Varma papers relating to Gothic literature

Scope and Content

This small collection contains the following items relating to research in Gothic literature: newscuttings, reviews, offprints, letters to Wilson Knight, ephemera and literary typescripts, 1972-1984.

Administrative / Biographical History

Devendra P. Varma (1923-1994), professor of English, KOHS, was born in Darbhanga, India. He taught English at universities in India, Nepal, Syria and Egypt before joining the English department at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1963. He taught there for 31 years, and was appointed as a full professor in 1969. He retired in 1991 but retained the title of honorary adjunct professor. He was an expert on Gothic literature, and did much work towards relating Gothicism to the Romantic mainstream literature and ideas. One of his principal areas of interest was Dracula and vampire lore, for which he was world-renowned.

His works include editions of numerous Gothic novels by figures such as Ann Radcliffe. In addition, he was the author of academic articles and the following works: The Gothic flame: being of history of the Gothic novel in England (1957), Omar Khayyam: his poetry and philosophy (1961), Varney the vampire: or, The feast of blood (ed.) (1970), The evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge (1972), and Voices from the vaults: authentic tales of vampires and ghosts, (ed.) (1988).

He appeared to have been a friend of Wilson Knight since the 1960s, and seems to have visited him whilst on trips to England. George Richard Wilson Knight (1897-1984) was Professor of English Literature at the University of Leeds until his retirement in 1962 when he moved to Exeter to live with his brother Jackson Knight, who was based in the department of classics at the University of Exeter for many years.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information on Varma taken from obituary in The New York Times, 1994.

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 21 April 2005, and encoded into EAD, 3 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Given to the University Library by George Wilson Knight. Transferred from the Reserve Collection (Pamphlets) in 2005.

Related Material

None known.


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.