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Edmund Gosse letters


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

English author Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) wrote works of poetry, literary criticism and biography. Primarily active in the Victorian period, Gosse was one of the group of poets working as a civil servant at the English Board of Trade that included English poet Austin Dobson (1840-1921). Throughout his career, Gosse remained in contact with many of the most important writers of his time, including Charles Swinburne and Henry James.

One of Edmund Gosse's most acclaimed works,

Father and Son (1907), chronicles his childhood growing up with fundamentalist Christian parents. As he established his literary career, Gosse drifted toward the artistic circles blossoming in England in the latter half of the nineteenth century. His first work of poetry, Madrigals, Songs and Sonnets (1870), circulated among the painters and poets of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1875, he married the aspiring painter Ellen Epps (1850-1929), a student of Ford Madox Brown. Gosse continued to write poetry and expand his literary circle to such considerable figures as Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Browning. Although Gosse did not achieve the literary fame his friends and contemporaries did, he is known for his vivid descriptions of the figures who moved in his literary and social networks. Gosse is also known for his full length biographies that include works on John Donne (1899) and Charles Swinburne (1917).

In addition to his creative writing, Edmund Gosse wrote works of literary criticism. His first critical book and perhaps most significant was

Studies in the Literature of Northern Europe (1879), which is credited with introducing Henrik Ibsen to English audiences.

Thwaite, Ann. "Gosse, Sir Edmund (1849-1928)."Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, May 2011. (accessed October 2014). "Edmund (William) Gosse." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography in Context). http:/ (accessed October 2014).

This small collection contains fourteen letters from English author Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) to literary figures, agents, and book collectors, as well as members of high society, reflecting Gosse's close relationship to all aspects of the literary industry. The letters covered a spectrum of topics, including the history of literary circles, historical figures, current literature by himself and others, as well as the movements and travels of people in his social circle.

Box 5, F0092: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099

Purchases, 1983-1986.

Processed and encoded by Sean Lovitt, October 2014.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2014 October 15
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Edmund Gosse letters to Walter Besant, 1890-1900.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

Gosse's letters to novelist and historian Walter Besant (1936-1901), which comprise a majority of the collection, concern Gosse's literary career and various social engagements. Also includes one undated letter.

Physical Description

7 items

Edmund Gosse letter to Richard Le Gallienne, 1893 December 18.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

English poet and member of the Rhymer's Club Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947) received a single letter from Gosse to accompany a copy of the recently printed

Catalogue of a Portion of the Library of Edmund Gosse (1893).
Edmund Gosse letter to Lady Poynder, 1901 September 14.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

This letter from Gosse obliquely recounting the travels of several people of distinction was written on mourning paper to one Lady Poynder or Poyner.

Edmund Gosse letters to G. Jean-Aubry, 1917.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

In a letter to French translator and Joseph Conrad's biographer G(eorges) Jean-Aubry, Gosse offered an in-depth critique of Jean-Aubry's work Un Précurseur de l'Entente (1916) for its portrayal of the early modern French soldier and author Charles de Saint-Evremond (1614-1703) as well as another brief note devoted to Gosse's praise of Swinburne's forays into French verse.

Physical Description

2 items

Edmund Gosse letter to Aubrey Gentry, 1923 July 13.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

Publisher and director of Cassell & Co., Ltd., Aubrey Gentry received a brief note from Gosse politely rejecting his requisition of another book.

Edmund Gosse letters to F. L. Pleadwell, 1926, 1928.
Box 5 Folder F92
Scope and Contents

Gosse wrote the American military physician and collector Captain F. L. (Frank Lester) Pleadwell (1872-1957) thanking him for a copy of

Life and Works of Edward Coote Pinkney , which Pleadwell had edited. The second letter outlines a short history of the literary circle centered around Charles and (Cle)mentia Taylor at Aubrey House. Physical Description

2 items

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