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University of Texas at Austin

Christine Brooke-Rose:

An Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Brooke-Rose, Christine, 1923-2012
Title: Christine Brooke-Rose Papers
Dates: 1893-2005 (bulk 1957-1992)
Extent: 34 boxes, 1 oversize box (osb) (14.28 linear feet), 2 galley folders (gf), 13 computer disks
Abstract: The papers of novelist, poet, and teacher Christine Brooke-Rose provide representative forms of all of her major works including books, essays, and poems, as well as extensive correspondence from agents, editors, friends, and students. Also present is a quantity of personal materials documenting Brooke-Rose's education, wartime service, marriages, and divorces.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-00532
Languages: English, French, and German
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. To request access to electronic files, please email Reference.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted. Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchase and Gifts, 1992-2005 (R12574, G10692, G11681, G12167, G12465)
Processed by Katherine Mosley, 1993; Liz Murray, 1997, 2000; Grace Hansen, 2017

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Christine Frances Evelyn Brooke-Rose was born in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 16, 1923. The younger of two daughters of Alfred Northbrook Rose, who was English, and Evelyn Brooke Rose, who was half Swiss and half American, Christine Brooke-Rose was raised in Brussels and educated at Somerville College, Oxford (B.A. 1949, M.A. 1953) and University College, London (Ph.D. 1954). Her parents' marriage dissolved while Brooke-Rose was quite young; her father died in 1934, and her mother later became a Benedictine nun (Mother Anselm).
During World War II, Brooke-Rose served as an intelligence officer in the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force, working at Bletchley Park. She married Rodney Ian Shirley Bax, whom she met through her war work, on May 16, 1944. They were divorced in January, 1948, and the marriage was later annulled. On February 13, 1948, Brooke-Rose married Polish poet and novelist Jerzy Pietrkiewicz (later Peterkiewicz). When her husband became ill in 1956, Brooke-Rose began to write novels after having published Gold (1955), a metaphysical religious poem based upon the anonymous fourteenth-century English poem Pearl. Her first two novels, The Languages of Love (1957) and The Sycamore Tree (1958), were satirical novels of manners. The Dear Deceit (1960), based upon her father's life, and The Middlemen: A Satire (1961) were also conventional novels, although The Dear Deceit used the technique of presenting the story in reverse chronological order.
After her own illness in 1962, Brooke-Rose's fiction changed dramatically; her next novel, Out (1964), discarded the traditional ideals of character and plot and began the play with language and form that has marked her work ever since. From 1956 to 1968, Brooke-Rose worked in London as a freelance literary journalist. In 1968, Brooke-Rose separated from her husband and moved to Paris, beginning a career as a teacher of Anglo-American literature and literary theory at the University of Paris VIII, Vincennes. As a professor, Brooke-Rose was able to work on her fiction only during summer breaks. Such (1966) is the story of the after-death experience of an astronomer, told in terms of astrophysics. Between (1968), centering around the experiences of a professional translator, is a book about language and communication. In 1970, Go When You See the Green Man Walking, a collection of short stories, was published. Brooke-Rose has called her next novel, Thru (1975), a "fiction about the fictionality of fiction."
Nine years elapsed between the publication of Thru and the publication of Amalgamemnon (1984); Brooke-Rose referred to this period as her "traversée du desert."Amalgamemnon and three subsequent novels, Xorandor (1986), Verbivore (1990), and Textermination (1991), form a loose "computer quartet" reflecting on the demise of humanism. Amalgamemnon, written entirely in future and conditional tenses, is about a female professor of literature in a time when the humanities have become irrelevant. Xorandor is a science fiction story about the discovery by two children of a silicon-based civilization that feeds on nuclear radiation. The story is written in the form of dialogue and computer printouts by the children, who use an invented technological slang. The book incorporates areas of physics and was written with the assistance of the author's cousin, Claude Brooke, a physicist to whom Brooke-Rose was briefly married from 1981 to 1982. In Verbivore, a sequel, the now grown children must deal with Xorandor's descendants, whose activities have caused a failure of electronic communications media. Textermination, about the gathering of hundreds of recognizable literary characters at a Convention of Prayer for Being, deals with the advent of a semi-literate popular culture.
As a translator, Brooke-Rose was best known for In the Labyrinth (1968), an English translation of Alain Robbe-Grillet's Dans le labyrinth and winner of the 1969 Arts Council Translation Prize.
As a literary critic, Brooke-Rose was best known for her two studies of Ezra Pound, A ZBC of Ezra Pound (1971) and A Structural Analysis of Pound's Usura Canto: Jakobson's Method Extended and Applied to Free Verse (1976). A Grammar of Metaphor (1958), a critical study of English poets, was an outgrowth of her doctoral work at University College. A Rhetoric of the Unreal (1981) is a collection of essays analyzing narrative techniques in various types of fiction, while Stories, Theories, and Things (1991) contains essays of structural analyses of literary texts and general discussions of issues in literary theory.
In 1992, when the first of her papers were acquired by the Ransom Center, Brooke-Rose was retired from teaching and living in the south of France. Since then, she published Remake (1996), Next (1998), Subscript (1999), Poems, Letters, Drawings (2000), Invisible Author: Last Essays (2002), Life, End of (2006), and Brooke-Rose Omnibus (2006).
Brooke-Rose died March 21, 2012.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Original Acquisition (R12574)
The Christine Brooke-Rose Papers consist of original and carbon copy typescripts, holograph manuscripts, computer printouts, notebooks, correspondence, clippings, galley proofs, original and photocopy page proofs, offprints, documents, printed genealogies, publishing contracts, royalty statements, family papers, electronic files, and digital images, ranging in date from 1893 to 2005 (bulk 1957-1992). The material is arranged in five series: I. Works, 1897-1997; II. Reviews, 1955-1992; III. Correspondence, 1956-1999; and IV. Personal/Family, 1893-2005. The Works series is arranged in three subseries: Books, Essays, and Poetry. The Reviews series is divided into two subseries: Reviews by Christine Brooke-Rose and Reviews of Works by Christine Brooke-Rose. The Correspondence series has two subseries: Business Correspondence and Personal Correspondence.
All of Brooke-Rose's major works up to 1992 are represented in some form. Many early versions of works are present, and these often reveal original titles. In the folder list, the discarded titles of works are indicated with quotation marks, and the final titles are italicized. Where Brooke-Rose had labeled varying versions of manuscripts, those labels are retained and indicated in the folder list with single quotation marks. In keeping with Brooke-Rose's tendency toward chronological order, works and personal/family papers have also been arranged in chronological order. Reviews and correspondence remain in the chronological order established by Brooke-Rose.
Most of the correspondence is incoming correspondence from publishers, agents, editors, friends, colleagues, and students. Among the correspondents are Brigid Brophy, Frank Kermode, Peter du Sautoy, Muriel Spark, Raleigh Trevelyan, and Michael Westlake. All correspondents are included in the Index of Correspondents.
Among the personal and family materials in the collection are documents and correspondence relating to Brooke-Rose's education, career, wartime service, marriages, and divorces.
Atari computer disks that were received with the collection have been reformatted to Macintosh's operating system. The texts of the files were compared with manuscripts already present in the collection; when the texts differed, the computer files were printed. These printouts are grouped together by computer disk. Due to the computer reformatting, margins, fonts, and some diacritics are not the way they appeared on Brooke-Rose's original disks.
Brooke-Rose's personal copies of her books, anthologies containing her work, offprints, and periodicals containing her work have been withdrawn from the collection and cataloged with the Center's book holdings. Some copies are signed or annotated by Brooke-Rose.
1997 Addition (G10692)
This addition to the Ransom Center’s cataloged Christine Brooke-Rose Papers consists of handwritten manuscripts and typescripts of her works, offprints, tearsheet, correspondence, publishing contracts, royalty statements, interviews, and works about Brooke-Rose, from 1947 to 1997 (bulk 1990-1997). The material is organized in three series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, and III. About Brooke-Rose, reflecting the organization of her original gift. The Works series is arranged in three subseries: A. Novels, B. Articles and Lectures, and C. Reviews. The Correspondence series is divided into two subseries: A. Business and B. Personal. All material in this collection is in the original order, usually chronological, arranged by Brooke-Rose.
The Works series largely consists of material for Brookes-Rose’s autobiographical novel Remake (1996). Included are holograph manuscripts and typescripts, and a first edition paperback version, all with holograph revisions. Her novel Next is also represented with holograph manuscript as well as a series of three "print outs." The articles subseries contains Brooke-Rose's first published piece, on Gerard Manley Hopkins (1947), as well as later writings. Reviews by and about Brooks-Rose’s novels complete the Works series.
Business correspondence includes contracts and royalty statements, as well as communication with publishers and editors. Personal correspondence is arranged in chronological order from 1990 to 1996. Family letters and university correspondence regarding the University of Paris, posts offered, and invitations to speak are also present.
The final series contains diverse material about Brooke-Rose, including plans for Richard Martin's book of essays on her.
2000 Addition (G11681)
This addition to the Christine Brooke-Rose Papers includes typescript drafts of Next and Subscript, research notes for Subscript, a French translation of a passage of Thru, reviews, articles and information about Brooke-Rose, as well as correspondence (1996-1999) with editors and publishers, university invitations, and personal correspondence. The addition is organized in two Series: I. Works and Associated Material, and II. Correspondence, 1996-1999.
Folder titles are taken from Ms. Brooke-Rose's contents descriptions.

Original Acquisition (R12574) Series Descriptions

Series I. Works, 1897-1997, undated (15 boxes, 10 computer disks)
The series is divided into three subseries: A. Books, B. Essays, and C. Poetry.
The Books subseries, arranged chronologically by title, consists of original and carbon copy typescripts, holograph manuscripts, printouts, notebooks, printed genealogies, documents, clippings, correspondence, offprints, original and photocopy page proofs, and electronic records. All of Brooke-Rose's major works are represented in some form. She wrote her first drafts by hand, usually in a notebook, before typing successive drafts, and many of these heavily revised early versions are present in the collection. Early versions of several works reveal their original titles: The Dear Deceit was previously titled "A Chronicle of Wasted Time" and "Ultraviolet"; Thru was originally titled "Textermination"; Amalgamemnon was titled "Soon"; Xorandor was titled "The Alpha Guys"; and A ZBC of Ezra Pound was titled "Timing the Thunder: A Critical Introduction to Ezra Pound." In the folder list, discarded titles of works are indicated with quotation marks, while the final titles are in upper-case letters. Where Brooke-Rose had labeled varying versions of manuscripts, those labels are retained and indicated in the folder list with single quotation marks.
Heavily revised holograph manuscripts of The Languages of Love and The Sycamore Tree are present. The origins of The Dear Deceit, which was based upon the life of Brooke-Rose's father, can be traced in early correspondence with her aunt, Dorothy Gordon-Forbes. Brooke-Rose conducted intensive research on her family history and on period books, clothing, and events; the resulting correspondence, notes, drawings, and clippings are present. Also included are notes about people on whom the characters are based and correspondence from family members and others in response to the book. Family documents and papers, including a journal her father kept and poems he wrote, are included in the `family' research file. A chronological account of research documents the author's efforts in writing the book.
Among manuscripts of The Middlemen are two versions of "Serena's Alter Ego," a short story that became the basis of the book. Between contains ten languages, and notes and correspondence regarding linguistics are present, as is correspondence with Eva Hesse about German passages in the manuscript.
Notable among Xorandor manuscripts are an early, very different version in holograph form, titled "The Alpha Guys," and lists of the slang vocabulary Brooke-Rose invented for the book. Notes for Verbivore include correspondence from friends with suggestions regarding language and scientific accuracy. A notebook with a holograph manuscript of Verbivore also contains a draft essay on "aesthetics" in which Brooke-Rose discusses her writing. Among the notes for Textermination are lists of characters, including an oversized chapter-by-chapter breakdown of characters, a list of "Americanisms" (American slang), and correspondence concerning copyrights.
The second subseries is comprised of manuscripts of essays by Christine Brooke-Rose, arranged in the order she had established. The essays include "Ezra Pound: Piers Plowman in the Modern Waste Land,""Dynamic Gradients,""A for But: 'The Custom House' in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter,""Notes on the Metre of Auden's 'The Age of Anxiety,'""The American Literary Scene: Writers in Search of Community," and copies of Brooke-Rose's "Letter from Paris" column in The Spectator. Proof pages of "Notes on the Metre of Auden's 'The Age of Anxiety'" are accompanied by a letter from F. W. Bateson, editor of the journal Essays in Criticism.
The third subseries consists of poetry manuscripts dating from 1946 to 1959 and remains in the order kept by Christine Brooke-Rose. In addition to typescripts and holograph manuscripts of such poems as "The Island of Reil" (in successive versions), "Impressions & Epigrams," and "To My Mother, Taking the Veil," there are tearsheets from Botteghe Oscure and printed copies of some poems. A holograph manuscript of "Confiteor," in the hand of Brooke-Rose, is attributed to Jerzy Peterkiewicz.
Series II. Reviews, 1955-1992 (1.5 boxes)
The second series is divided into two subseries: A. Reviews by Christine Brooke-Rose and B. Reviews of Works by Christine Brooke-Rose.
The first subseries, maintained in the chronological order established by Brooke-Rose, consists primarily of clippings, with some carbon copy typescripts, original typescripts, and page proofs, from 1955 to 1984. Transcripts of radio talks discussing books are also filed among reviews. Brooke-Rose's separation of signed and unsigned reviews is retained. Her reports to publishers concerning books on Pound include carbon copy and original typescripts and correspondence.
Reviews, mainly for newspapers, of all of Brooke-Rose's major works consist mainly of clippings, with some carbon copy and original typescripts, and are maintained in Brooke-Rose's original order. A publisher's blurb for The Sycamore Tree and typescript reader's reports for Such and Amalgamemnon are also included with the reviews. General press cuttings include clippings about awards won by Brooke-Rose, articles that mention her, reviews of her translations, and general reviews of her work. A 1989 printed copy of "Les Écrivains Britanniques de 1945 a Nos Jours" contains on entry for Brooke-Rose.
Series III. Correspondence, 1956-1999 (3.5 boxes, 3 computer disks)
The third series is divided into two subseries: A. Business Correspondence and B. Personal Correspondence, and preserves Brooke-Rose's filing arrangement, although correspondence from a single correspondent may be found in both categories.
The first subseries includes contracts, royalty statements, and letters from publishers, agents, and editors, with some photocopy and printout replies from Brooke-Rose, all arranged in reverse chronological order. Included in letters from publishers is correspondence between Brooke-Rose and Michael Schmidt at Carcanet discussing manuscript changes, book design, promotion, and other issues and reflecting the ups and downs of their relationship. Also present with the letters are some proof pages of Xorandor.
The second subseries contains mainly incoming personal correspondence, with occasional copies of Brooke-Rose's replies, arranged in reverse chronological order. While Brooke-Rose's division of 'personal letters' and 'miscellaneous and personal letters re own work' has been maintained, both files contain letters discussing her work. In addition, letters from a single correspondent may be scattered throughout the entire series. For information about the location of letters by a single correspondent, see the Index of Correspondents. Among correspondents are Brigid Brophy, Bernard Hoepffner, Frank Kermode, Richard Martin, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Peter du Sautoy, Olga Scherer, Muriel Spark, Raleigh Trevelyan, and Michael Westlake. Letters from Jean Alington Howard discuss Brooke-Rose's work as an intelligence officer at Bletchley Park during World War II. Letters from Eva Hesse, who was Ezra Pound's German translator, date from 1964-84, and letters from Mary de Rachewiltz, Pound's daughter, date from 1967-89. Correspondence from Jerzy Peterkiewicz cover the years of their separations, reconciliations, and divorce.
Series IV. Family/Personal, 1893-2005 (1 box, 1 computer disk)
The fourth series, Family/Personal, contains Brooke-Rose's personal papers as well as papers of family members. Some of this material is similar to the family research file Brooke-Rose developed while writing The Dear Deceit.
A 1932-1933 notebook of Flemish language exercises from Brooke-Rose's schooldays in Brussels contains a letter she wrote to her grandmother. Papers documenting Brooke-Rose's education include school certificates and letters of reference from teachers. Among career and wartime service papers are letters of reference from a teacher, a supervisor, and a commanding officer, and letters from Rodney Bax regarding post-war credit vouchers. Citizenship documents consist of a National Health Service medical card, a 1950 letter from the Nationality Division of the Home Office, and an oversized certificate of identity with a photograph and personal data.
Also present are documents and correspondence from Rodney Bax and church officials regarding the annulment of Brooke-Rose's first marriage. Other documents include copies of Brooke-Rose's 1967 and 1976 wills, documents from Brooke-Rose's divorce from Jerzy Peterkiewicz, and a photocopy of the deed of Peterkiewicz' name change from Pietrkiewicz. Statutory declarations/estate settlements include exhibits from the estate claims and settlements of Alfred N. Rose and Alice Brooke Savedge: Brooke-Rose's birth, marriage, and divorce certificates, her mother's birth certificate, her parents' marriage certificate, her father's death certificate, and her sister's birth certificate.
Although Brooke-Rose destroyed most of the correspondence from her estranged sister, Doriel, the `Doriel File' does contain letters from family and friends discussing Doriel, as well as one remaining letter from Doriel to the author. Papers relating to Evelyn Brooke-Rose, Christine Brooke-Rose's mother, include a certificate of baptism, George Brooke's certificate of naturalization, and the marriage banns of Evelyn Brooke and Alfred N. Rose. Also present is a childhood notebook Evelyn and her sisters wrote, titled "The Jo's Club Paper" and influenced by Little Women.

Related Material

Other manuscripts relating to Christine Brooke-Rose held at the Ransom Center are located in the Alec Craig, John Lehmann, London Magazine, and Compton Mackenzie collections.

Separated Material

Original Acquisition (R12574): Brooke-Rose's personal copies of her books, anthologies containing her work, offprints, and periodicals containing her work were trannsferred to the Ransom Center Library and cataloged with the Center's book holdings. Some copies are signed or annotated by Brooke-Rose.
1997 Addition (G10692): Books and journals received with the manuscript material were transferred to the Ransom Center Library. Included are Between (with unique dust jacket) and Amalgamemnon (erroneously bound in covers belonging to another book); Baconian Myths by Brooke-Rose’s great-grandmother, Mary Rose, an early curator of Shakespeare's house in Stratford; and Friedman and Martin's Utterly Other Discourse.
Three VHS video cassettes were transferred to the Center’s Moving Image Collection: 1) BBC "Bookmark" program on Brook-Rose, 1987; 2) "States of the Nation--Program 4," Lorna Sage interview with Brooke-Rose at East Anglia University, 1990; and 3) a documentary on Bletchley Park with Brooke-Rose interview, 1991
2000 Addition (G11681): Paperback copies of Next and Subscript received with the manuscript material were transferred to the Ransom Center Library.

Index Terms


Aldiss, BrianWilson, 1925- .
Anson, Peter Frederick, 1889- .
Barth, John.
Bax, Rodney.
Belben, Rosalind, 1941- .
Birch, Sarah.
Brophy, Brigid, 1929- .
Bunting, Basil, 1900- .
Burgess, Anthony, 1917- .
Byatt, A. S. (Antonia Susan), 1936- .
Cohen, Ralph, 1917- .
Davie, Donald.
Dick, Kay.
Du Sautoy, Peter.
Freeman, Michael, 1938- .
Gordon, Giles, 1940- .
Gordon-Forbes, Dorothy.
Hesse, Eva.
Hoepffner, Bernard.
Howard, Jean Alington.
Josipovici, Gabriel, 1940- .
Kermode, Frank, 1919- .
Kilmartin, Terence.
Laughlin, James, 1914- .
Lerner, Laurence david, 1925- .
Lodge, David, 1935- .
Martin, Richard, 1934- .
Mitchell, Lee Clark, 1947- .
Nash, Cristopher.
Peterkiewicz, Jerzy, 1916- .
Rabaté, Jean-Michel, 1949- .
Rachewiltz, Mary de.
Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith.
Scherer, Olga.
Schmidt, Michael, 1947- .
Spark, Muriel.
Steiner, George, 1929- .
Suleiman, Susan Rubin, 1939- .
Taylor, Telford.
Temple, Ruth Zabriskie.
Trevelyan, Raleigh.
Trypanis, C. A. (Constantine Athanasius), 1909- .
Westlake, Michael.
Wilson, Angus.


Cambridge University Press.
Carcanet (Firm).


Authors and publishers.
Divorce--Religious aspects--Catholic Church.
Experimental fiction.
Science fiction--women authors.
World War, 1939-1945--Female participants.
World War, 1939-1945--Military intelligence.

Document Types

Birth certificates.
Death certificates.
Divorce records.
Digital images.
Electronic documents.
Family histories.
Floppy disks.
Galley proofs.
Legal documents.
Marriage certificates.

Container List