Skip to content

Brian Robinson Elliott (1910-1991)
Papers 1954-1989

MSS 0032

Biographical Note

Brian Elliott was a graduate of the University of Adelaide (B.A. 1931) and, for 35 years, a member of the English Department of the University.  His academic career was notable for his contribution to teaching and research in Australian literature, though he also had  broad interests in literature, writing on Byron and Spanish plays on the Don Juan theme and translating, after his retirement, Lévy-Bruhl's Primitive Mythology.  He was also influential in the establishment of the Australian Humanities Research Council (subsequently Australian Academy of the Humanities), to which he was elected a foundation Fellow.  He was honoured by the award of the D.Litt. by the University in 1955 and Doctor of the University after his retirement.

The papers of Series 1- 9 and 12 were deposited by Dr. Elliott in 1989, and those constituting series 13 by Robin Eaden and F.H. Mares of the University of Adelaide English Department in 1992.  The remainder were received in 2003 after the death of Elliott's literary executors, Robin Eaden and F.H. Mares.
Typescripts of "Marcus Clarke" and "Poetry and Landscape in Australia" added to Series 15 were donated by Paul J. Feain in 2007. Copies of typescripts of "A House in Majorca" and "Farewell in Crete" were donated by Martin Harrop in 2013.

Contents Listing

Series 1
Lecture material: Australian Literary Studies. c1965-1973. 4 v. and photocopy of article 'Antipodes: a study in attitudes' from Australian Letters.

Series 2
Lecture material: American Literature. 1965 and undated. 2 v.

Series 3
Byron notebooks. Undated. 2 v.
[v. 1 general; v. 2 notes on quotations for a Byron itinerary 1815 in Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece]

Series 4
Papers re Elliott's English translation of the French text of Lucien Lévy-Bruhl's Mythologie primitive (Paris, 1935), published in 1983. 3 cm.
[Notes on anthropological and ethnographical matters, amplified from footnotes and other sources; and letters re publication of the proposed translation from R.M. Berndt and Craig Munro 1977]

Series 5
Notes for a biographical study of the South Australian novelist Guy Boothby for the Australian Dictionary of Biography (published but unsigned). c1976. 1 v.

Series 6
Notes on the origins, versions and derivations of the European Don Juan drama, with notes on the system of versification in the plays by Tirso de Molina and others. 3 v. [also a copy of Byron's Don Juan edited by Leslie Marchand with extensive annotations and inserted notes by Elliott]

Series 7
English translations of two continental Don Juan plays. Final duplicated version and typescript drafts with introduction and notes. c1969. 4 cm.
[The earliest Spanish drama El burlador de Sevilla y convitado de piedra by Fray Gabriel Tellez (Tirso de Molina) c1520, translated by Elliott as The Spanish libertine and guest of stone; and the highly conventional romantic Spanish version Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorilla (1844), translated by Elliott into blank verse; together with a partial and experimental translation into English tetrameter verse of the opening scenes of the Tirso de Molina play]

Series 8
Notes for a study of British political relations with Spain concerning the Falkland Islands. c1985. 2 cm.

Series 9
Correspondence [largely with and regarding other writers, mainly letters received]. 1938-1989. 3 cm

  • Colin Badger, 29 April 1983. 1 letter
  • Martin Boyd, 1957-1972. 16 letters.
  • Clem [C.B. Cristensen], 19 November 1962. 1 letter.
  • Paul Depasquale, 17 April 1969. 1 letter
  • George Dann, 13 August 1955. 1 letter.
  • H.M. Green, 3 July 1955. 1 letter.
  • Hal Gye, 29 April 1959. 1 letter.
  • Clive Hamer, 12 October 1954. 1 letter.
  • Ray McGregor Hastie, 29 May 1955. 1 letter.
  • Greta Hort, 22 July 1966. 1 letter.
  • R.G. (Guy) Howarth, 1972-1973. 2 letters.
  • Rex Ingamells, November 1938. 2 letters and newspaper cutting..
  • Frederick T. Macartney, May 1963. 2 letters and reply by Elliott.
  • James McAuley (Jim), 6 October 1962 and 25 September 1975. 2 letters and copy of Elliott's draft comment on publication of McAuley's Envoi.
  • Hugh McCrae, February and September 1945. 3 letters (one with sketches) and copies.
  • Judith Wright McKinney, 31 December 1966 (to Miss Lack). 1 letter, with typescript biographical note.
  • Louise Manny, 3 January 1955. 1 letter.
  • Morris Miller, 1954-58. 5 letters.
  • J.K. [Moir], April and July 1955. 3 letters.
  • Ian Mudie, 18 September 1976. 1 letter.
  • F.P. O'Grady, 7 November 1962 [Director General, Postmaster General's Department, seeking recommendations for "ten leading Australian poets" for possible series of commemorative stamps]  1 letter and Elliott's reply.
  • Nettie Palmer, 2 August 1955. 1 letter.
  • Ken Slessor, 28 February 1959. 1 letter.
  • R.J. de N. Souter, 19 August 1954. 1 letter.
  • Douglas Stewart, April and May 1976. 2 letters.
  • J.I.M. Stewart [Michael Innes], 26 February 1976. 1 letter.
  • Louis A. Triebel, May and December 1962 and undated. 3 letters.
  • Jacqueline Voignier-Marshall 22 March 1979
  • 4 letters unidentified: Dick 29 July 1986; Ed? 2 February 1989; Dal? 5 December 1965; [signature unreadable] 30 May 1958.

[These letters were received from Dr. Elliott's literary executors, P.R. Eaden and F.H. Mares, in December 1992]

Series 10
Personal correspondence 1944-1986. 4 cm.
[Letters to his wife 1944-1946 and undated; to Robin Eaden 1974 and 1977; from Doreen Rudé 1976-1986; miscellaneous 1948-1962 and 1985-1990]
See also Series 9 and 11.

Series 11
Study leave to Canada and U.S.A. 1952-1953. 6 cm.
[Report on leave, correspondence relating to arrangements for the tour, speaking engagements etc., letters written to Professor A.N. Jeffares during his absence from Adelaide, diaries of journey and travels and record of lectures]

Series 12
Documents, 1846-1897, collected by Dr Elliott for his biography of Marcus Clarke, with related correspondence (including with S. Simmons) and reviews. 1945-1954. 8 cm.
[Includes birth (1846) and death (1881) certificates and will (1878) of Marcus Clarke; death certificates of his parents William Hislop Clarke and (1863) and Amelia Elizabeth Clarke (1850); registration of the death of Max Kabat (1867) {unsuccessful search}; death certificate of Hamilton Mackinnon (1897); notes on the judicial appointments of James Langton Clarke (1858-1870); replies regarding the incorporation of The Australian Municipal Magazine Company Limited  (1865); note re registration of copyright in The happy land by Robert Percy Whitworth (1880?); report re the sale of land in the Parish of Mordialloc to Andrew Clarke (1857), and record of lessees of pastoral runs Ledcourt, Swinton and Newington in the Wimmera district of Victoria 1852-1883.]

See also Series 15: typescript of " Marcus Clarke: a study of literary life and character in colonial Australia."

Series 13
Correspondence and other papers relating to the 75th Birthday Party for Dr Elliott, 11 April 1985 and to the compilation and publication of his Festschrift, Mapped, but not known, edited by P.R. Eaden and F.H. Mares. 1984-1987. 5 cm.
[Includes correspondence relating to publication by the Wakefield Press (1986) and reviews; originals of poems contributed and copies of poems by J.J. Bray and A.D. Hope addressed to Elliott on his 75th birthday, 11 April 1985, hand printed by the Pump Press, Lyndoch]

Series 14
Biographical notes and tributes. 1969-1991. 2 cm
[Includes transcript of interview for the National Library December 1969, articles on his retirement and festschrift, obituaries, passports and  photographs.  Also drawing of Brian Elliott by Tom Gleghorn, 1985?, prepared for festschrift Mapped but not known: held in Map Cabinet]
See also Series 13

Series 15
Writings by Brian Elliott (some under the name of Brian Robinson). 1939-c1990. 41 cm

  • [Gerard Manley Hopkins: a study [M.A. thesis, University of Western Australia] 1939
  • Leontine: a novel 1943
  • The wide horizon: a play (undated)
  • Queen Queen Caroline: a play (undated)
  • And O ye dolphins: poem (undated)
  • Seven stars for the muse: a short survey of Australian poetry 1952
  • Modern Australian poetry [lectures for WEA discussion groups] c1954/1955
  • "Marcus Clarke: a study of literary life and character in colonial Australia" Typescript proof copy with annotations by 'N. Nicol Smith' 1958?
  • Spring song: a shoe-string holiday in Italy and Austria (1960s??)
  • "Poetry and Landscape in Australia." 2 v. Typescript proof copy, 196? Published as The Landscape of Australian Poetry (Melbourne: Cheshire, 1967)
  • The great south land c1973
  • Jindyworobak (typescript c1979, review and letters from publisher 1979-80)
  • The Falklands dilemma (early 1980s)
  • Traveller without luggage (undated ms of a play, in 3 notebooks)
  • A House in Majorca (undated)
    Plus variant typescript copy of "A House in Majorca" (donated by Martin Harrop, cousin of Leonard Bernard Harrop who is included in the work as 'Gregory')
  • "Farewell in Crete." An independent story which follows on from A House in Majorca (donated by Martin Harrop)
  • Other writings: 1. Short stories and plays. 2. Poetry. 3. On poetry, Australian literary studies, art and language (including Souvenir catalogue of exhibition Poetry in the Australian landscape, with introduction by Elliott, 1968, and copy of article 'Jindyworobaks and aborigines', published ALS May 1977).

Elliott's typescript thesis: "Marcus Clarke: a study of literary life and character in colonial Australia" submitted for D. Litt. at the University of Adelaide, 1955, has been catalogued separately and is held in the University Collection at 09LI E4.

Series 16
Text of radio broadcasts 1943, 1946 (including on Marcus Clarke and the Jindyworobaks], 1974 (Major Australian poets series) and 1991 (wartime broadcasting). 2 cm.

Series 17
Book reviews by Brian Elliott. 1975-1980. 8 sheets of cuttings.

Series 18
Recordings: Brian Elliott reading 'Memorial poems [to his wife] and Recessionals' written c 1987; William Hart-Smith reading his sequence of poems 'Christopher Columbus' 11 April 1978; recording of ABC programme, 'The Ern Malley story', introduced by John Thompson.  3 cassettes.

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224