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Cecil Day-Lewis archive acquired by Bodleian

Oxford University's Bodleian Library receives donation of the former poet laureate's extensive archives.

The former poet laureate, Cecil Day-Lewis has had his written archives donated to the Bodleian library at Oxford University by his children, the actor Daniel Day-Lewis and food writer Tamasin Day-Lewis.

The  extensive archive includes personal letters, working drafts of poems, essays and several crime novels published under the nom de plume Nicholas Blake.

Cecil Day Lewis was an alumni of the University and contemporary of other Oxford poets including WH Auden, which Chris Fletcher - keeper of special collections at the Bodleian - feels makes this acquisition particularly pertinent, saying: "It is a wonderful archive – a great archive in its own right but it makes particular sense for us because of the local context."

The library is today holding a symposium of his life and work, including new exhibits of archival items, and panel discussions on Day-Lewis’s poetic output.

Speaking on the BBC Today programme this morning, Tamasin Day-Lewis said she welcomed the chance this will give to re-assess her father’s literary legacy:

I think perhaps it could be a good idea we have [overlooked him in the past] because people don’t necessarily come into their own when they’ve just died. They aren’t necessarily assessed correctly when they’ve died, or indeed when they’re alive. So people are re-assessed at different stages… As far as his own work is concerned, I think he will live on.

She also noted that much of her father’s aim as poet laureate was to make poetry accessible to a wider audience, and hopes that the Bodleian archive will continue to pursue this ambition.

Wanting people to read and appreciate poetry, and for it to not just be a thing they go through as children and then never read again, was something he  believed passionately in.

Kamila Kocialkowska is a freelance journalist based in London.



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SRSLY #13: Take Two

On the pop culture podcast this week, we discuss Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, the recent BBC adaptations of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie, and reminisce about teen movie Shakespeare retelling She’s the Man.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen to our new episode now:

...or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on Audioboom, Stitcher, RSS and  SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

The podcast is also on Twitter @srslypod if you’d like to @ us with your appreciation. More info and previous episodes on

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we'd love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

The Links

On Macbeth

Ryan Gilbey’s review of Macbeth.

The trailer for the film.

The details about the 2005 Macbeth from the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold series.


On Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie

Rachel Cooke’s review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Sarah Hughes on Cider with Rosie, and the BBC’s attempt to create “heritage television for the Downton Abbey age”.


On She’s the Man (and other teen movie Shakespeare retellings)

The trailer for She’s the Man.

The 27 best moments from the film.

Bim Adewunmi’s great piece remembering 10 Things I Hate About You.


Next week:

Anna is reading Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.


Your questions:

We loved talking about your recommendations and feedback this week. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.



The music featured this week, in order of appearance, is:


Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 



See you next week!

PS If you missed #12, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.