Papers of Ondra Lysohorsky and David Gill

Scope and Content

Manuscripts and typescripts of Ondra Lysohorsky's poetry, as well as letters which Lysohorsky wrote to David Gill concerning the translation of his poetry, and some biographical and autobiographical material. More specifically the archive comprises:

  • Lachian poems by Lysohorsky, with some of his own German and English translations, 1936-44
  • German poems by Lysohorsky (arranged chronologically), 1920s-80s
  • epigrams by Lysohorsky, 1953-80
  • English translations of Lysohorsky's poems, mainly by David Gill, but also by Ewald Osers, Christopher Fry and Kirsten Mason, n.d.
  • autobiographical documents comprising the first drafts of two books entitled 'Erstes Buch: Kindheit und Friedek 1905-1921', 1947, and 'Zweites Buch: Jugend und Welt, 1921-1926', 1947; and a brief autobiography written in 1963, with an extended version completed in 1979
  • published editions of Ondra Lysohorsky's work, 1960-89
  • poetry magazines and journals containing English translations of Lysohorsky's work
  • essays on Lysohorsky by Igor Hjek, Ewald Osers and David Gill, n.d.; and various bibliographies, n.d., including a very detailed one by Ondra Lysohorsky, 1929-46
  • letters, chiefly from Ondra Lysohorsky to David Gill, 1970-89.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ondra Lysohorsky was the pen name of Erwin Goy (1905-89). Goy was born in the Ostrava region of what is now the Czech republic, where Lachian, a language with some Polish and Czech characteristics, is spoken. His Lachian poetry began to appear in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, and he adopted the pseudonym Ondra Lysohorsky about this time. After the Second World War Lysohorsky's Lach poetry was embargoed by the Czech authorities and he began to write verse in German, with his first collection of German poetry appearing in 1961. See David Gill (ed.) In the eye of the storm, fifty years of Ondra Lysohorsky (Youlgrave, Bakewell, 1976) for details.

David Gill's involvement with Lysohorsky began whilst he was co-editor of a poetry magazine, The Informer, which published some translations of Lysohorsky's lyric poetry received from Lydia Pasternak Slater, Hugh McKinley and Ewald Osers. Around 1969 Slater recommended Gill to translate some political epigrams Lysohorsky had written; this was the beginning of a relationship which spanned 20 years, during which Gill translated hundreds of Lysohorsky's poems, placing many in poetry magazines and journals both in America and the United Kingdom.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

Given to the Taylor Institution Library in 2002.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A series level list of the collection was created by David Gill and may be consulted at the Taylor Institution Library, Slavonic and Modern Greek Library.

Custodial History

This collection was transferred from the Taylor Institution to the Bodleian Library in 2016.