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Collection Overview

Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945.
Arthur Symons Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
32 boxes
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-32


Consists of manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, tear sheets, clippings, photographs, watercolors, paintings, and much miscellaneous material of British poet, literary critic, and translator Arthur Symons.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of manuscripts and typescripts of various types of works by Symons, including Amoris Victima, Cesare Borgia, Confessions, Figures of Several Centuries, Jezebel Mort and Other Poems, Lorenzaccio, Nero, Parisian Nights, Toy Cart, and Tristan and Iseult; over 30 notebooks; watercolors and paintings; correspondence; tear sheets of contributions by Symons to periodicals (many corrected in manuscript by Symons or prepared as actual copy for book publication); photographs of Symons, members of his family, and friends; clippings of reviews of Symons' books; and articles and clippings concerning art, literature, and people of interest to him, such as Cagliostro, Casanova, Giorgone, Thomas Hardy, Frank Harris, John Addington Symonds, Paul Verlaine, François Vidocq, and Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. Also included are unpublished plays and poems, translations of French and Italian poetry, ballet programs, and miscellaneous correspondence, including three letters from Stephane Mallarme, and eleven letters from John Sampson, the English student of gypsies. There are also 23 watercolors by Welsh artist Gwen John.

A few letters to Symons are also included in this collection; however, the bulk of his correspondence appears to have been dispersed before his death.

Collection Creator Biography:

Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945.

British poet, literary critic, and translator, Arthur Symons was born in Wales and educated privately. He was an admirer of the French poets known as the Symbolists, members of a late 19th-century movement in whose works abstractions such as ideas, qualities, emotions, and values are expressed by means of symbols. He expounded their ideas in critical works such as The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899) and in biographies of symbolist poets, including Charles Baudelaire (1920). In his own poetry, which included the volumes Days and Nights (1899) and Silhouettes (1892), he emulated the symbolist style. Among his other works are The Romantic Movement in English Poetry (1909) and the autobiographical Confessions (1930).

Collection History


Gift of A. E. Gallatin and J. Harlin O'Connell in January 1951 .


No appraisal information is available.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. The original Gwen John watercolors are restricted. Researchers use color surrogates.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Arthur Symons Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-32

Find More

Related Materials

Additional Arthur Symons materials are to be found in the following Princeton University Library Collections:

Sylvia Beach Correspondence

Letters of Symons and his wife Rhoda to Sylvia Beach. Mostly business-oriented.

Rodin Collection

11 letters to Symons from Rodin (1902-1911)

J. Harlin O'Connell Collection of the 1890s


Autograph manuscript of Tristan and Iseult, two signed drafts of part of Act I, and the signed, revised draft of Act III in autograph and typescript. A letter of Symons to John Quinn is included.

Originial autograph manuscript of "Marseilles." Laid in is a letter from Symons to Edward Martin. 5 pp.

Proof sheets, with many correction, of the Fool of the World and Other Poems.

Manuscript notebook containing six manuscript pages of notes, in Symons' hand, for an article entitled "The Symphony of Snakes," with several pages of notes for a bibliography of Arthur Symons.

"Dieppe: 1895", pages from The Savoy, for January 1896, heavily corrected in Symons' hand.

Two third-person autograph letters to an unspecified correspondent, concerning George Moore's Martin Luther.

There are also several, very ephemeral pieces which include such items as a return address, torn from a package, in Symons's hand.

Subject Terms:
Critics -- England.
French poetry -- Translations into English.
Italian poetry -- Translations into English.
Poets, English.
Romanies -- England.
Symbolism in art.
Symbolism in literature.
Genre Terms:
Manuscripts (for publication)
Cagliostro, Alessandro, conte di, 1743-1795.
Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798.
Giorgone, 1477-1510
Goldoni, Carlo, 1707-1793.
Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928.
Harris, Frank, 1856-1931
John, Gwen, 1876-1939
Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893
Verlaine, Paul, 1844-1896.
Vidocq, Eugène François, 1775-1857.
Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Auguste, comte de, 1838-1889