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Holbrook, David Kenneth, 1923-2011 (novelist, poet and academic)



  • Existence: 1923 - 2011


The novelist, educationalist, poet, academic and social critic David Holbrook was born in Norwich on 9 January 1923, the son of Kenneth Redvers Holbrook, a railway clerk, and his wife Elsie Eleanor Holbrook. He was educated at the City of Norwich School and at Downing College, Cambridge, where he matriculated on 5 November 1941 and read English. From 1942 to 1945 he served as an officer in the Armoured Corps, taking part in the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 and the Rhineland campaign. After the War he returned to Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1946 and M.A. in 1951. He spent short periods working as an editor and a tutor organiser for the Workers' Educational Association before holding posts successively as tutor at Bassingbourn Village College, Cambridgeshire (1954-1961); fellow of King's College, Cambridge (1961-1965); and Director of Studies in English at Downing College (1982-1989; Emeritus Fellow of Downing from 1989). A festschrift in his honour, 'Powers of Being: David Holbrook and His Work', edited by Edwin Webb, was published by Associated University Presses in 1995. David Holbrook died on 11 August 2011.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:


David Holbrook Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9987
Scope and Contents

The collection includes manuscripts, typescripts and word-processed scripts of novels, poems, critical essays and other writings; correspondence; and files of mixed items on various subjects.

Dates: 1935-2010 (circa)
Conditions Governing Access: The collection contains personal correspondence. The provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) apply to access. Users of the collection are required to complete a Researcher Undertaking Concerning Access under the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to Archives Which Would Otherwise Be Closed. Two files are restricted on grounds of confidentiality, and a number of files are not available for research on account of the poor physical condition of the documents they contain.

Letter from David Holbrook to 'Denys' [? Denys Thompson], 10 Mar. 1966

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9750/251
Scope and Contents

Concerns Holbrook's novel 'Flesh wounds' and the experience of soldiers in battle.

Dates: 10 Mar. 1966
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

'The Madnesses of Dr Leavis'

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9633/1/6
Scope and Contents

Word-processed script.

Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Includes restricted material.

Additional filters:

Archival Object 2
Collection 1