Ronald Duncan: Annotated bibliography of published books      Compiled by Dr. Alan Munton                  


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NB. Place of publication is London, unless otherwise indicated. The Archive refers to the collection of Duncan's literary papers held at Exeter University.



 -The Complete Pacifist  14pp. Ascham Press Ltd., 102-5 Shoe Lane, London, E.C.4’, n.d. [1936]

This must have been the version that RD sent to Gandhi, whom he visited in India during January and February 1937.


- The Complete Pacifist  32pp. , Boriswood, 1937. ‘First published January 1937’. 

This revised and considerably expanded version appeared in January 1937, as (in RD’s words) ‘an official publication of the Peace Pledge Movement’ [i.e., Union]. (All Men Are Islands, 128). The second edition appeared with brief ‘Introductions’ by: Canon H.R.L. Sheppard [Dick Sheppard, Dean of Canterbury 1929-31, and leader of the Peace Pledge Union]; Gerald Heard [writer] Dr Maude Royden [Anglican and advocate of women priests], Eric Gill [sculptor] , Sylvia Townsend Warner [short-story writer, poet, and novelist] , Arthur Wragg [artist] , Ruth Fry [Quaker pacifist]


1940      <Top

- The Dull Ass’s Hoof: Three Plays, 136pp. Fortune Press, 1940

Duncan’s first book appeared in 1940 from ‘rogue publisher’ R.S. Caton’s Fortune Press. ‘Not altogether unfortunately’, he wrote in AMAI, ‘the edition was mostly destroyed by a bomb a few days after publication’ (203). The collective title is from Ben Jonson (1572-1637).  Contents: The Unburied Dead  [7]-77  -- A verse play about a mining community. Dated June 1938 (77). Dedication ‘To M.K. Gandhi’. RD had visited Gandhi at Wardha in India in January and February 1937, and held long discussions with him. Ora Pro Nobis: A Miracle Play  [79]-108 -- Subtitled ‘Within the Order of the Mass’.  Dedication To Richard March [80]. Dated (completion) ‘25. xii. 39’ (108). ‘This piece was eventually performed in St Thomas’s, Regent Street’ (AMAI 203). March was an editor, financial supporter of Tambimuttu’s Poetry London, and a long-term friend of RD, indeed ‘my oldest friend’ (Obsessed, p. 140). With Tambimuttu, he co-edited T.S. Eliot: A Symposium (1949). See also How to Make Enemies: ‘My friend Richard March, who was an Intelligence Officer in the R.A.F., insisted on accompanying me’ to Berlin in 1946 (100). -- Pimp, Skunk and Profiteer  [109]-136 . Dedication ‘To Ezra Pound’ [110]. RD had visited Pound at Rapallo on his way back from India in February-March 1937. He had already corresponded with him about setting up the ‘little magazine’ Townsman. -- ‘A LAMPOON to be performed in the open, before a theatre queue, outside a cinema, along a dole queue or a bread line’ (111).  ‘This Lampoon was written in April 1939 for a group of buskers for performance at the time of the Elec tion which was then foreshadowed’ [136]. ‘It was written to be performed in the gutter, but it never was’ (All Men Are Islands 203).  The contents and dedications summarize Duncan’s experiences of the late 1930s. 


- Postcards to Pulcinella: Poems [1941],  24pp., Fortune Press, n.d. 

Duncan’s second book, and his first book of poems, was again published by the Fortune Press. It is undated, but the BL catalogue gives [1941].  ‘Many of these songs are meant to be sung, the author set notes to his words at the time of writing them’ [4]. 


- Journal of a Husbandman, 139pp., Faber, 1944

The first of RD’s books to be published by T.S. Eliot. An ironic, anecdotal, informative, and opinionated account of his attempt between June 1939 and October 1942 to turn West Mill into a farm.  Much of the book first appeared as articles in the New English Weekly. There were at least two further impressions, in February 1944 and January 1945; this no doubt reflected wartime interest in informal agriculture and ‘Dig for Victory’ self-help.


- The Rape of Lucretia: A Libretto, 56pp., Boosey and Hawkes, 1945

Paperback edition. ‘Dedicated to Erwin Stein’ [2]. ‘With a foreword by Benjamin Britten’  5-6.  ‘This “working together” of the poet and composer mentioned above seems to be one of the secrets of writing a good opera. […] The composer and poet should at all stages be working in the closest contact, from the most preliminary stages right up to the first night. It was thus in the case of “The Rape of Lucretia”’ (6). RD is not named in the Foreword. Another copy in the Archive has a page of Errata inserted. There are eight corrections, some of typographical errors (‘Tarquinius, a Truscan Prince’ [7]), and others which may be textual alterations: from ‘Tell him I have found / This flower’s name / Apt;’ to ‘Tell him I have found / Its purity / Apt;’ (46). 

- Townsman, 1938-1945. Nos. 1 – 24. Self-published. 

Journal edited by Ronald Duncan. Described separately on this website. 



- The Rape of Lucretia  [vi], 225pp., Boosey and Hawkes, 1946

The full score of Benjamin Britten’s opera, with a libretto by Duncan. First performed at Glyndebourne on 12 July, 1946. This is the work by which Duncan will be best remembered. ‘“The Rape of Lucretia” was first performed at Glyndebourne, Mr. and Mrs. John Christie’s Opera House in Sussex, between July 12th – 27th, 1946.’ [6]. The title page reads in full: The Rape of Lucretia, An Opera in two Acts, Libretto after André Obey’s play “Le Viol de Lucrèce” by Ronald Duncan. Music by Benjamin Britten. Op. 37. Vocal Score by Henry Boys, Boosey and Hawkes, Ltd., 1946. , London New York Sydney Toronto Cape Town. The work is dedicated to Erwin Stein. For details see Britten-Pears Library at  --  From ‘Notes’ on the above site: ‘Numerous changes were made to the libretto after the première (reflected in at least two different corrigenda sheets to be inserted into the first edition of the libretto)’. For one of these sheets see 1954 below. The Archive has a copy of the undated German translation, 327pp. The Britten-Pears Library, under The Rape of Lucretia (see link above) dates the translation to 1947. bLe viol de Lucrèce: pièce en quatre actes d’après le poème de Shakespeare by André Obey was published in Paris in 1931. A translation into English by Thornton Wilder was published in London and New York in 1933. 

- This Way to the Tomb,  99pp. Faber, 1946

Published in February; second impression March, third impression August 1946. Dedication: Rt. Hon. Gerard Vernon Wallop / Ninth Earl of Portsmouth. ‘The initial stimulus for writing a Masque was given me by Lord Portsmouth when he showed me the ruins of a Priory in the park at Hurstbourne in 1941, and remarked that he thought the site might be suitable for some kind of entertainment’ (‘Introduction’ to Collected Plays, vii: see 1971). RD’s conversations with Gandhi about the spiritual and the physical are also relevant (vii-viii).   Epigraph from Dante: ‘Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura che la diritta via era smarrita’ (Inferno, Canto 1, stanza 1). The Houghton Library of Harvard College Library has a copy annotated by E. Martin Browne, who directed the first performance at the Mercury Theatre in London: MS Thr 392. ‘Henzie [Browne] had suggested the title, out of a fondness for the cuffed hand with pointing index finger which used to direct one to “sights”’ […]. [Britten] supplied music for an a cappella choir behind the stage to the pieces from the Latin liturgy which Ronnie had incorporated into his poem […]. Britten enhanced [the second part] with blues and boogie-woogie music for a three-piece band’. E. Martin Browne with Henzie Browne, Two In One [joint autobiography] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp.158-9. Costume design by Stella Mary Newton for the play reproduced on p. 163.


- Home-Made Home,  183pp. Faber, 1947

With six line illustrations by Elizabeth Eastwick-Field and two black and white photographic plates  Seven legal and technical appendices, and Bibliography.  There are three illustrations in all, showing two rammed earth houses from 1921, and cob cottages in Devon from 1647. Also other smaller illustrations. Concerns the technique of building one’s own home. 

- The Eagle Has Two Heads  141pp. Vision Press, 1947

Translation and adaptation of L’Aigle à Deux Têtes by Jean Cocteau.  Contents; Adaptor’s Note by Ronald Duncan  5. Preface by Jean Cocteau  6-9

[First performance casts for London and New York]  10-11, [Text]  [13]-141. The Archive has a copy of the fourth impression of 1967 with numerous amendments and alterations by RD. These are initialled ‘RD / XII / 1968’ on p. 141.. First London production ‘by the Company of Four at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, on September 4th, 1946’ (10).. First New York production ‘at the Plymouth Theatre, on March 19th, 1947’ (11). In the London production The Queen was played by Eileen Herlie, and in New York by Tallulah Bankhead. 

- The Typewriter: A Play in three acts  102pp., Dobson, 1947 

Translates La Machine à écrire (Paris: Gallimard, 1941). Preface by Jean Cocteau, dated 15 January 1941. 

A copy in the Archive collection has the following handwritten annotation by RD:  Dedication For Kitty / Who translated this / from / her ghost / Ronnie / 48: ‘Kitty’ is Kitty Black: Dorothy ‘Kitty’ Black, 1914-2006. She is described in How to Make Enemies as ‘running the Company of Four at the Lyric, Hammersmith’ in 1945. She was actually assistant to the administrator, Murray Macdonald, at the theatrical organization H. M. Tennent, and the Company of Four was a non-profit-making branch of Tennent’s which she organized. Francophile, she arranged an invitation for RD to come to Paris to meet Lady Diana Cooper; when this fell through he visited Cocteau instead, and they discussed his play La Mort écoute à la porte, [ie, L’Aigle à deux têtes]. Cocteau said: ‘“I don’t mind what you do with my play […] so long as it still flies”’ (92). RD returned to London, and put the play aside ‘till Kitty Black caught up with me. I then found myself accepting the commission […]. She provided me with a crib’ (95). Evidently she did the same with Cocteau’s later play, of which RD says only: ‘I agreed to adapt another play of his, [La] Machine à Écrire’ (158).  Another copy in the Archive has loosely inserted the programme for a London production at The Watergate Theatre, 29 Buckingham Street, Strand, ‘On Tuesday the Fourteenth of November, 1950 for Two Weeks’. ‘Produced [i.e. directed] by Val May’ [1].


- The Rape of Lucretia: a symposium, 101pp., The Bodley Head, 1948

Contents: Foreword / by Benjamin Britten; The Libretto / by Ronald Duncan; Lucretia: 1946 / by Eric Crozier; The Libretto: The Method of Work / by Ronald Duncan; The Design of Lucretia / by John Piper; Musico-Dramatic Analysis / by Henry Boys [5]; Contributions by RD: ; The Libretto  10-54; The Libretto—The Method of Work  61-66

‘With our form thus precisely defined, we began to look for a subject. Eric Crozier suggested “The Rape of Lucretia”’  (61). The date of first performance is given as ‘June 7th 1946’ ([9]). This is incorrect. The actual date was 12 July 1946.  ‘[W]ith reproductions in full colour of the original designs by john piper’ [3]. There are eight full-colour illustrations. There are also five black-and-white photographs by Angus McBean of the first production. 

- Selected Lyrics and Satires of John Wilmot 2nd Earl of Rochester  143pp., Forge Press, 1948

Edited with Introduction by Ronald Duncan; Contents : Introduction 9-29; Note on the text 30; Lyrics: Songs and Poems [contents page only] [39 poems] 31-71; Satires [23 poems] 71-131; Notes 133-142; Bibliography 143 -- Reprinted for the Rebel Press, 1980


- Poems by Ben Jonson, 64pp., The Grey Walls Press

Full title: Poems by Ben Jonson selected and introduced by Ronald Duncan.  Introduction 7-[17]; Bibliography 18 [by RD]; Contents: Forty-seven poems, including ‘An Ode: To Himself’, from which RD took the title of his first book, The Dull Ass’s Hoof (see 1940). Two extracts from ‘Horace, Of the Art of Poetry’. Extracts from the plays: Volpone, Every Man In His Humour, The Alchemist, Sejanus, and Catiline. 

‘Jonson is not a minor Elizabethan. To my mind he is a major poet, the main link in the line from Chaucer to Dryden’ (Introduction, p.14). 

- Il Sacrificio di Lucrezia: Tragedia in Due Atti (quattro quadri) 36pp., Milano: Carisch S.A. 

Versione Ritmica Italiana Di Emidio Mucci [1]; Italian translation of the libretto of The Rape of Lucretia. 

In the Archive copy RD has written ‘This translation Not / authorised / Ronald Duncan’ [inside front cover]. On the title page he has deleted Il Sacrificio and substituted ‘L’onte di Lucrezia’ [‘the shames’]. In How to Make Enemies RD tells the story of his visit to Rome to meet a Signor Berano and see the Italian production. ‘It occurred to me that I had never authorised an Italian translation of The Rape of Lucretia’ (223). RD tells the story of the incompetent translation apparently made by Sr Berano’s nineteen-year old secretary (223-225). 


1950      <Top

- Stratton: a play  162pp., Faber, 1950

Dedication to Rose Marie [Duncan], Dated ‘R.D. / 1948’ (162). RD’s desk copy, in the Archive, shows pencil deletions and alterations, particularly towards the end of the play. 

- The Mongrel and other poems  95pp., Faber, 1950

Dedication Bianca Patricia [RD’s sister]: Contents: Twenty poems; extracts from the play The Eagle Has Two Heads (see 1947); and ‘Mea Culpa: an oratorio’, described as ‘A Libretto for Benjamin Britten’ (76). The libretto was not set.  ‘The site: choose a dry site’ was reprinted in Poems of the Mid-Century, ed John Holloway (Harrap, 1957), 37-38.


- Our Lady’s Tumbler  59pp., Faber, 1951

‘This play was commissioned by the Salisbury and District Society of Arts as part of the celebrations for the Festival of Britain. It was first performed in Salisbury Cathedral on the fifth of June mcml [1951]’ ([7]).  The source of the title is an anonymous French poem of the twelfth century, “Del Tumbeor Nostre Dame”, part of which is quoted, [8].

- Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi  253pp., Faber, 1951

Selected and introduced by Ronald Duncan [title page]. Contents; Acknowledgements  7; Introduction [by RD]  11-31; Part I [to] Part IX  [33]-248; Bibliography  249-250; Index  251-253; Part I: Anasakti Yoga […] from Gandhi’s Commentary on The Bhagavad Gita; Part II: The Gita and Satyagraha [non-violence]: A Letter from Tolstoy to Gandhi [1910]; Part III: The Practice of Satyagraha or Civil Disobedience [….] The Growth of Congress [….] Fasting as a Method of Passive Resistance; Part IV: A Reply to Tagore [and other material from Young India]; Part V: Report of the Trial of Mahatma Gandhi [1922]; A Letter to Mahatma Gandhi from Prison [unsigned but by Mahadev Desai (1892-1943), Gandhi’s supporter and principal secretary] ; Part VI: Brahmacharya: The Virtue of Chastity—Caste, and Hindu Muslim Unity—Monoculture in Education—The Untouchables—Hinduism ; Part VII: Extracts from Gandhi’s Diary kept during his residence in Delhi after India had achieved Dominion Status up to the time of his Assassination [from 10 September 1947 to 26 January 1948; Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948, and not the 28th, as RD implies on p. 30] ; Part VIII: Correspondence with Lord Linlithgow [14 August 1942 to 7 October 1943]; Part IX: Aphorisms [dated between 1920 and 1942]. -- The frontispiece is a photograph of Gandhi, for which acknowledgement is given to the High Commissioner for India (7). 

- The Blue Fox,  202pp., Museum Press, 1951

Illustrated by Michael Hansom. Jacket designed by Cecil Beaton. ‘Foreword’ by Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald [5]-7. 

Vesey describes reading the first of RD’s ‘Jan’s Journal’ columns in the London Evening Standard newspaper on 25 May 1946. ‘This is the journal of a wise and happy man’ (7).  See 1952, 1954.

- Tobacco Cultivation in England, 141pp., The Falcon Press, 1951

The main text, describing RD’s attempts at cultivation, the history of cultivation in Europe, and how to cultivate and cure tobacco, runs to p. 81. The remainder of this badly-printed book consists of Appendices lettered A-O (82-135), and a Bibliography (136-141). 


Jan at the Blue Fox  191pp., Museum Press, 1952

A second collection of the columns written for the London Evening Standard. See 1951, 1954.

- The Last Adam: A Story, 93pp., Dennis Dobson, 1952 

A science fiction story of the last man on Earth.  ‘What would you do if you awoke from an operation and found that the rest of the world’s inhabitants were dead?’ (dustjacket blurb). Reprinted in A Kettle of Fish (1971)


- The Rape of Lucretia  64pp., Faber. 1953 

Libretto.  Introduction by the Earl of Harewood 5-21. 

‘The Rape of Lucretia was first performed at the Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex on 12th July, 1946. There were two equal and alternating casts’ (22). Kathleen Ferrier and Nancy Evans sang Lucretia. The conductors were Ernest Ansermet and Reginald Goodall.  Harewood discusses the libretto at length (13-20). ‘Poets he [Duncan] says, are inclined to look upon opera “as a play set to music” [citing RD in Opera, January 1952], and to resent a prosody in which “the tonic stress need not fall on the accented words”. He urges them to “like song for itself, and not because it decorates their words”. Both he and Britten emphasise the importance of the poet and the composer working together from the very start’ (13). ‘It is the quality of immediacy which is so important to a libretto’ (14), and this he demonstrates is a quality of The Rape of Lucretia. See 1946, 1954.

- Where I Live  192pp., Museum Press, 1953

Illustrated by Michael Hansom. Stories and anecdotes of life in Devonshire, including the incident in 1943 when RD was arrested, held in Stratton jail, and tried for stealing oil from the sea.  An Appendix, a short play entitled ‘The Exmoor Courtship’, and written in Devonshire dialect by an unknown author, is reprinted from the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1746. This, and The Exmoor Scolding – too obscene to reprint – are, according to RD, ‘almost the only examples of Devon folk literature’ (60).  Dustjacket and blurb present this book as further work by the author of The Blue Fox (see 1951).  There are eight woodcuts by Michael Hansom, brother of RD’s wife Rose Marie. Reprinted in 1954 by The Country Book Club. 


- Jan’s Journal, 189pp., Museum Press, 1954

A third collection of the columns written for the London Evening Standard.  See 1951, 1952. 

- The Rape of Lucretia, 56pp., Boosey and Hawkes, 1946 [1954] (Libretto.)

A copy in the Archive has loosely inserted a stapled [8]pp. booklet entitled Corrigenda. The following note appears on p. [1]: Since the original production of the rape of lucretia, the following textual alterations have been made and have already been incorporated in the current edition of the vocal score—June 1954.  See 1946, 1953, 1980.


- The Death of Satan: a comedy, 111pp. Faber, 1955

‘Dedicated to Gamel Wolsey’ [sic; 5]. Gamel Woolsey (1895-1956) – as her name is correctly spelled – was the wife of Gerald Brenan, and author of Death’s Other Kingdom (1939), an account of the fall of Málaga to Franco’s forces in 1937. ‘This play was first produced by Stuart Latham with décor by Claud Marks, on August 5th, 1954, at the Palace Theatre, Bideford, as part of the Devon Festival of the Arts’ [4]. Also presented as part of the opening season of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, in 1956.  Reprinted in Satan, Socialites, and Solly Gold: Three New Plays from England [no editor], New York: Coward-McCann Inc., 1961, pp. [9]-110. The dedication to Gamel Woolsey is misplaced as [5].  


- The Apollo de Bellac by Jean Giraudoux / English version by Ronald Duncan 

In The Best One-Act Plays of 1956-57, selected by Hugh Miller  [9]-35, George G. Harrap, 1957

Translated and adapted by RD. Two characters – M. Rasemutte and M. Schultze – have been eliminated [9] ‘First produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, May 14, 1957’ [9] The cast included Richard Pasco, Heather Sears, John Osborne, Alan Bates, Robert Stephens, Anthony Creighton and Margaret Ashcroft. Directed by Tony Richardson. 


1960      <Top

- Judas, Anthony Blond 1960  [viii], 42pp. Illustrated by John Piper. 

‘A limited edition of 500 copies has been numbered and signed by Ronald Duncan and John Piper’ [vi]. There was also a trade edition. A poem in 13 parts. There are eight illustrations by Piper. The poem is printed on ‘rose-tinted Abbey Mills Glastonbury laid paper’, the collotype illustrations ‘on matt Grosvenor Litho’ [vi].  Reprinted in Agenda 38, 1-2, (Autumn-Winter 2000-2001), 29-61 (text only). 

From Obsessed (1977): 'I had written my long poem Judas in 1957. Eliot had refused to publish it because I had ‘turned the apostles into ordinary men’. He had urged me not to publish it at all. I had let it lie in my bottom drawer for several [i.e., 2-3] years: but E. Martin-Browne [sic; Martin Browne], who had originally produced This Way to the Tomb [see 1946], liked the poem and did some readings of it with his wife, Henzie Raeburn, in the United States. He encouraged me to publish the poem. So eventually I let Anthony Blond have it. He agreed to bring out a limited numbered edition of 500 copies on hand-made paper. He was quite confident that he could sell this number at three guineas each, especially as John Piper had agreed to illustrate the poem. We [RD and Virginia Maskell] drove down to Henley together so that I could discuss these illustrations with John'. (149)

From How to Make Enemies: 'Eliot was profoundly shocked by it. He urged me not to publish it; accused me of ‘belittling the apostles by turning them into ordinary men and furthering a unitarian Christ’. On the other hand Martin congratulated me on the poem '(356). 

- The Solitudes, 59pp., Faber, 1960 Save

Dedication To Dil Fareb [RD’s horse]. [7]  Poems, perhaps RD’s most successful collection. Contents: Solitudes 1-27; Other Poems. The latter group are: ‘The Need’, ‘The Crone’s Lament’, ‘Snapshot’, ‘Air Raid’ ‘Strope [sic] and Anti-Strope at Bakerloo’, ‘Impromptu for a Child’, ‘Amo Ergo Sum’. ‘Solitudes’ 1-27 reprinted in Agenda 38, 1-2 (Autumn-Winter 2000-2001), 7-28. 

(Note: Soledades / Solitudes are awkward usages in both Spanish and English. Lope was probably reworking a popular song: ‘A la villa voy / de la villa vengo…’: I go to town / I come from town…’.) La Dorotea was published in Madrid in 1632. The lines are well-known, and it is not likely that RD knew the entire text – unless he was introduced to it by his Hispanist friend Gerald Brenan.


- Abelard and Heloise: A Correspondence for the Stage in Two Acts, 80pp., Faber, 1961

Dedication For Virginia, Virginia Maskell played Heloise in the first production. . Dated (completion) ‘August 10th 1960’ (80).  Contents: [Note on first performance] [7] Production Note [9]; Foreword [by RD] 11-15; [Text] [17]-80

‘This play was first performed at the arts theatre club London, November 1960’ [7]. Cast: Heloise: Virginia Maskell; Abelard: Iain Cuthbertson. Director: Hugh Hunt; Settings: John Piper; Music: Thomas Eastwood. In the ‘Foreword’ RD explains that there were originally seven letters between Abelard (4) and Heloise (3), but that he has written twelve. ‘I have been content to be faithful to the essence of the correspondence and have not hesitated to invent material to support it’ (11). RD goes on to criticise the 1925 translation by R. D. Scott-Moncrieff: ‘He had an impudent assessment of his subject and no respect for Abelard’ (12).  A Turkish translation was published in 1996. Abélard ve Héloise: Mektuplar [Abelard and Heloise: Letters] (Istanbul: Mitos Boyut, 1996), 71pp. Translated and Introduced by Zeynep Avci. Reprints and translates RD’s ‘Foreword’.  For the Italian translation, see 1965. 

- Saint Spiv, 192pp., Dennis Dobson, 1961

Set among working-class characters in Stockwell, south London, and based on ‘the cockney characters which I had known as a child’ (Collected Plays xi). The closing incident, where Horace goes to spend the night in the telephone box outside the underground station, and phones the operator to ask for a wake-up call at 7.30 am, is based on an incident that occurred to RD himself: see How to Make Enemies, 173-174, where the operator refuses to make the alarm call, but RD sleeps in the phone box nevertheless. For the dramatized version, see Collected Plays, 1971. 


- The Rabbit Race (adapted from Martin Walser), [7]-99pp., John Calder, 1963 

First published in German as Eiche und Angora by Suhrkamp Verlag in 1962.  In the same volume: The Detour (Der Abstecher), trans. Richard Grunberger. 


- All Men Are Islands: An Autobiography  280pp., Rupert Hart-Davis, 1964

Autobiography 1914-1943. Describes RD’s relations with F.R. Leavis, M.K. Gandhi, Ezra Pound, Benjamin Britten and T.S. Eliot. Early life, including travel to South Africa, life in London, Prince Victor of Cooch Behar, life at Cambridge University, films made or attempted, experience as a miner, meeting Rose Marie Hansom, purchase of West Mill, early writings, founding of magazine Townsman, wartime, and farming in Devon.  

- The Catalyst: A Comedy in Two Acts, 82pp., Rebel Press, 1964

Dedication For Both Of Course [5] The first publication from RD’s own Rebel Press. T.S. Eliot disapproved of this play about a three-sided relationship, and RD was not thereafter published by Faber.  The play faced difficulties in production under the control exercised over theatre productions in London by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. These powers were ended by the Theatre Act 1968.  ‘This play was banned by the Lord Chamberlain when it was written in 1957. Consequently the English Stage Company had to present it at a Club Theatre and the play was first produced at The Arts Theatre Club London in 1958’ [6]. ‘In 1963 the Lord Chamberlain granted a licence for the play without any alteration to the text and it was then presented by Marlan Productions Limited at The Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in March 1963’ [6].  Virginia Maskell played Leone in the first production, Phyllis Calvert in the second.  Second edition 1967, reprinted 1978.

- Classical Songs for Children, 263pp., Anthony Blond, 1964

Edited by The Countess of Harewood and Ronald Duncan. Arrangements by Dr. Percy Young. Illustrations by Milein Cosman. Contents. Foreword by Marion Harwood and Ronald Duncan 

- O—B—A—F—G…: A Play in One Act for Stereophonic Sound,  19pp., Rebel Press, 1964. 

Second edition 1969. The following author’s note appears on p. [4]: This play was commissioned by Mr. Derek Bowskill, the Drama Advisor of the Department of Education of Devon County Council. He required a short play to open the new open stage built at the Barnstaple High School [for Girls]. He suggested that I wrote something experimental without scenery or characters but yet to involve an audience and to exercise their imagination.  It was later produced by Exeter University and Dartington Hall. The Author is now convinced that the Earth condensed from a cloud of gas and was not ‘Torn’ [sic] from a lip of the sun as is mentioned in this text. 


- Abelardo & Eloisa: una corrispondenza in due atti  99pp., Milano: All’insegna del pesce d’oro 1965  

Versione dall’inglese di Mary de Rachewiltz. A translation into Italian of Abelard and Heloise: a correspondence in two acts (1961). Contents:  Introduzione by Ronald Duncan 7-11.  [Text] 15-87. Nota dell’Editore signed V.S. [Vanni Scheiwiller], dated Milano, 31 maggio [May] 1965, 93-96.  A multilingual bibliography of writings on Abelard and Heloise.  The translator, Mary de Rachewiltz, was Ezra Pound’s daughter with Olga Rudge. She and RD were on good terms.


- Devon and Cornwall, 191pp. London: B.T. Batsford, 1966. ‘Batsford Britain’ series. 

With 31 black and white plates, including a photograph of Gull Rock, Welcombe, near RD’s home in north Devon. ‘During the last war, Plymouth was gutted by air raids, and I remember driving through the centre the following morning [sic] not knowing whether I was on a road or driving over the remains of a house’ (132).  Baggy Point: ‘This is the bit of country Henry Williamson has made all his own. As a writer he is sadly undervalued today, but his time will come. […] [H]is writing on nature has been equalled only [W.H.] Hudson and surpassed by no one (65). 


- The Trojan Women, 76pp., London: Hamish Hamilton; New York: Knopf 1967  

The Trojan Women / Euripides Adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre English Version by Ronald Duncan [title page]: Contents : Introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre 5-11 ; Adaptor’s Note by Ronald Duncan [13]; The Trojan Women 

‘I must stress that this version is a free adaptation and not a translation. […] I have taken as many liberties with M. Sartre as he has with Euripides’ [13]. First performed at the Edinburgh Festival on 29 August 1966 at the Assembly Hall. Directed by Frank Dunlop. The cast included Flora Robson, Cleo Laine, Jane Asher, and Esmond Knight.  See 1972 for US edition.


- How to Make Enemies, 411pp., Rupert Hart-Davis, 1968

Dedication to / George Harewood / one of the exceptions [5] The second volume of autobiography. See All Men Are Islands (1964), and Obsessed (1977).  Describes RD’s successes as a writer for theatre; relations with Pound, Eliot and Britten; Cocteau; working with Lord Beaverbrook at the London Daily Express and Evening Standard; founding of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre; concludes with first encounter with Virginia Maskell.


- The Gift, Hutchinson Educational, 1969, 

Published in Playbill Three, ed. Alan Durband, pp. 175-195. A short play for television. See Collected Plays, 1971.

- The Perfect Mistress and other stories  143pp., Rupert Hart-Davis, 1969

Contents: Consanguinity; A Picture of Loneliness; Spot the Lady; The Human Touch; The Flame of the Forest; Eye The I; An Act of Charity; The Perfect Mistress. RD’s first collection of short stories - the others are: A Kettle of Fish (1971) and The Uninvited Guest (1981).. ‘An Act of Charity’ was reprinted in Haunted Cornwall, ed. Denys Val Baker (William Kimber, 1973), 34-49. Reprinted by Heritage Publications / New English Library (Tavistock, 1980). 

- Unpopular Poems, London: Rupert Hart-Davis  53pp. 

A short selected poems. Reprints ‘Solitudes’ 1-20, with 27 other poems, including ‘The Horse’. 


1970     <Top

- Man: Part One,  92pp., Rebel Press, 1970

Contents: Introduction  7-11; Cantos 1-13; Dedication Dedicated to / HERMANN BONDI / the better mind  [5]

A reproduction of a drawing by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915), which was then owned by RD, appears on p.12. A drawing by Rose Marie Duncan of Epstein’s sculpture Adam, owned by the Earl of Harewood, appears on p.90. The words ‘the better mind’ in the dedication parody T.S. Eliot’s dedication of The Waste Land to Ezra Pound, as ‘il miglior fabbro’ (the better maker). 


- Collected Plays  368pp., Rupert Hart-Davis, 1971.

Introduction by RD vii-xiii.; Contents: This Way to the Tomb: A Masque and Anti-Masque (1946)  [1]-90; St Spiv: A Comedy  [91]-150 ; Our Lady’s Tumbler (1951)  [151]-192; The Rehearsal  [193]-259 ; The Seven Deadly Virtues: A Contemporary Immorality Play  [261]-331 ; O—B—A—F—G [….]: A Play in One Act for Stereophonic Sound (1964) [333]-346; The Gift (1969)  [347]-368.

‘The Seven Deadly Virtues’ was written in 1961, and first performed at the Criterion Theatre in London on 19 May 1968 [262]. ‘The Rehearsal’ was written for Dame Peggy Ashcroft in 1961 (xii). ‘This play was produced on television in 1970 under the title Still Life’ [194]. These works, and ‘St Spiv’, are previously unpublished. ‘St Spiv’ was produced by Kenneth Tynan at the Watergate Theatre in 1950, under the title ‘Nothing Up My Sleeve’ (x). For Saint Spiv in novel form, see 1961.  ‘The Gift’ was written by 1968. ‘This play was first produced in England in 1968’ [348]. For an earlier publication, see 1969. ‘O—B—A—F—G’ was first produced at Barnstaple High School for Girls, in Devon, ca. 1964, and not ‘by Exeter University and Dartington Hall’ [334], as stated.   For This Way to the Tomb see 1946; for Our Lady’s Tumbler, see 1951. 

- A Kettle of Fish  [x], 237pp., London and New York: W. H. Allen, 1971

A collection of eight short stories, four previously published. Contents: A Kettle of Fish; Mandala; Crackers; Diary of a Poltergeist. First published in Unlikely Ghosts: A Collection of Twelve Ghost Stories, ed. James Turner (New York: Taplinger, 1969). Other stories in this collection by Ronald Blythe and Christine Brooke-Rose. 

- White Magic / The Bitch

First published in Thy Neighbour’s Wife: Twelve Original Variations on a Theme, ed. James Turner (London: Cassell, 1964 and New York: Stein and Day, 1968). Stories on adultery, including others by Ronald Blythe, John Bratby, Edward Hyams, Doris Lessing, John Pudney and Frederic Raphael. 

- Heads or Tails

First published in A Coin Has Two Sides: A Collection of Double Stories on the Theme of Love, ed James Turner (London: Cassell, 1967). Each story tells the same events from the point of view of a man and of a woman. RD’s combines ’The Major’s Story’ and ‘Valerie’s Story’. 

- The Last Adam

First published by Dennis Dobson Limited in 1952, as a short novel. (Acknowledgements [vii].) 

- Man: Part Two,  123pp., Rebel Press, 1971

Contents; Author’s Note  [5]; Cantos  14-33; Bibliography  122-123; Drawings by Tom Roberts.  In the Author’s Note RD writes: ‘In the Introduction to Part One, I stated that Dr. F. R. Leavis despised scientists. This is untrue. I apologise for my statement and am very happy to withdraw it unreservedly’. RD had written in Part One: ‘Leavis had been my supervisor, Eliot my friend and mentor. Both despised scientists’ (10). On 11 March 1970, Leavis wrote to Duncan: ‘I never in my life “despised scientists”, and that I don’t is explicit in things I have written in recent years. I am not grateful to you for telling your readers, with “authority”, that I do’. [….] You continue to do me such damage as you can’. See F.R. Leavis: Letters to Ronald Duncan, ed. John Tasker (Northwich, UK: privately published, 2007), p. 36. (Copy available in the Archive.)

- The Writings of Gandhi  288pp., Fontana/Collins, 1971.

A selection edited and with an introduction by Ronald Duncan [title page]. Reprints the Faber edition of 1951, with additional material: Part IV has been expanded by the addition of ‘The Call of Truth’ by Rabindranath Tagore (English translation, 1921), to which Gandhi replies. Part VIII, ‘Correspondence’, has been expanded by the addition of correspondence with Mira Behn written between 1927 and 1948; with Sardar Patel, M. A. Abdullah and Pandit Nehru in 1947; earlier correspondence with Nehru in 1940 and 1945; and with Lord Ismay and Lord Mountbatten in 1947. Part IX, formerly entitled ‘Aphorisms’, is retitled ‘Aphorisms and Extracts’, and adds ‘Farewell’, taken from C. F. Andrews (ed.), Mahatma Gandhi’s Ideas (1930), in order to conclude the volume. All other additions are from works published after Gandhi’s death in 1948. The bibliography for the 1983 edition has been expanded by the addition of books published between 1951 and 1982. The Introduction describes RD’s meeting with Gandhi in 1937. In the Archive copy, at the point where RD mentions that Canon Dick Sheppard advised him to visit Gandhi in India, the following sentence is deleted in RD’s hand: ‘He [Sheppard] was at this time running the Peace Pledge Movement [Union] and urged me to ask Gandhi’s advice on several matters’ (11). 


- Gandhi: Selected Writings  288pp., New York: Harper & Row 1972.

Selected and Introduced by Ronald Duncan. US edition of The Writings of Gandhi, published by Fontana / Collins in 1971.  

- The Trojan Women: Euripides  81ppNew York: Vintage Books, 1972

Adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre. English version by Ronald Duncan. Contents

Introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre  [vii]-xv. A Note About the English Version by Ronald Duncan  [xvi]; The Trojan Women  [1]-80; A Note About the Author  [81] 'I must stress that this version is a free adaptation and not a translation. […] I have taken as many liberties with M. Sartre as he has with Euripides’.  [xvi].  See 1967 for the English edition.'


- Dante: “De Vulgari Eloquentia”, 79pp., Rebel Press, 1973

Dedication Dedicated to a Milkmaid  [6]. Contents; Introduction by Ronald Duncan  7-14; On the Vulgar Tongue  15-79. Translated into English by A.G. Ferrers Howell, L.L.M. ‘Published with the assistance of The South Western Arts Association’  [2] ‘This essay by Dante has been out of print for almost a century. I have been trying since 1938 to have it republished. […] I myself had never heard of the De Vulgari Eloquentia until I went to stay with Ezra Pound in Rapallo in 1937’ (7). Ferrers Howell’s translation was published in 1890, and is recommended by Encyclopedia Britannica Online at Reprinted in paperback, 1980.

- Man: Part Three, 56pp., Rebel Press, 1973

Cantos 34-42 . Dedication ‘Humbly dedicated to / FRANZ / who was known as “Fatty”’ [3]. . Drawings by Tom Roberts. Canto 39 appeared in The Antigonish Review 16 (Winter 1974), 57-59.

 - My Cornwall, edited by Michael Williams, Tintagel [?], Cornwall: Bossiney Books, 1973

Contribution by RD: ‘One Foot in either County’  12-21. Chapter consisting of extracts from Where I Live: see 1953. 

- The Penguin Book of Accompanied Songs, 248pp., Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1973

Edited by Marion Harewood and Ronald Duncan. Arrangements by Percy Young. Contents: The Elizabethans; Purcell and Arne; Handel and Bach; Mozart and Haydn; ‘Das Lied’; Romantic Opera; National Influences; Music of Today.  ‘We have chosen only those songs which we like ourselves, the musical quality of the song being our only criterion. We have searched for songs with a simple melodic line and we believe this selection is suitable to be sung by children [….] We have confined this selection to songs from Europe’ (9)  The compilers commissioned Poulenc, Kodály and Britten to set the same words so that children could ‘study the various ways the same words may be set by different composers’ (9). The text chosen is the ominous ‘Tell me where is fancy bred’ from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

- Interview, Wahl, William B. ‘Ronald Duncan: Verse Dramatist and Poet Interviewed’, in Poetic Drama 20 (Salzburg: University of Salzburg), 1973. 171pp. 

Interview conducted between 27 August and 5 September 1972. 



- Man: Parts Four and Five  , Rebel Press, 1974

Cantos 43-63;  Contents; Foreword by Ronald Duncan [4]

- Part Four: Cantos 43-56  [5]-85 

Cantos 44 to 56 are an ‘Anthropological Anthology’ [15]; Bibliography. . . Part IV Man  86

Part Five: Cantos 57-63  [87]-112. Cover drawing by RD.

‘In this Part of the poem, I have made some attempt to assess Man’s consciousness and see what development, if any, there has been in it’ [4]. ‘Canto fifty-three’ appeared in New Poetry I: an anthology, edited by Peter Porter and Charles Osborne (London: The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1975), 96-100. 


- Facets of Crime  143pp., St Teath, Bodmin, Cornwall: Bossiney Books, 1975.

‘introduced [sic] by Ronald Duncan’ [front cover only]. Introduction 9-13. ‘These eleven tales from the archives of West-country crime’: Frank Wintle, back cover. 


- For the Few  63pp. , Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1977

Limited to 200 numbered copies, signed by the author. There appear to be many out of series copies. Contents. Solitudes 1-26. 26 other poems, including ‘For Rose Marie’s Birthday’, ‘Lines for my Daughter on her Wedding Day’, and ‘In Delhi’ (about Gandhi’s death). 

- Mr and Mrs Mouse  16pp., Welcombe: Rebel Press 1977

Drawings by Rose Marie Duncan. Publisher’s address: Rebel Press Ltd., Welcombe, Nr. Bideford ‘This edition is limited to 200 copies signed by the author and by the illustrator’. Reprinted in The Tale of Tails: see 1981.

- Obsessed: A third volume of autobiography  166pp., Michael Joseph, 1977  

Dedication ‘For Virginia / who asked me to write it’ [5] The rear panel of the dustjacket reproduces a drawing of Virginia Maskell by Rose Marie Duncan.  The story of RD’s relationship with the actress and writer Virginia Maskell (1936-1968). The Archive has a copy annotated by Rose Marie Duncan. 


- Auschwitz  [15pp.], Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1978

Drawings by Feliks Topolski [title page]. Reprints Canto 54 of Man, first published in 1974 in Man: Parts 4 and 5. ‘The drawings were done in Belsen camp by Feliks Topolski on 28 April 1945’ [4]. There is one drawing in the text, [12]-[13], and one on the dustjacket.  Note that this poem about Auschwitz is illustrated by drawings from Belsen. Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet forces, Belsen by British. Each produced its own set of images, but the British images were more accessible to British writers. Auschwitz meanwhile acquired a special status amongst the camps. Feliks Topolski (Poland 1907 – London 1989), was an official war artist during the Second World War. 

- Selected Poems 1940-1971  104pp., Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1978

Selected and introduced by Rodney Blumer. Contents. Editor’s Note [by Blumer] 7-8., [21 poems and extracts from plays and librettos]. Notes [by the editor]. 

Unusual in its stress on librettos and plays. There are extracts from The Rape of Lucretia, This Way to the Tomb, The Eagle has Two Heads, Stratton, The Death of Satan and Abelard and Heloise. From Man Part I, Canto Nine is reprinted, and from Part II, Cantos Fifteen and Twenty-one. ‘The Solitudes’ 1-27 and ‘Air Raid’ are reprinted from The Solitudes (1961). There are seven poems from The Mongrel and other poems (1950), and four from Unpopular Poems (1969). The aim of this brief selection, in which the poems appear in chronological order, is to give some indication of his extraordinary range, from the simple to the complex, from the dramatic to the pastoral’ (Blumer, 7)

 - The Ward: Four drawings by Rose Marie Duncan With illustrative poems by Ronald Duncan  [16]pp., Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1978

‘This edition is limited to 100 copies signed by the artist and author’ . Four full-page drawings by RMD of elderly women in a hospital ward, all dated 1974; with six related poems by RD. 


- Lying Truths: A critical scrutiny of current beliefs and conventions,  242pp. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1979

Compiled by Ronald Duncan and Miranda Weston-Smith [title page]  Twenty-two essays. Contributors include Colin Wilson, Sir Peter Medawar, Arthur Koestler, Sir Hermann Bondi, and E.W.F. Tomlin.  RD, ‘Merit is always recognised’ 12-15. Describes instances of valuable work going unrecognized, including the artist  Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and the composer Stravinsky’s later works.  ‘We maintain that what we now call the climate of opinion is made up of a series of lies which are accepted without question. These beliefs are frequently called “common sense”. They exist in education, philosophy, sociology, politics, science and art’ (Introduction, 1). The essays are on these subjects, and appear to be written by authors on the political right, such as the philosopher Anthony Flew and the former Daily Telegraph journalist Colin Welch. 

- The Operas of Benjamin Britten  xxxi, 382pp. Hamish Hamilton, 1979

The Complete Librettos, Illustrated with Designs of the First Productions. Edited by David Herbert . Preface by Peter Pears. Contributions by Janet Baker, Basil Coleman, Eric Crozier, Colin Graham, Hans Keller, John Piper, Myfanwy Piper, Andrew Porter

- ‘The Rape of Lucretia: An opera in two acts’ [115]-134 

With 140 illustrations in colour and black and white. Revised libretto, with ‘Foreword by Benjamin Britten’ [117]. Illustrations: six designs by John Piper 129-132. From Eric Crozier’s essay ‘Staging First Productions I’: ‘Sometime in the winter of 1944 I had given Britten my copy of André Obey’s play Le Viol de Lucrèce as a possible subject for his first chamber-opera. He gave the play in turn to Ronald Duncan, and old friend and a poet for whose verse-play This Way to the Tomb he had undertaken to provide incidental music. John Piper was invited to design the scenery and costumes, and I was to produce’ (27). 


1980           <Top

- Henry Williamson: The Man, The Writings: A Symposium  165pp., Padstow, Cornwall: Tabb House

‘Introduction’ by RD  xiii-xvii. Dated 1978. A collection of essays celebrating the novelist Henry Williamson (1895-1977), including contributions by Ted Hughes, Brocard Sewell, Hugh Cecil, and Henry Williamson. ‘I knew Henry Williamson for forty years. But I cannot remember where we met. I think he had reviewed my Journal of a Husbandman’ [published in 1944] (xiii).

- The Rape of Lucretia: Opera in Two Acts  vi, 31pp., Boosey and Hawkes, 1980.

‘New corrected edition / 1980’  [i]. Incorporates the revisions from the ‘Corrigenda’ inserted into the 1954 edition. 


- Collected Poems  360pp. Collected and edited by Miranda Weston-Smith. Heinemann/Quixote Press, 1981. 

Poems 1928-1979, arranged by year of composition. Excludes Man. ‘I have attempted, with the help of the author, to arrange the poems in this collection in chronological order. At the beginning of each section for a particular year I have placed those poems for which an exact date is known’ (xxiii).  Reprinted in 2003 by the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation, re-designed, and with new endpaper photographs. 

- Lenin: A play  88pp. No publisher, place or date. 

Dated (completion) ‘2nd April 1981’ (88).  Self-published as a pamphlet, probably at Welcombe, Devon.  

Limitation: ‘This is a Limited Edition of 50 numbered copies signed by the author’ [1].  One-page ‘Bibliography’ inserted as a single leaf.  ‘The play is in three Acts, 14 scenes. The period 1917-1924’ [3]. In the ‘Foreword’ RD writes: ‘I am most grateful to Dr Armand Hammer, who knew Lenin when he himself worked in Russia in the cholera epidemic, for giving me much valuable information when I saw him in Los Angeles in June 1980’ [3].

- Man: The Complete Cantos  [373] pp., Welcombe: Rebel Press [1981]  

Reprints together the four volumes of Man, unchanged and without a new title page. The pagination of each of the earlier volumes is unaltered: the number of pages given here is cumulative.  See 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974. 

- The Tale of Tails and other stories  180pp.

With illustrations by Rose Marie Duncan, Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1981 

Sixteen short stories. Reprints Mr and Mrs Mouse (see 1977).. ‘The Tale of Tails is a collection of fables, or fairy stories, written for children between the ages of 10 and 100’ (back cover). 

- The Uninvited Guest and other stories, 119pp., Welcombe: Rebel Press, 1981

A collection of short stories.  Contents; The Uninvited Guest; A Case of Frigidity; The Rose Revived; The Nagpuri Orange; Our Father; The Will; The Nagpuri Orange’ RD’s third collection of short stories; see The Perfect Mistress (1969), and A Kettle of Fish (1971). 

- Working with Britten  173pp., Welcombe: The Rebel Press, 1981, 

Contents; Acknowledgements; Twelve chapters and Epilogue; Appendix I: Benjamin Britten: Biographical Details ; Appendix II: Some Reviews of ‘The Rape of Lucretia’.  The Acknowledgments lists a number of manuscripts from which, for copyright reasons, RD was unable to quote. Rose Marie Duncan’s portrait drawing of Britten is reproduced on the cover. ‘Britten was not only a genius, but my closest friend. […] We had in forty years often trodden on each other’s toes and feelings. But I loved the bloody man’ (156). 


- Critics’ Gaffes  128pp., Macdonald, 1983

Ronald Duncan with Melvin Harris. Cartoons by Gray Jolliffe. Contents; A collection of critical errors under the following headings: Authors, Poets and Playwrights, Composers, Conductors and Musicians, Painters and Sculptors, Science, Technology and Inventions. Three dismissive critical remarks about RD and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (58) are quoted. RD felt that Jacob Epstein – who sculpted him in 1946 – had been particularly hard done by, and fourteen ‘gaffes’ about his work are quoted, more than for any other artist or writer.. Completed by Melvin Harris – a BBC radio presenter – following RD’s death in 1982. 


- Marx Refuted: The Verdict of History  284pp. Bath: Ashgrove Press, 1987

Edited by Ronald Duncan and Colin Wilson. Contents . Acknowledgements, Introductory Note by Colin Wilson

- An Interview with Lenin 

Preface by Ronald Duncan. Part 1 – In Theory [ten essays]. Part 2 – In Practice [twenty-one essays]. ‘Failure in Practice’ by RD  101-104.. ‘A Study in Trade Relations: Armand Hammer Interviewed by Ronald Duncan’  105-109.  Includes contributions by Colin Wilson, Arthur Koestler, E.W.F. Tomlin, A.L. Rowse, Margaret Thatcher, et al.  ‘The purpose of this book is to re-examine the dogma of Marx. The ideas of Dialectical Materialism now plague a third of the world’ [9].


1990        <Top

- The Horse  [30pp], Souvenir Press, 1990

With drawings by Alan Langford. First separate publication of this immensely popular poem. There is a title-page drawing, and fifteen drawings, each set on a page opposite a line or phrase from the poem . ‘The immortal poem by Ronald Duncan’ (dustjacket cover). The Archive has a letter to Rose Marie Duncan from the publishers, dated 2 March 1990, asking if she would be willing to do the drawings for the book. Evidently this was not possible. Souvenir Press had discussed with RD’s agent Eric Glass, and the letter concludes: ‘I understand from Mr Glass that it would have been Mr Duncan’s dearest wish for you to be the illustrator of the poem’. 


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