry writing. In 1961, Nye moved to North Wales to absorb himself in full-time writing. Later on he settled in Edinburgh where he lived until 1977, then he moved to Ireland. In 1961, he published his first collection of poems, Juvenilia 1, and a second volume Juvenilia 2 was published in 1963. Around this time he became successful as a reviewer, becoming poetry editor for The Scotsman in 1967 and poetry critic for the Times in 1971. In addition to criticism and poetry, writing for children provided an outlet, Taliesin (1966) and March has horse's ears (1966) being his first books for children. These were based on a re-telling of Welsh tales. Other works for children, poetry, and short stories followed. Nye has written novels too, Doubtfire (1967), then Falstaff (1976), Merlin (1978) and Faust (1980). In 2008, Nye was still living in Ireland.

Conditions Governing Access

Some material closed, otherwise generally open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H54. Within handlist is an index of correspondents and box content relevant to the following parts: MSS 2881-2916; MSS 2938-2940; MSS 3122-3123; E99.39; E2004.1; and, E2005.30

Archivist's Note

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

Related Material

Within the Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, and noted in the paper-format Index to Manuscripts, there are letters to Robert Nye from C.M.Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) 1969-1975, and a letter from Mrs.Grieve, at shelfmark Gen. 1930/16/1-7.

Personal Names