Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Writings, 1959-2007

23 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series includes Robert Fagles's working files for all of his major translations of the works of Homer, Virgil, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Pindar, and Bacchylides, as well as for his book of original poetry, I, Vincent. Materials document his writings over the complete span of his professional career as a translator and poet from the early 1960s until the late 2000s. Fagles kept thorough documentation of his own creative process, as well as of the life of his works following their publication, as reflected in his extensive collection of reviews, productions, permissions files, and mentions of his work in the press. Accordingly, files in this series largely follow the original arrangement imposed on them by their creator in that they are grouped by major work rather than by format, reflecting Fagles's own work habits.

Preliminary materials for his writings include multiple drafts of his translations and poems, comprising initial manuscript drafts and later typescript versions, often with ample handwritten revisions and commentary by Fagles and by his frequent collaborator Bernard Knox, along with copy-edited typescripts and galley proofs. Knox, whom Fagles met during his years at Yale, wrote the introductions and notes for Fagles's translations of Sophocles, Homer, and Virgil. Extensive notes that accompany many of Fagles's writings map out his exploration of vocabulary, themes, symbols, motifs, meter, and allusions to philosophical concepts by contemporary thinkers. His drafts are also accompanied by commentary and notes by previous translators, reflecting his extensive research regarding previous interpretations of classical texts, while his correspondence describes his desire to provide the classics with a contemporary voice.

Additional files related to publishing include materials regarding book design and production, promotion and sales, royalties, and lists of Fagles's friends and colleagues to whom he sent bound galleys, along with their responses and comments, which he retained. Publishing materials document Fagles's relationship with Viking Penguin, his regular publisher, as well with the Yale University Press, where he published his early translations of Greek lyric poetry, and the Princeton University Press, where he published I, Vincent. Alongside drafts and publishing files, Fagles kept comprehensive files on reviews and mentions of his work, the use of his translations in theatrical productions, radio and television broadcasts, audiobooks, and anthologies, as well as his related talks at various events, classes, and translation symposia.


This series is arranged into seven subseries following Fagles's major works in chronological order, retaining the original groupings of materials.

Collection History


Nothing was removed from the collection during 2015 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in April 2015, with assistance from Kristine Gift (GS) and Fiona Bell '18. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in April 2015.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Writings; Robert Fagles Papers, C1499, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Boxes 1-22; 28

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