Literary archive enhances collections

A collection of manuscripts by Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid and other leading modernist writers has been acquired by the University.

The documents were submitted to a University of Edinburgh student literary journal called The Jabberwock, which ran throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

The archive contains work - literary and political - submitted in the 1950s when the magazine was edited by Ian Holroyd. It features work by Scottish literary figures such as: C. M. Grieve, better known by his pen name Hugh MacDiarmid, Robert Garioch and Sydney Goodsir Smith.

It shed light on the development of Scottish culture and the role of Edinburgh University in fostering Scottish literature.

Hugh MacDiarmid is Scotland's most important poet of the twentieth century and a key figure in international modernism. This invaluable archive gives us the chance to see the early drafts of some of his important essays in the context of the remarkable student literary magazine Jabberwock.

Professor Penny FieldingGrierson Chair of English Literature

The Jabberwock

The Jabberwock aimed to awaken interest in the Scottish Literary Renaissance - a modernist writing movement led by MacDiarmid.

As well as contributions from Edinburgh students, each issue featured substantial amounts of material submitted by published guest writers.

Important acquisition

Experts have described The Jabberwock as the major mouthpiece of the Scottish Renaissance movement throughout the 1950s, and as such this new acquisition is of interest both at a University national level.

The collection includes signed submissions by Hugh MacDiarmid, correspondence between contributors and the editor and typescript poems.

The acquisition is part of the University’s ongoing commitment to preserve and enhance its existing collections.

The University’s heritage collections curated through the Centre for Research Collections are strongly used for research, teaching, projects and engagement. To support this active and growing demand we actively add to the collections through purchase and donation.Every year we acquire rare books, manuscripts and archives which have never been in the public domain before, all of which become available for current students and scholars and which we hold for the long-term future of the University.

Dr Joseph MarshallHead of Special Collections and Centre for Research Collections

The Jabberwock purchase was made by the University’s Centre for Research Collections, with support from the grant-making body Friends of the National Libraries and the College of Humanities and Social Science.

The collection will be held in the University Library.