Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Kingsley Amis Papers: Finding Aid
mssAMS 1-1362; mssFAC 1094-1104, 1326-1335, 1338  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (156.87 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Indexing

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Kingsley Amis Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1941-1995
    Collection Number: mssAMS 1-1362; mssFAC 1094-1104, 1326-1335, 1338
    Creator: Amis, Kingsley.
    Extent: 1,423 items in 77 boxes and 13 binders
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains the papers of English author Kingsley Amis (1922-1995), with the bulk of the collection consisting of drafts of novels, short stories, poems, essays and television and radio scripts by Amis, many heavily corrected. Also included are individual manuscript pieces by Martin Louis Amis, Sir John Betjeman, Elizabeth Jane Howard, and George Melly, and groups of limericks by Robert Conquest. Letters deal with personal and literary matters, including Amis' reactions to the work of other authors and their reactions to his writings.
    Language: English.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.
    There are no restrictions on access. The manuscripts of and relating to the unfinished novel Difficulties with Girls (AMS 19-22; not the novel of the same title published in 1988), was restricted until Amis' death; this restriction was lifted following Amis' death in October 1995. The Philip Larkin letters also were restricted and have been opened after Amis' death.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The literary copyright is owned by: Martin Amis, 54a Leamington Road Villas, London W11 1HT, and Jonathan Clowes, Iron Bridge, House Bridge Approach, London NW1 8BD.
    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Kingsley Amis Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Purchased from various sources. Acquisition numbers: 1333, 1614, 1648, 1729, 1778, 1792, 1804, 1808.
    The majority of the collection was acquired from Kingsley Amis through George Robert Minkoff in February 1987. Much additional material was acquired from Kingsley Amis, 1991-1995. One letter from Amis to Philip Oakes (September 17, 1955) was purchased from Lakin & Marley Rare Books in May 1996, and three letters from Amis to Andor Foldes (1964-1967) were purchased from Erasmushaus in July 1996. The monthly diary for 1980 was purchased from the Amis Estate in August 1996, along with the working library, which is housed in the Huntington's Rare Book Department; the manuscript pages interleaved in various volumes of the working library will be transferred to the Manuscripts Department, with notes linking them to their volumes of origin. The Ray Lewis White collection of clipped reviews of Amis' books was acquired in January 1996, and is in Box 33.
    13 notebooks (Part 3) were received as the gift of Dr. Zachary Leader, 2004.
    The provenance of all material acquired after the original purchase is noted on the individual folders.

    Processing/Project Information

    This finding aid replaces and considerably expands the previous summary report dated 2-4-88 and updated 1-4-96.

    Biographical Note

    Kingsley Amis was born in London on April 16, 1922, the son of William Robert and Rosa Annie (Lucas) Amis. Following service in the British Army from 1942 to 1945 and first-class honors in English at St. John's College, Oxford, Amis was a lecturer in English at University College of Swansea, Wales, from 1949 to 1961. He subsequently became a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge University, 1961-1963, and held visiting professorships at Princeton and Vanderbilt Universities.
    Amis achieved both popularity and critical acclaim with his first novel, Lucky Jim, whose publication in 1953 instantly marked Amis as a major comic novelist. His many subsequent works have revealed him to be an author of extraordinary range and versatility. His essays, poems, and short stories have been published in magazines, journals, and collected editions. His novels include That Uncertain Feeling(1955), I Like It Here (1958), Take a Girl Like You(1960), One Fat Englishman (1963), The Anti-Death League (1966), Ending Up (1974), Jake's Thing(1978), and The Folks That Live on the Hill (1990. He has also written a number of genre novels, such as Colonel Sun (a spy thriller, 1968), The Green Man (a ghost story, 1969), and The Riverside Villas Murder (a mystery, 1973). Amis' 1986 novel, The Old Devils, received Britain's prestigious Booker Prize. His final three books are The Folks That Live on the Hill (1990), Memoirs(1991), and The Biographer's Moustache(1995).
    Amis was married first to Hilary Ann Bardwell in 1948 and divorced in 1965; he married the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard in 1965 and was divorced in 1983. He had three children from his first marriage: Philip Nicol William Amis, the author Martin Louis Amis, and Sally Myfanwy Amis. Amis passed away on October 22, 1995.

    Bibliography

    Amis, Kingsley. Memoirs (London: Hutchinson, 1991).
    Barber, Michael. "Kingsley Amis," Writers at Work: The "Paris Review" Interviews, fifth series, ed. George Plimpton (New York: The Viking Press, 1981).
    Contemporary Authors.
    Contemporary Novelists, second edition (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976).
    Fussell, Paul. The Anti-Egoist: Kingsley Amis, Man of Letters (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
    Gohn, Jack Benoit. Kingsley Amis: A Checklist (Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1976).
    McDermott, John. Kingsley Amis: An English Moralist (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989).
    Salwak, Dale. Kingsley Amis: A Reference Guide (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978).
    -----. Kingsley Amis, in Life and Letters (London: Macmillan, 1990).
    -----. Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist (New York: Harvester, 1992).
    Who's Who (1984).

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection contains the papers of English author Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) and is arranged in four parts based on date of acquisition. In the contents list below, Parts II-IV (Boxes 38-77) are only listed at the box level.
    Manuscripts: The bulk and the strength of the collection consist of drafts of novels, short stories, poems, essays and television and radio scripts by Kingsley Amis, many heavily corrected. Also included are individual manuscript pieces by Martin Amis, Sir John Betjeman, Elizabeth Jane Howard, and George Melly. Manuscripts by Amis of particular interest include:
    • Difficulties with Girls: unfinished novel (not the novel of the same title published in 1988): notes, corrected draft, additional draft pages, summary of unwritten ending, and statement of reasons for not publishing the novel. AMS 19-22.
    • Notebook: contains random notes for characters, dialogue, etc., ca.1969-1981. AMS 76.
    • Poems: the earliest literary manuscripts in the collection, 1941-1944. AMS 95.
    • Who Else Is Rank: early, unpublished novel co-written with E. Frank Coles, 1944-1945. AMS 180-181. Also 3 letters from Amis to Coles discussing the novel, AMS 185-187.
    Correspondence: Letters deal with personal and literary matters, including Amis' reactions to the work of other authors and their reactions to his writings. Correspondence of special interest includes:
    • Amis, Kingsley. Letter to Andor Foldes, discussing his reference to Mozart in Lucky Jim, 1964, May 26, London. AMS 457.
    • Betjeman, Sir John, 1906-. Letter to Kingsley Amis relating Betjeman's enthusiastic reaction to Lucky Jim, 1954. AMS 192.
    • Conquest, Robert. 114 letters and notes to Kingsley Amis. A fine series of lively, witty letters which reveals the close friendship of the two authors. Personal and literary matters are discussed, and scores of limericks are exchanged between the two. 1976-1986. AMS 238-351.
    • Dick, Philip K. Letter to Kingsley Amis discussing Dick's reasons for using the title The Man in the High Castle for his novel. 1979, September 10. AMS 201.
    • Larkin, Philip. 76 letters to Kingsley Amis. A remarkable series of revealing, poignant letters. 1967-1985. AMS 353-428.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. Letter to Kingsley Amis, reacting to Amis' radio broadcast on Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, 1980, January 30. AMS 213.

    Arrangement

    The majority of the collection, consisting of the initial acquisition in 1987 is arranged with manuscripts (alphabetically by author) preceding correspondence (also alphabetically by author). Thereafter, subsequent acquisitions have been added on at the end of the collection, as have the restricted items opened for research in late 1995.
    The papers are arranged as follows:

    Part I

    • Manuscripts (Boxes 1-16)
    • Manuscripts (Oversize) (Boxes 17-21)
    • Correspondence, A - W and unidentified (Box 22)
    • Correspondence: Robert Conquest (Boxes 23-24)
    • Addenda: Manuscripts (Boxes 25-29)
    • Addenda: Manuscripts and Correspondence (Box 30)
    • Manuscripts and Correspondence: Philip Larkin (Box 31)
    • Correspondence: Philip Larkin (Box 32)
    • Ephemera: Ray Lewis White Collection of Clipped Reviews (Box 33)
    • Addenda: Manuscripts (Boxes 34-36)
    • Addenda: Manuscripts and Correspondence (Box 37)
    • Ephemera (Envelope)

    Part II

    • Manuscripts (Boxes 38-54)
    • Correspondence (Boxes 55-64)
    • Ephemera (Boxes 64-68)

    Part III

    • Catalogue of Short Writing of Kingsley Amis and Photocopies (13 black binders)

    Part IV

    • Manuscripts (Boxes 69-70)
    • Correspondence and Ephemera (Box 71)
    • Video cassettes, Audio cassettes, Books on tape and Records (Boxes 72-77)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Amis, Kingsley -- Archives.
    Betjeman, John, 1906-1984.
    Powell, Anthony, 1905-2000.
    Thomas, Dylan, 1914-1953.
    Bodleian Library -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Authors, English -- 20th century -- Archives.
    English literature -- 20th century.
    Jazz -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Jazz -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 20th century -- Sources.

    Forms/Genres

    Audio books Great Britain 20th century.
    Diaries Great Britain 20th century.
    Drawings Great Britain 20th century.
    Ephemera Great Britain 20th century.
    Letters(correspondence) Great Britain 20th century.
    Manuscripts Great Britain 20th century.
    Personal Papers Great Britain 20th century.
    Phonograph records Great Britain 20th century.
    Photocopies Great Britain 20th century.
    Photographs Great Britain 20th century.
    Sound recordings Great Britain 20th century.
    Video recordings Great Britain 20th century.

    Additional Authors

    Amis, Martin.
    Betjeman, John, 1906-1984.
    Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968.
    Conquest, Robert.
    Dick, Philip K.
    Fussell, Paul, 1924-2012.
    Gale, George Stafford.
    Howard, Elizabeth Jane.
    Jacobs, Eric.
    Larkin, Philip.
    Melly, George, 1926-2007.
    Osborne, John, 1929-1994.
    Powell, Anthony, 1905-2000.
    Powell, Violet, 1912-2002.
    Priestley, J. B. (John Boynton), 1894-1984.
    Salwak, Dale.
    Thatcher, Margaret.
    Thwaite, Anthony.
    Vaizey, John, 1929-1984.
    Wilson, Colin, 1931-2013.
    Bodleian Library.
    British Broadcasting Corporation.
    HarperCollins (Firm)
    Oxford University Press.
    Penguin (Firm)
    Random House (Firm)
    Simon and Schuster, Inc.

    Indexing

    Indexing: Subjects

    • Aldiss, Brian Wilson, 1925-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1970, November 3. AMS 359.
    • Amis, Kingsley. General Tomski's Army. In London Weekend International (firm), letter to Kingsley Amis, 1970, April 6. AMS 204.
    • Amis, Kingsley. General Tomski's Army. In London Weekend International (firm), letter to Jonathan Cape, Ltd., 1969, August 5. AMS 205.
    • Amis, Kingsley. Lucky Jim. In E. J. King Bull, "Lucky Jim: radio script, from the novel by Kingsley Amis, 1961. AMS 182.
    • Amis, Kingsley. Lucky Jim. In Kingsley Amis, letter to Andor Foldes, 1964, May 26, London. AMS 457.
    • Amis, Kingsley. Who Else Is Rank. In Kingsley Amis, letter to E. Frank Coles, ca.1944-1945. AMS 185-186.
    • Baez, Joan. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, January 20. AMS 340. Betjeman, John, Sir, 1906-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1976, November 4. AMS 374.
    • Bonner, Yelena. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, January 20. AMS 340.
    • Bonner, Yelena. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, February 23. AMS 342.
    • Campbell, John Wood, 1910-1971. In William Anthony Parker White, 1911-1968, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1960, March 12. AMS 225.
    • Drabble, Margaret, 1939-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1980, June 26. AMS 399.
    • Hughes, Ted, 1930-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1982, June 26. AMS 409.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1976, June 10. AMS 240.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1978, July 29. AMS 285.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letters to Kingsley Amis, 1978, December 31, and 1979, January 17. AMS 301-302.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1983, August 29. AMS 320.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1984, April 21. AMS 324.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, 3 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1984. AMS 327-329.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, 2 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1985. AMS 332-333.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, 3 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1985-1986. AMS 335-337.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, 2 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1986. AMS 339-340.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, February 23. AMS 342.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, June 25. AMS 349.
    • Larkin, Philip. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1986, July 24. AMS 351.
    • Mortimer, John, 1924-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1982, April 18. AMS 408.
    • Murdoch, Iris. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1982, June 26. AMS 409.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1979, February 17. AMS 306.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1983, August 29. AMS 320.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1984, March 9. AMS 323.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Robert Conquest, 2 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1986, AMS 349-350.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1978, April 27. AMS 384.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1980, March 20. AMS 397.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1980, June 26. AMS 399.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1982, June 26. AMS 409.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1983, March 27. AMS 414.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. In Philip Larkin, 2 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1985, August 27 and October 4-6. AMS 426-427.
    • Powell, Anthony, 1905-. A Dance to the Music of Time. In Kingsley Amis, The Music of Time: radio script, 1979, July-August. AMS 74.
    • Pym, Barbara. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1977, February 2. AMS 378.
    • Pym, Barbara. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1978, April 10. AMS 383.
    • Thatcher, Margaret. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1981, February 5-6. AMS 313.
    • Thatcher, Margaret. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1982, November 21. AMS 412.
    • Wain, John. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1970, November 3. AMS 359.
    • Wain, John. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1984, January 29. AMS 416.
    • Wain, John. In Philip Larkin, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1985, August 27. AMS 426.
    • Waugh, Evelyn, 1903-1966. In Philip Larkin, 2 letters to Kingsley Amis, 1984, January 29, and 1984, March 4. AMS 416.
    • West, Rebecca, Dame, 1892-. In Robert Conquest, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1978, August 8. AMS 288.

    Added Entries

    • Amis, Kingsley. Note on: London Weekend International (firm), letter to Kingsley Amis, 1970, April 6. AMS 204.
    • Amis, Kingsley. Note on: Colin Wilson, 1931-, letter to Kingsley Amis, 1956, June 15. AMS 226.
    • Foldes, Andor. Addressee for Kingsley Amis, 1964. AMS 457-458.
    • Foldes, Andor. Address for Kingsley Amis and Elizabeth Jane Howard, 1967, February 13, London. AMS 459.
    • Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Addressee for Sir John Betjeman, 1906-. In note following Betjeman's poem, "Executive," post-1964 and pre-1984. AMS 189.
    • Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Addressee for Sir John Betjeman, 1906-, 1980, AMS 190-191.
    • Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Addressee for Robert Conquest, 1978, October 28. AMS 237.
    • Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Jt. author with Kingsley Amis, letter to Lili Foldes and Andor Foldes, 1967, February 13, London. AMS 459.
    • Larkin, Philip. Addressee for National Theatre of Great Britain, 1977, January 31. AMS 202.