Tynan, Kenneth, 1927-1980

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Epithet: theatre critic and impresario

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000561.0x00000d

Director and theater personality. Kenneth Tynan, born in Birmingham, England, stuttered as a child but was highly precocious, and was already keeping a diary by the age of six. A brilliant pupil at Kind Edward's School in Birmingham, Tynan won a scholarship to Oxford at the end of WWII, where he became an intellectual and social leader among the undergraduates. Noted for his flamboyant dress and extravagant style, he wrote and edited Oxford college magazines, and was tutored by C. S. Lewis, for whom he retained a life-long admiration. Tynan's active career as a theater critic began in 1952, when he was hired by the London Evening Standard. Two years later he left for The Observer and quickly rose to prominence, championing the new realism in the theater of "The Angry Young Men" and playwrights such as Samuel Beckett. In the late Fifties he became known in the United States through a series of reviews in The New Yorker. In 1963 he was appointed Literary Manager of the British Royal National Theatre, where he established a global reputation. Controversy marked Tynan's later career, and his battles against censorship led to such works as the erotic revue Oh! Calcutta!, which became one of the most successful theatre hits of all time. He remained at the National Theatre until 1973. From the mid-1970s on, he worked on a series of projects exploring sexual themes, including sadomasochism. Tynan died in Santa Monica, California in 1980 at the age of 53. The publication of his diaries in 2001 led to renewed controversy due to their frank discussion of sexuality and his personal life. The editor of the diaries noted in his introduction that passages were omitted that the publishers thought might lead to charges of slander.

From the description of Papers, 1939-2001 (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 727064707

Director and theater critic Kenneth Tynan, born in Birmingham, England, stuttered as a child but was highly precocious, and was already keeping a diary by the age of six. A brilliant pupil at Kind Edward's School in Birmingham, Tynan won a scholarship to Oxford at the end of WWII, where he became an intellectual and social leader among the undergraduates. Noted for his flamboyant dress and extravagant style, he wrote and edited Oxford college magazines, and was tutored by C. S. Lewis, for whom he retained a life-long admiration.

Tynan's active career as a theater critic began in 1952, when he was hired by the London Evening Standard . Two years later he left for The Observer and quickly rose to prominence, championing the new realism in the theater of "The Angry Young Men" and playwrights such as Samuel Beckett. In the late Fifties he became known in the United States through a series of reviews in The New Yorker . In 1963 he was appointed Literary Manager of the British Royal National Theatre, where he established a global reputation. Controversy marked Tynan's later career, and his battles against censorship led to such works as the erotic revue Oh! Calcutta!, which became one of the most successful theatre hits of all time. He remained at the National Theatre until 1973. From the mid-1970s on, he worked on a series of projects exploring sexual themes, including sadomasochism. Tynan died in Santa Monica, California in 1980 at the age of 53. The publication of his diaries in 2001 led to renewed controversy due to their frank discussion of sexuality and his personal life. The editor of the diaries noted in his introduction that passages were omitted that the publishers thought might lead to charges of slander.

From the guide to the Tynan, Kenneth mss., 1939-2001, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington))

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Humboldt, Charles, 1910-1964. Charles Humboldt papers, 1935-1963 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Correspondence of Irving Wardle with correspondents with surnames P-W, letters to him unless otherwise stated:Harold Pinter, 1858-1991 Margaret Francesca (Peggy) Ramsay, with letters from Wardle, 1974-1977 Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan, with a letter..., 1955-1993 British Library
referencedIn Legal, Personal and Professional Documents Relating to the Life of Kenneth Tynan, 1980-1995 British Library
creatorOf Stratford Festival Collection. The Great Sir Laurence / by Richard Meryman, associate editor, 1964. University of Guelph
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Performing arts and film, c1948 to c2003 St John's College, Oxford
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. II (ff. 204). Correspondence and papers; 1966. 1. ff. 1-106. Labour voters' protest on Vietnam; April 1966. 2. ff. 107-204. Protest meeting at Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre; July 1966.includes:ff. 2, 198 Sir Alfred Jules ..., 1966 British Library
creatorOf Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. William S. Burroughs Collection of Papers, 1951-1972 bulk (1958-1972). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Esquire, Inc. Records, 1933-1977 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Michael White: 'Oh! Calcutta!' Archive, 1967-1995 British Library
creatorOf Stoppard, Tom. Papers, 1939-2000 (bulk 1970-2000). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Sitwell, Edith, 1887-1964. Autograph letter signed : London, to Jane Clark, 1942 Oct. 4. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Correspondence (arranged by correspondent), c1909 to 2004 St John's College, Oxford
referencedIn Owen Hale Collection, 1953-1992 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Letters From Famous People, Publishers, Friends and Fans British Library
creatorOf Rattigan Papers. Vol. cxxviii (ff. 266). Correspondence relating to the production of 'Joie de vivre', 1959-1961. Partly typewritten, including copies.Harold Freedman, literary agent: Brandt and Brandt Dramatic Department, Inc: Correspondence, includ..., 1959-1961 British Library
referencedIn Mervyn Peake Archive, c 1921-2001 British Library: Western Manuscripts
creatorOf Tynan Archive87715-88472. Tynan Archive. The private and public correspondence and papers of, and relating to, Kenneth Tynan (b.1927, d.1980), theatre critic and author, first literary manager of the National Theatre, and deviser of the erotic revu..., 1938-1995 British Library
referencedIn Owen Hale Collection, 1953-1992 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Tynan, Kenneth mss., 1939-2001 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Iris Productions Limited. Letter, 1961, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. III (ff. 129). 'Vietnam: an American View'; 1967.includes:ff. 2, 34 Harrison Evans Salisbury, Associate Editor, 'The New York Times': Letters to Margaret Gardiner of Harrison Evans Salisbury: 1967: Signed.ff. 3, 40 ..., 1967 British Library
creatorOf Tynan, Kenneth, 1927-1980. Papers, 1939-2001 Indiana University
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Carroll, Donald, 1940-. Donald Carroll letters received from poets, 1959-1969. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Ambler, Eric, 1909-1998. Eric Ambler collection, 1940-1998. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn William S. Burroughs papers, 1951-1972, 1958-1972 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Ambler, Eric, 1909-1998. person
associatedWith Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. person
associatedWith Carroll, Donald, 1940- person
correspondedWith Esquire, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Graves, Robert Ranke, 1895-1985 person
associatedWith Graves, Robert Windham, 1858-1934 person
associatedWith Hale, Owen person
associatedWith Humboldt, Charles, 1910-1964. person
associatedWith Iris Productions Limited. corporateBody
associatedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
correspondedWith Peake, Ernest Cromwell, 1874-1950 person
correspondedWith Peake, Mervyn Laurence, 1911-1968 person
associatedWith Sitwell, Edith, 1887-1964. person
associatedWith Stoppard, Tom. person
associatedWith Stratford Festival Collection. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Theater critics--Diaries
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1927-04-02

Death 1980-07-26

Britons

English

Information

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