Olaf Stapledon Collection
An extensive collection consisting of manuscripts, typescripts, correspondence, miscellaneous items and books relating to the personal life and career of William Olaf Stapledon.
William Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) is one of the great figures in the history of British science fiction. The philosophical depth and imaginative breadth of his novels signified an important stage in the development of the genre, inspiring and influencing many subsequent writers.
As a lecturer for the Workers' Educational Association and The University of Liverpool, Stapledon began publishing academic essays in 1908 and took a doctorate in Philosophy in 1925. He was a relative late-comer to fiction but eventually found in this expansive form a means of exploring his complex ideas of 'community' and 'spirit'.
In 1930 he published his first novel, Last and First Men, followed by Odd John (1935), Star Maker (1937) and Sirius (1944). Although Stapledon wrote other works of fiction, these are the novels that made the greatest impact during his lifetime and which continue to receive widespread critical acclaim.
The Olaf Stapledon Archive is an extensive collection of material, deposited with The University of Liverpool in 1983. The Archive consists of corrected holograph manuscripts and typescripts of Stapledon's published works, including his most famous novels as well as some unpublished works. In addition, there are publishers' proofs, notes for lectures and teaching courses and Stapledon's diaries and appointment books spanning 50 years.
There is also a large section of correspondence relating to Stapledon's writing, political activities and teaching, as well as letters to and from friends and other important writers of the day, including H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf and J.B. Priestley.