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Literary Manuscripts and Correspondence of James Elroy Flecker


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Comprises: Flecker’s manuscripts and correspondence, including drafts and discussions of his published and unpublished poetry, novels and drama, including Bridge of Fire (1907), Journey to Samarkland (1913) and Hassan (1922); books Flecker owned and annotated including Stephen Phillip’s Ulysses (1902); and posthumous papers about Flecker, including letters between his wife Helle Flecker and notable contemporaries such as John Mavrogordato, proof copy of An Essay on Flecker by T.E. Lawrence (1937), ephemera, clippings, and reviews of Flecker’s work.


  • Creation: 1902-1951


0.77 Linear metres (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • French
  • German

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 21234/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 21234/1-5

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 21234


Literary manuscripts and correspondence of James Elroy Flecker, 1902-1951.

Biographical / Historical

(Herman) James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915) was born in Lewisham, London. He first attended Dean Close School in Cheltenham, where his father was headmaster, before attending Uppingham School for his final year of secondary education. In 1902, he won a classical scholarship to study at Trinity College, Oxford, where he spent his time writing poetry characterised by his growing interest in Parnassianism, and being a sociable conversationalist with his peers. He received a 3rd class degree, which heightened tensions with his family upon whom he was financially dependent for his whole life. He briefly worked as a schoolmaster in London and in Yorkshire, during which time his first book of verse, Bridge of Fire (1907), was published. He then studied oriental languages at Caius College, Cambridge, in 1908, to prepare for consular service.

From 1910, he was stationed in Constantinople, and then Beirut, as vice-consul, but he oscillated between his posts abroad and living in England due to bouts of illness which necessitated convalescence. He married Helle Skiadaressi (1882-1961) in 1911, having broken off his previous engagement to Eleanor Finlayson in 1910. He published Thirty-Six Poems (1910) and Forty-Two Poems (1911) during this time. Having relapsed after attempting to return to Constantinople, Flecker moved to Switzerland in 1913, where he lived his final years. Here, he continued to write and published his most notable work, The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913). He died after a long-term struggle with tuberculosis in January 1915, and many of his poems were posthumously published, such as his two acclaimed plays Hassan (1922) and Don Juan (1925).

For a full biography, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


This material was collected together prior to its arrival at the Bodleian and the order has largely been maintained.

Custodial History

Collected from several sources by Howard Moseley (bookplates indicate some items were formerly owned by H. Bradley Martin and Dennis Wheatley, among others).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Bodleian Library from Blackwell's Rare Books, 2021.

Catalogue of Literary Manuscripts and Correspondence of James Elroy Flecker
Lilia Kanu
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First Edition

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom