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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1664

John Haffenden papers on William Empson


Preliminary box list only for John Haffenden's working papers for his biography of William Empson.


  • 1973-2007

Language of Materials

Collection materials in Chinese, English, and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

RESTRICTED: Collection is unprocessed. Access to collection requires permission of curator.

The majority of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


4.5 linear feet (6 boxes)

Collection comprises Haffenden's working papers for his biography of Empson as well as the original typescript. Includes extensive correspondence with Empson's family, friends, and colleagues as well as research material on Empson and his circle; and audio tapes of interviews and recordings of Empson and others.

Biographical / Historical

Sir William Empson (1906-1984) was an English literary critic and poet. John Haffenden wrote a biography of Empson and edited Empson's poetry, prose, and correspondence.


Arrangement is by rough box list and materials are not fully sorted. Readers should note that when fully processed, the order of materials may change.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2010M-49. Purchased with funds from the Amy Lowell Trust; received: 2010 December.

2012M-75. Gift of John Haffenden; received 2012 October 10.

2014M-141. Gift of John Haffenden; received 2015 April 27.

Related Materials

The Houghton Library holds the papers of William Empson (see the finding aid.)

John Haffenden's works on William Empson

  • Empson, William, 1906-1984. The complete poems / edited with introduction and notes by John Haffenden. London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 2000. (link to HOLLIS)
  • Empson, William, 1906-1984. Selected letters of William Empson / edited by John Haffenden. Oxford (England): Oxford University Press, 2006. (link to HOLLIS)
  • Empson, William, 1906-1984. The strengths of Shakespeare's shrew : essays, memoirs and reviews / edited by John Haffenden. Sheffield (England): Sheffield Academic Press, 1996. (link to HOLLIS)
  • Empson, William, 1906-1984. William Empson, essays on renaissance literature / edited by John Haffenden. Cambridge (England): Cambridge University Press, 1993-1994. (link to HOLLIS)
  • Haffenden, John. William Empson. Oxford (England): Oxford University Press, 2005-2006. (link to HOLLIS)

General note

The majority of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for information.

Processing Information

Accessioned by: Melanie Wisner

Haffenden, John. John Haffenden papers on William Empson, circa 1973-2007: PRELIMINARY BOX LIST.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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