Papers of John Middleton Murry

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Held at: Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives
Reference: GB 0237 MSS 2506-2518
Title: Papers of John Middleton Murry
Dates of creation: 1912-1959
Extent: 13 boxes (2 linear metres)
Level of Description: Fonds
Language of Material: eng


Administrative/Biographical History

Writer and reviewer John Middleton Murry was born in Peckham, London, 6 August 1889. In 1901 he won a scholarship to Christ's Hospital, and reached Brasenose College, Oxford, also on a scholarship, and studied Classics. His literary career began in 1911 with the establishment of Rhythm , a quarterly. This ceased after only two years but in 1912 he had begun a journalistic career as a reviewer for the Westminster Gazette , and later the Times Literary Supplement . Between 1919 and 1921, Murry edited the Athenaeum , and he founded the magazine Adelphi (1923), later the New Adelphi . His first books were Fyodor Dostoevsky: a critical study (1916) and a work of fiction Still life (1916). Murry's second work of fiction was The things we are (1922). Lyric poetry, poetry, verse drama, and series of lectures on style followed, and then a third novel The voyage (1924). In the 1920s, Murry's interests shifted from literature to religious philosophy, and in the 1930s he converted to Marxism and then moved politically towards pacifism. His writing of the period reflected these shifts in interest. Long an admirer of Keats, he wrote Keats and Shakespeare: a study of Keats' poetic life from 1816 to 1820 (1925), and Studies in Keats (1930). Another literary portrait was Jonathan Swift: a critical biography (1954). Murry promoted the work of his wife, Katherine Mansfield, after her death in 1923, and his friendship with D. H. Lawrence inspired an autobiography of the great novelist after his death in 1930, Son of woman: the story of D. H. Lawrence (1931). His last book was Love, freedom and society (1957). Murry died 12 March 1957.

Scope and Content

The collection includes critical reviews, including typescripts and proof sheets of some of these; poems, possibly by Katherine Mansfield; typescript notes of work; typescripts of articles; galley proofs; manuscript notebooks; bundles of notes on Keats; lectures and speeches; and , essays. There are also albums of press cuttings between 1939-47, and letters, letterbooks, diary, and contracts. Some material unidentified or undated.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Dates of Accumulation

1912-1959

Access Conditions

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