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Basil Bunting Collection

Identifier: Mss. Coll. Bunting

Scope and Content

The collection begins with a number of journals containing articles that discuss Bunting's work. The Spring 1973 issue of Juggler (a magazine published for the members of the Notre Dame-St. Mary's community in Notre Dame, Indiana) includes Sister Victoria Forde's article on Basil Bunting's Persian poems. Bunting-related contributions by Brian Swann, Robert Metz, Jonathan Williams and Tom Meyer appear in the Spring-Summer 1977 issue of the St. Andrews Review. The Autumn 1978 issue of Poetry Information is devoted to Bunting, including a conversation with him on his 75th birthday, critical observations of his works, and a chronology of his life. Charlie Sheard's article on Bunting and music appears in the Autumn 1982 issue of The Present Tense, a review of modern poetry. Two issues of the Journal of the D.H. Lawrence Society provide information on Lawrence and his work. A photocopy of Bunting's translation of a Persian story titled The Pious Cat, by Obaid-e Zakani, continues the collection. Photocopies of notes that Marian Bunting wrote on the title page of Descant on Rawthey's Madrigal: Conversations with Basil Bunting by Jonathan Williams, together with notes on a page of an unknown work about Bunting's returning to Persia after he was fired from his job as special assistant to the Persian ambassador, can also be found here. The collection continues with photocopies of newspaper clippings pertaining to the Bunting family, including the birth and christening of daughter Bourtai Bunting, named in honor of Ghengis Khan, and later, her passing the University of Chicago's Scholastic Achievement Test and being able to enter the University of Chicago as a freshman without finishing her last two years of high school. A photograph shows son Rustum Bunting at a dinner given for prize winners in an essay contest on vehicle and pedestrian safety, conducted by the Eau Claire Policemen's Protective Association for children in schools of the city. Another clipping documents the death of 15-year-old Rustum, 12 hours after being stricken with polio. Photocopies of a posthumous Northumberland exhibit of Bunting's life provide a chronology of events in Bunting's life, photos of his childhood and student days at Ackworth, studio portraits, Bunting at work, and photographs of his friends, contemporaries, and family. Photographs of Brigflatts, a Quaker hamlet in Cumbria that inspired his 1966 poem, scenes in London, Paris, Barcelona, Santa Cruz and Persia were also included in the exhibit. Postcards illustrating Bunting's tombstone in the Brigflatts Burial Ground; Lincoln Cathedral; the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace in Eastwood, Nottingham; Moor Green Reservoir; and Church Cottage, Cossall (honeymoon cottage of "The Rainbow") can also be found in the collection. A Sony PR-150-7 recording of Bunting reading Briggflatts at the University of British Columbia, November 20, 1970, with an introduction by Peter Quartermain, completes the collection.


  • 1970-1987

Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries.

Biography of Basil Bunting

Basil Bunting (1900-1985) was one of the leaders of the British literary avant-garde. Critics describe his poetry as reflecting the influences of Robert Browning, William Wordsworth, and his friend, Ezra Pound. Pound's support of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini is thought to have adversely affected how Bunting's writings were accepted. A Quaker, Bunting was jailed as a conscientious objector during World War I. He attended the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1919 to 1922. He married Marian Culver in 1930 and Sima Alladadian in 1948; he was the father of four children. In addition to his accomplishments as a poet, Bunting served as assistant editor of the Transatlantic Review in Paris (1923); newspaper music critic in London (1925-1928); attache to the British embassy in Teheran, Persia (1943-1951); financial sub-editor of the Evening Chronicle, Newcastle, England (1953-1966); and taught poetry at several English, American and Canadian universities (1966-1973).


.33 cubic feet


This collection includes journal issues featuring articles pertaining to the life and work of British poet Basil Bunting; photocopies of newspaper clippings pertaining to the Bunting family; photocopies of notes made by Bunting's wife, Marian; text and photographs from a posthumous exhibit about Bunting in Northumberland; postcards and brochures illustrating Bunting's tombstone in the Brigflatts Burial Ground, the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace, and other English landmarks; and a recording of Bunting reading Briggflatts at the University of British Columbia, November 20, 1970, with an introduction by Peter Quartermain.

Statement of Arrangement

Series I: Printed Material Series II: Recordings

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased in 1995 from Victoria Forde, professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

Related Material

Boulton, James T. Lawrence in Love: Letters to Louie Burrows. Nottingham: University of Nottingham, 1968. Bunting, Basil. Collected Poems. London: Fulcrum Press, 1968.Bunting, Basil. Collected Poems. Mount Kisco, New York: Moyer Bell, 1985.Bunting, Basil, ed. Joseph Skipsey: Selected Poems. Sunderland : Ceolfrith Press, 1976.Bunting, Basil. A Note on Briggflatts. Durham: Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, 1989.1971.Bunting, Basil, ed. Selected Poems: Ford Madox Ford. Cambridge, Mass.: Pym-Randall Press, Bunting, Basil. The Spoils. Newcastle upon Tyne: Modern Tower Book Room, [1965].Kenner, Hugh. A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers. New York : Knopf, 1988.Lesch, Barbara E. Basil Bunting: A Major Modernist Poet. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1979. Williams, Jonathan. Descant on Rawthey's Madrigal: Conversations with Basil Bunting. [Lexington, Kentucky]: Gnomon Press, [1968].

Guide to the Basil Bunting Collection
Finding aid prepared by Betsy Butler
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Finding Aids Repository