Fonds UBCA-ARC-1102 - Michael Bullock fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Michael Bullock fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Sound recording
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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds

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Physical description

8.32 m of textual records
Audio recordings

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Michael Bullock was born in 1916 in London, England, where he worked for many years as a freelance writer and translator. His prolific, lifelong writing career was not limited; it seems, by genre, and he was to produce essays, plays, works in translation, prose, and poetry throughout his career. As well as being a prolific writer and translator, Bullock was the founder and for five years editor of the British poetry magazine Expression, as well as editor-in-chief of Prism International. He was considered a surrealist (a founding member of Melmoth Vancouver, initially titled The Vancouver Surrealist Newsletter). However, Bullock was unafraid to push the limits of creative writing, often blending poems with music and visual art. Bullock has displayed his artwork in exhibitions and galleries and uses it to augment his textual works. He was educated at the Hornsey College of Art and the Polytechnic School of Language and was chosen as chairman of the British Translators Association in 1963. Bullock came to Canada in 1968 as a Commonwealth Fellow, and in 1969 became a member of The University of British Columbia's Creative Writing Department. He retired from the University in 1983 with the rank of Professor Emeritus.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of a variety of materials, but the focus is the creative writing of Bullock, in many genres. Represented in collections are prose and poetry, both published and unpublished, along with hundreds of individual works, covering not only poetry and prose poems, but academic essays, autobiographical accounts, and plays, as well as a prodigious amount of notes. The fonds also contains material relating to Bullocks work as a translator and includes a variety of genres translated into English from the original French, German, or Italian. The fonds also includes correspondence of both a professional and personal nature. The correspondence from 1935 illustrates the business life of a professional writer; it also contains a wealth of personal correspondence that helps solidify Bullock's stature as a writer both locally and internationally. Impressive figures such as Marcel Bealu, Max Frisch, and Joy Kogawa are intermingled with less well-known artists, friends, and family in the correspondence, and provide valuable commentary, over nearly 70 years, into the creative path chosen by Bullock.
The fonds consists of 20 series and a single sub-series: Assorted Poems Series, Collected Poems Series, Prose Series (Lotte Bullock Sub-Series), Plays Series, Essays and Criticism Series, Artwork Series, Works in Translation Series, Correspondence Series, Notes Series, Reviews Series, Melmoth Vancouver Series, Photographs Series, Audiotape Recordings Series, Diaries Series, Biographical Notes Series, Conferences, Lectures, and Readings Series, Promotional Material Series, Financial Records Series, Published Material Series, and Miscellaneous Series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds has grown over time, with the archives receiving at least 18 different accruals of records, dating from 1984.


Each accrual has traditionally been added on to the existing fonds and the following description does not seek to change that process. It should be noted, however, that each accrual was processed and described according to the archival practice at the time, which has resulted in a detailed but inconsistent description of the fonds. The following description seeks to create a consistent finding aid without losing the detail of the earlier work. Therefore, researchers may note the following:
Boxes 1-5 Original description prepared by Cynthia Sugars (assisted by Michael Bullock) is located in Box 1 (1984)
Boxes 6-9 Original description, author unknown, is located in box 6 (1985)
Boxes 10-13 Original description prepared by Jean Beck (assisted by Michael Bullock) is located in box 10 (1987)
Box 14 Original description prepared by Angela Piccini, is located in box 14 (1989)
Boxes 15-21 Original description prepared by Cheryl Niamath, is located in box 15 (1990)
Boxes 22-24 Original description prepared by Wayne Murdoch, is located in box 22 (1992)
Boxes 25-32 Original description prepared by Nayani Samarasinghe, is located in box 25 (1993)
Boxes 33-39 Original description prepared by Nayani Samarasinghe, is located in box 33 (1993)
Boxes 40-42 Original description prepared by Leslie Field, is located in box 40 (1994)
Boxes 43-47 Original description prepared by Marnie Burnham, is located in box 43 (1996)
Boxes 48-49 Original description prepared by Marnie Burnham, is located in box 48 (1997)
Boxes 50-53 Original description prepared by Cheryl Linstead, is located in box 50 (1998)
Boxes 54-57 Original description prepared by Alan Doyle, is located in box 54 (2002)
Boxes 58-59 Original description prepared by Alan Doyle, is located in box 58 (2002)
Boxes 60-61 Original description prepared by Susan Walters, is located in box 60 (2003)

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Availability of other formats

Selected photographs have been digitized and are available online in the UBC Library Open Collections (Series 66.1).

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Online Finding Aid
Please see finding aid for the file list.

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General note

Selected photographs have been digitized and are available online in the UBC Library Open Collections (Series 66.1).

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Revised in June 2020

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