University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Christopher Middleton:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Middleton, Christopher, 1926-2015
Title: Christopher Middleton Papers
Dates: 1954-1974
Abstract: The papers include holographic manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, galleys, page proofs, and correspondence. The two series in the collection comprise Middleton's original poems and research and publication materials of his translations.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02822
Extent: 3 boxes (1.25 linear feet), 1 galley folder
Language: English
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Christopher Middleton, poet, essayist, and translator, was born June 10, 1926, in Truro, Cornwall, England. He attended Merton College at Oxford, where he earned his B.A. degree in 1951 and his D.Phil. in 1954. He lectured in English literature at Zurich University from 1952 to 1955 before accepting a lectureship at King's College, University of London. In 1966, Middleton accepted a professorship at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Germanic Language, a postion he held until retiring in 1998. Middleton died on November 29, 2015.

Among Middleton's published books of poetry, there are Poems (1944), Nocturne in Eden (1945), Torse 3 (1962), Nonsequences (1965), Our Flowers & Nice Bones (1969), The Lonely Suppers of W. V. Balloon (1975), Pataxanadu and Other Prose (1977), and Carminalenia (1980). Middleton's essays are collected in the volumes Bolshevism in Art and Other Expository Writings (1978) and The Pursuit of the Kingfisher (1983). Middleton's translations of German literature include Robert Walser's The Walk and Other Stories (1957) and Jakob von Gunten (1969), Hugo von Hofmannstahl's Poems and Verse Plays (1961), Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche (1969), Selected Poems of Hölderlin and Mörike (1972), and Elias Canetti's Kafka's Other Trial: The Letters to Felice (1974), as well as translations of the works of Gottfried Benn, Paul Celan, Günter Grass, Gerd Hofmann, and Christa Wolf. In addition, Middleton wrote the libretto for Hans Vogt's opera, The Metropolitans (1964).

Scope and Contents

The collection includes holograph manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, galleys, page proofs, an advance proof, and correspondence, arranged in two series: I. Poetry, 1954-1968, nd (1.5 boxes); and, II. Translations, 1970-1974, nd (1.5 boxes).

The Poetry series contains holograph and typed manuscripts of Middleton's poems for Nonsequences, Our Flowers & Nice Bones, and Torse 3. The poems do not appear to have been arranged in any particular order. These manuscripts include Middleton's earliest holograph drafts, multiple revised versions, and typescripts of the final version of each poem. Among the materials for Nonsequences, there is one outgoing holograph letter, accompanied by two typescript poems, addressed to Mr. Barrell. In addition, the versos of some manuscripts include materials in other formats, including a poem in Our Flowers & Nice Bones, which is written on the back of a party invitation from Dr. and Mrs. Alan Ross and Philip Klindt. Among the manuscripts for Torse 3, there is part of a carbon copy typescript of a lecture on Lawrence Durrell's Justine on the verso of the "The Oystercatchers" and a carbon copy typescript of a review of Paul Celan's Sprachgitter on the verso of "Alba After Six Years."

The Translations series contains materials for Middleton's translations of Elias Canetti's Kafka's Other Trial: The Letters to Felice and the Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin and Eduard Mörike. Among the materials for the Canetti translation, there are a notebook containing a draft of the translation, a corrected photocopy typescript, a corrected advance proof copy, and correspondence between Middleton and Beverly Colman of Schocken Books, concerning editorial matters. Among the Hölderlin/Mörike materials, there are two notebooks of holograph translations of the poems; notes, a holograph manuscript, and typescripts of the Preface and the Introduction; a carbon copy typescript of the text; a set of page proofs; a set of corrected galleys; and correspondence between Middleton and various representatives of the University of Chicago Press, addressing publication of the book.

Additional Middleton materials may be found in the following collections: E. Dahlberg, Robinson Jeffers, John Lehmann, London Magazine, Gerard Malanga, New Departures, Peter Owen, and Dame Edith Sitwell.



Open for research

Index Terms

Hölderlin, Friedrich, 1770-1843
Mörike, Eduard Friedrich, 1804-1875
English poetry -- 20th century
German poetry -- Translations into English
English poetry -- Translations into German
Document Types
First drafts
Galley proofs

Administrative Information


Gift; Purchase, 1966, 1968, 1977

Processed by

Robert Kendrick, 1996

Christopher Middleton--Folder List

Series I. Poetry, 1954-1968, nd

box folder
1 1-3 Nonsequences [book of poetry, 1965]. Holograph and typescript drafts with corrections, 1961-1963, nd
4-6 Our Flowers & Nice Bones [book of poetry and prose, 1969]. Holograph and typescript drafts with corrections, 1965-1968, nd
Torse 3 [book of poetry, 1962].
box folder
1 7 Holograph and typescript drafts with corrections, 1954-1961, nd
box folder
2 1 Holograph and typescript drafts with corrections, 1954-1961, nd

Series II. Translations, 1970-1974, nd

Canetti, Elias. Kafka's Other Trial: The Letters to Felice [book, 1974].
box folder
2 2 Notebook, nd
3 Incomplete photocopy of typescript, titled "The Other Trial: Kafka's Letters to Felice,"nd
4 Advance proofs, bound in paper wrappers, [1974?]
5 Correspondence, 1973-1974
Hölderlin, F. and E. Mörike. Selected Poems [book, 1972].
box folder
2 6 Notebook of Hölderlin translations, 1970-1971
7 Notebook of Mörike translations, 1971-1972
8 Drafts of "Unsystematic Introduction" and "Preface,"nd
box folder
3 1-3 Typescript, nd
Galleys, nd
(removed to Galley Files)
4 Page proofs, [1972]
5 Correspondence, 1971-1973

Christopher Middleton--Index of Correspondents

  • Colman, Beverly (Schocken Books)--2.5
  • Fitchen, Allen N. (University of Chicago Press)--3.5
  • Flack, Margaret (University of Chicago Press)--3.5
  • Mitchell, Linda (University of Chicago Press)--3.5
  • Osler, Cara (University of Chicago Press)--3.5