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University of Texas at Austin

Stuart Gilbert:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Gilbert, Stuart, 1883-1969
Title Stuart Gilbert Papers
Dates: 1900-1985 (bulk 1928-1975)
Extent: 18 boxes, 1 gal1ey folder (gf), 1 oversize folder (osf)
Abstract: The papers of British author, editor, and translator Stuart Gilbert relate primarily to his years in Paris and his association with Irish author James Joyce. Diaries, notebooks, manuscript drafts, correspondence, and photographs make up the bulk of the collection. A typescript of Gilbert's James Joyce's Ulysses and a typescript of the first chapter of Joyce's Finnegans Wake are present, as is extensive correspondence from Joyce. There are also materials by Gilbert's wife and collaborator Moune.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01606
Languages English and French
Access Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchase, 1989
Processed by Bob Taylor, 1998

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Stuart Gilbert was born October 25, 1883, at Chipping Ongar, Essex, to Arthur Stronge Gilbert, a retired army officer, and his wife Melvina Kundiher Singh. After graduation from Cheltenham and Hertford College, Oxford, Gilbert joined the Indian Civil Service in 1907. Following military service in the First World War he served as a judge on the Court of Assizes in Burma, retiring in 1924.
With a lifelong interest in literature and in French culture, Gilbert moved to Paris in 1925 and remained there with his French-born wife Moune (born Marie Agnès Mathilde Douin) the remainder of his life, save for an exile in Wales during the Second World War.
Soon after his arrival in Paris Gilbert met James Joyce and advised him on the translation of Ulysses into French. From the 1920s until Joyce's death in 1941 Stuart Gilbert worked closely with the Irish novelist, and in his James Joyce's Ulysses helped explicate and popularize that landmark work. In 1957 the first volume of Joyce's letters, edited by Stuart Gilbert, was published.
In addition to his activities as a literary scholar and student of James Joyce, Gilbert Stuart had a major career as a literary translator, rendering into English the works of Saint-Exupéry, Malraux, Camus, Sartre, Simenon, Cocteau, and other contemporary French authors.
In the last decade of his long life Stuart Gilbert translated numerous texts for the art book publisher Albert Skira of Geneva. Gilbert died in his apartment at 7 rue Jean du Bellay on January 5, 1969.

Scope and Content

The Stuart Gilbert papers embrace correspondence, diaries, notebooks, clippings, photographs, and other material created between 1900 and 1985 (bulk 1928-1975) documenting Gilbert's literary career, particularly his work with James Joyce and as a literary translator. Due to the dislocation brought about by World War II little of the collection apart from one diary and Joyce's correspondence to Gilbert date from before 1941. There is virtually no material in the collection on Gilbert's personal history and non-literary activities, apart from a curriculum vitae and a few official documents. The material had little apparent original order when it arrived at the Ransom Center; the arrangement employed here is largely an imposed one. The papers have been organized into three series: Series I. Stuart Gilbert, 1900-1969 (bulk 1940-1969) (15 boxes), Series II. Moune Gilbert, 1919-1985 (bulk 1941-1975) (1 box), and Series III. James Joyce, 1921-1973 (bulk 1928-1973) (2 boxes).
The first series reflects several aspects of Stuart Gilbert's life and professional activities. The materials have been divided into eight subseries: Subseries A. Correspondence, 1940-1969, Subseries B. Diaries, 1929-1967, Subseries C. Notebooks, 1928-1952, Subseries D. Works, 1900-1957, Subseries E. Translations, 1946-1960, Subseries F. Biographical materials, 1907-1969, Subseries G. Photographs and illustrations, 1925-1960, and Subseries H. Programs, 1920-1972.
The Correspondence subseries represents material essentially professional in character. The letters to Gilbert--and a significant number of his surviving carbons--give considerable insight into his relationships with writers and publishers. Significant correspondents include Sylvia Beach, Peter Du Sautoy, T.S. Eliot, Richard Ellmann, Desmond Harmsworth, Ben Huebsch, Patricia Hutchins, André Malraux, Roger Martin du Gard, and Harriet Weaver. Gilbert's correspondence with James Joyce is found in the Joyce Series.
Diaries kept by Gilbert between 1929 and 1934 and from 1941 to 1967 are present, as are notebooks and drafts of articles and longer works. The notebooks are about equally divided between those containing fairly systematic material on Joyce and his novels, particularly Finnegans Wake, and commonplace books of the sort many writers maintain to store turns of phrase and to work out concepts.
The diary for the years 1929-1934 (published by the Ransom Center in 1993 as Reflections on James Joyce: Stuart Gilbert's Paris Journal) outlines Gilbert's evolving relationship with Joyce in those years. The diary for 1941-1945 was written during Gilbert's wartime exile, and in his reaction to the war and rural Wales represents his least guarded writing present in the papers. The diaries for the years 1948-1967 are essentially brief notations of appointments kept and friends seen.
Stuart Gilbert's Works subseries includes numerous essays and articles in manuscript, typescript, or galleys, as well as a film script of Anna Livia Plurabelle. His James Joyce's Ulysses is present in manuscript form, along with partial galleys, and related materials.
Drafts of Gilbert's translation projects are present only in fragments, apart from that of Valéry's Analects, which is essentially complete in manuscript and typescript. A small group of biographical materials, together with some photos and four boxes of musical and theatrical programs of 1920s and '30s Paris concludes the series.
Series II comprises materials relating to Moune Gilbert's life as the spouse and sometime collaborator of Stuart Gilbert and as a homemaker. Her papers are arranged in three subseries: Subseries A. Correspondence, 1939-1985, Subseries B. Notebooks, 1920-1981, and Subseries C. Home Economics Materials, 1953-1968. Moune's correspondents were generally social acquaintances, and included James and Christiane Emmons, Milton and Laura Runyon, Narcissa S. King, and Anie Parent. The notebooks contain poems and excerpts from French authors, together with abstracts of various books. An undated interview (in typescript and with notations in Moune's hand) describes her husband's relationship with James Joyce. The home economics materials are largely clippings and other materials indicative of maintaining a home in Paris in the postwar period.
The third and final series illuminates James Joyce's relationship with one of his most trusted associates during the years Finnegans Wake was being written and its author achieving international fame. The series embraces four subseries: Subseries A. Correspondence, 1921-1973, Subseries B. Works, 1929-1935, Subseries C. Biography and Criticism, 1928-1982, and Subseries D. Photographs and Artwork, 1928-1982.
The correspondence subseries includes about seventy postcards and letters Joyce sent Gilbert between 1928 and 1940. These missives were generally brief, dealing with questions Gilbert asked of Joyce, Joyce's comments on his own writing, and otherwise simply keeping in touch. Joyce's letter of 11 June 1938 includes a short poem, "Dapple Grey." Correspondence from Nora, George, and Lucia Joyce is also present.
The major item in the Works subseries is the opening chapter of Finnegans Wake in typescript, though the poem "Ecce Puer" and other pieces of short verse by Joyce are also included. The Biography and Criticism subseries is formed of numerous clippings on Joyce and his work that the Gilberts began collecting in the late 1920s and maintained the remainder of their lives.
The final subseries, Photographs and Artwork, embraces a significant number of photos of the Joyces, together with a number of pieces of Lucia Joyce's calligraphic art from the early 1930s.

Index Terms


Beach, Sylvia.
DuSautoy, Peter.
Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965.
Ellmann, Richard, 1918- .
Emmons, Christiane.
Emmons, James.
Gilbert, Moune.
Harmsworth, Desmond.
Huebsch, B. W. (Benjamin W.), 1876-1964.
Hutchins, Patricia.
Joyce, George.
Joyce, James, 1882-1941.
Joyce, Lucia, d. 1982.
Joyce, Nora Barnacle, 1884-1951.
King, Narcissa S.
Malraux, André, 1901-1976.
Martin du Gard, Roger, 1881-1958.
Parent, Anie.
Runyon, A. Milton.
Runyon, Laura.
Weaver, Harriet Shaw.


Authors, Irish--20th century--Correspondence.


Paris (France)--Intellectual life.

Document Types:

Christmas cards.
Commonplace books.
Galley proofs.
Legal documents.

Stuart Gilbert Papers--Folder List