MICHAEL FIELD AND FIN-DE-SIECLE CULTURE & SOCIETY
The Journals, 1868-1914, and Correspondence of Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper from the British Library, London
Detailed Listing and Brief Notes on Each Volume Reproduced
The Journal of Michael Field: Works and Days
Add.MS.46776: vol. 1 (Oct. 1868 - Jan. 1869)
Diary of Katharine Bradley covering her time in Paris and the death of Alfred Gérente, a Frenchman to whom she had become passionately attached (parts are written in French and it contains 14 poems, many of which concern Alfred).
Add.MS.46777: vol. 2 (April 1888 – Dec. 1889)
The move to Blackboro' Lodge, Reigate, Surrey, corresponds with the start of the journal – Works and Days – kept by Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper. This period includes the illness and death of Edith’s mother, the death of Robert Browning, and the publication of the first volume of poetry by Michael Field: Long Ago.
Add.MS.46778: vol. 3 (Jan. 1890 - July 1891)
This volume contains much description of places visited, and the art they have seen. This includes travel diaries of trips around Italy and France. The period also covers the publication of the verse-drama based on Mary Queen of Scots: The Tragic Mary.
Add.MS.46779: vol. 4 (July 1891 - Dec. 1891)
The family move to Durdans (still in Reigate). Cooper becomes very ill on a trip
to Dresden (it is during this illness that she acquires the nickname ‘Henry’).
Add.MS.46780: vol. 5 (1892)
This volume sees the publication of the verse collection, Sight and Song (in which every poem is based on a painting they have seen), and the verse-drama Stephania, A Trialogue.
Add.MS.46781: vol. 6 (1893)
In this year, Bradley and Cooper publish Underneath The Bough, a collection of verse, but almost immediately afterwards issue a revised copy of the volume. This year also sees the publication and production of the only one of their dramas to be staged: A Question of Memory.
Add.MS.46782: vol. 7 (1894)
This volume contains much material relating to the women's friendship with Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, and Cooper's infatuation with Bernard Berenson.
Add.MS.46783: vol. 8 (Jan. 1895 – Oct. 1895)
Cooper's traumatic break with Berenson leaves her physically ill.
Add.MS.46784: vol. 9 (Oct. 1895 – Dec. 1895)
This volume covers the publication of two plays: Equal Love and Attilla, My Attilla!
Add.MS.46785: vol. 10 (1896)
The women visit Bayreuth and record their travels. They also work on the dramas: Noontide Branches, Anthony Derivian, and Anna Ruina.
Add.MS.46786: vol. 11 (1897)
The verse-drama Fair Rosamund is published by Charles Ricketts. The death of James Robert Cooper (Edith’s father) in Zermatt inspires the drama, The Viewless Fields.
Add.MS.46787: vol. 12 (1898)
Their new beloved pet dog, Whym Chow, arrives. Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon move to Richmond. Bradley and Cooper publish Underneath the Bough (a book of verse containing fine love lyrics) and The World at Auction (a drama).
Add.MS.46788: vol. 13 (1899)
The family move to Paragon, Petersham Road, Richmond. Amy Cooper (Edith’s younger sister) marries John Ryan and moves away: Bradley and Cooper now live on their own. This year sees the publication of the dramas, Anna Ruina and Noontide Branches.
Add.MS.46789: vol. 14 (1900)
Cooper becomes very ill with rheumatic fever. Bradley works on the drama, A Fair Miracle.
Add.MS.46790: vol. 15 (1901)
Bradley works on new dramas, Silence and Music and Sin-Offering. Charles Ricketts paints a locket portrait of Cooper. The Race of Leaves (a verse-drama) is published.
Add.MS.46791: vol. 16 (1902)
Ricketts and Shannon move away from Richmond to 'the Palace' in Lansdowne House, Holland Park. Bradley and Cooper meet Yeats, and are working on the drama, Borgia.
Add.MS.46792: vol. 17 (1903)
The drama Julia Domina is published. The women approach Thomas Sturge Moore to see if he will act as their literary executor and publish their diary, Works and Days, after their death. They are working on several verse-dramas: The Temple, Dierdre, A Messiah, Rebellion.
Add.MS.46793: vol. 18 (1904)
This volume sees the relationship between Bradley and Ricketts at its most intense: he designs and crafts jewellery for the women and Bradley writes poems about him. The two women work on the dramas Queen Marianne and Dian: A Phantasy.
Add.MS.46794: vol. 19 (1905)
The drama Borgia is published anonymously and gets a better reception than recent volumes published by 'Michael Field'. Amy and John Ryan move to Dublin.
Add.MS.46795: vol. 20 (1906)
The pet dog, Whym Chow, dies and inspires the commemorative volume of poetry, Whym Chow: Flame of Love. This loss leads to much soul-searching and anguish. The women travel in Ireland and Scotland, and meet the priest John Gray for the first time.
Add.MS.46796: vol. 21 (Jan. 1907 - Sept. 1907)
Their soul-searching leads now to their conversion to Roman Catholicism. They make a new circle of religious acquaintances including John Gray, Vincent McNabb, and Emily Fortey. They travel again in Scotland and Ireland.
Add.MS.46797: vol. 22 (Sept. 1907 – Dec. 1907)
A short volume. The women receive the proofs for the book of poetry Wild Honey. They write a great deal about religion, and their correspondence with John Gray about religious doctrine plays an important role.
Add.MS.46798: vol. 23 (1908)
Wild Honey from Various Thyme is published. Bradley and Cooper enter more deeply into Catholic life and doctrine, and their religious mentors - the 'chers pères' - are ever more important to them. The drama Queen Marianne is published anonymously.
Add.MS.46799: vol. 24 (1909)
Their lives are increasingly structured by religion. They enter the Stratford Prize Play Competition, but with no luck.
Add.MS.46800: vol. 25 (1910)
Amy dies of pneumonia in Dublin. Cooper is getting more and more ill during this year; she works on the play Iphigenia in Arsacia.
Add.MS.46801: vol. 26 (1911)
Cooper's bowel cancer is diagnosed; she is in great pain for much of the year. Five dramas are published: The Tragedy of Pardon, Dian: A Phantasy, The Accuser, Tristan De Léonois, A Messiah (the last three are published anonymously).
Add.MS.46802: vol. 27 (1912)
Poems of Adoration, a religious volume, is published. Cooper's health worsens steadily and she suffers heart attacks.
Add.MS.46803: vol. 28 (1913)
Mystic Trees, another volume of religious poetry, is published. The play The Assumption, is finished. Bradley discovers she has breast cancer, but never tells Cooper. Cooper dies on December 13th and two days later Bradley suffers a haemorrhage.
Add.MS.46804A: vol. 29 (1914)
Whym Chow: Flame of Love and a collection of early poems entitled Dedicated are published. Bradley has an operation but nonetheless dies on September 26th at Hawkesyard priory.
Add.MS.46804B: vol. 30 (1868-1913)
Miscellanea, loose material collected from vols. 1-28 into two separate folders: part I, from vols. 1-12 (1868-98); part II, from vols. 13-28 (1899-1913).
This material includes photographs, poems, draft fragments and letters from correspondents such as: Francis Brooks, Charles Ricketts, John Gray, Vincent McNabb, Mary Costelloe/Berenson, William Rothenstein, Bernard Berenson.
Add.Mss.45851: vol. 1
Letters to Michael Field from a wide variety of correspondents including: André Raffalovich; several ecclesiastical figures (usually thanking the women for sending books of their poetry); Gordon Bottomly; and Lord Alfred Douglas.
Add.Mss.45852: vol. 2
A collection of letters relating to the production of Michael Field's drama A Question of Memory by the Independent Theatre Society (27 October 1893). The letters discuss the staging of the play, the actors and every other aspect of the production (the majority are from Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, the Secretary of the Society). The collection also includes a publicity bill and review cuttings.
Add.Mss.45853: vol. 3
Correspondence with John Miller Gray (I)
Gray was the curator of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, an art critic, and a literary reviewer. 1-109 are letters to Michael Field (August 1886-February 1894). 110-273 are letters from Michael Field (1886-89) – mostly in Katharine’s hand.
Add.Mss.45854: vol. 4
Correspondence with John Miller Gray (II)
1-204 are letters from Michael Field to Gray (1890-94). 205-235 are letters to Michael Field, headed by an obituary for Gray and relating to his illness and death.
Add.Mss.45855: vol. 5
- 1-77 are letters to Michael Field from Pakenham Beatty (and some from his wife, Ida Beatty), an Irish poet/playwright, from May 1886 to November 1893 (mostly concerning his help with the staging of A Question of Memory).
- 78-236 are letters to Michael Field from Bernard Berenson (including a few from Mary Berenson), from November 1890 to 1910.
Add.Mss.45856: vol. 6
- 1-123 are letters to Michael Field from Sarianna (Sarah Anna) Browning (sister of Robert Browning), from 28 April 1887 to 27 December 1898 (with two final letters from her nephew relating to her illness and death).
- 124-230 are letters from Thomas Sturge Moore (poet, playwright, wood-engraver, and Michael Field’s literary executor) between 5 June 1901 to 10 April 1911.
- 231-267 are letters from Edward Whymper (explorer, mountaineer, and artist, who helped the women when Edith Cooper’s father died in the alps) between 7 July 1897 and 28 May 1903 (mostly concerned with the tragic accident which killed Edith’s father).
Add.Ms 46866: vol. 7
The correspondence with Robert Browning.
- 1-208 are letters to, and from, Browning between 7 July 1883 and 22 August 1889 (including letters in which Bradley and Cooper discuss their dual authorship).
- 209-260 are a collection of letters which describe in detail the visits to Robert Browning at 19 Warwick Crescent and later at 29 De Vere Gardens.
Add.Ms 46867: vol. 8
These are all letters to Michael Field, mainly from literary figures or relating to literary matters. They are arranged alphabetically and include correspondence from Matthew Arnold, Havelock Ellis, Richard Garnett, W. M. Rossetti, Ruskin, J. A. Symonds, Arthur Symons.
Note: I am indebted to the detailed research undertaken by Ivor C. Treby which has provided an invaluable framework for my research on the Michael Field manuscripts, and I direct readers to his Michael Field Catalogue: A Book of Lists (London: De Blackland Press, 1998).