ALAN J. CLARK COLLECTION NOW
AT READING UNIVERSITY
Alan Clark at Canellun
A uniquely comprehensive collection of the work of Laura (Riding) Jackson has been donated by Alan Clark to Reading University during 2022-23 consisting of:
Correspondence from Laura (Riding) Jackson to Alan J. Clark 1970-1989, comprising more than a thousand letters: MS 5771
A near-complete collection of books by Laura Riding / Laura (Riding) Jackson,
little magazines and anthologies in which her work was published, books by others associated with her, and books about her by others.
Scholars may approach Reading University Library via the Special Collections email address which can be found on their website, at: https://collections.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/
Alan Clark was a close friend of Laura (Riding) Jackson's, visiting her at her home in Wabasso, Florida, during the 1970s and 1980s, and assisting her with the conduct of her literary business throughout that period. She appointed him her authorised bibliographer, and one of her literary executors, her Board of Literary Management.
He has published a number of essays on her work, including, with Mark Jacobs, ‘The Question of Bias’ (1976), and has contributed detailed biographies to national and international journals. He is co-editor of First Awakenings: The Early Poems of Laura Riding (1992), Four Unposted Letters to Catherine (1993), The Word Woman and Other Related Writings (1993), and Under The Mind’s Watch (2004). His obituary of Laura (Riding) Jackson appeared in The Independent on September 5, 1991.
An abbreviated version of his full bibliography, still in progress, may be viewed on this website here; the Clark Collection at Reading contains almost all, if not all, the items listed in 'Section A: Books' — in addition to many of the items listed in Sections B, C, and D.
Alan Clark was an assistant librarian at the Royal Society, London, when he began corresponding with Laura (Riding) Jackson in the summer of 1970 after having read her Selected Poems: In Five Sets. He was also associated with Braziers Park School of Integrative Social Research, where he presented weekend courses on selected poets, including, in February 1971, Laura Riding. In April 1971, he was a participant in an international symposium entitled “The Predicament of Man,” sponsored by the Science Policy Foundation, during which he read Laura Riding’s story, “The Fable of the Dice.” In 1973 his important essay ‘The One Story: Laura (Riding) Jackson, The Telling and Before’ appeared in Stand magazine. He described The Telling as:
. . . a call, from a fellow-human of evident wisdom and skill in identifying it, to a human potentiality in its readers that should be just-recognizable by them also. Such calls may always have been rare: certainly this one feels unusual in our time. To those who find their minds and sympathies answering it, The Telling will become important, a work to be lived with and then lived by, a new companion for their valuing themselves as human.