Mathews, Jackson, 1907-1978.

Hide Profile

Jackson Mathews was an editor, teacher, poet, and translator. He taught at Harvard and Princeton universities and the universities of Georgia, Oregon, and Washington. He was an editor for Bollingen Foundation publications and worked with numerous American poets. He was general editor of the 15-volume "Complete Works of Paul Valéry."

From the description of Jackson Mathews papers, 1927-1975 (bulk 1945-1974). WorldCat record id: 25300761

Jackson Mathews, poet and scholar, was born 18 October 1907 in Griffin, Georgia, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Mathews. He earned both his B.A. (1928, Phi Beta Kappa) and M.A. (1930) degrees from the University of Georgia. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1947. Mathews was married to fellow scholar Marthiel Duke Mathews, who collaborated with him on several translations.

A field officer with the Office of Strategic Services, 1943-1945, Mathews won the Bronze Star. After World War II, he joined the United States Foreign Service and held the post of vice-consul for cultural affairs in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mathews's teaching career spanned three decades, including posts at Harvard and Princeton universities and at the Universities of Georgia and Oregon. His longest tenure was at the University of Washington, 1949-1955, where he established the Department of Comparative Literature. Mathews served as an editor for Bollingen Foundation publications, starting in 1953. In 1957, he accepted the position of vice-president with the Foundation. In both of these roles, he was highly influential, especially among modern poets. His extensive list of correspondents includes Allen Tate, W.H. Auden, Theodore Roethke, Robert Lowell, Carolyn Kizer, and William Carlos Williams.

Much of Mathews's work involved French and Belgian literature, with the group of writers called des Symbolists a special interest. He translated the works of Baudelaire, Gide, Perse, Char, and Yves Bonnefoy. The work of Paul Valerywas his primary interest. Mathews served as general editor of the Bollingen Foundation's 15-volume Complete Works of Paul Valery . In this capacity, he coordinated the work of many prominent translators and also prepared many of the notes and glosses for the volumes. For his own translation of Monsieur Teste, one of the volumes in the series, he won the National Book Award in 1974.

Mathews's life was punctuated with honors, among them a Fulbright Fellowship (1951), a Bollingen Foundation Fellowship (1955-1957), and the Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded in 1974 by the French government in recognition of Mathews's promotion of French literature. He also served as first executive committee chair for the National Translation Center (1965).

Forced into retirement around 1973 by the onset of a severe neurological disorder, Mathews died 15 December 1978.

From the guide to the Jackson Mathews Papers, ., 1927-1975, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Mathews, Jackson, 1907-1978. Jackson Mathews papers, 1927-1975 (bulk 1945-1974). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Jackson Mathews Papers, ., 1927-1975 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973. person
associatedWith Baudelaire, Charles, 1821-1867. person
associatedWith Bollingen Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Bonnefoy, Yves. person
associatedWith Char, René, 1907-1988. person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Robert, 1910-1985. person
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Kizer, Carolyn. person
associatedWith Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977. person
associatedWith National Translation Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Roethke, Theodore, 1908-1963. person
associatedWith Saint-John Perse, 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Tate, Allen, 1899-1979. person
associatedWith University of Georgia corporateBody
associatedWith University of Oregon corporateBody
associatedWith University of Washington corporateBody
associatedWith Valéry, Paul, 1871-1945. person
associatedWith Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
American poetry
Poets, American
College teachers
English poetry
Poets, English
French literature
French poetry
Poets, French
Women poets, American


Birth 1907

Death 1978

Related Descriptions


Ark ID: w6v447nw

SNAC ID: 19484197