The papers and library of the distinguished poet, critic and New York University Professor Emeritus of English M.L. Rosenthal were recently donated to NYU’s Fales Library by his widow, Mrs. Victoria Rosenthal. The collection is valued at over $135,000. Fales Library is located in the NYU Elmer Holmes Bobst Library.

M.L. Rosenthal (known as “Mack” to his friends and colleagues) died in July 1996 at the age of 79. Renowned for his books of literary criticism, particularly on 20th century literature, as well as his own original poetry, he maintained long-standing friendships with many modern American and English poets, including Robert Lowell, William Carlos Williams, Robert Duncan, Ted Hughes, Thomas Kinsella, W.S. Merwin, Muriel Rukeyser, and John Montague.

Josephine Hendin, chair of the NYU Department of English, said, “This collection, acquired through the generosity of Mack Rosenthal’s widow, will serve as an invaluable resource for future generations of scholars and students of 20th century American and British literature. It is particularly appropriate that Mack’s library and papers should come here to NYU, where he spent most of his academic life and enriched the lives of many students. This bequest will continue that effort.”

Rosenthal is widely credited for his incisive examinations of contemporary British and American poetry, demonstrating a special affinity for the work of W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Williams.

The collection contains many original letters, cards, typescripts of poems, and autographed manuscripts from some of this century’s most well-respected authors; basic correspondence and files, including extensive incoming letters from minor writers, editors, publishers, scholars, academics, students, critics, friends and family; and notes, research materials, manuscripts, galleys and proofs of his own writings, ranging from early college notes to completed manuscripts for books and articles.

Rosenthal’s personal library of over 5,000 volumes includes numerous first editions, many of them inscribed by the authors. Highlights include: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, with a long presentation inscription to Rosenthal; Ted Hughes’ Wodwo (1957) and his Wolfwatching (1991), including a four-page personal letter; the first edition of Randall Jarrell’s first book, Blood for a Stranger; one of 150 copies of Sylvia Plath’s Uncollected Poems; a review copy of Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues; and copy “00” of 50 numbered copies of William Carlos Williams’ The Complete Collected Poems.

Born in Washington, D.C., M.L. Rosenthal graduated from the University of Chicago and earned his doctorate at NYU, where he taught modern poetry and critical theory from 1961 until his death. He was the founder and first director of the Poetics Institute at NYU.

He published his first book of poetry, Blue Boy on Skates: Poems, in 1964, to be followed by numerous other volumes. His books of criticism include Poetry and the Common Life, Sailing into the Unknown: Yeats, Pound, and Eliot, The Poet’s Art, Our Life in Poetry, and, in 1994, Running to Paradise: Yeats’s Poetic Art.

The NYU Fales Library holds a collection of over 160,000 volumes of British and American literature from 1700 to the present. For further information concerning the Fales Library contact Marvin Taylor, Fales Librarian, at (212) 998-2596.

Press Contact