James Blair Leishman was born on 8 May 1902. Educated at Rydak School and St John's College, Oxford, he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in 1928, then promoted to Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in English Literature at University College, Southampton. In 1946 he was appointed Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Oxford, where he remained until his death on 14 August 1963.

His publications include The Metaphysical Poets: Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Traherne (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934); The Monarch of Wit: An Analytical and Comparative Study of the Poetry of John Donne, (London: Hutchinson, 1951); Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin: The German Text, Translated with an Introduction and Notes by J.B. Leishman (London: Hogarth Press, 1954); Poems 1906 to 1926 by Rainer Maria Rilke Translated by J.B. Leishman (London: Hogarth Press, 1957); Selected Works by Rainer Maria Rilke [Vol. 2 Poetry] Translated by J.B. Leishman (London: Hogarth Press, 1960); Themes and Variations in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, (London: Hutchinson, 1961); Duino Elegies: The German Text by Rainer Maria Rilke with an English Translation, Introduction and Commentary by J.B. Leishman and Stephen Spender (London: Hogarth Press, 1963); The Art of Marvell's Poetry (London, Hutchinson, 1968).

The Papers

Papers of James Blair Leishman, comprising correspondence mostly from Paul Obermüller (50 items) and Ernst Zinn (7 items) concerning Leishman's translations of the works of Rainer Maria Rilke (1955-1961) and personal diaries (1927, 1930, 1941). There are also 12 holiday postcards covering the years 1955-7, of which several are addressed to Robert H[ugh] Leishman in House B3 at Marlborough College from his parents [Dr H.R. Leishman of Alresford, Scotland, possibly JBL's brother; mother's name unknown]. One of the postcards (24.9.56) is addressed to Dr H.R. Leishman, at 50 Hillhead Street, Glasgow, from one of his daughters. The cards may have been sent to JBL from his nieces and nephew, who perhaps thought he would be interested in the holiday news they contain and in the Austrian and Swiss mountain scenery depicted on them.

Archival Arrangement


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