University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Stephen Gray:

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

Creator: Gray, Stephen, 1941-
Title: Stephen Gray Papers
Dates: 1960-2000
Abstract: The papers of South African writer Stephen Gray consists of novels, plays, poetry, short stories, journalism, literary notebooks and editorial work. Also included are incoming and outgoing correspondence, interviews, speeches, and files from his college years, Chilean residence in 1968, and University of Iowa Writer's Workshops, 1966-1969.
Extent: 22 boxes (9.24 linear feet)
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This comprehensive collection of papers of the South African writer Stephen Gray comprises four decades of literary endeavor from the 1960s to 2000, including novels, plays, poetry, short stories, journalism, and editorial work. Gray arranged his papers prior to shipment to the Ransom Center and this order has been retained throughout, following his assigned headings. Often related papers and correspondence were drawn together under a single topic and were listed in detail. These descriptions are found in the first folder of each grouping. The materials are organized in three series: Series I. Works; Series II. Correspondence, 1960s-1990s; and Series III. Career-Related Material.

The works are divided into subseries by genre, reflecting the breadth of Gray's writing: Subseries A. Literary Notebooks; Subseries B. Novels; Subseries C. Plays; Subseries D. Poetry; Subseries E. Short Stories; Subseries F. Other Writings; and Subseries G. Collaborations and Projects.

The notebooks date from 1961-1994 and contain diary and travelogue entries as well as literary notes and drafts, made in locations such as Cambridge, Athens, Greece, and Bellagio. The Novels subseries contains typescript drafts and related material for Accident of Birth, Born of Man, Caltrop's Desire, Drakenstein, Local Color, Necessary Evil, Time of Our Darkness, Visible People, War Child, and Yves and Johnny.

Subseries C contains Gray's produced and unproduced plays, including "Borderlands, " adapted from Perceval Gibbon's novel; "Cold Stone Jug, " an adaptation of Herman Bosman's novel; "An Evening at the Vernes, ""Helena's Hope, Ltd. " based on Stephen Black's play; "Peepshow"; and "Schreiner: A One-woman Play, " based on the correspondence and writings of Olive Schreiner.

Gray's published and published poetry is contained in Subseries D, in works such as Appolo Café and Other Poems; Gabriel's Exhibition: New Poems; "Heritage Day and Other Poems"; Hottentot Venus and Other Poems; Love Poems, Hate Poems; Season of Violence; Selected Poems (1960-92); and "Taken. " Typescripts, reviews, and related material are present for these works. Additional poetry is found in Subseries G.

Subseries E contains Gray's short stories, from early works in the 1960s to 2001, as well as individual stories published in collections. Other writings include his journalism for The London Magazine, The Weekly Mail, Mail & Guardian, The South African Review of Books, and other magazines and newspapers; his work as editor for the periodical, Izwi and the collection Picador Book of African Stories; a contribution in The Invisible Ghetto on Richard Rive; and travelogues, especially "Trek with Shakespeare, " an account of Gray's involvement touring Shakespeare, 1962-1964.

Gray's work with Cecil Skotnes predominates the Collaborations and Projects subseries. Skotnes prints combine with Gray's words in works such as The Assassination of Shaka and The White Monday Disaster.

Series II. Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing letters between Gray and Guy Butler, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Christopher Hope, Dan Jacobson, Wopko Jensma, Etienne Leroux, Douglas Livingstone, Alan Paton, Tom Raworth, Richard Rive, and David Wright. Files also exist for Contrast, literary agents and publishers, and Quagga Press.

The career-related material in Series III includes articles about Gray, interviews, speeches, and files from his college years, Chilean residence in 1968, and University of Iowa Writer's Workshops, 1966-1969.

The collection is in good condition except for the lingering odor of moth balls used during storage. Books and audio/visual tapes received with the papers were transferred to departments within the Ransom Center.



Open for research

Administrative Information


Purchase, 2002 (Reg. no. 15044)

Processed by:

Liz Murray, 2002

Stephen Gray Papers--Folder List

I. Works

A. Literary Notebooks
Box Folder
1 1 Commonplace Book, 1961-1963
2-3 Cambridge, 1962-1963
4 Mediterranean Summer, 1967
5 Athens, 1973
6 Greece, 1973
7 False Bay, Cape, 1974-1978
8 Reunion Island, 1975, 1978
Box Folder
2 1 False Bay, 1978-1980
2 Transkei, 1981, 1986
3 Transkei, 1987-2000
4 Season of Violence,1990-1992
5 Hawthornden, 1992
6 Bellagio, 1994
B. Novels
Box Folder
3 1 Sketches for novels, notes
2 Juvenilia, handwritten draft of first novel
3-4 Accident of Birth, first draft, 1990-91
5 Born of Man, partial handwritten draft and promotional material
6-7 Caltrop's Desire, typescript
Box Folder
4 1-2 Drakenstein, original handwritten draft and associated material
Local Color
Box Folder
4 3 "Lynch Blinder," first final draft
4 Notes, early drafts and revisions
5 Reviews
6 Author's annotated copy
Necessary Evil
Box Folder
4 7 Preliminary drafts under title "Boris,"1966-67
Box Folder
5 1-2 Rewritten as "Joburg Gold"
3-4 Original typescript
5 Rewrite sections
6-7 Time of Our Darkness, original draft and reviews
Visible People
Box Folder
6 1-2 Original typescript
3-4 Rewrite
5 Author's annotated copy
6 Reviews and associated material
Box Folder
7 1 War Child, typescript drafts
2 Yves and Johnny, carbon typescript
C. Plays
Box Folder
7 3 "Borderlands,"1990
4-5 "Cold Stone Jug"
6 "An Evening at the Vernes,"1973-1977
Box Folder
8 1 "Helena's Hope, Ltd.," adaptation
2 "Oedipus Rex," directed by SG
Box Folder
8 3 "Aquarium" reworked as "Peepshow,"1971
4-5 Typescript draft
6 Reviews, publicity, production photographs
7 "Schreiner: A One Woman Play," clippings, programs, and production photographs
D. Poetry
Box Folder
9 1 Appolo Café and Other Poems
2 False Bay file
3-4 Gabriel's Exhibition: New Poems
5 "Heritage Day and Other Poems"
6 Hottentot Venus and Other Poems
7 Love Poems, Hate Poems
Box Folder
10 1 Season of Violence
2 Selected Poems (1960-92)
3 "Shelley Cinema"; "Revisiting Bellagio"
4 "Taken"
5-6 Collected poems
7 Uncollected poems of the 1990s to 2001
11-12 Poems in serials and collected works
E. Short Stories
Box Folder
13 1 Early short stories
2 Later short stories, up to 2001
3-4 "The Building Site"
5 "His Name"
6 "Letters to Pratt"
7 "Simon Gray: The Holman Candidate"
F. Other Writings
Box Folder
14 1 Cuttings book, journalism, 1964-1970
2 Durrell, Lawrence
3-4 Human Interest and Other Pieces
5-7 Izwi/Voice/Stem, SG editor, with issues 1-20
Box Folder
15 1 Izwi, cont'd
2-5 John Ross: The True Story
6 The London Magazine, articles
Box Folder
16 1-2 Miscellaneous pieces, 1980-2000, reviews, articles
3 News/check, articles
4 Open Quote, typescript
5-6 The Picador Book of African Stories, SG editor
7 "Richard Rive: A Memoir" in The Invisible Ghetto
Box Folder
17 1 Sea and Corsica, unpublished travelogue
2 South African Literature: An Introduction
3 The Southern African Review of Books
4-7 Trek with Shakespeare
8 The Weekly Mail/Mail & Guardian, articles
G. Collaborations and Projects
With Cecil Skotnes
Box Folder
18 1-2 The Assassination of Shaka
3 Baudelaire's Voyage, 1975
4 Man's Gold, 1980
5 Ten Landscapes, 1976
6 The White Monday Disaster, 1974
7 Burwitz, Nils
8 Kushlick presents Katseli, "Greece--Her Extraordinary Women"
9 Scarecrow, with Wilfrido C. Nolledo

II. Correspondence, 1960s-1990s

Box Folder
19 1-8 1960s-1970s
Box Folder
20 1 Butler, Guy and related correspondence
2 Contrast
3 Gordimer, Nadine
4 Head, Bessie
5 Hope, Christopher
6 Jacobson, Dan
7 Jensma, Wopko
8 Leroux, Etienne
9 Literary agents and publishers
10-11 Livingstone, Douglas
Box Folder
21 1 Paton, Alan
2 Publishing
3-4 Quagga Press
5 Raworth, Tom
6 Rive, Richard
7 Wright, David

III. Career-Related Material

Box Folder
21 8 Article about SG
9 Interviews
10 Speeches, etc.
11 Undergraduate days at the Univ. of Cape Town, 1960-61
Box Folder
22 1 Chilean residence, Sept.-Dec. 1968
2-4 Univ. of Iowa Writer's Workshops, 1966-1969