Five New Zealand poets: A bibliographical and critical account of mauscript material (1974)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. English
AuthorsWeir, John E.show all
The primary intention of this thesis is indicated by its title: it sets out to examine and catalogue selected manuscript versions of published and unpublished poems by five New Zealand poets. Other material which is of a secondary nature in relation to the primary purpose of this study is also introduced, especially when I have regarded it as central to the development of a particular argument. This material largely consists of: - letters and other relevant prose manuscripts; - critical material existing either in manuscript or in some uncollected or ephemeral form. In all such cases, I have concluded that the material warrants preservation because of its inherent value. On those few occasions when I have drawn on familiar published material I have done so in the belief that the citations are relevant to a critical discussion arising from the manuscript sources. The Checklist of manuscript holdings does not pretend to be definitive. It merely sets out to examine certain specified manuscript collections in some detail, while making reference to a number of other important collections. These major collections are: (1) Ursula Bethell's Papers: currently in the possession of Mr, Lawrence Baigent, Christchurch. (2) Eileen Duggan's Papers: as bequeathed to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington. (3) R.A.K. Mason's Papers: currently in the possession of his wife, Mrs. Dorothea Mason, Auckland. (4) James K. Baxter's Papers: a collection in the possession of the writer, J.E. Weir, Christchurch. (5) Alistair Campbell's Papers currently in his own possession. It will be observed that, except in the case of Baxter, the manuscript collections are those of the poets themselves. Thus they have a special importance, especially because they have not yet been sighted by any other researcher or critic. Because of the vastness of the Baxter Collection in the Hocken Library, the limitations put upon its use, and the difficulty of tracing the many other collections which exist in this country, I have decided to concentrate on my own considerable collection of his poems, correspondence and other prose. I am fully aware of the inadequacies of this bibliographical survey, but I also believe that it is not yet possible to make a comprehensive bibliographical study of the Papers of these poets. One further reservation must be made: this thesis does not aim at providing a general critical survey of the poet's work or achievement. Whatever particular conclusions are reached are presented in the course of the study itself. I am presenting as a supplement bibliographical material relating to the published writings of these five poets which forms part of a much more extensive bibliography of material relating to New Zealand Literature in general, and New Zealand poetry in particular. I have been engaged in this work for a number of years and it has now been completed.