Guide to the Donald Torchiana (1923-2001) Papers

Collection Title: Donald Torchiana (1923-2001) Papers
Dates: 1958-2001
Identification: 11/3/11/31
Creator: Torchiana, Donald T.
Extent: 5 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Donald Torchiana Papers fill five boxes and span the period 1958-1992. The papers are divided into six subseries: biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, research files, speeches, and publications, including additions. The bulk of the papers consists primarily of undated research notes and drafts of his more significant articles. Torchiana’s research interests were in English, Irish, and American literature with emphases on eighteenth-century English and Irish literature, the Irish Literary Renaissance, modern literature, and the writings of Joyce, Yeats, Swift, and Pope.
Note: Other Information:Two items from an addition were interfiled with the original series (Box 1, folder 1): a program from a W. B. Yeats Summer School session in 1981, and two vitae from 1971 and 1989.
Acquisition Information: The Donald Torchiana Papers were transferred to the University Archives by R. Russell Maylone of the University Library's Special Collections on May 25, 1993 and June 26, 1995 as Accessions 93-69 and 95-97, respectively. They had previously been donated to the Special Collections Department by Professor Torchiana.
Processing Information: Michael A. Napora; March 1997.
Separated Materials: Approximately three cubic inches of extraneous materials were separated from the collection and discarded. A folder of photographs used as proofs for Torchiana's 1966 book W. B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland were discarded after their reproduction in the book was confirmed.
Conditions Governing Access: Box 1 / Folder 11, Box 3 / Folder 15, and Box 4 / Folders 1-5 contain student information and are restricted.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Donald Thornhill Torchiana was born to Paul John and Martha (Fitzgerald) Torchiana on October 22, 1923 in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Torchiana joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1953, afters serving in the Air Force and earning a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. His research interests focused on 18th century English and Irish literature, the Irish Literary Renaissance, modern literature, and the writings of Joyce, Yeats, Swift and Pope. Torchiana retired in 1989 and died in 2001.

After attending Onarga Military Academy from 1937-1941, he served as a captain and B-17 pilot in the U.S. 8th Air Force during the last three years of World War II and was awarded the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve, where he served until 1960.

Torchiana attended DePauw University following his active military service. He was graduated in 1947 with a B.A. in English literature, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then studied at the University of Iowa, and was awarded an M.A. in English literature in 1949 and a Ph.D. in English language and literature in 1953. During this time, he worked as a graduate assistant and English instructor.

He came to Northwestern University in 1953 and was Instructor in English from 1953-1959; Assistant Professor of English, 1959-1963; Associate Professor of English, 1963-1968; Professor of English, 1968-1989; and Professor Emeritus of English beginning in 1989. During these years he served on many departmental and University committees, including the Comparative Literature Committee, General Faculty Committee, Para-Education Committee, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, General Studies Committee, Budget Committee, Executive Committee, and the Department of English Graduate Committee. His instructional involvement beyond Northwestern included participation in the Yeats International Summer School as either lecturer or seminar director in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1972, 1976, and 1981. He also was Fulbright Lecturer at University College, Galway, Ireland from 1960-1962, 1969-1970, and 1988-1989.

Torchiana's research interests were in English, Irish, and American literature with emphases on eighteenth-century English and Irish literature, the Irish Literary Renaissance, modern literature, and the writings of Joyce, Yeats, Swift, and Pope. In pursuit of these interests, he was active in many organizations at Northwestern—serving for example, as President of the Modern Language Club and Director of the Northwestern University W. B. Yeats Festival. His professional involvements extended beyond Northwestern as well. He was a member of the Irish Georgian Society, the American Committee for Irish Studies, the International Association for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature, the Dublin Round Table, and the Eighteenth-Century Studies Society of America. In addition to his membership in the Modern Language Association, he also served as Secretary of its Committee on Celtic Literature, 1968-1969; Chair of the Celtic Section, 1970-1971; member of the Executive Committee, Anglo-Irish Section, 1980-; and Chair of the Anglo-Irish Section, 1982-1983. Since 1970, he has also been a consultant for the Royal Irish Academy.

Torchiana's standing in the field of English language studies was recognized over the years by many grants and fellowships awarded him, including a Northwestern summer grant-in-aid to study in Ireland, 1958; a Newberry Library fellowship, 1959; an ACLS grant to study in England, 1963-1964; and a NEH/Newberry Library grant, 1980.

A prolific writer, Torchiana's publications include numerous articles and book reviews, as well as two books, W. B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland (1966) and Backgrounds for Joyce's Dubliners (1986). He also edited Some New Letters from W. B. Yeats to Lady Gregory (1963) and served as a compiler for English Literature, 1660-1800; A Bibliography of Modern Studies, v. V: 1961-1965 and v.VI: 1966-1970 (1972), edited the Eighteenth-Century Bibliography section of Philological Quarterly, and was General Editor for the Modern Irish Writers Series, Northwestern University Press.

Torchiana and Rena Margarida LaSueur married on May 17, 1952 and divorced in July 1972. They had three children: Katherine Leslie, b. 1953; David Fitzgerald, b. 1954; and William DeGroot, b. 1958.

Donald T. Torchiana died on May 9, 2001.

Scope and Content

The Donald Torchiana Papers fill two boxes and span the period 1958-1992. The papers are divided into six subseries: biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, research files, speeches, and publications. The bulk of the papers consists primarily of undated research notes and drafts of his more significant articles.

The biographical files include various curricula vitae with attached bibliographies, newspaper clippings, and a detailed background description written by Torchiana sometime around 1967. One of the more interesting details is his statement on a curriculum vitae supplement dated February 8, 1982 mentioning his hobbies/avocations as “violent athletics, collecting books and pictures, and raising hell in general.” Obituaries and memorial materials were added to the biographical file in 2002.

There are many letters to and from people in Ireland and England whom Torchiana had contacted in the course of his research soliciting information and arranging visits. Notable among them are letters from Michael Yeats and G.M. Trevelyan. There are also many letters from family members, colleagues, and publishing houses, as well as postcards and holiday greeting cards.

Torchiana's teaching files from Northwestern include exams, syllabi, lecture notes, and student papers. There are also materials from the Yeats International Summer School, including programs, correspondence, and lecture schedules.

Torchiana's research notes are extensive. Notes from his 1958 summer fellowship include a notebook, note cards, and an admission ticket to the British Museum reading room. The balance of his research notes fill thirteen folders. Included are transcriptions of sources (books, articles, and letters), bibliographic citations, lists of various sources, photostatic copies and proofs of articles with notes written in the text and margins, and lists of contacts both in the U.S and abroad.

The balance of the papers relate to Torchiana's publications, including a paper read at the 1970 conference of the International Association for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature, and drafts, notes, galleys, proofs, and correspondence related to articles published between 1958-1975. Notes and proofs from his book W. B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland are also included. There are also book reviews written by Torchiana and reviews of books written by him.

Addition, Boxes 3-5

This addition to the Donald Torchiana Papers fills three boxes and spans the years 1951 to 1993.  Papers within the addition fall into five subseries: correspondence; teaching materials; lecture notes; speeches, addresses, and papers; and publications.  A significant portion of the addition consists of Torchiana’s lecture notes.  The materials within the addition have been arranged chronologically by date in each folder.  Two items were interfiled with the original series (Box 1, folder 1): a program from a W. B. Yeats Summer School session in 1981, and two vitae from 1971 and 1989.

The addition contains extensive correspondence between Torchiana and friends and colleagues in Ireland, Britain, and the United States.  A majority of the correspondence was with friends overseas from whom he sought assistance in his research on W. B. Yeats, and Irish literature and history.  A portion of the correspondence relates to arrangements for the shipment of copies of letters Yeats wrote to American friends, which Torchiana intended to compile and edit.  Some of his correspondents from the world of literature include Aldous Huxley (letters from 1953), Yeats scholar Hazard Adams (letters from 1958), Samuel Becket (letter from 1981), and Marianne Moore (letter from 1964).  Other letters of interest include those from the Irish Ambassador (letter from 1959) and from Gladys Van Wyck Brooks (letters from 1963).  Torchiana also turned to the Yeats family for help in his research, and an extensive amount of correspondence documents his efforts.  The correspondence also includes letters to and from publishing houses regarding Torchiana’s research or articles he was writing, as well as comments from friends about various speeches and papers he presented at conferences.  The material in the addition also documents grants received by Torchiana, including the Fulbright Scholar Award and a grant from the American Philosophical Society.

The correspondence is divided into general correspondence, spanning the years 1951-1993, and individual or subject correspondence, spanning the years 1958-1991.  The general correspondence is arranged chronologically, while the individual and subject correspondence files have been arranged alphabetically by folder title, and chronologically within each folder.  Some typed transcriptions of letters Torchiana received are interfiled in the appropriate locations.   

Torchiana’s teaching files are arranged chronologically by course number, and chronologically by date within each folder.  They include student papers, exams, class lists, schedules, syllabi, and extensive lecture notes.  Torchiana lectured on a host of writers ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce to Nathanael West to Arthur Miller, covering many different aspects of literature including literary criticism, modernism, and rituals in novels from Robinson Crusoe to Pnin.  The lecture notes also reflect Torchiana’s studies of the English Aesthetic Movement of the 1890’s.

Torchiana wrote and published extensively on literary works in his field.  His articles treat themes and characters in various literary works, writers, Irish poetry, and the centennial of the birth of W. B. Yeats.  Torchiana’s publications include book reviews, a draft of a memoir, and a small number of reprinted articles.  The articles, book reviews, and reprints are arranged chronologically by publication date.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of English

Personal Name

Torchiana, Donald T.

Subjects

English literature--Study and teaching--United States

Irish literature--Study and teaching--United States


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical
    • Personal Data, 1958-2002Box 1, Folder 1
    • Clippings, 1966-1970Box 1, Folder 2
  • Correspondence
    • General Correspondence, 1959-1982Box 1, Folder 3
  • Teaching Files
    • English A12, 1960Box 1, Folder 4
    • English C37, 1966Box 1, Folder 5
    • English C40, 1966-1967Box 1, Folder 6
    • English C64, 1990Box 1, Folder 7
    • English D33, n.d.Box 1, Folder 8
    • Unspecified syllabus, 1977Box 1, Folder 9
    • Unspecified lecture notes, n.d.Box 1, Folder 10
    • Unspecified student papers, 1971-1976Box 1, Folder 11
    • Yeats International Summer School, 1961Box 1, Folder 12
  • Research Notes
    • Research notes, summer fellowship, 1958Box 1, Folder 13
    • Research notes, I, n.d.Box 1, Folder 14
    • Research notes, II, n.d.Box 1, Folder 15
    • Research notes, III, n.d.Box 1, Folder 16
    • Research notes, IV, n.d.Box 1, Folder 17
    • Research notes, V, n.d.Box 1, Folder 18
    • Research notes, VI, n.d.Box 1, Folder 19
    • Research notes, VII, n.d.Box 1, Folder 20
    • Research notes, VIII, n.d.Box 1, Folder 21
    • Research notes, IX, n.d.Box 1, Folder 22
    • Research notes, X, n.d.Box 1, Folder 23
    • Research notes, XI, n.d.Box 1, Folder 24
    • Research notes, XII, n.d.Box 2, Folder 1
    • Research notes, XIII, n.d.Box 2, Folder 2
  • Speeches/Addresses/Papers
    • Paper read at the I.A.S.A.I.L., 1970Box 2, Folder 3
  • Publications
    • Articles
      • “Robert Halsbad: The Life of Lady Mary Wortley”, 1958Box 2, Folder 4
      • “Brutus: Pope's Last Hero – Draft”, 1960Box 2, Folder 5
      • “Brutus: Pope's Last Hero – Correspondence”, 1960Box 2, Folder 6
      • “Brutus: Pope's Last Hero”, 1962Box 2, Folder 7
      • “Some New Letters from W. B. Yeats to Lady Gregory” Notes, n.d.Box 2, Folder 8
      • “Some New Letters from W. B. Yeats to Lady Gregory”, 1963Box 2, Folder 9
      • “W. B. Yeats, Jonathan Swift, and Liberty”, 1963Box 2, Folder 10
      • “Among School Children” - Notes, n.d.Box 2, Folder 11
      • “Among School Children” - Draft I, n.d.Box 2, Folder 12
      • “Among School Children” - Draft II, n.d.Box 2, Folder 13
      • “Among School Children” - Draft III, n.d.Box 2, Folder 14
      • “Among School Children” - Draft IV, n.d.Box 2, Folder 15
      • “Among School Children” - Draft V, n.d.Box 2, Folder 16
      • “Among School Children” - Galleys, n.d.Box 2, Folder 17
      • “Among School Children” - Correspondence, 1964Box 2, Folder 18
      • “Among School Children”, 1965Box 2, Folder 19
      • “A Little Cloud: The Prisoner of Love” - Drafts, n.d.Box 2, Folder 20
      • “The World of Sir Jonah Barrington's Personal Sketches”, 1966Box 2, Folder 21
      • “Joyce's 'Two Gallants': A Walk through the Ascendancy”, 1968Box 2, Folder 22
      • “The Sun Also Rises: A Reconsideration”, 1969Box 2, Folder 23
      • “Jonathan Swift, the Irish, & the Yahoos: The Case Reconsidered”, 1975Box 2, Folder 24
    • Books
      • W.B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland - Notes, n.d.Box 2, Folder 25
      • W.B. Yeats and Georgian Ireland - Proofs, 1964Box 2, Folder 26
    • Book Reviews
      • Book Review Written by Donald Torchiana – Review Article: Three Books on Yeats, 1967Box 2, Folder 27
      • Book Review Written by Donald Torchiana - Yeats, 1972Box 2, Folder 28
      • Reviews of books by Donald Torchiana, 1967-72Box 2, Folder 29
  • Addition
      Separated materials:  Approximately three inches of duplicate and extraneous materials were removed from the addition.  Two photographs were added to the University Archives Photographic Collection. Scope and Contents: This addition to the Donald Torchiana Papers fills three boxes and spans the years 1951 to 1993.  Papers within the addition fall into five subseries: correspondence; teaching materials; lecture notes; speeches, addresses, and papers; and publications.  A significant portion of the addition consists of Torchiana’s lecture notes.  The materials within the addition have been arranged chronologically by date in each folder.  Two items were interfiled with the original series (Box 1, folder 1): a program from a W. B. Yeats Summer School session in 1981, and two vitae from 1971 and 1989. The addition contains extensive correspondence between Torchiana and friends and colleagues in Ireland, Britain, and the United States.  A majority of the correspondence was with friends overseas from whom he sought assistance in his research on W. B. Yeats, and Irish literature and history.  A portion of the correspondence relates to arrangements for the shipment of copies of letters Yeats wrote to American friends, which Torchiana intended to compile and edit.  Some of his correspondents from the world of literature include Aldous Huxley (letters from 1953), Yeats scholar Hazard Adams (letters from 1958), Samuel Becket (letter from 1981), and Marianne Moore (letter from 1964).  Other letters of interest include those from the Irish Ambassador (letter from 1959) and from Gladys Van Wyck Brooks (letters from 1963).  Torchiana also turned to the Yeats family for help in his research, and an extensive amount of correspondence documents his efforts.  The correspondence also includes letters to and from publishing houses regarding Torchiana’s research or articles he was writing, as well as comments from friends about various speeches and papers he presented at conferences.  The material in the addition also documents grants received by Torchiana, including the Fulbright Scholar Award and a grant from the American Philosophical Society.The correspondence is divided into general correspondence, spanning the years 1951-1993, and individual or subject correspondence, spanning the years 1958-1991.  The general correspondence is arranged chronologically, while the individual and subject correspondence files have been arranged alphabetically by folder title, and chronologically within each folder.  Some typed transcriptions of letters Torchiana received are interfiled in the appropriate locations.    Torchiana’s teaching files are arranged chronologically by course number, and chronologically by date within each folder.  They include student papers, exams, class lists, schedules, syllabi, and extensive lecture notes.  Torchiana lectured on a host of writers ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce to Nathanael West to Arthur Miller, covering many different aspects of literature including literary criticism, modernism, and rituals in novels from Robinson Crusoe to Pnin.  The lecture notes also reflect Torchiana’s studies of the English Aesthetic Movement of the 1890’s.Torchiana wrote and published extensively on literary works in his field.  His articles treat themes and characters in various literary works, writers, Irish poetry, and the centennial of the birth of W. B. Yeats.  Torchiana’s publications include book reviews, a draft of a memoir, and a small number of reprinted articles.  The articles, book reviews, and reprints are arranged chronologically by publication date.
    • Correspondence
      • General Correspondence, 1951-1963Box 3, Folder 1
      • General Correspondence, 1963-1970Box 3, Folder 2
      • General Correspondence, 1971-1980Box 3, Folder 3
      • General Correspondence, 1980-1993Box 3, Folder 4
      • General Correspondence, n.d.Box 3, Folder 5
      • Correspondence: S. Dunnin-Markiewicz, 1958-1961Box 3, Folder 6
      • Correspondence: Gabriella Gore-Booth, 1958-1962Box 3, Folder 7
      • Correspondence: Grant Applications, 1988-1991Box 3, Folder 8
      • Correspondence: Tom Kinsella, 1964-1965Box 3, Folder 9
      • Correspondence: D. A. MacManas, 1960-1973Box 3, Folder 10
      • Correspondence: W. D. Snodgrass, 1960-1965Box 3, Folder 11
      • Correspondence: Yeats Family, 1958-1982Box 3, Folder 12
    • Teaching Files
      • Course Materials B1-D71, 1954-1993Box 3, Folder 13
      • Class Lists B07-C65, 1988-1994Box 3, Folder 14
      • Student Papers and Schedule B07, 1989Box 3, Folder 15
      • Student Papers C6-E90, 1936-1993Box 4, Folder 1
      • Student Papers, 1948-1949Box 4, Folder 2
      • Final Exams C37-C90, 1992-1993Box 4, Folder 3
      • Exams C61, 1993Box 4, Folder 4
      • Exams C65, 1993Box 4, Folder 5
      • Lecture Notes C13, n.d.Box 4, Folder 6
      • Lecture Notes C60, n.d.Box 4, Folder 7
      • Lecture Notes: Canto E18, n.d.Box 4, Folder 8
      • Lecture Notes: Jane Austen, n.d.Box 4, Folder 9
      • Lecture Notes: Henry Bergson, n.d.Box 4, Folder 10
      • Lecture Notes: Robinson Crusoe, n.d.Box 4, Folder 11
      • Lecture Notes: Dickens, n.d.Box 4, Folder 12
      • Lecture Notes: F. Scott Fitzgerald, n.d.Box 4, Folder 13
      • Lecture Notes: David Garrick, n.d.Box 4, Folder 14
      • Lecture Notes: Gibbon, n.d.Box 4, Folder 15
      • Lecture Notes: Goldsmith, n.d.Box 4, Folder 16
      • Lecture Notes: Graham Greene, n.d.Box 4, Folder 17
      • Lecture Notes: Thomas Hardy, n.d.Box 4, Folder 18
      • Lecture Notes: Henry James, n.d.Box 4, Folder 19
      • Lecture Notes: Johnson, n.d.Box 4, Folder 20
      • Lecture Notes: James Joyce, n.d.Box 4, Folder 21
      • Lecture Notes: Literary Criticism, n.d.Box 4, Folder 22
      • Lecture Notes: Arthur Miller, n.d.Box 4, Folder 23
      • Lecture Notes: Modernism, n.d.Box 4, Folder 24
      • Lecture Notes: Pnin, n.d.Box 4, Folder 25
      • Lecture Notes: Rituals, n.d.Box 4, Folder 26
      • Lecture Notes: Nathanael West, n.d.Box 4, Folder 27
      • Lecture Notes: Unspecified, n.d.Box 5, Folder 1
      • Lecture Notes: The Aesthetic Movement, n.d.Box 5, Folder 2
      • Lecture Notes: Chrome Yellow, n.d.Box 5, Folder 3
      • Lecture Notes: Cowper, n.d.Box 5, Folder 4
      • Lecture Notes: Forster, n.d.Box 5, Folder 5
      • Lecture Notes: Thomas Gray, n.d.Box 5, Folder 6
    • Speeches/Addresses/Papers
      • “Imagery in Paradise Lost and the Great Chain of Being”, n.d.Box 5, Folder 7
      • Notes on Shaw, n.d.Box 5, Folder 8
    • Publications
      • Articles
        • “Victorian and Modern Fiction: The Question of Vision”, 1958Box 5, Folder 9
        • “Contemporary Irish Poetry”, 1964Box 5, Folder 10
        • “A W. B. Yeats Festival in Ireland: Some American Afterthoughts in Dublin”, 1965Box 5, Folder 11
        • “'After The Race': Our Friends, the French; the Races of Castlebar; and Dun Laoghaire”, 1971Box 5, Folder 12
        • “TheDay of the Locust and the Painter's Eye”, 1973Box 5, Folder 13
        • “'An Encounter': Joyce's History of Irish Failure in Roman, Saxon and Scandinavian Dublin”, n.d.Box 5, Folder 14
        • “T. L. Peacock's Influence on The Country House Novel: Two Examples” (draft), n.d.Box 5, Folder 15
        • “TheVicar of Wakefield as Miniature Christian Epic: Dr. Johnson contra Ireland”, n.d.Box 5, Folder 16
        • “[Glenway] Wescott's Life”, n.d.Box 5, Folder 17
      • Proposals and Drafts
        • Proposal: W. B. Yeats and the Western Philosophic Tradition, n.d.Box 5, Folder 18
        • Draft of Novel (?) or Memoir, n.d.Box 5, Folder 19
      • Book Reviews
        • “Lady Mary's Latest Gallant” (review of Halsband, The Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu), 1958Box 5, Folder 20
        • “The Way Down” (Review of Senior, The Way Down and Out: The Occult in Symbolist Literature)–incomplete, 1960Box 5, Folder 21
        • “Heart's Needle” (review of W.D. Snodgrass, Heart's Needle), 1962Box 5, Folder 22
      • Reprints
        • Articles: Reprints and Photocopies, 1956-1985Box 5, Folder 23
        • Book Reviews: Reprints and Photocopies, 1976-1980Box 5, Folder 24