University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Paul Scott:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Scott, Paul, 1920-1978
Title Paul Scott Collection
Dates: 1952-1976
Abstract The collection consists primarily of manuscripts, with a small amount of correspondence. The holographs, original and carbon copy typescripts, notes, galleys, and page proofs reflect ten of the English writer and literary agent's major novels, including The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown (1966), The Day of the Scorpion (1968), The Towers of Silence (1971), and A Division of the Spoils (1975).
RLIN record # TXRC98-A8
Extent 38 boxes (15.8 linear feet), 10 galley folders
Language English.
Repository Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

On March 25, 1920, Paul Scott was born in Palmers Green, England (north London), the second son of Tom and Frances Scott. Tom Scott was a self-employed commercial artist who, together with his two sisters, designed advertisements for the latest fashions. He came from a family of painters and designers while his wife, Frances, was from a more humble background. The family lived on the fringes of middle class respectability and constantly struggled to maintain their position during this period of rigid social mores. Paul maintained high grades while in school but at the age of sixteen had to quit Winchmore Hill Collegiate School in London in order to help the family financially. This was to affect Paul's self-esteem and presented obstacles to his continuing sense of himself as a poet. His father suggested he work as an accountant and he thus apprenticed himself to an accounting firm. He studied in the evenings, completed exams, and rose to more responsibility and more complex duties. The dreamy, creative side could not be ignored, however, and he continued to write poems, read the works of other poets, and developed friendships with other aspiring poets.

In 1940 Scott was drafted to serve in the British Army. In 1941 his poem, "I Gerontius," had been included in the Resuram Series of poetry pamphlets. While stationed in Torquay, he met Penny Avery, a nurse, at one of the company dances; after a short time they fell in love and were married on October 23, 1941. In February 1943 Scott received orders that he was to be stationed in India, and in March sailed from Liverpool. By the time he arrived it was the beginning of the end for the British Raj in India. He was as surprised at the superior attitude he observed in the British toward their Indian subjects, as he was of the hostile and resentful attitude of the Indian population toward the British, issues Scott was to explore in depth in his later novels. Shortly after his arrival he came down with dysentery which was not diagnosed as amoebiasis until 1964, when it was successfully treated in Paris. The disease had a pronounced effect on Scott during the twenty years in which the parasite remained in his body; it accounted for his mood swings, his irritability, lassitude, and feelings of alienation, and had a marked effect on the style of his writing.

After serving with the British Army in India and Malaya as an air supply officer, Scott returned to London. He had continued to write poetry while in the Army, and though he thought of himself as a poet first, he began to write plays and experienced success with "Pillars of Salt" which won a prize in a Jewish playwriting competition. It, and the three other winners, were published in 1948 as "Four Jewish Plays." Job prospects all over London were bleak at the time of his return but Scott used his training in accounting to secure a position as secretary for the Falcon Press and Grey Walls Press. He left this position in 1950 to become a director and literary agent for Pearn, Pollinger and Higham (later David Higham Associates) where he successfully represented writers such as John Braine, Gerald Hanley, Morris West, M.M. Kaye, Roland Gant, and Chris Almedingen. During those years of encouraging other writers to do their best, he wrote five novels himself but felt torn by the demands of his job and his desire to devote more time to his own writing, and thus resigned in 1960 to work at his craft full time.

Scott's first novel, Johnnie Sahib, was rejected seventeen times before being published in 1952, and went on to win the Eyre & Spottiswoode Literary Fellowship Prize. This was followed by Alien Sky, published in 1953. India had penetrated Scott's heart deeply; most of his novels are set in India, or use India as a backdrop, as in A Male Child (1956), The Mark of the Warrior (1958), and The Chinese Love Pavilion (1960). Two radio scripts were produced at this time: "Sahibs & Memsahibs" was broadcast in the summer of 1958, and "The Mark of the Warrior" in 1960. The Alien Sky aired on B.B.C. television in London in 1956.

The Birds of Paradise (1962) continued Scott's preoccupation with India, whereas The Bender (1963) is set solely in London and explores the importance of work in defining one's role in life and in society. The Corrida at San Felíu (1964) uses fragments of the life story of a novelist, Edward Thornhill, to piece together the artist's world of the creative imagination in which illusion and fact often vie with each other.

Scott returned to India in 1964 and from that visit came the raw material he needed to write his next five novels, all of which centered on the end of British rule in India. The first four novels, The Jewel in the Crown (1966), The Day of the Scorpion (1968), The Towers of Silence (1971), and A Division of the Spoils (1975) comprise "The Raj Quartet." The fifth and final novel, Staying On (1977), which is a coda to the Raj Quartet, centers on the lives of the British who elected to remain in India after independence. Scott won the Yorkshire Post book of the year award for finest fiction in 1971 for The Towers of Silence, and the Booker Prize in 1977 for Staying On. Scott taught writing and modern literature at the University of Tulsa in the fall terms of 1976 and 1977. Paul Scott died from cancer on March 1, 1978 in London.

Scope and Contents

The Paul Scott Collection consists primarily of manuscripts, with a slight amount of correspondence, ranging in date from 1952 to 1976. The material is arranged in three series: I. Works, 1953-1975 (37 boxes), II. Correspondence, 1952-1976 (two folders), and III. Miscellaneous, 1960-1968 (two folders). Within each series the material is arranged alphabetically by title or author. This collection was previously accessible only through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.

The Works series consists of holographs, original and carbon copy typescripts, notes, galleys, page proofs, proof copies, or printer's copies for ten of his major novels: A Male Child (1956), The Mark of the Warrior (1958), The Chinese Love Pavilion (1960), The Birds of Paradise (1962), The Bender (1963), The Corrida at San Felíu (1964), and the four novels that comprise The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown (1966), The Day of the Scorpion (1968), The Towers of Silence (1971), and A Division of the Spoils (1975). Also in the collection is a mimeo/radio script entitled "Sahibs and Memsahibs."

The correspondence section is very slim. Outgoing correspondence contains a letter to Maurice Temple Smith of Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., a letter to John Willey of William Morrow & Co., not sent, and a note and course outline to Thomas Staley of The University of Tulsa. Incoming correspondence contains letters from literary notables such as Veronica Bamfield, John Braine, Richard Church, James Hanley, Pamela Hansford Johnson, Sir Compton Mackenzie, Mary E. Patchett, Alexander Peterson, Sir Herbert Read, Dame Edith Sitwell, C.P. Snow, Muriel Spark, Howard Spring; and from the publishers Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd. and William Morrow and Co.

The Miscellaneous series contains publicity material for The Birds of Paradise from the publishers Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., a mimeo/radio script by Donald McWhinnie of Scott's The Mark of the Warrior, and front matter for the galley proofs of The Day of the Scorpion published by William Morrow and Co.



Open for research

Index Terms

Bamfield, Veronica, 1908- .
Braine, John.
Church, Richard, 1893- .
Hanley, James, 1901- . .
Johnson, Pamela Hansford, 1912- .
Mackenzie, Compton, Sir, 1883-1972.
Patchett, Mary E. (Mary Elwyn), 1897- .
Peterson, A.D.C. (Alexander Duncan Campbell), 1908- .
Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968.
Sitwell, Edith, Dame, 1887-1964.
Snow, C.P. (Charles Percy), 1905- .
Spark, Muriel.
Spring, Howard, 1889-1965.
Thornhill, Edward, 1902-1962.
David Higham Associates Ltd.
Authors, English--20th century.
India in literature.
Novelists, English--20th century.
Document types
Christmas cards.
Galley proofs.
Printers' proofs.
Radio scripts.
Times (London, England).

Related Material

Other materials associated with Scott may be found in the following collections at the Ransom Center:

  • David Higham Associates, Ltd.
  • Photography Collection Literary File.

Separated Material

Elsewhere in the Center are four Vertical File folders and two Scrapbooks that contain biographical information, research material for Scott's books, and reviews.

Administrative Information


Purchases and gifts, 1963-1990 (R1619, R4815, R6600, R7293, G7011, G8568)

Processed by

Sally M. Nichols, 1998


Contemporary Authors, v. 33 (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1991).

Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 14 (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1983).

Spurling, Hilary Paul Scott: A Life of the Author of The Raj Quartet(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990).

Paul Scott Collection--Folder List

Series I. Works, 1953-1975

The Bender (1963)
box folder
1 1 Holograph first draft with revisions and notes, April 3, 1962,
2-3 Typescript with revisions, April 9, 1962,
Carbon copy typescript
box folder
1 4-5 With revisions and notes, nd,
box folder
2 1 1962,
2-3 With revisions, 1963,
Three sets with editors and author's notes, queries and corrections, 1963, 89pp each [removed to Galley Files]
June 20, 1963, 106pp [removed to Galley Files]
box folder
2 4 Page proofs, 1963
box folder
3 1-2 Discarded pages with revisions, 1962,
The Birds of Paradise (1962)
box folder
4 1 Holograph and typescript notes, nd,
2 Holograph notes in two notebooks, nd,
3-4 Holograph signed with revisions and notes, 1961,
box folder
5 1-2 Typescript, final draft, with revisions and inserts, 1961,
Carbon copy typescript
box folder
5 3-4 1961,
5 1961,
box folder
6 1 With revisions, 1961,
2-4 Typescript with revisions, 1962,
box folder
7 1-2 Carbon copy typescript, 1962,
Plate proofs, 1962, 96pp [removed to Galley Files]
box folder
7 3 Proof copy with corrections, 1962,
Two galleys, February 19, 1962, 93pp; March 22, 1962, 101pp [removed to Galley Files]
Discarded pages with revisions
box folder
7 4-5 1961,
box folder
8 1-4 1961,
The Chinese Love Pavilion (1960)
box folder
9 1 Holograph notes, nd, 9pp in notebook
2-3 Holograph with revisions, 1958,
4-5 Typescript and carbon copy typescript with revisions, nd,
The Corrida at San Felíu (1964) [earlier title Edward Thornhill]
Edward Thornhill
The Spanish novel
box folder
10 1-2 Holograph drafts and workings with revisions, 1963, 474pp in three notebooks
3 Typescript with revisions, nd,
4 Part I, typescript with revisions, nd,
5 Part II, discarded pages, typescript and carbon copy typescript with revisions, nd,
box folder
11 1 Holograph and typescript notes, draft fragments with revisions, nd,
2 Holograph notes and draft fragments in four notebooks, nd,
3 Typescript, nd,
4-5 Typescript and carbon copy typescript with revisions, nd,
box folder
12 1 Carbon copy typescript, nd,
2-3 Typescript/printer's copy, nd,
box folder
13 1-2 Printed paste-up, with printer's notes, 1964,
Galleys, 1964, 91 sheets [removed to Galley Files]
Page proofs on uncut galleys, American edition, 1964, 97 sheets [removed to Galley Files]
box folder
13 3-4 Page proofs, American edition, 1964,
box folder
14 1 Proof copy, British edition, 1964,
2-3 Discarded pages with revisions, nd,
A Male Child (1956)
box folder
15 1-2 Typescript with revisions, 1953-1955,
3 Holograph with revisions and notes, 1955,
4 The Mark of the Warrior (1958)
Holograph with revisions, 1957,
Typescript fragments, 1957,
The Raj Quartet
box folder
16 1 Holograph notebooks, pocket diary (1969), and notes on notepad, nd
The Day of the Scorpion (1968)
box folder
16 2-5 Holograph with revisions, 1965-1968, 1000pp in five notebooks
box folder
17 1-5 With revisions, nd,
box folder
18 1-4 With revisions and printer's notes, nd,
5-7 With printer's notes, nd,
box folder
19 1-5 Carbon copy typescript with revisions, nd,
box folder
20 1-3 Discarded pages with revisions, nd,
A Division of the Spoils (1975)
box folder
21 1-6 Holograph with revisions, 1971-1974, 1320pp in seven notebooks
box folder
22 1-4 Typescript, first draft, with revisions, nd,
box folder
23 1-5 Typescript/printer's copy, nd, 1022pp in five notebooks
box folder
24 1-5 Carbon copy typescript of printer's copy, with corrections, nd, 1022pp in five notebooks
box folder
25 1 Unbound proof copy with corrections and revisions, 1975,
2 Proof copy with corrections and revisions, 1975,
box folder
26 1-2 Discarded pages with revisions, nd,
3 Holograph and typescript notes, nd,
The Jewel in the Crown (1966)
box folder
27 1 Holograph and carbon copy typescript notes and queries, nd,
2 Holograph working notes and partial drafts with revisions and few typescript pages, 1964-1965,
3-7 Holograph with revisions, 1965, 726pp in six notebooks
box folder
28 1-6 Typescript
With revisions, nd,
box folder
29 1-7 With revisions, nd,
box folder
30 1-6 Carbon copy typescript
box folder
31 1-7 With typescript, photocopy, front matter, and sketch, for American edition, 1966,
Two galleys, 1966, 188 and 189 sheets [removed to Galley Files]
Page proofs on uncut galleys with corrections, nd, 151 sheets [removed to Galley Files]
box folder
32 1 Proof copy, bound, 1966,
2 Discarded pages with revisions, nd,
The Towers of Silence (1971)
box folder
33 1-5 Holograph with revisions, 1968-1971, in eight notebooks
box folder
34 1-4 Typescript with revisions, nd,
box folder
35 1-2 Carbon copy typescript with corrections, nd,
box folder
36 1-3 Printer's copy typescript with printer's notes, nd,
4 Page proofs, bound, 1971,
box folder
37 1-5 Discarded pages, nd,
box folder
38 1 Reviews, holograph
The Black Hole of Calcutta..., by Noel Barker, nd,
British India, 1772-1947, by Michael Edwardes, nd,
India, by Taya Zinkin, nd,
Signal Catastrophe, by Patrick Macrory, nd,
Walking the Indian Streets, by Ved Prkash Mehta, nd,
box folder
38 2 "Sahibs and Memsahibs," mimeo/radio script with revisions, nd,

Series II. Correspondence

box folder
38 3 Outgoing, 1960-1976
4 Incoming, 1952-1976

Series III. Miscellaneous, 1960-1968

box folder
38 5 Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., publicity material for The Birds of Paradise, nd,
6 McWhinnie, Donald, Mimeo/radio script for The Mark of the Warrior, 1960,
Scott, Paul, The Day of the Scorpion, front matter; four galley proofs, 1968, 2 sheets each; four galley proofs, 1968, 1 sheet each [removed to Galley Files]

Paul Scott Collection--Index of Correspondents

Index entries followed by the notation (from Scott) indicate people to whom Scott wrote. Box and folder numbers followed by a number in parenthesis indicate the number of items by (or to) that person. No parenthetical notation indicates there is just one item. So in the example

Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd.--39.3 (from Scott), 39.4 (3) there is one item from Scott in box 39, folder 3; and 3 items from Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd. in box 39, folder 4.

  • Bamfield, Veronica, 1908- --38.4 (2)
  • Braine, John--38.4
  • British Broadcasting Corporation--See McWhinnie, Donald
  • British Museum (Natural History)--38.4 (3)
  • Church, Richard, 1893- --38.4
  • Davenport, John (Cambridge, England)--38.4
  • Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd.--38.3 (from Scott), 38.4 (3)
  • Ferrer, Katharine--38.4
  • Gant, Roland--24.1 (4 from Scott)
  • Great Britain. Office of Commonwealth Relations--38.4 (3) (2 from Scott)
  • Hamilton, Goff--38.4 (3)
  • Hanley, James, 1901- --38.4
  • Jameston, Storm, 1891-1986--38.4
  • Johnson, Pamela Hansford, 1912- --38.4
  • Kogan, Herman--26.3
  • Mackenzie, Compton, Sir, 1883-1972--38.4
  • Marshall, Bruce (France)--38.4
  • McWhinnie, Donald--38.4 (2)
  • Nag, Dipali, 1922- --38.4
  • Oxley, David--38.4
  • Patchett, Mary E. (Mary Elwyn), 1897- --38.4
  • Peterson, A.D.C. (Alexander Duncan Campbell), 1908- --38.4
  • Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968--38.4
  • Scott, Paul, 1920- --38.4 (2) (with McWhinnie, Donald), 38.4 (2) (with Great Britain. Office of Commonwealth Relations)
  • Sitwell, Edith, Dame, 1887-1964--38.4
  • Smith, Maurice Temple (See Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd.)
  • Snow, C.P. (Charles Percy), 1905- --38.4
  • Sofaer, Abrahlam D.--38.4
  • Spark, Muriel--38.4 (2)
  • Spring, Howard, 1889-1965--38.5
  • Staley, Thomas F.--38.3 (2) (1 from Scott)
  • Times (London, England)--38.4
  • Unidentified author--38.4
  • Unidentified author Edmund--38.4
  • Unidentified author Peter--38.4
  • Warne, Arthur G.--38.4
  • Willey, John--38.3 (from Scott)
  • William Morrow and Co. (See Willey, John)
  • Williams, Susan (Susan Margaret Rowland)--38.4
  • World Health Organization. United Kingdom Committee--38.4