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Benjamin Morse archive (19th-20th C.)

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The collection encompasses Benjamin Morse’s career as a poet, critic and scholar and extends to some several hundred letters as well as his own poems and articles, translations of poetry, prose works and plays, reviews, biographical materials and numerous photographs, cards, press cuttings and pamphlets. The collection contains: personal and family papers of Benjamin Morse; original poetry by Benjamin Morse; articles and pamphlets by Benjamin Morse; reviews from Modern language review, Welsh review and Englische Studien; translations from Rainer Maria Rilke; typescript of translation of the ‘Duino elegies’ and other translations from Rilke; Rilke’s works; Benjamin Morse’s correspondence with the Rilke family; manuscript and typescript translations of four plays by Carl Sternheim (1878-1942); translations from writers other than Rilke; Alfred Mombert (1872-1942) materials (mostly photocopies) gathered by Morse while preparing his editions of Mombert’s letters; materials relating to other German writers; and letters in German, Italian, English and Welsh - correspondents have been identified wherever possible.

Date range: 1878-1977

Strengths: Morse was widely connected with writers and literary critics across Europe, before, during and after the Second World War. His personal correspondence gives a unique insight into the world of the European literate at this time.

Size: 43 boxes, 12.5 metres

Languages: English, Italian, German, Welsh

Keywords: Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Carl Sternheim (1878-1942), Alfred Mombert (1872-1942), literature, criticism, translation, Europe, Second Word War

Notes: Benjamin Joseph Morse (1899-1977), was lecturer and senior lecturer in Italian at University College, Cardiff, 1940-66.  After graduation from Aberystwyth University in 1923, Morse spent some years on the continent, at Trieste, Osnabrück and other cities, where he began his correspondence with German and Italian writers, which was renewed after 1945. He was a poet, critic and scholar, a notable translator of poetry (especially Rilke) and plays (e.g. Sternheim) and editor of Mombert’s letters. B. J. Morse was made a knight of the Italian Republic in 1966. Morse’s personal, substantial library of rare books is also held by the Library, including an exceptional collection of editions of Rilke’s works in German and English.