Manning Typescripts

Scope and Content

Autograph typescripts poems by Hugo Manning, entitled 'Madame Lola' and 'Encounter in Crete'.

Administrative / Biographical History

On April 3, 1943, a "Deed Poll on Change of Name" was registered at the Central Office of the Supreme Court of Judicature whereby Lazarus Perkoff, also known as Hugh Leslie Perkoff, legally assumed the name Hugo Manning.

Lazarus Perkoff was born on July 15, 1913 at 123 Oxford Street in Mile End Road, London, to Jewish parents, Myer Perkoff, a tailor's machinist, and Rosa Perkoff (formerly Green), both born in Russian Poland. In time, Manning's father operated a sweet and tobacco shop in the East End and Manning attended the Stepney Jewish School until he was 14. Under the name Leslie Perkoff, Manning studied violin, viola, and theory from 1926 to 1931 at the Trinity College of Music, London, securing a scholarship in his last three years. In 1929, Manning pursued his violin study with the renowned European teacher Otakar Sevcik in Pisek, Czechoslovakia.

In the early 1930s, Manning (then known as Hugh Leslie Perkoff) returned to London where he wrote weekly newspaper articles for the 'Sunday Referee' and was a member of its editorial staff during 1935-36, among other freelance assignments. By May 1937, Manning was working in Vienna as a correspondent for the 'Jewish Chronicle' and 'World Film News'. From 1939 to 1942, Manning lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was employed in various capacities by several newspapers and magazines including La Nacin, Argentina Libre, Sur, Agona, The Buenos Aires Herald, and The Times of Argentina. During his stay in Argentina, Manning was acquainted with leading South American literary figures such as Victoria Ocampo, Patricio Gannon with whom he edited the 'Argentine Anthology of Modern Verse' (1942), and Jorge Luis Borges, who became his lifelong friend.

In November 1943, Manning volunteered for service in the British Army Intelligence Corps. While stationed in North Africa he suffered a leg injury and was subsequently discharged in August 1944. His injury caused him to walk with a cane for the remainder of his life.

In 1946 Manning joined the staff of Reuters, where he served for 19 years on the South American desk, working nights so he could devote his daytime hours to writing. In his last few years with Reuters, Manning became the senior sub-editor and features writer for the UK desk. He retired in 1968 and devoted the remainder of his life to literary pursuits.

Although Manning's career as a journalist began in the early 1930s, it wasn't until 1942 that his verse and prose was published privately and by small publishers including Villiers, Enitharmon Press, Village Press, and Trigram Press. Titles include 'The Secret Sea', 'Dylan Thomas', 'Dear Little Prince', 'Woman At the Window', 'This Room Before Sunrise', 'Madame Lola', 'Modiglian'i, 'Ishmael', and 'The It and the Odyssey of Henry Miller'. Manning counted among his friends Denis ApIvor, Roy Campbell, Lawrence Durrell, John Cowper Powys, William Oxley, Suzan Rapoport, Derek Stanford, Phil Coram, Henry Miller, Paul Peter Piech, Alfred Perls, Rosamond Lehmann, Jack Hammond, Muriel Spark, Alan Clodd, Kathleen Raine, David McFall, Mauricio Lasansky, and Jorge Luis Borges.

Manning's belief in a spiritual afterlife permeates much of his writing, as does the "discovery of man's role in the cosmic design." Manning believed in a purposeful existence wherein the proliferation of isolated, unique natures combine to form a transcendent wholeness guided and sustained by a "Life Force." In a letter to J. B. Priestley in 1969, Manning wrote "I consider myself to be a deeply religious person but find all systems of belief insufficient unless the question of man's immortality is looked at fearlessly &. I have had extra-sensory experiences of a revealing nature quite a number of times in my life; this has led me to undertake psychic research and the truth of man's immortality has become more than apparent to me &. Surely the acceptance of this immense truth could and would alter the pattern of most lives."

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Given to UCL Library by Hugo Manning, 1970

Other Finding Aids

Collection level desctription

Related Material

Complete manuscripts and fragments, notebooks of untitled poetry, diaries, correspondence, and printed material comprise the Hugo Manning papers held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin (USA).