Chris Challis Collection

A collection of books and manuscripts on 'Beat' poetry, and correspondence between Chris Challis (1946-1997) and other writers, 1980-1996.

Challis Correspondence

The collection of books and papers on the 'Beat' generation was purchased from the estate of Dr. Christopher Challis in 1999. The books of 'Beat' poetry, novels, anthologies and critical studies are housed in the David Wilson Library and available via the Library catalogue. Rarer items and letters are only available to view in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Chris Challis was born in Essex, and came to Leicester in 1970 taking a first degree in Combined Arts in 1973 and MA the following year. In 1979 he was awarded his PhD by the University of Leicester for his thesis on the Beat Generation. A poet and creative writer, he taught for the University's Department of Adult Education and for the WEA. His Quest for Kerouac was published by Faber & Faber in 1984 and he also published a number of volumes of poetry.

In 1980, Challis began a lengthy correspondence with Carolyn Cassady (1923-2013), American writer and widow of Neal Cassady. The pair exchanged letters until shortly before Challis' death in 1997. Subjects covered in the correspondence are wide ranging, but focus particularly on the Beat Generation, especially the life and work of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac. The collection also contains correspondence to and from Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others.

List of Correspondence of Chris Challis, 1980-1996
Correspondence between William Burroughs and Chris Challis, 1982-83 (pdf)
Correspondence between Carolyn Cassady and Chris Challis, 1980 - 1996 (pdf)
Correspondence between Allen Ginsberg and Chris Challis, 1980-1988 (pdf)
Correspondence between John Clellon Holmes and Chris Challis, 1980-1983 (pdf)
Correspondence between Arthur and Kit Knight and Chris Challis, 1981-1985 (pdf)
Correspondence between Chris Challis and Cosmo and Jay Landesman 1981-88 (pdf)
Correspondence between Michael McClure and Chris Challis, 1980 (pdf)
Correspondence between John Montgomery and Chris Challis 1981-1992 (pdf)
Correspondence between Joy Walsh and Chris Challis 1980-1983 (pdf)
Miscellaneous Correspondence with Chris Challis (pdf)

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