Arthur Scouten papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Arthur Hawley "Joe" Scouten (1910-1995) was a scholar of British literature whose work focused primarily on Jonathan Swift, William Shakespeare, and eighteenth-century English drama more generally. He taught English at the University of Pennsylvania from 1947 to 1980, achieving the rank of Associate Professor in 1950 and Professor in 1960. He was known for his passionate teaching style and reportedly never used a teaching assistant even in large lecture classes, preferring to personally help each student develop on an individual basis. His students' many commendations and reminiscences are collected in Box 1 Folder 4 of this collection. Some of the most notable among his many scholarly contributions include editing the volume Lear from Study to Stage: Essays in Criticism with Jack Ogden (research materials for which are collected in Box 1 Folder 18 of this collection) as well as compiling Part III (1729-1747) of The London Stage. In the course of this latter project, Scouten rediscovered a suppressed Restoration play, The Country Gentleman. He is also remembered for his central role in helping the University of Pennsylvania acquire the Teerink collection of Jonathan Swift books, some 1,800 Swift-related items. A letter from Teerink concerning that collection is included in Box 1 Folder 6.
Scouten was born in Kapropita, Kenya in 1910 to missionaries Oren and Margaret Fraser Scouten. After his father's death, the young Scouten, his mother, and his infant sister moved back to the United States, where Scouten was sent to work to support the family before graduating high school and briefly attending a religious college. Uninterested in becoming a clergyman, Scouten worked odd jobs for a few years, during which time he developed an immense passion for literature and history. In 1931, he enrolled at Louisiana State University, earning his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. all at that institution in 1935, 1938, and 1942 respectively. While at LSU Scouten witnessed the rise of New Criticism firsthand, becoming a student and mentee of such figures as Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. Within his first decade at Penn, Scouten received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. After nearly 40 years of teaching, over which period he advised some 55 Ph.D. students on a wide range of subjects, Scouten retired to St. Germain-en-Laye near Paris. He remained a prodigious correspondent until his death in 1995. The A.H. Scouten Memorial Fund was established at Penn in 1998 to provide books and other materials in the fields of study to which Scouten devoted his professional life--theater history, the eighteenth century, and Jonathan Swift.
This collection is divided into three series: I. Personal and academic materials; II. Correspondence; III. Research.
I. Personal and academic materials contains some biographical and memorial materials and a number of his school and work records, such as his CV, LSU transcripts, and various lists of students from his classes.
II. Correspondence contains much, but not all of the correspondence included in this collection. Researchers should note that some correspondence is also included among his research materials. His correspondents include family, students, former students, and colleagues; though colleagues are by far the most well-represented. Major figures in twentieth-century literary theory and criticism such as Robert Penn Warren and Stanley Fish occasionally appear in the correspondence. It should be noted that the vast majority of the correspondence is comprised of xerox copies and the location of the originals is not known.
III. Research is organized according to project. Occasionally, these files contain preliminary drafts or fragments of drafts of original scholarly articles; though more often, they contain only articles not written by Scouten, notes, summaries, bibliographies, letters, and other research materials. Though most noted as a Jonathan Swift scholar, this collection contains very little relating to Swift, focusing instead primarily on Shakespeare (Box 1 Folders 13-16, 18 and Box 4, Folders 3-11). Some of this research appears to have been used in his classes; but it is not clear if the research was created for his classes or simply related to his classes.
Gift of Clémence Scouten, 2015.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Cory Austin Knudson
- Finding Aid Date
- 2019 December 23
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.