August Closs bronze
Bronze bust of August Closs (in the Archive)

August Closs (1898-1990) was born in Upper Austria in 1898, and received his education in Berlin, Vienna, Graz, and University College London (UCL), where he studied under the medievalist and palaeographer Robert Priebsch. Under Priebsch's tuition, Closs developed his skills in palaeography and a love of medieval literature. In 1929 Closs became a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, and in 1930 he returned to UCL as a lecturer in the Department of German. In 1932 he was appointed Reader in German at Bristol University as successor to James Boyd. He held the post of Professor and Head of Department until his retirement in 1964.

His particular research interest was in poetry, especially the German love lyrik, where his studies included Gottfried's Tristan and Isolt and the poetry of Goethe and Hölderlin. His first important piece of research was on the theme of Dame World 'Weltlohn', published in 1934. Closs played a leading role in the post-World War II twinning of Bristol and Hannover.

In 1931 Closs married Hannah Priebsch, only child of his former mentor, Robert Priebsch; the linguist Elizabeth Closs Traugott is their daughter.

Closs continued to research and publish right up to his death in 1990. Like his father-in-law he was a great collector. He and Hannah inherited Robert Priebsch's library of rare and first editions, and added to it. Closs also collected manuscripts and autograph letters, housed with the Germanic Studies Collection as 'The Priebsch-Closs Collection'.

The Papers

Correspondence with Hannah and Elizabeth Closs (later Traugott).

Diaries (1915-1928).

General Correspondence: correspondents include Stefan Andres (1960-1972); Anthony Blunt (1976); Albert Einstein (1930) T.S. Eliot (1953); E.M. Forster (1955); Sigmund Freud (1930); John Galsworthy (1928-1932); Bernt von Heiseler (1953-1965); Arno and Anita Holz (1922-1932); F.R. Leavis (1948-1953); Thomas Mann (1929); Christoph Meckl (1962); J.R.R. Tolkien (1955).

Correspondence with UK/US based academics: correspondents include F.W. Bateson (1956); Jethro Bithell (1951-1957); Lord David Cecil (1955); W.E. Collinson (1944-1968); David Duckworth (1972-1989); H.G. Fiedler (1936-1944); Stanley Goodman (1941-1942); G.P. Gooch (1946-1963); Brian Keith-Smith (1966-1982); Sir John Kingman (1985-1988); Victor Lange (1951-1973); Eudo C. Mason (1951-1963); Estelle Morgan (1953-1987); Irene Morris (1955-1957); Roy Pascal (1948-1978); Ronald Peacock (1945-1959); F.P. Pickering (1937-1958); Siegbert and Helga Prawer (1952-1987); Edna Purdie (1953-1964); Hans S. Reiss (1964-1989); Hermann Salinger (1963-1966); Paul and Vivian Salmon; David Scrase (1964-1989); Ernst Stahl (1963-1969); Elisabeth and F.J. Stopp (1946-1973); John Joseph Stoudt (1945-1963); H.M. Waidson (1960-1978); L.A. Willoughby (1952-1977); Roy A.Wisbey (1980-1988); W.E. Yuill (1967-1978); E.H. Zeydel (1942-1961).

Correspondence with German/Austrian/Swiss based academics: correspondents include Ernst Alker (1952-1972); Felix Braun (1942-1948); Hans Egon Holthusen (1950-1961); Heinz Kindermann (1949-1974); Frans Koch (1946-1957); Manfred Lurker (1968-1972); Horst Oppel (1946-1985); Arthur Pfeiffer (1953-1957); Hans Pyritz (1933-1956); Kurt Schäfer (1982-1986).

Correspondence with other European based academics: correspondents include Jan Aler (1946-1959) and Erik Lunding (1953-1969).

Correspondence with individual academics, Hans Bähr, Roger Loomis, Eirwen and Idris Parry, Friedrich Heinz and the Humboldt Gesellschaft.

War diaries of Max Closs.

Correspondence with L.P. Hartley (1955-1972), and letters between Closs and publishers on the publication of the correspondence.

Corrspondence, photos and papers on Theodor Däubler (1930-1947 and undated).

Correspondence and articles relating to Herman Pongs (1946-1978).

Notes, articles and reviews by Closs on German literature (1915-1990).

Papers relating to Bristol University, including correspondence and papers on award of Honorary DLitt (1987).

Correspondence and papers on the town-twinning link between Hanover and Bristol (1947-1987) particularly 40th anniversary celebrations (1987).

Correspondence with publishers on royalty payments (1949-1983).

Archival Arrangement

This material is awaiting sorting and cataloguing. A box-list is available.

Search the Catalogue