University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Amalia Elguera:

A Preliminary Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Elguera, Amalia
Title: Amalia Elguera Papers
Dates: 1950s-1996
Abstract: The papers consist of Elguera's lectures, writings, notebooks, and fragments on a wide variety of literary subjects as well as on philosophy, history, and religion. Many of the manuscripts are in both Spanish and English. The papers also include her diaries from 1964-1989, personal materials, and correspondence.
Extent: 20 boxes (8.4 linear feet)
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection of papers of the Peruvian-born writer Amalia Elguera reflects her work as a lecturer in Lima and London, her association with Thea Musgrave on two opera projects, and her versatility as a writer of plays, poems, stories, articles, book and film reviews, and essays.

Elguera was educated in Lima and the United States, but settled permanently in London in 1950. From 1955-1982 she was a reader and literary adviser for Harvill Press and Collins. She lectured at the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima, London's Imperial College, and for the Asociacion Cultural Campo Abierto, Instituto Peruano-Britanico, and the PEN Club in London. Her lecture topics included Shakespeare and many other literary figures, as well as philosophy and history. In addition, she worked with Thea Musgave on the librettos for two operas, "Mary, Queen of Scots" and "The Voice of Ariadne."

The papers are organized in four series: Series I. Lectures and Writings; Series II. Holograph Notebooks, Note Cards, and Fragments; Series III. Diaries, 1964-1989; and Series IV. Career-Related and Personal.

Series I includes her lectures and writings on a wide variety of subjects, arranged by title or topic. The Shakespeare lectures predominate the Series, but other literary subjects include an eclectic range from Proust to Pinter. Elguera's lectures also reflect her interests in philosophy, history, and religion as seen in subjects such as Sartre, Comte, Kant, Simone Weil, Bolívar, Burke, and St. Teresa of Avila. She wrote the libretto to accompany Thea Musgrave's "The Voice of Ariadne," represented in the collection by typescript drafts, published libretto, programs, production photographs, and a scrapbook of reviews. Less successfully, Elguera collaborated with Musgrave on the opera "Mary, Queen of Scots" based on Elguera's "Earl of Moray," but the two failed to reach an agreement on the structure and content of the libretto. In the end, Musgrave finished the libretto herself and the opera was produced in New York in 1981.

Many of Elguera's manuscripts are in both Spanish and English. Typically, the bilingual writings contain both holograph and typescript drafts with numerous emendations, along with handwritten notes and fragments written on odd bits of paper, often recycled from other uses. She frequently reworked drafts, sometimes years later, evidenced by dates written in the margins. The collection does not confirm publication of her fiction, poems or plays, although the published versions of "Shakespeare and the Tudor Rose" and "The Spain of Unamuno," an article for The Commonweal, are present. It is likely that articles were published in The Listener as marginal notes on typescripts imply.

The notebooks, fragments, and note cards in Series II echo Elguera's work in Series I and provide additional source material for her research and writing. Dates and subjects vary throughout.

Series III contains Elguera's diaries from 1964-1989. Her entries include a mixture of narrative regarding daily events, as well as notes and drafts for her various writing projects. Entries are sporadic and many of the diaries are only partially filled.

The career-related and personal material in Series IV includes appointment calendars from 1985-1991, works by Elguera's grandmother, a "Diploma de Honor" from Mexico, and files on the caricaturist Luis Bagaria and psychoanalyst and art collector Helen Shipway. Correspondence includes letters to Elguera from Bertram and Edythe Block, Thea Musgrave, and publishers.

The papers arrived at the Ransom Center as a gift of the Estate of Amalia Elguera and are in good physical condition. The collection is open for research.



Open for research

Administrative Information


Gift, 1998 (Gift no. 11168)

Processed by:

Suzanne Casey and Liz Murray, 2002

Amalia Elguera Papers--Folder List

I. Lectures and Writings

Box Folder
1 1 "Accomplices or Victims," first person narrative about experiences in Capri with Martha Gellhorn in 1948,
photocopy typescript.
2 "America Hispana," typescript with holograph notes, on Simín Bolívar
3 "Autores Ficticios, Lima 1995," Campo Abierto,
holograph lecture notes.
4 "Bat, Vallejo, Égloga pour Sartre,"
holograph and typescript poems and notes.
5 "Bobby & the Beast,"
playscript with holograph notes.
6 "Carlota en Weimar, "   "Pasaje a la India, "   "Muerte en Venecia," Lima, 1986,
holograph and typescript lecture notes.
7 "Circle in the Water," on Shakespeare, PEN version, London, 1988.
8 "Cuando se Incendia la Casa del Vecino...Las Reflexiones de Edmund Burke," Lima, 1989.
9 Dante lecture notes, Campo Abierto, 1990.
10 "Dante, Odds & Ends,"
typescript and holograph notes.
11 "Death in Venice," on Luchino Visconti's film version of Thomas Mann's novel, Lima, 1990.
12 "La Deuda de £1000; La Fuerza del Gigante; El Caso Posesivo; El Circulo en el Agua," lectures on Shakespeare, Lima, 1987.
13 "Doctor Zhivago,"1968,
typescript notes.
Box Folder
2 1 "The Earl of Moray, " opera, music by Thea Musgrave, libretto by AE, commissioned by Scottish Opera, scheduled for production, 1977.
2 "Ecos de Borges y en Borges," Campo Abierto, 1992; includes lectures on August Comte ( "The Man Who Thought He Was Dante"), Harold Pinter, and others, 1987-1990.
3 "Ejercicios Espirituales: El Río, Monte Fragoso, La Arena,"1982-1983,
corrected typescript with holograph notes.
4-5 "Encuentro I-X, Londres/Lima," on the history of the Americas, 1992,
lecture notes; includes "Encounter of Two Worlds," PEN version.
6 "Epos," article on "Watership Down" and draft fragments of other pieces.
7 "Exchange,"1980,
8 "Fall of the City" and "The Conquest of Granada,"1974,
playscripts and fragments.
9 Fiction piece, untitled, about Miss Tolley, 1968-70.
10 "The Good Life,"1972-1974,
holograph playscript.
11 "La Ira de los Padres; ¿El Mayor Monstruo?; Las Reglas del Juego; Los Amos del Mundo," on Shakespeare's plays, Lima, 1989.
Box Folder
3 1 "The Judgement of Paris,"1972-1974,
with holograph notes and notebook, mixed subjects.
2 "A Legacy; The Birds Fall Down," Lima, 1988; with "A Brief Visit to Sybille Bedford,"1989.
3 "Letter to Quixote,"1952,
corrected typescript.
4 Li Po, poem series.
"The Martlet" re: Mary, Queen of Scots.
Box Folder
3 5-8 Drafts and notes
Box Folder
4 1 Drafts and notes, cont'd
2-4 Parts 1-3
"Mary, Queen of Scots," libretto based on AE's "Moray."
Box Folder
4 5 Letters, notes, sources; correspondence with Thea Musgrave.
6 Holograph notebooks, play outline
7 First draft, 1966.
8 First version and draft, 1972-1974.
9 Early version, dictated, acts one and two.
10 Acts two and three, 1975.
11 Thea Musgrave version, August 1975.
12 Draft, December 1975.
Box Folder
5 1 Libretto (Novello), 1976.
2 Draft, photocopy, 1980.
3 New York City Opera Program, 1981.
4-6 "Master of the Oranges,"1975-1977,
typescript drafts.
7 "My Benefactor,"1993,
typescript and holograph draft.
8 "The Nobility of Sight: A Study in the Phenomenology of the Senses," Sixth Essay, photocopy, part of larger work.
9 "Notes on Aesthetics" and other notes, incomplete, 1967-1968.
10 "Of Troy, Thy City," play in three acts, 1953.
11 "Parallel Poets: T. S. Eliot--Poetry of Time and Wallace Stevens--Poetry of Space," Lima, 1989.
12 Passage material.
13 "Paul" on Saul of Tarsus's conversion.
14 Philosophy, typescripts and holograph notes, 1964-68.
Box Folder
5 15 1950s-1978
Box Folder
6 1 1950s-1978, cont'd
2 1975-1985
3 "The Poor Player," on Ingrid Bergman in Ingmar Bergman's "Autumn Sonata," London and Lima, 1991.
4 re: Pouget, Guillaume, untitled typescript with holograph notes
5 "Primeras Personas," lectures on "Don Quijote, Don Juan, and Segismundo," Lima and London, 1990-1991.
6 re: Proust, lectures, Campo Abierto, 1991.
7 "Proust and My Uncle; The Man Who Knew Who He Was,"1984.
8 "La Reconciliación Final," on Shakespeare, Lima, 1989.
9 "Los Reinos Allende el Mar," lecture notes, Campo Abierto, Lima, 1990.
10 "Romance de Almagro el Mozo," poem, Lima, 1978.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Box Folder
6 11 Introduction, notes and typescript fragments
Box Folder
7 1 "The Book of the Life of St. Teresa of Avila"
2-3 Typescript notes and essays
4 "Dorothea Brooke & Saint Teresa of Avila"
5 "St. Teresa & the Princess of Eboli," playscript, 1980-1982.
6 "Scheherezade," lectures, Lima, 1987.
7 "Shadowy Things in Moby Dick,"1982.
Box Folder
7 8 Odds and ends
9 "Shakespeare and the Tudor Rose," Ealing, 1994.
Box Folder
8 1 "Shakespeare y la Rosa Tudor," Lima, Asociación Cultural Peruano Británica, 1986.
2 "Shakespeare--The Histories," lecture notes, 1996.
3 "Shakespeare: The Jacobean Phase," lectures, Ealing, 1995.
4 "Simone Weil (1909-1943)," London, 1956.
5 "The Sleeping Tablet Scandal," story
6 "Someone Else's Problem," story
7 "Story, 1975, unfinished"
8 "Sweet Smoke of Rhetoric, "   "The Actors are at Hand, "   "Hamlet's Mirrors, " lectures, Lima, Campo Abierto, 1991.
9 "The Take-Over," playscript
10-11 "Temas y Motivos Clasicos," lectures, Lima, Campo Abierto, 1993-1994.
Box Folder
9 1-2 "The Ten Thousand," playscript, 1968.
3 "El Tiempo y los Relojes, "  "La Geografia de las Comedias, "   "La Construcción de la Mente, "  "La Vela Ardiendo, Ardiendo, " lectures on Shakespeare, Lima, 1988.
4 "The Two Sides of the Pebble," London, 1982; "The Sun in Gemini," Lima, 1983,
lectures and notes.
Unamuno, Miguel de
Box Folder
9 5 Drafts and notes, 1958-1966.
6-7 "The Spain of Unamuno,"The Commonweal,March 1961,
with typescript drafts.
"The Voice of Ariadne," libretto by AE
Box Folder
9 8 Libretto, typescript, 1971.
Box Folder
10 1-2 Libretto, typescripts, cont'd
3 Libretto, programs, and production photographs
4 Scrapbook, also includes "Mary, Queen of Scots" clippings

II. Holograph Notebooks, Note Cards, and Fragments

Box Folder
10 5-7 Lecture notes and fragments
Box Folder
11 1-7 Lecture notes and fragments, cont'd
Box Folder
12 1 Lecture notes and fragments, cont'd
2-6 Holograph notebooks, various subjects and dates
Box Folder
13 1-5 Holograph notebooks cont'd
Box Folder
14 1-3 Holograph notebooks cont'd
4-7 Holograph note cards

III. Diaries, 1964-1989

Box Folder
15 1 1964-1970
2 1971-1978
3 1973
4 1975
Box Folder
16 1 1980
2 1981
3 1982-1984
4 1983
Box Folder
17 1-4 1984-1987
Box Folder
18 1-2 1988-1989

IV. Career-Related and Personal

Box Folder
18 3 Appointment calendars, 1985-1988.
Box Folder
19 1 Appointment calendars, 1989-1991.
2 Article about AE, Campo Abierto lecture programs, and conference announcements.
3 re: Bagaria, Luis, photographs and holograph notebook with sketches of caricatures.
4 Contract for sale of land, Lima, 1986 and 1996.
Correspondence, 1955-1995.
Box Folder
19 5 Bloch, Bertram and Edythe to AE, 1960s.
6 re: Cabaud, Jacques. "L'Experience Vecu de Simone Weil, " AE editorial project.
7 Musgrave, Thea to AE, 1970-1995.
8-10 Publishers: Harvill, Collins, New American Library and others, 1959-1965, with readers reports.
Box Folder
20 1 Readers reports (cont'd)
2 "Diploma de Honor," for participation in "La Mujer de México y de América en la Cultura," Mexico.
3-4 McParlin de Elguera, Alida (AE's grandmother), poems and memoirs.
5 "Republica Peruana, Acta de la Independencia"
6 Photograph, family wedding?
7 re: Shipway, Helen M. (Peg)