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John Heath-Stubbs Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Published Works

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John Heath-Stubbs Collection, 1946-2000 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

By Emily Koelzer

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Collection Overview

Title: John Heath-Stubbs Collection, 1946-2000Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1964-1994

ID: COLL/587

Primary Creator: Heath-Stubbs, John

Extent: 2.2 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Published Works series is housed with the Rare Books in Heritage Hall, separate from the manuscript portion of this collection. All the materials in this collection are organized chronologically when possible.

Date Acquired: 06/05/2019

Subjects: English literature, English poetry--20th century, Heath-Stubbs, John, 1918-2006.

Languages: English


The John Heath-Stubbs collection measures 2.2 cubic feet and dates from 1946 to 2000. This collection was donated by John E. Van Domelen, an English professor and Calvin College alumnus, who became acquainted with Heath-Stubbs in 1960. John Van Domelen was immediately captivated by Heath-Stubbs and his work. Van Domelen published a book of essays on Heath-Stubbs’ poetry in 1993. The materials in this collection are evidentiary of Von Domelen’s preparation for his book of essays as well as his friendship with Heath-Stubbs. The collection is composed of correspondence between Van Domelen and Heath-Stubbs, Christmas cards, a list of works that influenced Heath-Stubbs, an uncorrected proof of Heath-Stubbs’ autobiography, books and publications authored, edited, translated, and introduced by Heath-Stubbs, and essays written about Heath-Stubbs by Van Domelen.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The John Heath-Stubbs collection houses the personal papers and published works of John Heath-Stubbs. This collection, which dates from 1942 to 2000, consists of correspondence, published writings, art, advertisements, articles, and cassette tapes which evidence the later part of Heath-Stubbs’ career, preparation of John Van Domelen’s book of essays on the poetry of John Heath-Stubbs as well as the friendship between Van Domelen and Heath-Stubbs.

John Heath-Stubbs was a noted English poet, editor, and translator. This collection contains selections from his extensive bibliography and includes poems written, translated, edited and introduced by Heath-Stubbs. Some poems, such as the long Arthurian poem Artorious are published as works of their own, while other poems are published together in collections. Some of the published works are from limited prints. Some of the limited prints are signed and numbered copies. The Heath-Stubbs collection also includes a copy of The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Verse which was edited by Heath-Stubbs and David Wright. This collection contains some copies of publications in which Heath-Stubbs was published.

The Heath-Stubbs collection was donated by John E. Van Domelen and as such includes much of the correspondence sent to Van Domelen from Heath-Stubbs. The correspondence dates from 1964 to 1997. These letters exhibit the friendship between the two men and sometimes offer some insight into the professional career of Heath-Stubbs. This collection contains Christmas cards that were sent to Van Domelen from Heath-Stubbs from 1973 – 2000. Several of the cards are undated. The cards often include original poetry from Heath-Stubbs and sometimes feature paintings and drawings from other artists.

Further insight into Heath-Stubs’ literary career can be found in a list of works he considered influential. This list was written in the mid-1960s in his own hand. At this point in his life Heath-Stubbs’ eyesight had deteriorated significantly. The list may be difficult to read as a result.

This collection contains the third of 25 copies of John Heath-Stubbs’ The Twelve Labours of Hercules which is composed of twelve poems and accompanying engraved prints by Michael Amey. This collection also contains an uncorrected proof of Heath-Stubbs’ autobiography titled Hindsights.

Several works of John Van Domelen’s are included in this collection: John Heath-Stubbs. A Checklist and The Haunted Heart. Nine Essays on the Poetry of John Heath-Stubbs. Two shorter literary essays are also included in the collection.

Collection Historical Note

John Heath-Stubbs (1918 – 2006) was an English poet, translator, and literary critic. Born in London at the height of World War I, Heath-Stubbs was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 18. An operation saved the sight of his left eye, which he was able to read with until 1961. He became completely blind in 1978 but continued to write until nearly the end of his life. Heath-Stubbs was sent to Worcester College for the Blind, where he learned to use Braille but chose not to use it, opting for tapes and readers instead. He began attending Oxford University in 1939, where he studied English language and literature.

Stubbs held the Gregory Fellowship of Poetry at Leeds University (1952-55) and he had professorships in Alexandria, Egypt (1955-58) and Ann Arbor, Michigan (1960-61). He taught at the College of St Mark and St John in Chelsea (1962-72), as well as at Merton College, Oxford for twenty years from 1972. He was elected to the Royal Society of Literature in 1954, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 1973, and appointed OBE in 1989.

Heath-Stubbs is well-known for his long Arthurian poem, Artorius. He was a noted literary critic, translator, and editor who was also known for editing The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Verse and translating works from poets including Sappho, Anacreon, Horace, Catullus, Dante, Leopardi, and Verlaine.

Subject/Index Terms

English literature
English poetry--20th century
Heath-Stubbs, John, 1918-2006.

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 3 Boxes

Physical Access Note: Collection held in Heritage Hall; materials are not available for circulation

Acquisition Source: John E. Van Domelen

Acquisition Method: Gift

Separated Materials: The 'Published Works' series is housed with the rare book collection.

Preferred Citation: [item], folder, box, John Heath-Stubbs Collection, Heritage Hall (Hekman Library), Calvin University

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Manuscript],
[Series 2: Published Works],

Series 1: ManuscriptAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Outgoing Correspondence --- 1964 - 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Outgoing Correspondence --- 1970-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Outgoing Correspondence --- 1983-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Outgoing Correspondence --- 1990-1997Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Christmas Cards --- 1973-2000Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Works that influenced John Heath-StubbsAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Uncorrected Proof of Hindsights --- 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Advertisements and ArticlesAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Analyses by John Van DomelenAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Aquarius Advertisements and Correspondence --- 1972-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Aquarius Issues 5-10 --- 1972-1978Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Aquarius Issues 12 - 16, 23/24 --- 1980-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Select Issues of Interim --- 1988-1996Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Periodicals featuring John Heath-Stubbs --- 1973-1989Add to your cart.
Loose 4: Cassette Tapes (13)Add to your cart.
Box 3: The Twelve Labours of Hercules --- 1974Add to your cart.
12 Poems and engraved plate drawings.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Manuscript],
[Series 2: Published Works],

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