University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Montgomery Evans II Collection of Lord Dunsany Manuscripts

1912 - 1935

Manuscript Collection Number: 264
Accessioned: Purchase, January 1988.
Extent: 21 items (.3 linear ft.).
Content: Letters, galley proofs, typescripts stories and poem, printed items.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed:Processed by Wendy Van Wyck and revised by Anita A. Wellner, March 1993.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

The Irish poet, playwright, and short story writer, Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett), was born in London on July 24, 1878. Although he is considered a writer of the Irish Literary Renaissance and knew the main figures of the movement, Dunsany was a British subject who associated primarily with the British aristocracy. He attended Cheam and Eton, and received his military education at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

During his military career Dunsany was transferred to Gibraltar, where he developed a fascination for the Middle East that is reflected in many of his short stories. After participating in the Boer Wars in South Africa, during which he befriended Rudyard Kipling, Dunsany returned to his estate in County Meath, Ireland.

Dunsany succeeded his father as the eighteenth baron in 1899. In 1904 he married Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers and began a period of great literary productivity, in which he produced numerous plays and short stories. Following service in the first World War, Dunsany became the Irish chess champion, a big game hunter, and a popular lecturer in Great Britain and the United States.

Lord Dunsany's first play, The Glittering Gate (1909), was written for production at Dublin's Abbey Theatre at the request of William Butler Yeats. Some of the other plays written by Dunsany include Kinq Arqimenes and the Unknown Warrior (1911), The Gods of the Mountain (1911), A Night at an Inn (1916), The Queen's Enemies (1916), The Laughter of the Gods (1919), and If (1921).

Lord Dunsany's works, especially his short stories, are known for their fantasy, myth, humor, and exoticism. His illustrator, the well-known artist S.H. Sime, created drawings that were as fanciful as Dunsany's stories. The narrator of many of these fantastic tales, a character named Joseph Jorkens, appears frequently in Dunsany's works. Some of the Jorkens books include The Travel Tales of Mr. Jorkens (1931), Jorkens Remembers Africa (1934), Jorkens Has a Large Whiskey (1940), and Jorkens Borrows Another Whiskey (1954). Other collections of his stories include The Sword of Welleran, and Other Stories (1908), The Book of Wonder: a chronicle of little adventures at the edge of the world (l9l2),and Fifty-one Tales (1915).

In addition to plays and short stories, Lord Dunsany also wrote several books of poetry, including Fifty Poems (1929) and War Poems (1941).

After publishing over 55 books and hundreds of articles and plays, Lord Dunsany died in Dublin on October 25, 1957.


Locher, Frances C. (ed.). Contemporary Authors. Volume 104. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. p. 130.

Knepper, B. G. "Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany," Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 10: Modern British Dramatists, 1900-1945. Part I. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. pp. 152-162.

Scope and Content Note

The Montgomery Evans II Collection of Lord Dunsany Manuscripts, spanning the years 1912-1935, consists of galley proofs, typescripts, printed journals, two letters, tear sheets, and a play program. The collection of twenty-one items was originally gathered by Montgomery Evans II. They were a part of Evans' larger collection of published material by or about Lord Dunsany. The journals bear Evans' stamp and the two folios in the collection bear his bookplates, which were designed by Lord Dunsany's illustrator, S.H. Sime.

The collection is organized into two series, manuscripts and printed material. Series I. Manuscripts consists of a typescript of Dunsany's short story, "The Escape From the Valley;" the galley proofs of his collection of plays, Plays of Gods and Men; typescripts and galley proofs for the short stories "The Mermaid's Husband" and "King" (also titled "The Electric King"); a letter from Dunsany to Evans; and a typescript poem titled "May You Go Safe."

Series II. Printed material includes tear sheets of four Dunsany short stories which appeared in The Evening Standard; issues of The Poetry Review and The Irish Review, which contain stories by Dunsany; a program for a performance of Lord Dunsany's play, "If;" a tear sheet of "The Postman of Otford;" and an article about Dunsany. The material in both series is arranged alphabetically by title.

Other manuscripts written by Lord Dunsany are available in the Literary and Historical Manuscripts Collection (Ms 99) in Special Collections. Some autograph notes and other letters may have been found tipped in several books from the Montgomery Evans II collection which were transferred to the printed collections in Special Collections. These items are listed on the final page of this finding aid.

For a complete list of the Lord Dunsany books and manuscripts collected by Montgomery Evans II, please ask a manuscripts librarian.

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

          Series I.  Manuscripts, 1917-1934
               Montgomery Evans II collected a number of galley
               proofs and typescripts, as well as one letter from
               Dunsany.  Includes short stories, a poem, and one
               collection of plays.  Arranged alphabetically by

Fl   "The Electric King," [1931]
     Typescript with autograph corrections (35 pp.).  The
     signature on the typescript has been cut out.  Also includes
     a set of galley proofs (1931 Feb 13) which bear extensive
     autograph notes and corrections by Dunsany (7 pp.).  Bound
     in folio boards bearing the bookplate of Montgomery Evans
     II.  Three sheets of galleys have been removed to the
     oversize section.

F2   "The Escape from the Valley," [n.d.]
     Typescript short story bearing autograph corrections and
     signature of Lord Dunsany (20 pp.).  Published in the
     collection, Mr. Jorkens Remembers Africa (London: William
     Heinemann, 1934).

F3   "King," 1931 Feb 13
     Galley proofs of the short story "King" bearing autograph
     corrections of Dunsany (7 pp.).  Removed to oversize

F4   Letter from Dunsany to Evans, 1934 Dec 6
     Autograph letter signed from Dunsany to Montgomery Evans
     responding to an invitation (2 pp.).

F5   "May You Go Safe," [n.d.]
     Typescript poem by Dunsany typed on "Allerton House"
     letterhead (1 p.).  Originally laid in a copy of Dunsany's
     Fifty Poems (London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1929--See Spec PR
     6007 .U6 F45 1929).

F6   "The Mermaid's Husband," [1930]
     Typescript with the original title of this short story,
     "Mrs. Jorkens" (26 pp.).  The typescript is signed by the
     author and bears his autograph corrections.  Also includes
     six pages of galley proofs with corrections (1930 Sep 6) and
     a letter from the editor regarding these proofs (1930 Oct
     6).  Material bound in folio boards with the bookplate of
     Montgomery Evans II.  Two sheets of galleys have been
     removed to the oversize section.

F7   Plays of Gods and Men, [1917]
     Galley proofs with notes and corrections by Dunsany
     (87 pp.).  Published by Talbot Press, Dublin, in 1917. 
     Plays included in the collection are "The Laughter of the
     Gods" (two sets of proofs), "The Queen's Enemies," "The
     Tents of the Arabs," (two sets of proofs), and "A Night in
     an Inn."  Removed to oversize section.
          Series II. Printed Material, 1912-1935
               Consists of issues of The Poetry Review and The
               Irish Review, tear sheets from The Evening
               Standard, a play program, and tear sheets from an
               unidentified source; all of which contain stories
               or plays written by Dunsany.  Also includes the
               tear sheets of an article about Dunsany.

F8   "The Gods of the Mountain" in The Poetry Review, 1913 Jan
     Copy of the issue of The Poetry Review (vol. II, no. 1)
     containing Lord Dunsany's play, "The Gods of the Mountain"
     (pp. 17-35).

F9   "If," 1927 Nov 7
     Play program for a performance of Lord Dunsany's "If" at The
     Little Theatre in New York.  Also includes a tear sheet of
     an article written by Flora Merrill titled "Cleverness the
     Shallowest Part of Art, Says Dunsany."  This article was
     published in the June 20, 1926 issue of The World.  Removed
     to oversize section, with a photocopy available in this

FIO  Jorkens Stories published in The Evening Standard, 1934-1935
     Four tear sheets of short stories published in The Evening
     Standard.  All four stories involve Dunsany's character, Mr.
     Jorkens.  Titles include "The Persian Spell" (1934 Feb 26),
     "Earth's Secret" (1934 May 10), "The Bare Truth, " (1934 Jun
     22), and "Jorkens Retires" (1935 Jul 31).  The tear sheets
     have been removed to the oversize section and preservation
     photocopies are available in this folder.

Fll  "A Phantasy" in The Poetry Review, 1914 Apr
     Copy of the issue of The Poetry Review (vol. IV, no. 4)
     containing Lord Dunsany's "A Phantasy" (pp. 228-229).

F12  "The Postman of Otford," [1912]
     Tear sheet of "The Postman of Otford," a short story by
     Dunsany.  Taken from an unidentified periodical.  Originally
     laid in Montgomery Evans' copy of The Book of Wonder (Spec
     PR 6007 .U6 B6 1912). 1 p.

F13  "A Story of Land and Sea" in The Irish Review, 1914 Sep-Nov
     Copy of the issue of The Irish Review containing Dunsany's
     short story, "A Story of Land and Sea" (pp. 318-336).

F14  "Three Tales" in The Poetry Review, 1914 May
     Copy of the issue of The Poetry Review (vol. IV, no. 5)
     containing Dunsany's "Three Tales" (pp. 261-262).  The three
     stories are "Charon," "The Prayer of the Flowers," and "The

                  Other Manuscripts by Dunsany
     Items found in Literary and Historical Manuscripts (Ms 99).

F301  Dunsany Letter to unidentified, 1913 Mar 8 
      ALS, 4 pp.

F354  "A Tale of Revenge," [1950]
      Carbon typescript of Dunsany's short story, "A Tale of
      Revenge," signed with autograph corrections.  8 pp.

F355  "A Matter of Law," [n.d.]
      Carbon typescript of Dunsany's short story, "A Matter of
      Law." 16 pp.

   Items found in books from the Montgomery Evans II Collection

Bierstadt, Edward Hale. Dunsany the Dramatist (Boston: Little,   
     Brown, and Company, 1917).
     Tipped in: ALS from Lord Dunsany to Mr. Bierstadt (1917 Jul
     17) indicated that he has corrected this copy of his book.
     The book bears extensive notes by Dunsany.  Also includes an
     ALS from Lady Dunsany to Bierstadt (1917 Dec 10) and
     clippings.  Photocopies of the letters and inscriptions are
     available in the collection folder.  See Spec PR 6007 .U6
     Z5 1917.

Dunsany, Lord. The Curse of the Wise Woman (London: William      
     Heinemann, 1933).
     Uncorrected proof inscribed by Dunsany to Evans.  See Spec
     PR 6007 .U6 C7x 1933.

_____________.  The Travel Tale of Mr. Joseph Jorkens (London: G.
     P. Putnam's Sons, 1931).
     Tipped in: ALS (1932 Oct 27) from Lady Dunsany to Montgomery
     Evans II.  A photocopy of the letter is available in the
     collection folder.  See Spec PR 6007 .U6 T73x 1931.

_____________.  War Poems (London: Hutchinson, 1940).
     Dunsany's own copy with the title changed by Dunsany to
     "Songs of an L.D.V."  There are autograph notes and changes
     through the book made by Lord Dunsany.

Horace.  The Odes of Horace (London: William Heinemann Ltd.,          
     Translated by Lord Dunsany.  Front end papers bear an ode
     written by Dunsany, after the style of Horace.  Titled "Book
     I. Ode XXXIX" and dedicated "To Johannes Faber."  A
     photocopy of the poem is available in the collection folder.  
     See Spec PA 6395 .D8x 1947.
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