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The University of Southampton
Special Collections

MS 328 Papers of Frank Templeton Prince

Frank Prince

Frank Templeton Prince (1912-2003) was born in Kimberley, South Africa, the son of a Jewish diamond expert and a Scottish Presbyterian. He was educated at the Christian Brothers’ College, Kimberley, and then came to the UK to read English at Balliol College, Oxford. From 1940-6, Prince served in the Army Intelligence Corps. In 1946 he joined the English Department at the University of Southampton, where he was Professor 1957-74. Prince subsequently taught at the University of the West Indies, in the United States and in North Yemen. He delivered the Clark Lectures at Cambridge University in 1972-3.

Prince was a poet of some renown. He is probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War. Written in 1942, it presents soldiers relaxing by a river and culminates in a power evocation of the naked Christ on the cross. Initially championed by T.S.Eliot, Prince’s poetry was to quickly fall out of fashion. He was admired by and influenced the New York school, a group of writers that flourished in the 1960s, and was regard by John Ashbery, the group’s most famous poet, as one of the most significant poets of the twentieth century.

About the collection

The Prince archive contains a small collection of personal and family papers, 1894-1984: papers for his parents and sister, together with papers relating to Prince’s schooldays, correspondence with his family and photographs. There are notebooks and drafts of poems and prose writing, 1920s-87, including for Afterword on Rupert Brooke, Drypoints of the Hasidim, Memoirs of Caravaggio, and Tshaka [or Chaka], as well as a long series of journals of dated entries, notes, poetry and other writings, 1930-1989. There are two series of correspondence, 1931-88. The first is a long sequence of letters arranged chronologically, 1931-88, which includes letters of E.M.Forester (A834/4/2/3). The alphabetical sequence of correspondence (A834/4/1) relates to John Ashbery, 1956-79; W.H.Auden, 1933, 1970; Edmund Blunden, 1932-58;Henri Boccacio, 1951-2; (Francis James) Ronald Bottrall, 1975-9; T.E.Eliot, 1941-9; Eleanor Farjeon, which also contains a postcard from Edward Thomas that she passed on to Prince, 1959; Winifred Holtby, [1933]; Raymond Lasseron, 1947-51; C.S.Lewis, 1954-7; Bruno Nocentini, Prince’s driver at Plymouth PO camp headquarters, 1946-60; Peter Quennell, 1959-67, 1978; Kathleen Raine; John Sparrow, 1967-70; Stephen Spender, 1934-75; and Charles Tomlinson, 1951-72.

Additional papers

Two additions to the collection have come from Professor Jacques Berthoud (1935-2001) and Bill Shepherd. 

A4131: Professor Berthoud’s papers, 1971-2012, contain correspondence between Berthoud and Prince, 1981-93, correspondence relating to research on Prince’s work, 1986; Berthoud’s research papers, 1975-82, including annotated typescript and proofs; papers realting to an address by Berthoud at the conferral of an honorary degree for Prince at the University of York, 1982; documents supporting Prince’s nomination to the Professorship of Poetry at the University of Oxford, c.1984; correspondence and papers concerning Prince’s death, 2003; articles by Prince and about Prince’s work, 1971-2002; ‘The Junction Road at Nightfall’ by Elizabeth Prince, Jamaica, 1985.

A4165, A4176: Papers of W.G. (Bill) Shepherd, 1986-2000, include 35 letters between Shepherd and Prince relating to poetry; articles by Shepherd relating to Prince, 1988-93; publications by Shepherd and by Prince.

Date range:


Former references:

A834, A4131, A4165, A4176


16 boxes






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