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Introduction

Ronald Duncan, studio portrait

Ronald duncan as a young man.

Ronald Duncan (1914-1982) was a productive West Country author whose literary career encompassed journalism, fiction, poetry, libretti, film scripts and plays. He is best known as the playwright of This Way to the Tomb (1946), his epic poem Man (The Complete Cantos, 1980) and as the librettist for The Rape of Lucretia (1946), an opera he co-wrote with Benjamin Britten. He was also a farmer, horse breeder and wartime pacifist who lived and worked most of his life in North Devon.

Duncan left the legacy of a fascinating archive of literary and personal papers, The Ronald Duncan Collection, which was donated to Special Collections at the University of Exeter in 2016.

This exhibition helps shed light on this often overlooked writer and the treasures held within the Ronald Duncan Collection.