University of Sussex Media Release.
. Poets' private lives exposed

26 April 2000
For immediate release

The private lives of some of the most distinguished poets of the 20th century will be revealed at the University of Sussex during the Brighton Festival.

Unpublished personal letters and manuscripts, of Rudyard Kipling, W H Auden, T S Eliot, Ezra Pound and others will be on display in the exhibition, Poets' Papers.

The original documents, which form part of the rich archive of manuscripts at the University's library, include a frank exchange between Kipling and women's rights campaigner, Marie Stopes. She wanted him to change the last line of his celebrated poem "If" from "you'll be a man, my son" to "and you will lead the race o'er ground you've won" so that it would apply to women, too. He refused.

Another literary revelation is Ezra Pound's letter to Christian socialist Maurice Reckitt in which he expresses his contempt over the abdication crisis of Edward VIII.

Also on display will be items from the personal archive of Charles Madge, a poet, sociologist and one of the founders of social research organisation Mass-Observation which is now housed at the University. Madge's personal papers, which include a letter his father wrote to his mother the day before he was killed in the First World War, have just been donated by Madge's daughter Dr Victoria Randall. A conference to celebrate his work takes place at the university on May 12.

The exhibition has been put together by the University's librarian Adrian Peasgood and the manuscripts librarian Elizabeth Inglis. She said: "The documents we have in our archive give a valuable insight into the lives of the poets and we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to reveal them."

Poets' Papers will be on display at the University of Sussex library from May 1 to 31.

Notes for editors

For further information, please contact Jacqui Bealing, Press Officer or Alison Field, Communications Officer, University of Sussex, tel. 01273 678888, fax 01273 877456, email or

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