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Inventory of the Kingsley Amis Papers, 1941-1995
AMS 1-460; FAC 1094-1104, 1326-1335, 1338. Acquisition numbers: 1333, 1614, 1648, 1729, 1778, 1792, 1804, 1808. (Use call numbers, for paging and citation.)  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Description of Series and Sub-series

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Kingsley Amis Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1941-1995
    Collection number: AMS 1-460; FAC 1094-1104, 1326-1335, 1338.

    Acquisition numbers: 1333, 1614, 1648, 1729, 1778, 1792, 1804, 1808. (Use call numbers, for paging and citation.)
    Creator: Amis, Kingsley
    Extent: 483 cataloged items, plus ephemera (one box and one folder)
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL. 
    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.

    Literary Copyright

    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.

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

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

    Acquisition Information

    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. The provenance of all material acquired after the original purchase is noted on the individual folders.
    Note:
    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.

    Scope and Content Note

    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.

    Description of Series and Sub-series

    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 (details for each box may be found in the "Container List," below):
    Boxes 1-16
    Manuscripts
    Boxes 17-21
    Manuscripts (Oversize)
    Box 22
    Correspondence, A - W and unidentified
    Boxes 23-24
    Correspondence: Robert Conquest
    Boxes 25-29
    Addenda: Manuscripts
    Box 30
    Addenda: Manuscripts and Correspondence
    Box 31
    Manuscripts and Correspondence: Philip Larkin
    Box 32
    Correspondence: Philip Larkin
    Box 33
    Ephemera: Ray Lewis White Collection of Clipped Reviews
    Boxes 34-36
    Addenda: Manuscripts
    Box 37
    Addenda: Manuscripts and Correspondence
    Envelope
    Ephemera

    Administrative Information

    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.

    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).