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Critical Quarterly archives

Call Number: MS 54


Archives (letters received; some texts and proofs) of the literary magazine The Critical Quarterly. The collection documents submissions of material to the magazine; friendly personal news; literary gossip; academic life. Some material concerning the editors Brian Cox or A.E. Dyson rather than the Critical Quarterly. Most of the collection dates from 1958-1967; there are also some personal letters dating from 1953-1958.


  • Creation: 1958 - 1967


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Critical Quarterly

In 1958 Brian Cox (C.B., "Brian" or "Charles") and A.E. ("Tony") Dyson established the Critical Quarterly, initially based at the University of Hull where Cox was a lecturer. Cox and Dyson served as editors, and their literary journal aimed to promote English literature from the medieval to the modern period. The journal placed a particular emphasis on contemporary poetry and included writings by British, American, Canadian, Irish, and Australian authors of the 20th century, many of whom became famous poets and authors. These included Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Anne Sexton, and R.S. Thomas. The journal also published established authors, such as W.H. Auden.

The journal had a large audience from the outset, averaging 5,000 subscriptions until the early 1970s. Colin MacCabe took over as general editor of the journal in 1989, which continues to be published.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 document cases) : Letters: 584 (including 9 retained copies of letters from CQ). Manuscript fair copies of poems, reviews, essays: 41; Proofs: 7.

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Unidentified correspondents, or correspondents with incomplete identification, are located at the end of the collection.

Physical Location

MS 54

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Argosy Books, 1968.

Related Materials

The Critical Quarterly Ltd, Critical Quarterly Archive, [1957]-1989. University of Manchester Library. GB 133 CQA

Guide to the Critical Quarterly Collection
Critical Quarterly archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
<emph render="italic">Critical Quarterly</emph> archives, MS 54, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States