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Collection of correspondence from and relating to Hugh MacDiarmid and the publication of Stony Limits

 Collection — Box: CLX-A-1594
Identifier: Coll-2005

Content Description

This collection consists of correspondence between Hugh MacDiarmid, his publisher Victor Gollancz, and other interested parties concerning the publication of his poetry volume Stony Limits (1934). The correspondence largely concerns Gollancz’s fears that certain poems might expose the publisher to prosecution under libel, blasphemy, and obscenity legislation. Although he rigorously defended his verse, MacDiarmid was eventually persuaded to substitute the potentially offensive items with other poems of his choice.

This collection includes:

  1. Original Memorandum of Agreement between MacDiarmid and Gollancz dated 11 January 1934 and signed by both parties (MacDiarmid signing with his given name, "C.M. Grieve").
  2. Several items of correspondence dated 1934 between Gollancz and the publisher’s solicitor Hilary Rubinstein and his solicitor regarding possible libels and blasphemies in the book.
  3. A five-page letter from MacDiarmid defending his book against possible charges of libel, blasphemy, obscenity, and contempt of court.
  4. Correspondence dated 1958 & 1961 regarding rights to MacDiarmid’s work, including an ALS in which the author thanks Victor Gollancz for his literary and political support.
  5. A brief correspondence between the publisher and William Russell Aitken regarding his compilation and publication of a Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid.
  6. TLS (Typed Letter Signed) from poet and biographer Alan Bold who was preparing a selection of the letters of Hugh MacDiarmid for publication.
  7. TLS from poet and scholar W. N. Herbert wondering why some poems in Stony Limits were omitted and substituted on publication.


  • Creation: 1934-1986


Conditions Governing Access

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Collection of correspondence from and relating to Hugh MacDiarmid and the publication of "Stony Limits"
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379