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Dennis Cooper Papers

Call Number



1970-2002, inclusive


Cooper, Dennis, 1953-


20 Linear Feet
in 25 boxes.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


The Dennis Cooper Papers cover his career from approximately 1970 to 2002 and include correspondence and manuscripts of many notable literary and cultural figures, scrapbooks, manuscripts, collaborative projects, journals, journalism, reviews, business/production files for each book project, posters, videocassettes, and tapes. Dennis Cooper's creative output includes poetry, journalism and fiction that at times explores 'extreme subjects.' In the late 1970's, Cooper became involved with the nascent punk scene and began Little Caesar Magazine, and later, Little Caesar Press. He is the author of novels such as: Closer (1989) and Frisk (1992), has contributed to the Village Voice, Spin, The Advocate and L.A. Weekly, and co-curated an exhibit with Richard Hawkins entitled "Against Nature: A Group Show of Work by Homosexual Men." Presently, Cooper lives in Los Angeles.

Biographical Note

Dennis Cooper was born on January 10, 1953 in Pasadena, California. His literary aspirations were explored early on and often took the form of imitations of Rimbaud, Verlaine, De Sade, and Baudelaire. He wrote poetry and stories in his early teens that explored scandalous and often extreme subjects. As a teenager, Cooper was an "outsider" and the leader of a group of poets, punks, stoners and writers. After high school he attended Pasadena City College and later Pitzer College where he encountered a poetry teacher who was to inspire him to pursue his writing outside of institutions of higher learning.

In 1976 Cooper went to England to become involved in the nascent punk scene transforming the visual/verbal aesthetic of punk into its written counterpart--see, for example, Closer. In the same year he began Little Caesar Magazine which included among other things an issue on and dedicated to Rimbaud. In 1978 with the success of the magazine, Cooper was able to found Little Caesar Press which featured the work of, among others, Brad Gooch, Amy Gerstler, Elaine Equi, Tim Dlugos, and Eileen Myles.

In 1979, Cooper became the director of programming at an alternative poetry space, Beyond Baroque, in Venice, California. During his tenure such artists as Tim Miller, Eric Bogosian and Jessica Hagedorn gave performances. He also curated shows that included works by Sheree Levin and Bob Flanagan, Peter Schjeldahl, Kenward Elmslie, Gerard Malanga, and Jack Skelley. In 1984, Cooper moved to New York City. In 1987 he met his Dutch boyfriend whom he soon followed back to Amsterdam. While exiled in Amsterdam he finished writing Closer which took as inspiration a postcard that featured an image of Mickey Mouse carved onto the back of a young boy. Cooper later won the Ferro-Grumley for gay literature for Closer.

While in Amsterdam he also wrote articles for different American magazines including the Village Voice. He soon returned to New York and began writing articles for Artforum and began working on his next novel, Frisk. In the next few years Cooper works on several different art and performance projects including co-curating an exhibit at LACE with Richard Hawkins entitled AGAINST NATURE: A Group Show of Work by Homosexual Men.

Presently, Cooper lives in Los Angeles. He has, after his final return to Los Angeles from New York, collaborated with a number of artists, including composer John Zorn, painter Lari Pittman, sculptors Jason Meadows and Nayland Blake, and others. In the Spring of 2000 he published the final novel, Period, of the series that began with Closer, followed by Frisk, Try, and Guide.


The Terror of Earrings. Arcadia, CA: Kinks Press, 1973.Little Caesar. Ed. Dennis Cooper. Los Angeles: Little Caesar Press, 1976-1981.Tiger Beat. Los Angeles: Little Caesar Press, 1978.Antoine Monnier. Los Angeles: Anon Press, 1978.Idols. New York: The Sea Horse Press, 1979.Coming Attractions: An Anthology of American Poets in Their Twenties. Ed. Dennis Cooper with assistance by Tim Dlugos. Los Angeles: Little Caesar Press, 1980.The Missing Men. Santa Barbara: Am Here Books/Immediate Editions, 1981.The Tenderness of Wolves.Trumansburg, New York: Crossing Press, 1982.My Mark. Los Angeles: Sherwood Press, 1982.Safe. New York: Sea Horse Press, 1984.Them. (play) Produced in New York, 1985.He Cried. San Francisco: Black Star Series, 1985.Against Nature: A Group Show of Work by Homosexual Men. Curators Dennis Cooper and Richard Hawkins. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 1988.Closer. New York: Grove Press, 1989.Idols. Revised Edition. New York: Amethyst Press, 1989.Knife/Tape/Rope (play). produced in New York City, 1989.The Undead (play). produced in Los Angeles at Mark Taper Forum, 1989.Frisk. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.Lust.Intro. Dennis Cooper. Los Angeles: The Advocate Liberations Publications, 1991.Discontents: New Queer Writers. Ed. Dennis Cooper. New York: Amethyst Press, 1992.Wrong: Stories. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1992.Jerk. San Francisco: Artspace Books, 1993.Try. New York: Grove, 1994.Dear Dennis, Love Lari. Collaboration with Lari Pittman and Jonathan Hammer. San Francisco: Hammer Editions, 1995.The Dream Police: Selected Poems, 1969-1993. New York: Grove Press, 1995. Horror Hospital Unplugged. New York: Juno Books, 1997.Guide. New York: Grove Press, 1997.Weird Little Boy. Collaboration with John Zorn, Nayland Blake and Casey McKinney. Tokyo and New York: Avant Records, 1998.Raymond Pettibon. Intro. Dennis Cooper. Switzerland: Kunsthalle Bern/D.A.P., 1998.Period. New York: Grove Press, 2000.Raymond Pettibon. Intro. Dennis Cooper. New York: Phaidon, 2001.Thom Friedman. Essay. Dennis Cooper. London: Phaidon, 2001.My Loose Thread. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2002.


For the most part, folders are arranged alphabetically by subject/author within each series.

Items of similar subject/format are grouped together in the 9 series with some exceptions. Oversized material is arranged together.

  1. Series I: Book Projects and Related Materials
  2. Series II: Book Projects and Correspondence of Writers and Artists
  3. Series III: Journalism
  4. Series IV: Biographical Material and Personal Correspondence
  5. Series V: Beyond Baroque
  6. Series VI: Little Caesar Magazine/Little Caesar Press
  7. Sereis VII: Media
  8. Series VIII: Zines
  9. Series IX: Posters
  10. Oversize Materials Series I: Book Projects and Related Materials
  11. Oversize Materials Series II: Book Projects and Correspondence of Writers and Artists
  12. Oversize Materials Seris IV: Biographical Material and Personal Correspondence
  13. Oversize Matierals Series VI: Little Caesar Magazine/Little Caesar Press
  14. Oversize Series VIII: Zines
  15. Map Case
  16. ACCRETION 2002 - Series I: Book Projects and Related Materials
  17. ACCRETION 2002 - Series II: Book Projects and Correspondence of Writers and Artists
  18. ACCRETION 2002 - Series III: Journalism [Includes Tearsheets of Articles]
  19. ACCRETION 2002 - Series IV: Biographical Material and Personal Correspondence
  20. ACCRETION 2002 - Series VII: Media Material
  21. ACCRETION 2002 - Series IX: Posters
  22. Oversize Material ACCRETION 2002 - Series I: Books and Related Materials
  23. Oversize Materials ACCRETION 2002 - Series IV: Biographical Material and Personal Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

The Dennis Cooper Papers is comprised of the correspondence and manuscripts of many notable literary and cultural figures, scrapbooks, manuscripts, collaborative projects, journals, journalism, reviews, business/production files for each book project, zines, posters, videocassettes, tapes, and materials from both Little Caesar Magazineand Little Caesar Press. The Cooper Papers contains an almost comprehensive collection of the early to present-day literary career of Dennis Cooper. Cooper's original organization of his papers was preserved as much as possible.

Original format for most materials.


SERIES I: Book projects and related materials

subseries A contains 4 boxes of book project materials, including promotional materials, business records, manuscripts, reviews, scrapbooks, correspondence, and background materials.subseries B contains 1 box of collaborative projects and works edited by Cooper. This subseries includes manuscripts, correspondence, business materials, photos, promotional materials, reviews, a CD and slides.subseries C contains materials relating to Cooper's collaborative projects including a play written with Haasen and collaborations with Houston-Jones.

SERIES II: Book Projects and Correspondence of Writers and Artists

Contains the manuscripts, correspondence, reviews, promotional materials, interviews, slides, readings and announcements, clippings and newsletters of friends and colleagues of Cooper.

SERIES III: Journalism

Contains journalism written for magazines and newspapers including but by no means limited to Artforum, The Advocate, Art in America, Spin, and The Village Voice. Series 3 also contains journal articles that either remain unpublished or contain no information regarding the publications for which they were written.

SERIES IV: Biographical material

subseries A contains biographical materials including juvenilia, diaries, scrapbooks, a headshot, college materials, readings, reviews and correspondence from family members.subseries B contains personal correspondence, including early rejection letters.

SERIES V:Beyond Baroque

Contains materials from Cooper's tenure at Beyond Baroque including correspondence, readings, reviews, writing workshop materials, press materials and photos.

SERIES VI:Little Caesar Magazine/ Little Caesar Press

subseries A contains materials relating to and of Little Caesar Magazine including correspondence, invoice and records, reviews, press materials, production materials, and mock-ups of several issues of the magazine.subseries B contains all the materials relating to and of Little Caesar Press including manuscripts, mock-ups, cover art, posters, photos, and correspondence.

SERIES VII: Media [Access copies may not be available for these materials yet. Check with the Fales archivist.]

subseries A contains all original video recordings given by Dennis Cooper including versions of "Knife/Tape/Rope" and Frisk. [Also see ACCRETION 2002]subseries B contains all original audio recordings given by Dennis Cooper.


Includes zines collected by Cooper.

SERIES IX: Posters

Contains posters of readings, announcements, and promotional advertisements. The Posters are located in the map case.


There are 2 flat oversize boxes that contain oversize materials from series 6.


The 2002 Accretion to The Dennis Cooper Papers focus on Period, the last installment of Cooper's George Miles cycle and My Loose Thread, his first full-length prose work outside said cycle in ten years. The accretion includes scrapbooks, manuscripts, notebooks, and videotapes relating to these works. In the case of Period there's a model house constructed of wood and filled with a hand-drawn representation of the novel's structure, a note to Ziggy, and images of haunted houses, George Miles, and various anonymous teenagers. Also included is a diaristic scrapbook on "Ideal Beauty."

The collection also makes available Cooper's Death and Sex File, which includes clippings from hundreds of magazines and newspapers spanning more than a decade.

There are a number of folders of Juvenalia from the 1960's and 1970's, including early poetry, journalism, prose, journals, correspondence, and Cooper's first novel written when he was an adolescent.

The correspondence in the 2002 Accretion includes photos of the reclusive author J.T. LeRoy and materials regarding Cooper's newest editorial project, the Little House on the Bowery series at Akashic Books.

Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Use Restrictions

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Dennis Cooper Papers; MSS 85; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.


The Dennis Cooper Papers were purchased in June, 1997 from Cooper. Arrangements for the sale of the collection were negotiated through Ira Silverberg, literary agent for Cooper. Cooper initially organized the collection and packed the materials for shipment. The Library received a grant that allowed for the purchase of the collection.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Access to some audiovisual materials in this collection is available through digitized access copies. Researchers may view an item's original container, but the media themselves are not available for playback because of preservation concerns. Materials that have already been digitized are noted in the collection's finding aid and can be requested in our reading room. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Separated Material

Printed books in the collection have been removed and catalogued individually as part of the Downtown Collection.

Related Material at the Fales Library and Special Collections

Tim Dlugos Papers (MSS.087)

Serpent's Tail/High Risk Archive (MSS.086)

Between C& D Archive (MSS.084)

David Wojnarowicz Papers (MSS.092)

Collection processed by

Camilla Fojas (1997-1998); 2002 Accretion processed by Brandon Stosuy, 2002. Media Material updated by Luke Martin and Brent Phillips, 2008.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-06 14:10:33 -0500.
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

In January 2016, boxes from Accretion 2002 Series I through Accretion 2002 Series IX and all oversize boxes were renumbered to numerically follow the original donation. Researchers with citations to previous box numbers may contact for assistance with identifying new box numbers.

In November 2017, one record carton of correspondence was removed from envelopes, unfolded, and housed in acid free folders.

Revisions to this Guide

November 2017: Updated by Megan O'Shea to reflect items rehoused in the summer of 2017
November 2017: Updated by Megan O'Shea to incorporate correspondence from 2012 accretion (accession number 2012.085).
June 2023: Updated by Olivija Liepa to state that video materials have been digitized and are accessible to patrons.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from MS Word document: cooper finding aid.doc


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012