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Angus Wilson letter to Sandra Kent

Identifier: MSS 0099-F0885

Scope and Content Note

British author Angus Wilson wrote this eight-page letter to Sandra Kent in response to her letter regarding a dissertation she had written concerning his novels.

In his extensive letter Wilson agreed with some of Kent's ideas regarding his use of the "wild garden" theme in his novels. He elaborated on the characterizations in at least two of his novels, Late Call and No Laughing Matter. He spoke of specific characters, as well as the broader meanings in his novels, particularly in terms of culture and society. In the final paragraphs of the letter Wilson offered some general thoughts on life, writing, "... but what matters, perhaps, most is not an end ... but the energy, curiosity, intelligence, compassion, and powers of shaping that we put into the process of living ... ."


  • Creation: 1969 February 20


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Angus Wilson (1913-1991)

Born August 11, 1913, in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England, Angus Wilson was also a short story writer, editor, critic, biographer, and playwright. Wilson was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1980 for his contributions to literature and the arts.

While working at the British Museum during the 1940s, Wilson began writing short stories and other short pieces, most of which were portraits of postwar Britain. He has been ranked among the best short story writers of the twentieth century.

By the 1950s, Wilson became impatient with the short story form and in 1952 his first novel, Hemlock and After, was published. The characterizations in two of his novels, Late Call (1964) and No Laughing Matter (1967) are discussed in this letter.

In addition to being knighted, Angus Wilson received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1959, for The Middle Age of Mrs. Eliot; the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award in 1970, for The World of Charles Dickens; and honorary degrees from a number of universities including the University of Leicester, University of East Anglia, University of Liverpool, University of Sussex, and the Sorbonne. Angus Wilson died on May 31, 1991, in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

"Angus Wilson." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). (accessed July 2011).

Sandra Kent

Sandra Kent (Harris) was an undergraduate student at Leicester University from 1966-1969. In her final year at Leicester she wrote a dissertation related to Angus Wilson, exploring the "wild garden" theme in his work. She received this letter in response to a letter she had written to Wilson.

Derived from Sandra (Kent) Harris, e-mail message to Timothy Murray, November 12, 2010.


1 item (8 pages)


British author and playwright Sir Angus Wilson (1913-1991) wrote this eight-page letter to Leceister University undergraduate Sandra Kent in response to her letter regarding her dissertation about Wilson's novels.


Gift of Sandra Kent Harris, December 2010.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 0099 Miscellaneous Literary and Historical Manuscripts.

MSS 0291, Jay Halio papers related to Angus Wilson.

Shelving Summary

Box 61, F0885: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

OCLC Number


Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, July 2011. Further encoded by George Apodaca, October 2015.

Finding aid for Angus Wilson letter to Sandra Kent
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2011 July 20
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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