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Charles Bukowski

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, "the secret of Bukowski’s appeal. . . [is that] he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.” Early years Charles Bukowski was born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany, to Heinrich Bukowski and Katharina (née Fett). Bukowski's mother was a native German and his father was an American serviceman of German descent. His paternal grandfather Leonard had emigrated to America from Germany in the 1880s. In Cleveland, Leonard met Emilie Krausse who had emigrated from Danzig, then part of Germany. They married and settled in Pasadena. He worked as a carpenter, setting up his own very successful construction company. The couple had four children, including Henry, Charles Bukowski's father. Charles Bukowski's parents met in Andernach, in Western Germany following World War I, the poet's father posted as a sergeant in the American army of occupation following Germany's defeat in 1918. He had an affair with Katherina, the German sister of a friend, and she quickly became pregnant. Charles Bukowski repeatedly claimed to be born out of wedlock, but Andernach marital records indicate that his parents married one month prior to his birth. His father set himself up as a building contractor, set to make great financial gains in the aftermath of the war. After two years that family moved to Pfaffendorf. Given the crippling reparations being required of Germany and high levels of inflation Henry was unable to make a living, and so he decided to move the family back to America. On April 23, 1923 they sailed from Bremerhaven to Baltimore, Maryland, where they settled. Wanting a more Anglophone name, Bukowski's parents began calling their son 'Henry', which the poet would later change to Charles. They altered the pronunciation of the family name from /buːˈkɒfski/ boo-kof-skee to /buːˈkaʊski/ boo-kow-ski, Bukowski's parents were Roman Catholic. The family settled in South Central Los Angeles in 1930, the city where Charles Bukowski's father and grandfather had previously worked and lived. In the '30s the poet's father was often unemployed. In the autobiographical Ham on Rye Charles Bukowski says that, with his mother's acquiescence, his father was frequently abusive, both physically and mentally, beating his son for the smallest imagined offence. During his youth Bukowski was shy and socially withdrawn, a condition exacerbated during his teens by an extreme case of acne. Neighborhood children ridiculed his German accent and the clothing his parents made him wear. Although he seemed to suffer from Dyslexia, he was highly praised at school for his art work. In his early teens, Henry had an epiphany when he was introduced to alcohol by his loyal friend William "Baldy" Mullinax, depicted as "Eli Lacross" in Ham on Rye, son of an alcoholic surgeon. "This [alcohol] is going to help me for a very long time", he later wrote, describing the genesis of his chronic alcoholism; or, as he saw it, the genesis of a method he could utilize to come to more amicable terms with his own life. After graduating from Los Angeles High School, Bukowski attended Los Angeles City College for two years, taking courses in art, journalism, and literature, before quitting at the start of World War II. He then moved to New York to begin a career as a writer. On July 22, 1944, with World War II ongoing, Bukowski was arrested by FBI agents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was living at the time, on suspicion of draft evasion. He was held for 17 days in Philadelphia's Moyamensing Prison. Sixteen days later he failed a psychological exam that was part of his mandatory military entrance "physical" and was given a Selective Service Classification of 4-F (unfit for military service). Early writing When Bukowski was 24, his short story, "Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip", was published in Story magazine. Two years later, another short story, "20 Tanks from Kasseldown", was published by the Black Sun Press in Issue III of Portfolio: An Intercontinental Quarterly, a limited-run, loose-leaf broadside collection printed in 1946 and edited by Caresse Crosby. Failing to break into the literary world, Bukowski grew disillusioned with the publication process and quit writing for almost a decade, a time that he referred to as a "ten-year drunk." These "lost years" formed the basis for his later semi-autobiographical chronicles, although they are fictionalized versions of Bukowski's life through his highly stylized alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. During part of this period he continued living in Los Angeles, working at a pickle factory for a short time but also spending some time roaming about the United States, working sporadically and staying in cheap rooming houses. In the early 1950s, Bukowski took a job as a fill-in letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service in Los Angeles but resigned just before he reached three years' service. In 1955 he was treated for a near-fatal bleeding ulcer. After leaving the hospital he began to write poetry. In 1957 he agreed to marry small-town Texas poet Barbara Frye, sight unseen, but they divorced in 1959. According to Howard Sounes's Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, she later died under mysterious circumstances in India. Following his divorce, Bukowski resumed drinking and continued writing poetry. 1960s By 1960, Bukowski had returned to the post office in Los Angeles where he began work as a letter filing clerk, a position he held for more than a decade. In 1962, he was traumatized by the death of Jane Cooney Baker, the object of his first serious romantic attachment. Bukowski turned his inner devastation into a series of poems and stories lamenting her death. In 1964 a daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, was born to Bukowski and his live-in girlfriend Frances Smith, whom he referred to as a "white-haired hippie," "shack-job," and "old snaggle-tooth.". Jon and Louise Webb, now recognized as giants of the post-war 'small-press movement', published The Outsider literary magazine and featured some of Bukowski's poetry. Under the Loujon Press imprint, they published Bukowski's It Catches My Heart in Its Hands in 1963 and Crucifix in a Deathhand in 1965. Beginning in 1967, Bukowski wrote the column "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" for Los Angeles' Open City, an underground newspaper. When Open City was shut down in 1969, the column was picked up by the Los Angeles Free Press as well as the hippie underground paper NOLA Express in New Orleans. In 1969 Bukowski and Neeli Cherkovski launched their own short-lived mimeographed literary magazine, Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns. They produced three issues over the next two years. Black Sparrow years In 1969 Bukowski accepted an offer from Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin and quit his post office job to dedicate himself to full-time writing. He was then 49 years old. As he explained in a letter at the time, "I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy ... or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve." Less than one month after leaving the postal service he finished his first novel, Post Office. As a measure of respect for Martin's financial support and faith in a relatively unknown writer, Bukowski published almost all of his subsequent major works with Black Sparrow Press. An avid supporter of small independent presses, he continued to submit poems and short stories to innumerable small publications throughout his career. Bukowski embarked on a series of love affairs and one-night trysts. One of these relationships was with Linda King, a poet and sculptress. Critic Robert Peters viewed the debut of Linda King’s play The Tenant in which she and Bukowski starred back in the 1970s in Los Angeles. This play was a one-off performance. His other affairs were with a recording executive and a 23-year-old redhead; he wrote a book of poetry as a tribute of his love for the latter, titled, "Scarlet" (Black Sparrow Press, 1976). His various affairs and relationships provided material for his stories and poems. Another important relationship was with "Tanya", pseudonym of "Amber O'Neil" (also a pseudonym), described in Bukowski's "Women" as a pen-pal that evolved into a weekend tryst at Bukowski's residence in Los Angeles in the 1970s. "Amber O'Neil" later self-published a chapbook about the affair entitled "Blowing My Hero.” n 1976, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a health food restaurant owner, aspiring actress and devotee of Meher Baba, leader of an Indian religious society. Two years later Bukowski moved from the East Hollywood area, where he had lived for most of his life, to the harborside community of San Pedro, the southernmost district of the City of Los Angeles. Beighle followed him and they lived together intermittently over the next two years. They were eventually married by Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian-born author and mystic, in 1985. Beighle is referred to as "Sara" in Bukowski's novels Women and Hollywood. Death Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro, California, aged 73, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp. The funeral rites, orchestrated by his widow, were conducted by Buddhist monks. An account of the proceedings can be found in Gerald Locklin's book Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet. His gravestone reads: "Don't Try", a phrase which Bukowski uses in one of his poems, advising aspiring writers and poets about inspiration and creativity. Bukowski explained the phrase in a 1963 letter to John William Corrington: "Somebody at one of these places [...] asked me: 'What do you do? How do you write, create?' You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: 'not' to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it." In 2007 and 2008 there was a movement to save Bukowski's bungalow at 5124 De Longpre Avenue from destruction. The campaign was spearheaded by preservationist Lauren Everett. The cause was covered extensively in the local and international press, including a feature in David S. Wills's Beatdom magazine, and was ultimately successful. The bungalow subsequently was listed as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument called Bukowski Court. The cause was criticized by some as cheapening Bukowski's "outsider" reputation. Work Bukowski published extensively in small literary magazines and with small presses beginning in the early 1940s and continuing on through the early 1990s. These poems and stories were later republished by Black Sparrow Press (now HarperCollins/ECCO) as collected volumes of his work. In the 1980s he collaborated with illustrator Robert Crumb on a series of comic books, with Bukowski supplying the writing and Crumb providing the artwork. Bukowski also performed live readings of his works, beginning in 1962 on radio station KPFK in Los Angeles and increasing in frequency through the 1970s. Drinking was often a featured part of the readings, along with a combative banter with the audience. By the late 1970s Bukowski's income was sufficient to give up live readings. His last international performance was in October 1979 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was released on DVD as There's Gonna Be a God Damn Riot in Here. In March 1980 he gave his very last reading at the Sweetwater club in Redondo Beach, which was released as Hostage on audio CD and The Last Straw on DVD. Bukowski often spoke of Los Angeles as his favorite subject. In a 1974 interview he said, "You live in a town all your life, and you get to know every bitch on the street corner and half of them you have already messed around with. You've got the layout of the whole land. You have a picture of where you are.... Since I was raised in L.A., I've always had the geographical and spiritual feeling of being here. I've had time to learn this city. I can't see any other place than L.A." One critic has described Bukowski's fiction as a "detailed depiction of a certain taboo male fantasy: the uninhibited bachelor, slobby, anti-social, and utterly free", an image he tried to live up to with sometimes riotous public poetry readings and boorish party behaviour. Since his death in 1994 Bukowski has been the subject of a number of critical articles and books about both his life and writings. His work has received relatively little attention from academic critics. ECCO continues to release new collections of his poetry, culled from the thousands of works published in small literary magazines. According to ECCO, the 2007 release The People Look Like Flowers At Last will be his final posthumous release as now all his once-unpublished work has been published. In June 2006 Bukowski's literary archive was donated by his widow to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Copies of all editions of his work published by the Black Sparrow Press are held at Western Michigan University which purchased the archive of the publishing house after its closure in 2003. Novels * Post Office (1971) * Factotum (1975) * Women (1978) * Ham on Rye (1982) * Hollywood (1989) * Pulp (1994) Poetry collections Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail (1960) Poems and Drawings (1962) Longshot Poems for Broke Players (1962) Run with the Hunted (1962) It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (1963) Crucifix in a Deathhand (1965) Cold Dogs in the Courtyard (1965) The Genius of the Crowd (1966) 2 by Bukowski (1967) The Curtains Are Waving (1967) At Terror Street and Agony Way (1968) Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8 story Window (1968) A Bukowski Sampler (1969) The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969) Fire Station (1970) Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972) Me and Your Sometimes Love Poems (1972) While the Music Played (1973) Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (1974) Africa, Paris, Greece (1975) Scarlet (1976) Maybe Tomorrow (1977) Legs, Hips and Behind (1978) Love Is a Dog from Hell (1977) Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979) Dangling in the Tournefortia (1982) War All the Time (book)|War All the Time (1984) Horses Don't Bet on People & Neither Do I (1984) You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986) The Roominghouse Madrigals (1988) Beauti-ful & Other Long Poems (1988) Septuagenarian Stew: Stories & Poems (1990) People Poems (1991) The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992) Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories (1996) Bone Palace Ballet (book)|Bone Palace Ballet (1998) What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire. (1999) Open All Night (book)|Open All Night (2000) The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps (2001) Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way (2003) As Buddha smiles (2003) The Flash of the Lightning Behind the Mountain (2004) Slouching Toward Nirvana (2005) Come on In! (2006) The People Look Like Flowers at Last (2007) The Pleasures of the Damned (2007) The Continual Condition (2009) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bukowski

Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron was born on January 22, 1788 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and inherited his family's English title at the age of ten, becoming Baron Byron of Rochdale. Abandoned by his father at an early age and resentful of his mother, who he blamed for his being born with a deformed foot, Byron isolated himself during his youth and was deeply unhappy. Though he was the heir to an idyllic estate, the property was run down and his family had no assets with which to care for it. As a teenager, Byron discovered that he was attracted to men as well as women, which made him all the more remote and secretive. He studied at Aberdeen Grammar School and then Trinity College in Cambridge. During this time Byron collected and published his first volumes of poetry. The first, published anonymously and titled Fugitive Pieces, was printed in 1806 and contained a miscellany of poems, some of which were written when Byron was only fourteen. As a whole, the collection was considered obscene, in part because it ridiculed specific teachers by name, and in part because it contained frank, erotic verses. At the request of a friend, Byron recalled and burned all but four copies of the book, then immediately began compiling a revised version—though it was not published during his lifetime. The next year, however, Byron published his second collection, Hours of Idleness, which contained many of his early poems, as well as significant additions, including poems addressed to John Edelston, a younger boy whom Byron had befriended and deeply loved. By Byron's twentieth birthday, he faced overwhelming debt. Though his second collection received an initially favorable response, a disturbingly negative review was printed in January of 1808, followed by even more scathing criticism a few months later. His response was a satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, which received mixed attention. Publicly humiliated and with nowhere else to turn, Byron set out on a tour of the Mediterranean, traveling with a friend to Portugal, Spain, Albania, Turkey, and finally Athens. Enjoying his new-found sexual freedom, Byron decided to stay in Greece after his friend returned to England, studying the language and working on a poem loosely based on his adventures. Inspired by the culture and climate around him, he later wrote to his sister, "If I am a poet ... the air of Greece has made me one." Byron returned to England in the summer of 1811 having completed the opening cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a poem which tells the story of a world-weary young man looking for meaning in the world. When the first two cantos were published in March of 1812, the expensive first printing sold out in three days. Byron reportedly said, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous." His fame, however, was among the aristocratic intellectual class, at a time when only cultivated people read and discussed literature. The significant rise in a middle-class reading public, and with it the dominance of the novel, was still a few years away. At 24, Byron was invited to the homes of the most prestigious families and received hundreds of fan letters, many of them asking for the remaining cantos of his great poem—which eventually appeared in 1818. An outspoken politician in the House of Lords, Byron used his popularity for public good, speaking in favor of workers' rights and social reform. He also continued to publish romantic tales in verse. His personal life, however, remained rocky. He was married and divorced, his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke having accused him of everything from incest to sodomy. A number of love affairs also followed, including one with Claire Clairmont, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley's sister in law. By 1816, Byron was afraid for his life, warned that a crowd might lynch him if he were seen in public. Forced to flee England, Byron settled in Italy and began writing his masterpiece, Don Juan, an epic-satire novel-in-verse loosely based on a legendary hero. He also spent much of his time engaged in the Greek fight for independence and planned to join a battle against a Turkish-held fortress when he fell ill, becoming increasingly sick with persistent colds and fevers. When he died on April 19, 1824, at the age of 36, Don Juan was yet to be finished, though 17 cantos had been written. A memoir, which also hadn't been published, was burned by Byron's friends who were either afraid of being implicated in scandal or protective of his reputation. Today, Byron's Don Juan is considered one of the great long poems in English written since Milton's Paradise Lost. The Byronic hero, characterized by passion, talent, and rebellion, pervades Byron's work and greatly influenced the work of later Romantic poets. References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1562

Robert Burns

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard) was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a "light" Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt. He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the 'Greatest Scot' by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well-known across the world today include A Red, Red Rose; A Man's A Man for A' That; To a Louse; To a Mouse; The Battle of Sherramuir; Tam o' Shanter, and Ae Fond Kiss. Ayrshire Alloway Burns was born two miles (3 km) south of Ayr, in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland, the eldest of the seven children of William Burnes (1721–1784) (Robert Burns spelled his surname Burnes until 1786), a self-educated tenant farmer from Dunnottar, The Mearns, and Agnes Broun (or Brown) (1732–1820), the daughter of a tenant farmer from Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire. He was born in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766, when he was seven years old. William Burnes sold the house and took the tenancy of the 70-acre (280, m2) Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway. Here Burns grew up in poverty and hardship, and the severe manual labour of the farm left its traces in a premature stoop and a weakened constitution. He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history and also wrote for them A Manual Of Christian Belief. He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747–1824), who opened an 'adventure school' in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics to both Robert and his brother Gilbert (1760–1827) from 1765 to 1768 until Murdoch left the parish. After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School during the summer of 1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin. By the age of 15, Burns was the principal labourer at Mount Oliphant. During the harvest of 1774, he was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick (1759–1820), who inspired his first attempt at poetry, O, Once I Lov'd A Bonnie Lass. In the summer of 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thompson (b.), to whom he wrote two songs, Now Westlin' Winds and I Dream'd I Lay. Tarbolton Despite his ability and character, William Burnes was consistently unfortunate, and migrated with his large family from farm to farm without ever being able to improve his circumstances. At Whitsun, 1777, he removed his large family from the unfavourable conditions of Mount Oliphant to the 130-acre (0. km2) farm at Lochlea, near Tarbolton, where they stayed until William Burnes' death in 1784. Subsequently, the family became integrated into the community of Tarbolton. To his father's disapproval, Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelors' Club the following year. His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b. 1762). In spite of four songs written for her and a suggestion that he was willing to marry her, she rejected him. Robert Burns was initiated into masonic Lodge St David Tarbolton on 4 July 1781, when he was 22. In December 1781, Burns moved temporarily to Irvine, North Ayrshire to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the workers' celebrations for New Year 1781/1782 (which included Burns as a participant) the flax shop caught fire and was burnt to the ground. This venture accordingly came to an end, and Burns went home to Lochlea farm. During this time he met and befriended Captain Richard Brown who encouraged him to become a poet. He continued to write poems and songs and began a commonplace book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord. The case went to the Court of Session, and Burnes was upheld in January 1784, a fortnight before he died. Mauchline Robert and Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm, but after its failure they moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline in March, which they maintained with an uphill fight for the next four years. During the summer of 1784, Robbie came to know a group of girls known collectively as The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline. Love affairs His casual love affairs did not endear him to the elders of the local kirk and created for him a reputation amongst his neighbours for dissoluteness. His first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns (1785–1817), was born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton (1760-circa 1799) while he was embarking on a relationship with Jean Armour, who became pregnant with twins in March 1786. Burns signed a paper attesting his marriage to Jean, but her father "was in the greatest distress, and fainted away." To avoid disgrace, her parents sent her to live with her uncle in Paisley. Although Armour's father initially forbade it, they were eventually married in 1788. Armour bore him nine children only three of whom survived infancy. Burns was in financial difficulties due to his want of success in farming, and to make enough money to support a family he took up a friend's offer of work in Jamaica, at a salary of £30 per annum. The position that Burns accepted was as a bookkeeper on a slave plantation. This seems inconsistent with Burns' egalitarian views as typified by The Slave's Lament six years later, but in 1786 there was little public awareness of the abolitionist movement that began about that time. At about the same time, Burns fell in love with Mary Campbell (1763–1786), whom he had seen in church while he was still living in Tarbolton. She was born near Dunoon and had lived in Campbeltown before moving to work in Ayrshire. He dedicated the poems The Highland Lassie O, Highland Mary and To Mary in Heaven to her. His song "Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia's shore?" suggests that they planned to emigrate to Jamaica together. Their relationship has been the subject of much conjecture, and it has been suggested that on 14 May 1786 they exchanged Bibles and plighted their troth over the Water of Fail in a traditional form of marriage. Soon afterwards Mary Campbell left her work in Ayrshire, went to the seaport of Greenock, and sailed home to her parents in Campbeltown. Kilmarnock Edition As Burns lacked the funds to pay for his passage to the West Indies, Gavin Hamilton suggested that he should "publish his poems in the mean time by subscription, as a likely way of getting a little money to provide him more liberally in necessaries for Jamaica." On 3 April Burns sent proposals for publishing his Scotch Poems to John Wilson, a local printer in Kilmarnock, who published these proposals on 14 April 1786, on the same day that Jean Armour's father tore up the paper in which Burns attested his marriage to Jean. To obtain a certificate that he was a free bachelor, Burns agreed on 25 June to stand for rebuke in Mauchline kirk for three Sundays. He transferred his share in Mossgiel farm to his brother Gilbert on 22 July, and on 30 July wrote to tell his friend John Richmond that, "Armour has got a warrant to throw me in jail until I can find a warrant for an enormous sum ... I am wandering from one friend's house to another." On 31 July 1786 John Wilson published the volume of works by Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect. Known as the Kilmarnock volume, it sold for 3 shillings and contained much of his best writing, including The Twa Dogs; Address to the Deil; Halloween; The Cotter's Saturday Night; To a Mouse; Epitaph for James Smith and To a Mountain Daisy, many of which had been written at Mossgiel farm. The success of the work was immediate, and soon he was known across the country. Burns postponed his proposed emigration to Jamaica on 1 September, and was at Mossgiel two days later when he learnt that Jean Armour had given birth to twins. On 4 September Thomas Blacklock wrote a letter expressing admiration for the poetry in the Kilmarnock volume, and suggesting an enlarged second edition. A copy of it was passed to Burns, who later recalled, "I had taken the last farewell of my few friends, my chest was on the road to Greenock; I had composed the last song I should ever measure in Scotland – 'The Gloomy night is gathering fast' – when a letter from Dr Blacklock to a friend of mine overthrew all my schemes, by opening new prospects to my poetic ambition. The Doctor belonged to a set of critics for whose applause I had not dared to hope. His opinion that I would meet with encouragement in Edinburgh for a second edition, fired me so much, that away I posted for that city, without a single acquaintance, or a single letter of introduction." In October, Mary Campbell (Highland Mary) and her father sailed from Campbeltown to visit her brother in Greenock. Her brother fell ill with typhus, which she also caught while nursing him. She died of typhus on 20 or 21 October 1786, and was buried there. Edinburgh On 27 November 1786, Burns borrowed a pony and set out for Edinburgh. On 14 December William Creech issued subscription bills for the first Edinburgh edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect, which was published on 17 April 1787. Within a week of this event, Burns had sold his copyright to Creech for 100 guineas. For the edition, Creech commissioned Alexander Nasmyth to paint the oval bust-length portrait now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which was engraved to provide a frontispiece for the book. Nasmyth had got to know Burns and his fresh and appealing image has become the basis for almost all subsequent representations of the poet. In Edinburgh, he was received as an equal by the city's brilliant men of letters—including Dugald Stewart, Robertson, Blair and others—and was a guest at aristocratic gatherings, where he bore himself with unaffected dignity. Here he encountered, and made a lasting impression on, the 16-year-old Walter Scott, who described him later with great admiration: His person was strong and robust; his manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents. His features are presented in Mr Nasmyth's picture but to me it conveys the idea that they are diminished, as if seen in perspective. I think his countenance was more massive than it looks in any of the portraits ... there was a strong expression of shrewdness in all his lineaments; the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and literally glowed when he spoke with feeling or interest. I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time. The new edition of his poems brought Burns £400. His stay in the city also resulted in some lifelong friendships, among which were those with Lord Glencairn, and Frances Anna Dunlop (1730–1815), who became his occasional sponsor and with whom he corresponded for many years until a rift developed. He embarked on a relationship with the separated Agnes 'Nancy' McLehose (1758–1841), with whom he exchanged passionate letters under pseudonyms (Burns called himself 'Sylvander' and Nancy 'Clarinda'). When it became clear that Nancy would not be easily seduced into a physical relationship, Burns moved on to Jenny Clow (1766–1792), Nancy's domestic servant, who bore him a son, Robert Burns Clow, in 1788. He also had an affair with a servant girl. Margaret 'May' Cameron. His relationship with Nancy concluded in 1791 with a final meeting in Edinburgh before she sailed to Jamaica for what transpired to be a short-lived reconciliation with her estranged husband. Before she left, he sent her the manuscript of Ae Fond Kiss as a farewell. In Edinburgh, in early 1787, he met James Johnson, a struggling music engraver and music seller with a love of old Scots songs and a determination to preserve them. Burns shared this interest and became an enthusiastic contributor to The Scots Musical Museum. The first volume was published in 1787 and included three songs by Burns. He contributed 40 songs to volume 2, and would end up responsible for about a third of the 600 songs in the whole collection, as well as making a considerable editorial contribution. The final volume was published in 1803. Dumfries Ellisland Farm On his return to Ayrshire on 18 February 1788 he resumed his relationship with Jean Armour and took a lease on the farm of Ellisland near Dumfries on 18 March (settling there on 11 June) but trained as a Gauger or exciseman, in case farming continued to prove unsuccessful. He was appointed to duties in Customs and Excise in 1789 and eventually gave up the farm in 1791. Meanwhile, he was writing at his best, and in November 1790 had produced Tam O' Shanter. About this time he was offered and declined an appointment in London on the staff of 'The Star' newspaper, and refused to become a candidate for a newly-created Chair of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, although influential friends offered to support his claims. Lyricist After giving up his farm he removed to Dumfries. Burns described the Globe Inn (still running today) on the High Street as his "favourite howff" (or "inn”). It was at this time that, being requested to write lyrics for The Melodies of Scotland, he responded by contributing over 100 songs. He made major contributions to George Thomson's A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice as well as to James Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum. Arguably his claim to immortality chiefly rests on these volumes, which placed him in the front rank of lyric poets. Burns described how he had to master singing the tune before he composed the words: My way is: I consider the poetic sentiment, correspondent to my idea of the musical expression, then chuse my theme, begin one stanza, when that is composed—which is generally the most difficult part of the business—I walk out, sit down now and then, look out for objects in nature around me that are in unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy and workings of my bosom, humming every now and then the air with the verses I have framed. when I feel my Muse beginning to jade, I retire to the solitary fireside of my study, and there commit my effusions to paper, swinging, at intervals, on the hind-legs of my elbow chair, by way of calling forth my own critical strictures, as my, pen goes. Burns also worked to collect and preserve Scottish folk songs, sometimes revising, expanding, and adapting them. One of the better known of these collections is The Merry Muses of Caledonia (the title is not Burns'), a collection of bawdy lyrics that were popular in the music halls of Scotland as late as the 20th century. Many of Burns' most famous poems are songs with the music based upon older traditional songs. For example, Auld Lang Syne is set to the traditional tune Can Ye Labour Lea, A Red, Red Rose is set to the tune of Major Graham and The Battle of Sherramuir is set to the Cameronian Rant. Failing health and death Burns's worldly prospects were now perhaps better than they had ever been; but he had become soured, and moreover had alienated many of his best friends by too freely expressing sympathy with the French Revolution and the then unpopular advocates of reform at home. As his health began to give way, he began to age prematurely and fell into fits of despondency. The habits of intemperance (alleged mainly by temperance activist James Currie) are said to have aggravated his long-standing possible rheumatic heart condition. His death followed a dental extraction in winter 1795. On the morning of 21 July 1796 Robert Burns died in Dumfries, at the age of 37. The funeral took place on Monday 25 July 1796, the day that his son Maxwell was born. He was at first buried in the far corner of St. Michael's Churchyard in Dumfries; his body was eventually moved to its final resting place in the same cemetery, the Burns Mausoleum, in September 1815. The body of Jean Armour was laid to rest with his in 1834. His widow, Jean, had taken steps to secure his movable estate, partly by liquidating two promissory notes amounting to fifteen pounds sterling (about 1, pounds at 2009 prices). The family went to the Court of Session in 1798 with a scheme to support his surviving children by publishing a four-volume edition of his complete works and a biography written by Dr. James Currie. Subscriptions were raised to meet the initial cost of publication, which was in the hands of Thomas Cadell and William Davies in London and William Creech, bookseller in Edinburgh. Hogg records that fund-raising for Burns' family was embarrassingly slow, and it took several years to accumulate significant funds through the efforts of John Syme and Alexander Cunningham. Burns was posthumously given the freedom of the town of Dumfries. Hogg records that Burns was given the freedom of the Burgh of Dumfries on 4 June 1787, 9 years before his death, and was also made an Honorary Burgess of Dumfries. Through his twelve children, Burns has over 600 living descendents as of 2012. Literary style Burns' style is marked by spontaneity, directness and sincerity, and ranges from the tender intensity of some of his lyrics through the rollicking humour and blazing wit of Tam o' Shanter and the blistering satire of Holy Willie's Prayer and The Holy Fair. Burns' poetry drew upon a substantial familiarity with and knowledge of Classical, Biblical, and English literature, as well as the Scottish Makar tradition. Burns was skilled in writing not only in the Scots language but also in the Scottish English dialect of the English language. Some of his works, such as Love and Liberty (also known as The Jolly Beggars), are written in both Scots and English for various effects. His themes included republicanism (he lived during the French Revolutionary period) and Radicalism, which he expressed covertly in Scots Wha Hae, Scottish patriotism, anticlericalism, class inequalities, gender roles, commentary on the Scottish Kirk of his time, Scottish cultural identity, poverty, sexuality, and the beneficial aspects of popular socialising (carousing, Scotch whisky, folk songs, and so forth). The strong emotional highs and lows associated with many of Burns' poems have led some, such as Burns biographer Robert Crawford, to suggest that he suffered from manic depression— a hypothesis that has been supported by analysis of various samples of his handwriting. Burns himself referred to suffering from episodes of what he called "blue devilism". However, the National Trust for Scotland has downplayed the suggestion on the grounds that evidence is insufficient to support the claim. While Burns's life was troubled and his character was flawed in many ways, he fought at tremendous odds. As Thomas Carlyle puts it in his Essay: Granted the ship comes into harbour with shrouds and tackle damaged, the pilot is blameworthy... but to know how blameworthy, tell us first whether his voyage has been round the Globe or only to Ramsgate and the Isle of Dogs. Influence Scotland and the rest of Britain Burns is generally classified as a proto-Romantic poet, and he influenced William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Percy Bysshe Shelley greatly. His direct literary influences in the use of Scots in poetry were Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) and Robert Fergusson. The Edinburgh literati worked to sentimentalise Burns during his life and after his death, dismissing his education by calling him a "heaven-taught ploughman". Burns would influence later Scottish writers, especially Hugh MacDiarmid, who fought to dismantle what he felt had become a sentimental cult that dominated Scottish literature. United States An example of Burns' literary influence in the U.S. is seen in the choice by novelist John Steinbeck of the title of his 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, taken from a line in the second-to-last stanza of To a Mouse: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men /Gang aft agley." Burns' influence on American vernacular poets such as James Whitcomb Riley and Frank Lebby Stanton has been acknowledged by their biographers. When asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration, singer songwriter Bob Dylan selected Burns's 1794 song A Red, Red Rose, as the lyric that had the biggest effect on his life. The author J. D. Salinger used protagonist Holden Caulfield's misinterpretation of Burns' poem Comin' Through the Rye as his title and a main interpretation of Holden's grasping to his childhood in his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. The poem, actually about a rendezvous, is thought by Holden to be about saving people from falling out of childhood. Russia Burns became the "people's poet" of Russia. In Imperial Russia Burns was translated into Russian and became a source of inspiration for the ordinary, oppressed Russian people. In Soviet Russia, he was elevated as the archetypal poet of the people. As a great admirer of the egalitarian ethos behind the American and French Revolutions who expressed his own egalitarianism in poems such as his Birthday Ode for George Washington or his Is There for Honest Poverty (A Man's a Man for a' that), Burns was well placed for endorsement by the Communist regime as a "progressive" artist. A new translation of Burns begun in 1924 by Samuil Marshak proved enormously popular, selling over 600, copies. The USSR honoured Burns with a commemorative stamp in 1956. He remains popular in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Burns

Emily Brontë

Emily Jane Brontë ( /ˈbrɒnti/; 30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) was an English novelist and poet, best remembered for her solitary novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature. Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother Branwell. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell. Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818 in Thornton, near Bradford in Yorkshire, to Maria Branwell and Patrick Brontë. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1824, the family moved to Haworth, where Emily's father was perpetual curate, and it was in these surroundings that their literary gifts flourished. After the death of their mother in 1821, when Emily was three years old, the older sisters Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte were sent to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge, where they encountered abuse and privations later described by Charlotte in Jane Eyre. Emily joined the school for a brief period. When a typhus epidemic swept the school, Maria and Elizabeth caught it. Maria, who may actually have had tuberculosis, was sent home, where she died. Emily was subsequently removed from the school along with Charlotte and Elizabeth. Elizabeth died soon after their return home. The three remaining sisters and their brother Patrick Branwell were thereafter educated at home by their father and aunt Elizabeth Branwell, their mother's sister. In their leisure time the children created a number of fantasy worlds, which were featured in stories they wrote and enacted about the imaginary adventures of their toy soldiers along with the Duke of Wellington and his sons, Charles and Arthur Wellesley. Little of Emily's work from this period survives, except for poems spoken by characters (The Brontës' Web of Childhood, Fannie Ratchford, 1941). When Emily was 13, she and Anne withdrew from participation in the Angria story and began a new one about Gondal, a large island in the North Pacific. With the exception of Emily's Gondal poems and Anne's lists of Gondal's characters and place-names, their writings on Gondal were not preserved. Some "diary papers" of Emily's have survived in which she describes current events in Gondal, some of which were written, others enacted with Anne. One dates from 1841, when Emily was twenty-three: another from 1845, when she was twenty-seven. At seventeen, Emily attended the Roe Head girls' school, where Charlotte was a teacher, but managed to stay only three months before being overcome by extreme homesickness. She returned home and Anne took her place. At this time, the girls' objective was to obtain sufficient education to open a small school of their own. Adulthood Emily became a teacher at Law Hill School in Halifax beginning in September 1838, when she was twenty. Her health broke under the stress of the 17-hour work day and she returned home in April 1839. Thereafter she became the stay-at-home daughter, doing most of the cooking and cleaning and teaching Sunday school. She taught herself German out of books and practised piano. Constantin Heger, teacher of Charlotte and Emily during their stay in Brussels, on a daguerreotype dated from circa 1865 Plaque in Brussels In 1842, Emily accompanied Charlotte to Brussels, Belgium, where they attended a girls' academy run by Constantin Heger. They planned to perfect their French and German in anticipation of opening their school. Nine of Emily's French essays survive from this period. The sisters returned home upon the death of their aunt. They did try to open a school at their home, but were unable to attract students to the remote area. In 1844, Emily began going through all the poems she had written, recopying them neatly into two notebooks. One was labelled "Gondal Poems"; the other was unlabelled. Scholars such as Fannie Ratchford and Derek Roper have attempted to piece together a Gondal storyline and chronology from these poems. In the autumn of 1845, Charlotte discovered the notebooks and insisted that the poems be published. Emily, furious at the invasion of her privacy, at first refused, but relented when Anne brought out her own manuscripts and revealed she had been writing poems in secret as well. In 1846, the sisters' poems were published in one volume as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The Brontë sisters had adopted pseudonyms for publication: Charlotte was Currer Bell, Emily was Ellis Bell and Anne was Acton Bell. Charlotte wrote in the "Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell" that their "ambiguous choice" was "dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because... we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice[.]" Charlotte contributed 20 poems, and Emily and Anne each contributed 21. Although the sisters were told several months after publication that only two copies had sold, they were not discouraged. The Athenaeum reviewer praised Ellis Bell's work for its music and power, and the Critic reviewer recognized "the presence of more genius than it was supposed this utilitarian age had devoted to the loftier exercises of the intellect.” Wuthering Heights In 1847, Emily published her novel, Wuthering Heights, as two volumes of a three-volume set (the last volume being Agnes Grey by her sister Anne). Its innovative structure somewhat puzzled critics. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became an English literary classic. In 1850, Charlotte edited and published Wuthering Heights as a stand-alone novel and under Emily's real name. Although a letter from her publisher indicates that Emily was finalizing a second novel, the manuscript has never been found. Death Emily's health, like her sisters', had been weakened by unsanitary conditions at home, the source of water being contaminated by runoff from the church's graveyard. She became sick during her brother's funeral in September 1848. Though her condition worsened steadily, she rejected medical help and all proffered remedies, saying that she would have "no poisoning doctor" near her. She eventually died of tuberculosis, on 19 December 1848 at around two in the afternoon. She was interred in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels family vault, Haworth, West Yorkshire. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Brontë

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861) was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death. Early life Some of Barrett's family had lived in Jamaica for several centuries. The main wealth of Barrett's household derived from Edward Barrett (1734–1798), landowner of 10, acres (40 km2) in Cinnamon Hill, Cornwall, Cambridge, and Oxford estates in northern Jamaica. Barrett Browning's maternal grandfather owned sugar plantations, mills, glassworks and ships that traded between Jamaica and Newcastle. Biographer Julia Markus stated that the poet ‘believed that she had African blood through her grandfather Charles Moulton’. There is no evidence to suggest her line of the Barrett family had any African ancestry, although other branches did, through the children of plantation owners and slaves. What the family believed to be their genealogy over several hundred years in the West Indies, is unclear. The family wished to hand down their name as well as their wealth, stipulating that Barrett should be held as a surname. In some cases inheritance was given on the prerequisite that the name Barrett had to be used by the beneficiary. Given the strong tradition, Elizabeth used 'Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett' on legal documents and before she was married often signed herself as 'Elizabeth Barrett Barrett', or ‘EBB’ (initials she was able to keep after her wedding). Elizabeth's father chose to raise his family in England while his fortune grew in Jamaica. The Graham Clarke family wealth, also derived in part from slave labour, was also considerable. Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett was born on 6 March 1806, in Coxhoe Hall, between the villages of Coxhoe and Kelloe in County Durham, England. Her parents were Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett and Mary Graham Clarke; Elizabeth was the eldest of their 12 children (eight boys and four girls). All the children lived to adulthood except for one girl, who died at the age of three when Elizabeth was eight. The children in her family all had nicknames: Elizabeth's was "Ba". Elizabeth was baptized in 1809 at Kelloe Parish Church, though she had already been baptized by a family friend in the first week after she was born. Later that year, after the fifth child, Henrietta, was born, their father bought Hope End, a 500-acre (2. km2) estate near the Malvern Hills in Ledbury, Herefordshire, where Elizabeth spent her childhood. Her time at Hope End would inspire her in later life to write Aurora Leigh. She was educated at home and attended lessons with her brothers' tutor. During the Hope End period, she was an intensely studious, precocious child. She writes that at six she was reading novels, at eight she was entranced by Pope's translations of Homer, studying Greek at ten and writing her own Homeric epic The Battle of Marathon. Her mother compiled early efforts of the child's poetry into collections of "Poems by Elizabeth B. Barrett". Her father called her the 'Poet Laureate of Hope End’ and encouraged her work. The result is one of the largest collections of juvenilia of any English writer. On her 14th birthday her father gave the gift of 50 printed copies of the epic. She went on to delight in reading Virgil in the original Latin, Shakespeare and Milton. By 1821 she had read Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), and she became a passionate supporter of Wollstonecraft's ideas. She watched her brothers go off to school knowing that there was no chance of that education for herself. The child's intellectual fascination with the classics and metaphysics was reflected in a religious intensity which she later described as "not the deep persuasion of the mild Christian but the wild visions of an enthusiast". The Barretts attended services at the nearest Dissenting chapel, and Edward was active in Bible and Missionary societies. Elizabeth was very close to her siblings and had great respect for her father: she claimed that life was no fun without him, and her mother agreed. Publication Barrett Browning's first known poem was written at the age of six or eight, "On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man". The manuscript is currently in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library; the exact date is controversial because the "2" in the date 1812 is written over something else that is scratched out. Her first independent publication was "Stanzas Excited by Reflections on the Present State of Greece" in The New Monthly Magazine of May 1821;this was followed in the same publication two months later by "Thoughts Awakened by Contemplating a Piece of the Palm which Grows on the Summit of the Acropolis at Athens". Her first collection of poems, An Essay on Mind, with Other Poems, was published in 1826 and reflected her passion for Byron and Greek politics. Its publication drew the attention of a blind scholar of the Greek language, Hugh Stuart Boyd, and that of another Greek scholar, Uvedale Price, with whom she maintained a sustained scholarly correspondence. Among other neighbours was Mrs. James Martin from Colwall, with whom she also corresponded throughout her life. Later, at Boyd's suggestion, she translated Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (published in 1833; retranslated in 1850). During their friendship Barrett studied Greek literature, including Homer, Pindar and Aristophanes. At about age 15 Barrett Browning began to battle with a lifelong illness, which the medical science of the time was unable to diagnose. All three sisters came down with the syndrome although it lasted only with Elizabeth. She had intense head and spinal pain with loss of mobility. Apocryphally it was told that she fell while trying to saddle a horse or was creating the illness but there is strong evidence that she was seriously sick. The illnesses of this time were, however, unrelated to the lung disease she suffered in 1837. This illness caused her to be frail and weak. Mary Russell Mitford described the young Barrett Browning at this time, as having "a slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on each side of a most expressive face; large, tender eyes, richly fringed by dark eyelashes, and a smile like a sunbeam". She began to take opiates for the pain, Laudanum (and opium concoction) then morphine, commonly prescribed at the time. She would become dependent on them for much of her adulthood; the use from an early age would have contributed to her frail health. Biographers such as Alethea Hayter have suggested that this may have contributed to the wild vividness of her imagination and the poetry it produced. In 1828, Barrett Browning’s mother died. She wrote "scarcely I was a woman when I lost my mother". She is buried at the Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels in Ledbury, next to her daughter Mary. Sarah Graham-Clarke, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's aunt, helped to care of the children and was known to clash with the strong will of Elizabeth. In 1831 Barrett Browning's grandmother, Elizabeth Moulton, died. The family moved three times between 1832 and 1837, first to a white Georgian building in Sidmouth, Devonshire, where they remained for three years. Later they moved on to Gloucester Place in London. Elizabeth Barrett Browning opposed slavery and published two poems highlighting the barbarity of slavers and her support for the abolitionist cause. The poems opposing slavery include "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point" and "A Curse for a Nation"; in the first she describes the experience of a slave woman who is whipped, raped, and made pregnant as she curses the slavers. She declared herself glad that the slaves were "virtually free" when the Emancipation Act abolishing slavery in British colonies was passed in 1833, despite the fact that her father believed that Abolitionism would ruin his business. The date of publication of these poems is in dispute but her position on slavery in the poems is clear and may have led to a rift between Elizabeth and her father. She wrote to John Ruskin in 1855 "I belong to a family of West Indian slaveholders, and if I believed in curses, I should be afraid". After the Jamaican slave uprising of 1831–2 her father and uncle continued to treat the slaves humanely but the family became mired in thirty-eight years of chancery litigation over the division of land and other property. Following lawsuits and the abolition of slavery Mr. Barrett incurred great financial and investment losses that forced him to sell Hope End. Although the family were never poor, the place was seized and put up for sale to satisfy creditors. Always secret in his financial dealings, he would not discuss his situation and the family was haunted by the idea that they might have to move to Jamaica. In 1838, some years after the sale of Hope End the family settled at 50 Wimpole Street. In London John Kenyon, a distant cousin, introduced her to literary figures including William Wordsworth, Mary Russell Mitford, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle. Barrett Browning continued to write, contributing "The Romaunt of Margaret", "The Romaunt of the Page", "The Poet's Vow", and other pieces to various periodicals. She corresponded with other writers, including Mary Russell Mitford, who would become a close friend and support Barrett Browning in furthering her literary ambitions. In 1838 The Seraphim and Other Poems appeared, the first volume of Elizabeth's mature poetry to appear under her own name. During 1837–8 the poet was struck with illness again, with symptoms today suggesting tuberculous ulceration of the lungs. In 1838, at her physician's insistence, Barrett Browning moved from London to Torquay, on the Devonshire coast. Two tragedies then struck: in February 1840 her brother Samuel died of a fever in Jamaica and her brother Edward ('Bro'), with whom she was very close, went with her to Torquay and was drowned in a sailing accident in July. This had a serious effect on her already fragile health; when they found his body after a couple of days, she had no strength for tears or words. She felt guilty as her father had disapproved of Edward's trip to Torquay but did not hinder the visit. She wrote to Mitford "That was a very near escape from madness, absolute hopeless madness". The family returned to Wimpole Street in 1841. Success At Wimpole Street Barrett Browning spent most of her time in her upstairs room, and her health began to recover, though she saw few people other than her immediate family. One of those she did see was Kenyon, a wealthy friend of the family and patron of the arts. She received comfort from her spaniel named “Flush”, which had been a gift from Mary Mitford. (Virginia Woolf later fictionalised the life of the dog, making him the protagonist of her 1933 novel Flush: A Biography). Between 1841–4 Barrett Browning was prolific in poetry, translation and prose. The poem "The Cry of the Children", published in 1842 in Blackwoods, condemned child labour and helped bring about child labour reforms by rousing support for Lord Shaftesbury's Ten Hours Bill (1844). At about the same time, she contributed some critical prose pieces to Richard Henry Horne's A New Spirit of the Age. In 1844 she published two volumes of Poems, which included "A Drama of Exile", "A Vision of Poets", and "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" and two substantial critical essays for 1842 issues of The Athenaeum. “Since she was not burdened with any domestic duties expected of her sisters, Elizabeth could now devote herself entirely to the life of the mind, cultivating an enormous correspondence, reading widely”. Her prolific output made her a rival to Tennyson's as a candidate for poet laureate in 1850 on the death of Wordsworth. Robert Browning and Italy Her 1844 volume Poems made her one of the most popular writers in the country at the time and inspired Robert Browning to write to her, telling her how much he loved her work. He had been an admirer of her poetry for a long time and wrote "I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett" praising their "fresh strange music, the affluent language, the exquisite pathos and true new brave thought". Kenyon arranged for Robert Browning to meet Elizabeth on 20 May 1845, in her rooms, and so began one of the most famous courtships in literature. Elizabeth had produced a large amount of work and had been writing long before Robert Browning had. However, he had a great influence on her writing, as did she on his: two of Barrett’s most famous pieces were produced after she met Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese and Aurora Leigh. Robert's Men and Women is a product of that time. Some critics, however, point to him as an undermining influence: "Until her relationship with Robert Browning began in 1845, Barrett’s willingness to engage in public discourse about social issues and about aesthetic issues in poetry, which had been so strong in her youth, gradually diminished, as did her physical health. As an intellectual presence and a physical being, she was becoming a shadow of herself". Her doctors strongly encouraged her to go to the warmer climates of Italy to avoid another English winter, but her father would not hear of it. "Portuguese" was a pet name Browning used. Sonnets from the Portuguese also refers to the series of sonnets of the 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões; in all these poems she used rhyme schemes typical of the Portuguese sonnets. The verse-novel Aurora Leigh, her most ambitious and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. It is the story of a female writer making her way in life, balancing work and love. The writings depicted in this novel are based on similar, personal experiences that Elizabeth suffered through herself. The North American Review praised Elizabeth’s poem in these words: "Mrs. Browning’s poems are, in all respects, the utterance of a woman—of a woman of great learning, rich experience, and powerful genius, uniting to her woman’s nature the strength which is sometimes thought peculiar to a man”. The courtship and marriage between Robert Browning and Elizabeth were carried out secretly as she and her siblings were convinced their father would disapprove. Six years his elder and an invalid, she could not believe that the vigorous and worldly Robert Browning really loved her as much as he professed to. After a private marriage at St. Marylebone Parish Church, they honeymooned in Paris. Browning then imitated his hero Shelley by spiriting his wife off to Italy, in September 1846, which became her home almost continuously until her death. Elizabeth's loyal nurse, Wilson, who witnessed the marriage, accompanied the couple to Italy. Mr. Barrett disinherited Elizabeth, as he did each of his children who married. Elizabeth had foreseen her father's anger but not expected the disgust of her brothers, who saw Browning as a lower-class gold-digger and refused to see him. As Elizabeth had some money of her own, the couple were reasonably comfortable in Italy, and their relationship together was harmonious. The Brownings were well respected in Italy, and even famous. Elizabeth grew stronger and in 1849, at the age of 43, between four miscarriages, she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. Their son later married but had no legitimate children. At her husband's insistence, the second edition of Elizabeth’s Poems included her love sonnets; as a result, her popularity increased (as well as critical regard), and her position was confirmed. The couple came to know a wide circle of artists and writers including, in Italy, William Makepeace Thackeray, sculptor Harriet Hosmer (who, she wrote, seemed to be the "perfectly emancipated female") and Harriet Beecher Stowe. In 1849 she met Margaret Fuller and the female French novelist George Sand in 1852, whom she had long admired. They met with Lord Tennyson in Paris, and John Forster, Samuel Rogers, and the Carlyles in London, later befriending Charles Kingsley and John Ruskin. Decline At the death of an old friend, G.B. Hunter, and then of her father, her health faded again, centering around deteriorating lung function. She was moved from Florence to Siena, residing at the Villa Alberti. Deeply engrossed in Italian politics, she issued a small volume of political poems titled Poems before Congress (1860) “most of which were written to express her sympathy with the Italian cause after the outbreak of fighting in 1859”. They caused a furore in England and she was labelled as a fanatic by conservative magazines Blackwood's and the Saturday Review. She dedicated this book to her husband. Her last work was A Musical Instrument, published posthumously. In 1860 they returned to Rome, only to find that Elizabeth’s sister Henrietta had died, news which made Elizabeth weak and depressed. She became gradually weaker, using morphine to ease her pain. She died on 29 June 1861 in her husband's arms. Browning said that she died "smilingly, happily, and with a face like a girl's. … Her last word was—… 'Beautiful'". She was buried in the Protestant English Cemetery of Florence. “On Monday July 1 the shops in the section of the city around Casa Guidi were closed, while Elizabeth was mourned with unusual demonstrations.” The nature of her illness is still unclear, although medical and literary scholars have speculated that longstanding pulmonary problems, combined with palliative opiates, contributed to her decline. Some modern scientists speculate her illness may have been hypokalemic periodic paralysis, a genetic disorder that causes weakness and many of the other symptoms she described. Spiritual influence Much of Barrett Browning’s work carries a religious theme. She had read and studied such famous literary works as Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno. She says in her writing, "We want the sense of the saturation of Christ's blood upon the souls of our poets, that it may cry through them in answer to the ceaseless wail of the Sphinx of our humanity, expounding agony into renovation. Something of this has been perceived in art when its glory was at the fullest. Something of a yearning after this may be seen among the Greek Christian poets, something which would have been much with a stronger faculty". She believed that "Christ's religion is essentially poetry—poetry glorified". She explored the religious aspect in many of her poems, especially in her early work, such as the sonnets. She was interested in theological debate, had learned Hebrew and read the Hebrew Bible. The poem Aurora Leigh, for example, features religious imagery and allusion to the apocalypse. Critical reception American poet Edgar Allan Poe was inspired by Barrett Browning's poem Lady Geraldine's Courtship and specifically borrowed the poem's meter for his poem The Raven. Poe had reviewed Barrett's work in the January 1845 issue of the Broadway Journal and said that "her poetic inspiration is the highest—we can conceive of nothing more august. Her sense of Art is pure in itself." In return, she praised The Raven and Poe dedicated his 1845 collection The Raven and Other Poems to her, referring to her as "the noblest of her sex". Her poetry greatly influenced Emily Dickinson, who admired her as a woman of achievement. Her popularity in the United States and Britain was further advanced by her stands against social injustice, including slavery in the United States, injustice toward Italian citizens by foreign rulers, and child labour. In Lilian Whiting's 1899 biography of Elizabeth she describes her as "the most philosophical poet" and depicts her life as "a Gospel of applied Christianity". To Whiting, the term "art for art's sake" did not apply to Barrett Browning's work for the reason that each poem, distinctively purposeful, was borne of a more "honest vision". In this critical analysis, Whiting portrays Barrett Browning as a poet who uses knowledge of Classical literature with an "intuitive gift of spiritual divination". In Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Angela Leighton suggests that the portrayal of Barrett Browning as the "pious iconography of womanhood" has distracted us from her poetic achievements. Leighton cites the 1931 play by Rudolf Besier, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, as evidence that 20th century literary criticism of Barrett Browning's work has suffered more as a result of her popularity than poetic ineptitude. The play was popularized by actress Katharine Cornell, for whom it became a signature role. It was an enormous success, both artistically and commercially, and was revived several times and adapted twice into movies. Throughout the 20th century, literary criticism of Barrett Browning's poetry remained sparse until her poems were discovered by the women's movement. She once described herself as being inclined to reject several women's rights principles, suggesting in letters to Mary Russell Mitford and her husband that she believed that there was an inferiority of intellect in women. In Aurora Leigh, however, she created a strong and independent woman who embraces both work and love. Leighton writes that because she participates in the literary world, where voice and diction are dominated by perceived masculine superiority, she "is defined only in mysterious opposition to everything that distinguishes the male subject who writes..." A five-volume scholarly edition of her works was published in 2010, the first in over a century. Works * 1820: The Battle of Marathon: A Poem. Privately printed * 1826: A Essay On Mind, with Other Poems. London: James Duncan * 1833: Prometheus Bound, Translated from the Greek of Aeschylus,and Miscellaneous Poems. London: A.J. Valpy * 1838: The Seraphim, and Other Poems. London: Saunders and Otley * 1844: Poems (UK) / A Drama of Exile, and other Poems (US). London: Edward Moxon. New York: Henry G. Langley * 1850: Poems ("New Edition", 2 vols.) Revision of 1844 edition adding Sonnets from the Portuguese and others. London: Chapman & Hall * 1851: Casa Guidi Windows. London: Chapman & Hall * 1853: Poems (3d ed.). London: Chapman & Hall * 1854: Two Poems: "A Plea for the Ragged Schools of London" and "The Twins". London: Bradbury & Evans * 1856: Poems (4th ed.). London: Chapman & Hall * 1857: Aurora Leigh. London: Chapman and Hall * 1860: Poems Before Congress. London: Chapman & Hall * 1862: Last Poems. London: Chapman & Hall Posthumous publications of Barrett Browning's works * 1863: The Greek Christian Poets and the English Poets. London: Chapman & Hall * 1877: The Earlier Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1826–1833, ed. Richard Herne Shepherd. London: Bartholomew Robson * 1877: Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Addressed to Richard Hengist Horne, with comments on contemporaries, 2 vols., ed. S.R.T. Mayer. London: Richard Bentley & Son * 1897: Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 2 vols., ed. Frederic G. Kenyon. London:Smith, Elder,& Co. * 1899: Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845–1846, 2 vol., ed Robert W. Barrett Browning. London: Smith, Elder & Co. * 1914: New Poems by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ed. Frederic G Kenyon. London: Smith, Elder & Co. * 1929: Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Letters to Her Sister, 1846–1859, ed. Leonard Huxley. London: John Murray * 1935: Twenty-Two Unpublished Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning to Henrietta and Arabella Moulton Barrett. New York: United Feature Syndicate * 1939: Letters from Elizabeth Barrett to B.R. Haydon, ed. Martha Hale Shackford. New York: Oxford University Press * 1954: Elizabeth Barrett to Miss Mitford, ed. Betty Miller. London: John Murry * 1955: Unpublished Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Hugh Stuart Boyd, ed. Barbara P. McCarthy. New Heaven, Conn.: Yale University Press * 1958: Letters of the Brownings to George Barrett, ed. Paul Landis with Ronald E. Freeman. Urbana: University of Illinois Press * 1974: Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Letters to Mrs. David Ogilvy, 1849–1861, ed. P. Heydon and P. Kelley. New York: Quadrangle, New York Times Book Co., and Browning Institute * 1984: The Brownings' Correspondence, ed. Phillip Kelley, Ronald Hudson, and Scott Lewis. Winfield, Kans.: Wedgestone Press References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Barrett_Browning

William Blake

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry has led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life except for three years spent in Felpham he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself". Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of both the Romantic movement and "Pre-Romantic", for its large appearance in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England – indeed, to all forms of organised religion – Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions, as well as by such thinkers as Jakob Böhme and Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th-century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary," and as "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors”. Early life William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 at 28 Broad Street (now Broadwick St) in the Soho district of London. He was the third of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. Blake's father, James, was a hosier. William attended school only long enough to learn reading and writing, leaving at the age of ten, and was otherwise educated at home by his mother Catherine Wright Armitage Blake. The Blakes were Dissenters, and are believed to have belonged to the Moravian Church. The Bible was an early and profound influence on Blake, and would remain a source of inspiration throughout his life. Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice that was then preferred to actual drawing. Within these drawings Blake found his first exposure to classical forms through the work of Raphael, Michelangelo, Marten Heemskerk and Albrecht Dürer. His parents knew enough of his headstrong temperament that he was not sent to school but was instead enrolled in drawing classes. He read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake was also making explorations into poetry; his early work displays knowledge of Ben Jonson and Edmund Spenser. Apprenticeship to Basire On 4 August 1772, Blake became apprenticed to engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, for the term of seven years. At the end of this period, at the age of 21, he was to become a professional engraver. No record survives of any serious disagreement or conflict between the two during the period of Blake's apprenticeship. However, Peter Ackroyd's biography notes that Blake was later to add Basire's name to a list of artistic adversaries—and then cross it out. This aside, Basire's style of engraving was of a kind held to be old-fashioned at the time, and Blake's instruction in this outmoded form may have been detrimental to his acquiring of work or recognition in later life. After two years, Basire sent his apprentice to copy images from the Gothic churches in London (perhaps to settle a quarrel between Blake and James Parker, his fellow apprentice). His experiences in Westminster Abbey helped form his artistic style and ideas. The Abbey of his day was decorated with suits of armour, painted funeral effigies, and varicoloured waxworks. Ackroyd notes that "...the most immediate [impression] would have been of faded brightness and colour". In the long afternoons Blake spent sketching in the Abbey, he was occasionally interrupted by the boys of Westminster School, one of whom "tormented" Blake so much one afternoon that he knocked the boy off a scaffold to the ground, "upon which he fell with terrific Violence". Blake beheld more visions in the Abbey, of a great procession of monks and priests, while he heard "the chant of plain-song and chorale.” Royal Academy On 8 October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand. While the terms of his study required no payment, he was expected to supply his own materials throughout the six-year period. There, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by the school's first president, Joshua Reynolds. Over time, Blake came to detest Reynolds' attitude towards art, especially his pursuit of "general truth" and "general beauty". Reynolds wrote in his Discourses that the "disposition to abstractions, to generalising and classification, is the great glory of the human mind"; Blake responded, in marginalia to his personal copy, that "To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit". Blake also disliked Reynolds' apparent humility, which he held to be a form of hypocrisy. Against Reynolds' fashionable oil painting, Blake preferred the Classical precision of his early influences, Michelangelo and Raphael. David Bindman suggests that Blake's antagonism towards Reynolds arose not so much from the president's opinions (like Blake, Reynolds held history painting to be of greater value than landscape and portraiture), but rather "against his hypocrisy in not putting his ideals into practice." Certainly Blake was not averse to exhibiting at the Royal Academy, submitting works on six occasions between 1780 and 1808. Blake became friends with John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard and George Cumberland during his first year at the Royal Academy. They shared radical views, with Stothard and Cumberland joining the Society for Constitutional Information. Gordon Riots Blake's first biographer, Alexander Gilchrist, records that in June 1780 Blake was walking towards Basire's shop in Great Queen Street when he was swept up by a rampaging mob that stormed Newgate Prison in London. They attacked the prison gates with shovels and pickaxes, set the building ablaze, and released the prisoners inside. Blake was reportedly in the front rank of the mob during this attack. These riots, in response to a parliamentary bill revoking sanctions against Roman Catholicism, later came to be known as the Gordon Riots. They provoked a flurry of legislation from the government of George III, as well as the creation of the first police force. Despite Gilchrist's insistence that Blake was "forced" to accompany the crowd, some biographers have argued that he accompanied it impulsively, or supported it as a revolutionary act. In contrast, Jerome McGann argues that the riots were reactionary, and that events would have provoked "disgust" in Blake. Marriage and early career Blake met Catherine Boucher in 1782. At the time, Blake was recovering from a relationship that had culminated in a refusal of his marriage proposal. He recounted the story of his heartbreak for Catherine and her parents, after which he asked Catherine, "Do you pity me?" When she responded affirmatively, he declared, "Then I love you." Blake married Catherine – who was five years his junior – on 18 August 1782 in St. Mary's Church, Battersea. Illiterate, Catherine signed her wedding contract with an 'X'. The original wedding certificate may still be viewed at the church, where a commemorative stained-glass window was installed between 1976 and 1982. Later, in addition to teaching Catherine to read and write, Blake trained her as an engraver. Throughout his life she would prove an invaluable aid to him, helping to print his illuminated works and maintaining his spirits throughout numerous misfortunes. Blake's first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, was printed around 1783. After his father's death, William and former fellow apprentice James Parker opened a print shop in 1784, and began working with radical publisher Joseph Johnson. Johnson's house was a meeting-place for some of the leading English intellectual dissidents of the time: theologian and scientist Joseph Priestley, philosopher Richard Price, artist John Henry Fuseli, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and Anglo-American revolutionary Thomas Paine. Along with William Wordsworth and William Godwin, Blake had great hopes for the French revolution and American revolutions and wore a Phrygian cap in solidarity with the French revolutionaries, but despaired with the rise of Robespierre and the Reign of Terror in France. In 1784 Blake also composed his unfinished manuscript An Island in the Moon. Blake illustrated Original Stories from Real Life (1788; 1791) by Mary Wollstonecraft. They seem to have shared some views on sexual equality and the institution of marriage, but there is no evidence proving without doubt that they actually met. In 1793's Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Blake condemned the cruel absurdity of enforced chastity and marriage without love and defended the right of women to complete self-fulfillment. Relief etching In 1788, at the age of 31, Blake began to experiment with relief etching, a method he would use to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and poems. The process is also referred to as illuminated printing, and final products as illuminated books or prints. Illuminated printing involved writing the text of the poems on copper plates with pens and brushes, using an acid-resistant medium. Illustrations could appear alongside words in the manner of earlier illuminated manuscripts. He then etched the plates in acid to dissolve the untreated copper and leave the design standing in relief (hence the name). This is a reversal of the normal method of etching, where the lines of the design are exposed to the acid, and the plate printed by the intaglio method. Relief etching (which Blake also referred to as "stereotype" in The Ghost of Abel) was intended as a means for producing his illuminated books more quickly than via intaglio. Stereotype, a process invented in 1725, consisted of making a metal cast from a wood engraving, but Blake’s innovation was, as described above, very different. The pages printed from these plates then had to be hand-coloured in water colours and stitched together to make up a volume. Blake used illuminated printing for most of his well-known works, including Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Book of Thel, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and Jerusalem. Engravings Although Blake has become most famous for his relief etching, his commercial work largely consisted of intaglio engraving, the standard process of engraving in the 18th century in which the artist would incise an image into the copper plate. This was a complex and laborious process, with plates taking months or years to complete, but as Blake's contemporary, John Boydell, realised, such engraving offered a "missing link with commerce", enabling artists to connect with a mass audience and so becoming an immensely important activity by the end of the 18th century. Blake also employed intaglio engraving in his own work, most notably for the illustrations of the Book of Job, completed just before his death. Most critical work has tended to concentrate on Blake's relief etching as a technique because it is the most innovative aspect of his art, but a 2009 study draws attention to Blake's surviving plates, including those for the Book of Job: these demonstrate that he made frequent use of a technique known as "repoussage", a means of obliterating mistakes by hammering them out by hitting the back of the plate. Such techniques, typical of engraving work of the time, are very different to the much faster and fluid way of drawing on a plate that Blake employed for his relief etching, and indicates why the engravings took so long to complete. Later life and career Blake's marriage to Catherine remained a close and devoted one until his death. Blake taught Catherine to write, and she helped him to colour his printed poems. Gilchrist refers to "stormy times" in the early years of the marriage. Some biographers have suggested that Blake tried to bring a concubine into the marriage bed in accordance with the beliefs of the more radical branches of the Swedenborgian Society, but other scholars have dismissed these theories as conjecture. William and Catherine's first daughter and last child might be Thel described in The Book of Thel who was conceived as dead. Felpham In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham in Sussex (now West Sussex) to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began Milton: a Poem (the title page is dated 1804 but Blake continued to work on it until 1808). The preface to this work includes a poem beginning "And did those feet in ancient time," which became the words for the anthem, "Jerusalem". Over time, Blake came to resent his new patron, coming to believe that Hayley was uninterested in true artistry, and preoccupied with "the meer drudgery of business" (E724). Blake's disenchantment with Hayley has been speculated to have influenced Milton: a Poem, in which Blake wrote that "Corporeal Friends are Spiritual Enemies." Blake's trouble with authority came to a head in August 1803, when he was involved in a physical altercation with a soldier called John Schofield. Blake was charged not only with assault, but also with uttering seditious and treasonable expressions against the King. Schofield claimed that Blake had exclaimed, "Damn the king. The soldiers are all slaves." Blake would be cleared in the Chichester assizes of the charges. According to a report in the Sussex county paper, "The invented character of [the evidence] was ... so obvious that an acquittal resulted." Schofield was later depicted wearing "mind forged manacles" in an illustration to Jerusalem. Return to London Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate Jerusalem (1804–1820), his most ambitious work. Having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Blake approached the dealer Robert Cromek, with a view to marketing an engraving. Knowing that Blake was too eccentric to produce a popular work, Cromek promptly commissioned Blake's friend Thomas Stothard to execute the concept. When Blake learned that he had been cheated, he broke off contact with Stothard. He also set up an independent exhibition in his brother's haberdashery shop at 27 Broad Street in the Soho district of London. The exhibition was designed to market his own version of the Canterbury illustration (titled The Canterbury Pilgrims), along with other works. As a result he wrote his Descriptive Catalogue (1809), which contains what Anthony Blunt has called a "brilliant analysis" of Chaucer. It is regularly anthologised as a classic of Chaucer criticism. It also contained detailed explanations of his other paintings. The exhibition itself, however, was very poorly attended, selling none of the temperas or watercolours. Its only review, in The Examiner, was hostile. Also around this time (circa 1808) Blake gave vigorous expression of views on art in an extensive series of polemical annotations to the Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, denouncing the British Academy as a fraud and proclaiming, "To Generalize is to be an Idiot." In 1818 he was introduced by George Cumberland's son to a young artist named John Linnell. Through Linnell he met Samuel Palmer, who belonged to a group of artists who called themselves the Shoreham Ancients. This group shared Blake's rejection of modern trends and his belief in a spiritual and artistic New Age. At the age of 65 Blake began work on illustrations for the Book of Job. These works were later admired by Ruskin, who compared Blake favourably to Rembrandt, and by Vaughan Williams, who based his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing on a selection of the illustrations. Later in his life Blake began to sell a great number of his works, particularly his Bible illustrations, to Thomas Butts, a patron who saw Blake more as a friend than a man whose work held artistic merit; this was typical of the opinions held of Blake throughout his life. Dante's Divine Comedy The commission for Dante's Divine Comedy came to Blake in 1826 through Linnell, with the ultimate aim of producing a series of engravings. Blake's death in 1827 would cut short the enterprise, and only a handful of the watercolours were completed, with only seven of the engravings arriving at proof form. Even so, they have evoked praise: '[T]he Dante watercolours are among Blake's richest achievements, engaging fully with the problem of illustrating a poem of this complexity. The mastery of watercolour has reached an even higher level than before, and is used to extraordinary effect in differentiating the atmosphere of the three states of being in the poem'. Blake's illustrations of the poem are not merely accompanying works, but rather seem to critically revise, or furnish commentary on, certain spiritual or moral aspects of the text. Because the project was never completed, Blake's intent may itself be obscured. Some indicators, however, bolster the impression that Blake's illustrations in their totality would themselves take issue with the text they accompany: In the margin of Homer Bearing the Sword and His Companions, Blake notes, "Every thing in Dantes Comedia shews That for Tyrannical Purposes he has made This World the Foundation of All & the Goddess Nature & not the Holy Ghost." Blake seems to dissent from Dante's admiration of the poetic works of ancient Greece, and from the apparent glee with which Dante allots punishments in Hell (as evidenced by the grim humour of the cantos). At the same time, Blake shared Dante's distrust of materialism and the corruptive nature of power, and clearly relished the opportunity to represent the atmosphere and imagery of Dante's work pictorially. Even as he seemed to near death, Blake's central preoccupation was his feverish work on the illustrations to Dante's Inferno; he is said to have spent one of the very last shillings he possessed on a pencil to continue sketching. Death On the day of his death, Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried, "Stay Kate! Keep just as you are – I will draw your portrait – for you have ever been an angel to me." Having completed this portrait (now lost), Blake laid down his tools and began to sing hymns and verses. At six that evening, after promising his wife that he would be with her always, Blake died. Gilchrist reports that a female lodger in the same house, present at his expiration, said, "I have been at the death, not of a man, but of a blessed angel." George Richmond gives the following account of Blake's death in a letter to Samuel Palmer: He died ... in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brighten'd and he burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven. Catherine paid for Blake's funeral with money lent to her by Linnell. He was buried five days after his death – on the eve of his forty-fifth wedding anniversary – at the Dissenter's burial ground in Bunhill Fields, where his parents were also interred. Present at the ceremonies were Catherine, Edward Calvert, George Richmond, Frederick Tatham and John Linnell. Following Blake's death, Catherine moved into Tatham's house as a housekeeper. During this period, she believed she was regularly visited by Blake's spirit. She continued selling his illuminated works and paintings, but would entertain no business transaction without first "consulting Mr. Blake". On the day of her own death, in October 1831, she was as calm and cheerful as her husband, and called out to him "as if he were only in the next room, to say she was coming to him, and it would not be long now". On her death, Blake's manuscripts were inherited by Frederick Tatham, who burned several he deemed heretical or politically radical. Tatham was an Irvingite, one of the many fundamentalist movements of the 19th century, and was severely opposed to any work that smacked of blasphemy. Also, John Linnell erased sexual imagery from a number of Blake's drawings. Since 1965, the exact location of William Blake's grave had been lost and forgotten, while gravestones were taken away to create a new lawn. Nowadays, Blake’s grave is commemorated by a stone that reads "Near by lie the remains of the poet-painter William Blake 1757–1827 and his wife Catherine Sophia 1762–1831". This memorial stone is situated approximately 20 metres away from the actual spot of Blake’s grave, which is not marked. However, members of the group Friends of William Blake have rediscovered the location of Blake's grave and intend to place a permanent memorial at the site. Blake is now recognised as a saint in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. The Blake Prize for Religious Art was established in his honour in Australia in 1949. In 1957 a memorial was erected in Westminster Abbey, in memory of him and his wife. Politics Blake was not active in any well-established political party. His poetry consistently embodies an attitude of rebellion against the abuse of class power as documented in David Erdman's large study Blake: Prophet Against Empire: A Poet's Interpretation of the History of His Own Times. Blake was both concerned about senseless wars of kingdoms, and the blighting effects of the industrial revolution. Much of his poetry recounts in symbolic allegory the effects of the French and American revolutions. Erdman claims that Blake was disillusioned with these revolutions, believing they had simply replaced monarchy with irresponsible mercantilism. Erdman also notes that Blake was deeply opposed to slavery, and believes that some poems of Blake read primarily as championing "free love" have had their anti-slavery implications short-changed. One of the more recent (and very short) studies of Blake, William Blake: Visionary Anarchist by Peter Marshall (1988), has classified Blake as one of the forerunners of modern anarchism, along with Blake's contemporary William Godwin. The British Marxist historian E.P. Thompson's last finished work was a study on William Blake, Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (1993), and it shows how far Blake was inspired by dissident religious ideas rooted in the thinking of the most radical opponents of the monarchy during the English Civil War. Development of Blake's views Because Blake's later poetry contains a private mythology with complex symbolism, his late work has been less published than his earlier more accessible work. The recent Vintage anthology of Blake edited by Patti Smith focuses heavily on the earlier work, as do many critical studies such as William Blake by D. G. Gillham. The earlier work is primarily rebellious in character and can be seen as a protestation against dogmatic religion. This is especially notable in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell in which the figure represented by Satan is virtually the hero rebelling against an imposter authoritarian deity. In the later works such as Milton and Jerusalem, Blake carves a distinctive vision of a humanity redeemed by self-sacrifice and forgiveness, while retaining his earlier negative attitude towards what he felt was the rigid and morbid authoritarianism of traditional religion. Not all readers of Blake agree upon how much continuity exists between Blake's earlier and later works. Psychoanalyst June Singer has written that Blake's late work displayed a development of the ideas that were first introduced in his earlier works, namely, the humanitarian goal of achieving personal wholeness of body and spirit. The final section of the expanded edition of her Blake study The Unholy Bible suggests that the later works are in fact the "Bible of Hell" promised in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Regarding Blake's final poem "Jerusalem", she writes: "[T]he promise of the divine in man, made in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, is at last fulfilled." However, John Middleton Murry notes discontinuity between Marriage and the late works, in that while the early Blake focused on a "sheer negative opposition between Energy and Reason", the later Blake emphasised the notions of self-sacrifice and forgiveness as the road to interior wholeness. This renunciation of the sharper dualism of Marriage of Heaven and Hell is evidenced in particular by the humanisation of the character of Urizen in the later works. Middleton characterises the later Blake as having found "mutual understanding" and "mutual forgiveness”. Sexuality 19th-century "free love” movement Since his death, William Blake has been claimed by various movements who apply his complex and often elusive use of symbolism and allegory to the issues that concern them. In particular, Blake is sometimes considered (along with Mary Wollstonecraft and her husband William Godwin) a forerunner of the subsequent 19th-century "free love" movement, a broad reform tradition starting in the 1820s that held that marriage is slavery, and advocated for removal of all state restrictions on sexual activity such as homosexuality, prostitution, and adultery, culminating in the birth control movement of the early 20th century. Blake scholarship was more focused on this theme in the earlier 20th century than today, although it is still mentioned today notably by the Blake scholar Magnus Ankarsjö who moderately challenges this interpretation. The 19th-century "free love" movement was not particularly focused on the idea of multiple partners, but did agree with Wollstonecraft that state-sanctioned marriage was "legal prostitution" and was monopolistic in character. It has somewhat more in common with early feminist movements (particularly with regard to the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, whom Blake admired). Blake was critical of the marriage laws of his day, and generally railed against traditional Christian notions of chastity as a virtue. At a time of tremendous strain in his marriage, in part due to Catherine's apparent inability to bear children, he directly advocated bringing a second wife into the house. His poetry suggests that external demands for marital fidelity reduce love to mere duty rather than authentic affection, and decries jealousy and egotism as a motive for marriage laws. Poems such as "Why should I be bound to thee, O my lovely Myrtle-tree?" and "Earth's Answer" seem to advocate multiple sexual partners. His poem "London" speaks of "the Marriage-Hearse". Visions of the Daughters of Albion is widely (though not universally) read as a tribute to free love since the relationship between Bromion and Oothoon is held together only by laws and not by love. For Blake, law and love are opposed, and he castigates the "frozen marriage-bed". In Visions, Blake writes: Till she who burns with youth, and knows no fixed lot, is bound In spells of law to one she loathes? and must she drag the chain Of life in weary lust? In the 19th-century famed poet and free love advocate Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote a full-length book on Blake drawing attention to the above motifs in which Blake praises "sacred natural love" that is not bound by another's possessive jealousy, the latter characterised by Blake as a "creeping skeleton". Swinburne also notes how Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell condemns the hypocrisy of the "pale religious letchery" of advocates of traditional norms. Another 19th-century free love advocate, Edward Carpenter (1844–1929), was also influenced by Blake's mystical emphasis on energy free from external restrictions. In the early 20th-century Pierre Berger described how Blake's views echo that of Mary Wollstonecraft celebrating joyful authentic love rather than love born of duty, the former being the true measure of purity. Irene Langridge notes that "in Blake's mysterious and unorthodox creed the doctrine of free love was something Blake wanted for the edification of 'the soul'." Michael Davis's 1977 book William Blake a New Kind of Man suggests that Blake thought jealousy separates man from the divine unity, condemning him to a frozen death. As a theological writer, Blake has a sense of human “fallenness”. S. Foster Damon has noted that for Blake the major impediments to a free love society were corrupt human nature, not merely the intolerance of society and the jealousy of men, but the inauthentic hypocritical nature of human communication. Thomas Wright's 1928 book Life of William Blake (entirely devoted to Blake's doctrine of free love) notes that Blake thinks marriage should in practice afford the joy of love, but notes that in reality it often does not, as a couple's knowledge of being chained often diminishes their joy. Pierre Berger also analyses Blake's early mythological poems such as Ahania as declaring marriage laws to be a consequence of the fallenness of humanity, as these are born from pride and jealousy. Some scholars have noted both that Blake's views on “free love” are both qualified and may have undergone shifts and modifications in his late years. Some poems from this period warn of dangers of predatory sexuality such as The Sick Rose. Magnus Ankarsjö notes that while the hero of Visions of the Daughters of Albion is a strong advocate of free love, by the end of the poem she has become more circumspect as her awareness of the dark side of sexuality has grown, crying "Can this be love which drinks another as a sponge drinks water?" Ankarsjö also notes that a major inspiration to Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, similarly developed more circumspect views of sexual freedom late in life. In light of Blake's aforementioned sense of human 'fallenness' Ankarsjö thinks Blake does not fully approve of sensual indulgence merely in defiance of law as exemplified by the female character of Leutha, since in the fallen world of experience all love is enchained. Ankarsjö records Blake as having supported a commune with some sharing of partners, though David Worrall has recently read The Book of Thel as a rejection of the proposal to take concubines espoused by some members of the Swedenborgian church. Blake's later writings show a renewed interest in Christianity, and although he radically reinterprets Christian morality in a way that embraces sensual pleasure, there is little of the emphasis on sexual libertarianism found in several of his early poems, and there is advocacy of "self-denial", though such abnegation must be inspired by love rather than through authoritarian compulsion. Berger (moreso than Swinburne) is especially sensitive to a shift in sensibility between the early Blake and the later Blake. Berger believes the young Blake placed too much emphasis on following impulses, and that the older Blake had a better formed ideal of a true love that sacrifices self. Some celebration of mystical sensuality remains in the late poems (most notably in Blake's denial of the virginity of Jesus's mother). However, the late poems also place a greater emphasis on forgiveness, redemption, and emotional authenticity as a foundation for relationships. Religious views Although Blake's attacks on conventional religion were shocking in his own day, his rejection of religiosity was not a rejection of religion per se. His view of orthodoxy is evident in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a series of texts written in imitation of Biblical prophecy. Therein, Blake lists several Proverbs of Hell, among which are the following: * Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion. * As the catterpillar [sic] chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys. In The Everlasting Gospel, Blake does not present Jesus as a philosopher or traditional messianic figure but as a supremely creative being, above dogma, logic and even morality: If he had been Antichrist Creeping Jesus, He'd have done anything to please us: Gone sneaking into Synagogues And not us'd the Elders & Priests like Dogs, But humble as a Lamb or Ass, Obey'd himself to Caiaphas. God wants not Man to Humble himself Jesus, for Blake, symbolises the vital relationship and unity between divinity and humanity: "All had originally one language, and one religion: this was the religion of Jesus, the everlasting Gospel. Antiquity preaches the Gospel of Jesus." (Descriptive Catalogue, Plate 39, E543) Blake designed his own mythology, which appears largely in his prophetic books. Within these Blake describes a number of characters, including 'Urizen', 'Enitharmon', 'Bromion' and 'Luvah'. This mythology seems to have a basis in the Bible and in Greek mythology, and it accompanies his ideas about the everlasting Gospel. One of Blake's strongest objections to orthodox Christianity is that he felt it encouraged the suppression of natural desires and discouraged earthly joy. In A Vision of the Last Judgement, Blake says that: Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have governd their Passions or have No Passions but because they have Cultivated their Understandings. The Treasures of Heaven are not Negations of Passion but Realities of Intellect from which All the Passions Emanate in their Eternal Glory. One may also note his words concerning religion in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy, calld Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, calld Good, is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the following Contraries to these are True 1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3. Energy is Eternal Delight. Blake does not subscribe to the notion of a body distinct from the soul that must submit to the rule of the soul, but sees the body as an extension of the soul, derived from the 'discernment' of the senses. Thus, the emphasis orthodoxy places upon the denial of bodily urges is a dualistic error born of misapprehension of the relationship between body and soul. Elsewhere, he describes Satan as the 'state of error', and as beyond salvation. Blake opposed the sophistry of theological thought that excuses pain, admits evil and apologises for injustice. He abhorred self-denial, which he associated with religious repression and particularly sexual repression: "Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. / He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence." (7.–5, E35) He saw the concept of 'sin' as a trap to bind men’s desires (the briars of Garden of Love), and believed that restraint in obedience to a moral code imposed from the outside was against the spirit of life: Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs & flaming hair But Desire Gratified Plants fruits & beauty there. He did not hold with the doctrine of God as Lord, an entity separate from and superior to mankind; this is shown clearly in his words about Jesus Christ: "He is the only God ... and so am I, and so are you." A telling phrase in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is "men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast". This is very much in line with his belief in liberty and social equality in society and between the sexes. Enlightenment philosophy Blake had a complex relationship with Enlightenment philosophy. Due to his visionary religious beliefs, Blake opposed the Newtonian view of the universe. This mindset is reflected in an excerpt from Blake's Jerusalem: I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire Washd by the Water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace. Blake also believed that the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds, which depict the naturalistic fall of light upon objects, were products entirely of the "vegetative eye", and he saw Locke and Newton as "the true progenitors of Sir Joshua Reynolds' aesthetic". The popular taste in the England of that time for such paintings was satisfied with mezzotints, prints produced by a process that created an image from thousands of tiny dots upon the page. Blake saw an analogy between this and Newton's particle theory of light. Accordingly, Blake never used the technique, opting rather to develop a method of engraving purely in fluid line, insisting that: a Line or Lineament is not formed by Chance a Line is a Line in its Minutest Subdivision[s] Strait or Crooked It is Itself & Not Intermeasurable with or by any Thing Else Such is Job. Despite his opposition to Enlightenment principles, Blake thus arrived at a linear aesthetic that was in many ways more similar to the Neoclassical engravings of John Flaxman than to the works of the Romantics, with whom he is often classified. Therefore Blake has also been viewed as an enlightenment poet and artist, in the sense that he was in accord with that movement's rejection of received ideas, systems, authorities and traditions. On the other hand, he was critical of what he perceived as the elevation of reason to the status of an oppressive authority. In his criticism of reason, law and uniformity Blake has been taken to be opposed to the enlightenment, but it has also been argued that, in a dialectical sense, he used the enlightenment spirit of rejection of external authority to criticise narrow conceptions of the enlightenment. Assessment Creative mindset Northrop Frye, commenting on Blake's consistency in strongly held views, notes that Blake "himself says that his notes on [Joshua] Reynolds, written at fifty, are 'exactly Similar' to those on Locke and Bacon, written when he was 'very Young'. Even phrases and lines of verse will reappear as much as forty years later. Consistency in maintaining what he believed to be true was itself one of his leading principles ... Consistency, then, foolish or otherwise, is one of Blake's chief preoccupations, just as 'self-contradiction' is always one of his most contemptuous comments”. Blake abhorred slavery and believed in racial and sexual equality. Several of his poems and paintings express a notion of universal humanity: "As all men are alike (tho' infinitely various)". In one poem, narrated by a black child, white and black bodies alike are described as shaded groves or clouds, which exist only until one learns "to bear the beams of love”: When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy: Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear, To lean in joy upon our fathers knee. And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him and he will then love me. Blake retained an active interest in social and political events for all his life, and social and political statements are often present in his mystical symbolism. His views on what he saw as oppression and restriction of rightful freedom extended to the Church. His spiritual beliefs are evident in Songs of Experience (1794), in which he distinguishes between the Old Testament God, whose restrictions he rejected, and the New Testament God whom he saw as a positive influence. Visions From a young age, William Blake claimed to have seen visions. The first of these visions may have occurred as early as the age of four when, according to one anecdote, the young artist "saw God" when God "put his head to the window", causing Blake to break into screaming. At the age of eight or ten in Peckham Rye, London, Blake claimed to have seen "a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars." According to Blake's Victorian biographer Gilchrist, he returned home and reported this vision, and he only escaped being thrashed by his father for telling a lie through the intervention of his mother. Though all evidence suggests that his parents were largely supportive, his mother seems to have been especially so, and several of Blake's early drawings and poems decorated the walls of her chamber. On another occasion, Blake watched haymakers at work, and thought he saw angelic figures walking among them. Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life. They were often associated with beautiful religious themes and imagery, and therefore may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly, religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake's works. God and Christianity constituted the intellectual centre of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. In addition, Blake believed that he was personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively read and enjoyed by those same Archangels. In a letter of condolence to William Hayley, dated 6 May 1800, four days after the death of Hayley's son, Blake writes: I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate. In a letter to John Flaxman, dated 21 September 1800, Blake writes: [The town of] Felpham is a sweet place for Study, because it is more spiritual than London. Heaven opens here on all sides her golden Gates; her windows are not obstructed by vapours; voices of Celestial inhabitants are more distinctly heard, & their forms more distinctly seen; & my Cottage is also a Shadow of their houses. My Wife & Sister are both well, courting Neptune for an embrace... I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my Brain are studies & Chambers filled with books & pictures of old, which I wrote & painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; & those works are the delight & Study of Archangels. In a letter to Thomas Butts, dated 25 April 1803, Blake writes: Now I may say to you, what perhaps I should not dare to say to anyone else: That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoy'd, & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & prophecy & speak Parables unobserv'd & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals; perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness, but Doubts are always pernicious, Especially when we Doubt our Friends. In A Vision of the Last Judgement Blake writes: Error is Created Truth is Eternal Error or Creation will be Burned Up & then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance & not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it. Aware of Blake's visions, William Wordsworth commented, "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott." In a more deferential vein, writing in his A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, John William Cousins wrote that Blake was "a truly pious and loving soul, neglected and misunderstood by the world, but appreciated by an elect few", who "led a cheerful and contented life of poverty illumined by visions and celestial inspirations.” References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Robert Browning

Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, England. His mother was an accomplished pianist and a devout evangelical Christian. His father, who worked as a bank clerk, was also an artist, scholar, antiquarian, and collector of books and pictures. His rare book collection of more than 6,000 volumes included works in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Much of Browning's education came from his well-read father. It is believed that he was already proficient at reading and writing by the age of five. A bright and anxious student, Browning learned Latin, Greek, and French by the time he was fourteen. From fourteen to sixteen he was educated at home, attended to by various tutors in music, drawing, dancing, and horsemanship. At the age of twelve he wrote a volume of Byronic verse entitled Incondita, which his parents attempted, unsuccessfully, to have published. In 1825, a cousin gave Browning a collection of Shelley's poetry; Browning was so taken with the book that he asked for the rest of Shelley's works for his thirteenth birthday, and declared himself a vegetarian and an atheist in emulation of the poet. Despite this early passion, he apparently wrote no poems between the ages of thirteen and twenty. In 1828, Browning enrolled at the University of London, but he soon left, anxious to read and learn at his own pace. The random nature of his education later surfaced in his writing, leading to criticism of his poems' obscurities. In 1833, Browning anonymously published his first major published work, Pauline, and in 1840 he published Sordello, which was widely regarded as a failure. He also tried his hand at drama, but his plays, including Strafford, which ran for five nights in 1837, and the Bells and Pomegranates series, were for the most part unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the techniques he developed through his dramatic monologues—especially his use of diction, rhythm, and symbol—are regarded as his most important contribution to poetry, influencing such major poets of the twentieth century as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Robert Frost. After reading Elizabeth Barrett's Poems (1844) and corresponding with her for a few months, Browning met her in 1845. They were married in 1846, against the wishes of Barrett's father. The couple moved to Pisa and then Florence, where they continued to write. They had a son, Robert "Pen" Browning, in 1849, the same year his Collected Poems was published. Elizabeth inspired Robert's collection of poems Men and Women (1855), which he dedicated to her. Now regarded as one of Browning's best works, the book was received with little notice at the time; its author was then primarily known as Elizabeth Barrett's husband. Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in 1861, and Robert and Pen Browning soon moved to London. Browning went on to publish Dramatis Personae (1863), and The Ring and the Book (1868). The latter, based on a seventeenth-century Italian murder trial, received wide critical acclaim, finally earning a twilight of reknown and respect in Browning's career. The Browning Society was founded while he still lived, in 1881, and he was awarded honorary degrees by Oxford University in 1882 and the University of Edinburgh in 1884. Robert Browning died on the same day that his final volume of verse, Asolando, was published, in 1889. A Selected Bibliography Poetry Asolando: Fancies and Facts (1889) Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day (1850) Complete Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning (1895) Dramatic Idyls (1879) Dramatic Idyls: Second Series (1880) Ferishtah's Fancies (1884) Jocoseria (1883) La Saisiaz, and The Two Poets of Croisicv (1878) Men and Women (1855) New Poems by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1914) Pacchiarotto and How He Worked in Distemper, with Other Poems (1876) Paracelsus (1835) Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in Their Day (1887) Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession (1833) Red Cotton Night-Cap Country; or, Turf and Towers (1873) Robert Browning: The Poems (1981) Robert Browning: The Ring and the Book (1971) Sordell (1840) The Brownings to the Tennysons (1971) The Complete Works of Robert Browning (1898) The Inn Album (1875) The Poetical Works of Robert Browning (1868) The Ring and the Book (1868) The Works of Robert Browning (1912) Two Poems (1854) Prose Browning to His American Friends (1965) Dearest Isa: Browning's Letters to Isa Blagden (1951) Learned Lady: Letters from Robert Browning to Mrs. Thomas FitzGerald 1876-1889 (1966) Letters of Robert Browning Collected by Thomas J. Wise (1933) New Letters of Robert Browning (1950) Robert Browning and Julia Wedgwood: A Broken Friendship as Revealed in Their Letters (1937) The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, 1845-1846 (1969) Thomas Jones, The Divine Order: Sermons (1884) Anthology The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1877) Drama Aristophanes' Apology (1875) Balaustion's Adventure, Including a Transcript from Euripides (1871) Bells and Pomegranates, No. IV - The Return of the Druses: A Tragedy in Five Acts (1943) Bells and Pomegranates. No. I - Pippa Passes (1841) Bells and Pomegranates. No. II - King Victor and King Charles (1842) Bells and Pomegranates. No. III - Dramatic Lyrics (1842) Bells and Pomegranates. No. V - A Blot in the 'Scutcheon: A Tragedy in Five Acts (1843) Bells and Pomegranates. No. V - Colombe's Birthday: A Play in Five Acts (1844) Bells and Pomegranates. No. VII - Dramatic Romances & Lyrics (1845) Bells and Pomegranates. No. VIII - and Last, Luria; and A Soul's Tragedy (1846) Dramatis Personae (1864) Fifine at the Fair (1872) Poems: A New Edition (1849) Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society (1871) Strafford: An Historical Tragedy (1837) References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/182

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) was an American poet, short-story writer, and recipient of the 1976 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956 and the National Book Award winner in 1970. Early years Elizabeth Bishop, an only child, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. After her father, a successful builder, died when she was eight months old, Bishop’s mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in 1916. (Bishop wrote about the time of her mother's struggles in her short story "In The Village.") Effectively orphaned during her very early childhood, she lived with her grandparents on a farm in Great Village, Nova Scotia, a period she also referenced in her writing. This was also where she developed into a first-class fisherwoman. Bishop's mother remained in an asylum until her death in 1934, and the two were never reunited. Later in childhood, Bishop's paternal family gained custody, and she was removed from the care of her grandparents and moved in with her father's wealthier family in Worcester, Massachusetts. However, Bishop was unhappy in Worcester, and her separation from her grandparents made her lonely. While she was living in Worcester, she developed chronic asthma, from which she suffered for the rest of her life. Her time in Worcester is briefly chronicled in her poem "In The Waiting Room." In 1918 her grandparents, realizing that she was unhappy living with them, sent Bishop to live with her mother's oldest sister, Maud Boomer Shepherdson, and her husband George. The Bishops paid Maud to house and educate their granddaughter. The Shepherdsons lived in a tenement in an impoverished Revere, Massachusetts neighborhood populated mostly by Irish and Italian immigrants. The family later moved to better circumstances in Cliftondale, Massachusetts. It was Bishop's aunt who introduced her to the works of Victorian poets, including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Bishop was very ill as a child and as a result received very little formal schooling. She attended Saugus High School for her freshman year of high school. She was accepted to the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts for her sophomore year, but was behind on her immunizations and not allowed to attend. She instead spent the year at the North Shore Country Day School in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Bishop then boarded at the Walnut Hill School, where she studied music. At the school her first poems were published by her friend Frani Blough in a student magazine. Then she entered Vassar College in the fall of 1929, shortly before the stock market crash, planning to be a composer. She gave up music because of a terror of performance and switched to English where she took courses including 16th and 17th century literature and the novel. Bishop published her work in her senior year in The Magazine (based in California) and 1933, she co-founded Con Spirito, a rebel literary magazine at Vassar, with writer Mary McCarthy (one year her senior), Margaret Miller, and the sisters Eunice and Eleanor Clark. Bishop graduated in 1934. Influences Bishop was greatly influenced by the poet Marianne Moore to whom she was introduced by a librarian at Vassar in 1934. Moore took a keen interest in Bishop’s work, and at one point Moore dissuaded Bishop from attending Cornell Medical School, in which the poet had briefly enrolled herself after moving to New York City following her Vassar graduation. It was four years before Bishop addressed "Dear Miss Moore" as "Dear Marianne," and only then at the elder poet’s invitation. The friendship between the two women, memorialized by an extensive correspondence (see One Art), endured until Moore's death in 1972. Bishop's "At the Fishhouses" (1955) contains allusions on several levels to Moore's 1924 poem "A Grave." She was introduced to Robert Lowell by Randall Jarrell in 1947 and they became great friends, mostly through their written correspondence, until Lowell's death in 1977. After his death, she wrote, "our friendship, [which was] often kept alive through years of separation only by letters, remained constant and affectionate, and I shall always be deeply grateful for it". They also both influenced each other's poetry. Lowell cited Bishop's influence on his poem "Skunk Hour" which he said, "[was] modeled on Miss Bishop's 'The Armadillo.'" Also, his poem "The Scream" is "derived from...Bishop's story In the Village." "North Haven," one of the last poems she published during her lifetime, was written in memory of Lowell in 1978. Travel and success Bishop had an independent income in early adulthood as a result of an inheritance from her deceased father that did not run out until the end of her life.With this inheritance, Bishop was able to travel widely without worrying about employment and lived in many cities and countries which are described in her poems. She lived in France for several years in the mid-1930s with a friend she knew at Vassar, Louise Crane, who was a paper-manufacturing heiress. In 1938, Bishop purchased a house with Crane at 624 White Street in Key West, Florida. While living there Bishop made the acquaintance of Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, who had divorced Ernest Hemingway in 1940. From 1949 to 1950, she was the Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress, and lived at Bertha Looker's Boardinghouse, 1312 30th Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., in Georgetown. In 1946, Marianne Moore suggested Bishop for the Houghton Mifflin Prize for poetry which Bishop won. Her first book, North & South, was published in 1, copies. The book prompted the literary critic Randall Jarrell to write that “all her poems have written underneath, 'I have seen it,'" referring to Bishop's talent for vivid description. Upon receiving a substantial $2, traveling fellowship from Bryn Mawr College in 1951, Bishop set off to circumnavigate South America by boat. Arriving in Santos, Brazil in November of that year, Bishop expected to stay two weeks but stayed fifteen years. She lived in Pétropolis with architect Lota de Macedo Soares, descended from a prominent and notable political family. While living in Brazil, Bishop won the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for the collection Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring, which combined her first two books. Although Bishop was not forthcoming about details of her romance with Soares, much of their relationship was documented in Bishop's extensive correspondence with Samuel Ashley Brown. However, in its later years, the relationship deteriorated, becoming volatile and tempestuous, marked by bouts of depression, tantrums and alcoholism. It was during her time in Brazil that Elizabeth Bishop became increasingly interested in the languages and literatures of Latin America. She was influenced by South and Central American poets, including the Mexican poet, Octavio Paz, as well as the Brazilian poets João Cabral de Melo Neto and Carlos Drummond de Andrade and translated their work into English. Regarding de Andrade, she said, "I didn't know him at all. He's supposed to be very shy. I'm supposed to be very shy. We've met once — on the sidewalk at night. We had just come out of the same restaurant, and he kissed my hand politely when we were introduced." After Soares took her own life in 1967 Bishop spent more time in the US. Literary style and identity Bishop did not see herself as a "lesbian poet" or as a "female poet." Although she still considered herself to be "a strong feminist," she only wanted to be judged based on the quality of her writing and not on her gender or sexual orientation. Also, where some of her notable contemporaries like Robert Lowell and John Berryman made the intimate, often sordid details of their personal lives an important part of their poetry, Bishop avoided this practice altogether. For instance, like Berryman, Bishop struggled with alcoholism and depression throughout her adult life; but Bishop never wrote about this struggle (whereas Berryman made his alcoholism and depression a focal point in his dream song poems). In contrast to this confessional style involving large amounts of self-exposure, Bishop's style of writing, though it sometimes involved sparse details from her personal life, was known for its highly detailed and objective, distant point of view and for its reticence on the sordid subject matter that obsessed her contemporaries. In contrast to a poet like Lowell, when Bishop wrote about details and people from her own life (as she did in her story about her childhood and her mentally unstable mother in "In the Village"), she always used discretion. Although she was generally supportive of the "confessional" style of her friend, Robert Lowell, she drew the line at Lowell's highly controversial book The Dolphin (1973), in which he used and altered private letters from his ex-wife, Elizabeth Hardwick (whom he'd recently divorced after 23 years of marriage), as material for his poems. In a letter to Lowell, dated March 21, 1972, Bishop strongly urged him against publishing the book, writing, "One can use one's life as material [for poems]--one does anyway—but these letters—aren't you violating a trust? IF you were given permission—IF you hadn't changed them. . .etc. But art just isn't worth that much." Later career In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, Bishop won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as two Guggenheim Fellowships and an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant. In 1976, she became the first woman to receive the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and remains the only American to be awarded that prize. Bishop lectured in higher education for a number of years starting in the 1970s when her inheritance began to run out. For a short time she taught at the University of Washington, before teaching at Harvard University for seven years. She often spent her summers in her summer house in the island community of North Haven, Maine. She taught at New York University, before finishing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She commented "I don’t think I believe in writing courses at all… It’s true, children sometimes write wonderful things, paint wonderful pictures, but I think they should be discouraged." In 1971 Bishop began a relationship with Alice Methfessel. Never a prolific writer, Bishop noted that she would begin many projects and leave them unfinished. She published her last book in 1976, Geography III. Three years later, she died of a cerebral aneurysm in her apartment at Lewis Wharf, Boston. She is buried in Hope Cemetery in Worcester, Massachusetts. Alice Methfessel was her literary executor. After her death, the Elizabeth Bishop House, an artists' retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia, was dedicated to her memory. Poetry collections * North & South (Houghton Mifflin, 1946) * Poems: North & South. A Cold Spring (Houghton Mifflin, 1955) —winner of the Pulitzer Prize * A Cold Spring (Houghton Mifflin, 1956) * Questions of Travel (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1965) * The Complete Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1969) —winner of the National Book Award * Geography III, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1976) * The Complete Poems: 1927–1979 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1983) * Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop ed. Alice Quinn, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Bishop

John Bunyan

John Bunyan (/ˈbʌnjən/; baptised 30 November 1628– 31 August 1688) was an English writer and Baptist preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. Bunyan came from the village of Elstow, near Bedford. He had some schooling and at the age of sixteen joined the Parliamentary army during the first stage of the English Civil War. After three years in the army he returned to Elstow and took up the trade of tinker, which he had learned from his father. He became interested in religion after his marriage, attending first the parish church and then joining the Bedford Meeting, a nonconformist group in Bedford, and becoming a preacher. After the restoration of the monarch, when the freedom of nonconformists was curtailed, Bunyan was arrested and spent the next twelve years in jail as he refused to undertake to give up preaching. During this time he wrote a spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, and began work on his most famous book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which was not published until some years after his release. Bunyan’s later years, in spite of another shorter term of imprisonment, were spent in relative comfort as a popular author and preacher, and pastor of the Bedford Meeting. He died aged 59 after falling ill on a journey to London and is buried in Bunhill Fields. The Pilgrim’s Progress became one of the most published books in the English language; 1,300 editions having been printed by 1938, 250 years after the author’s death. He is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 30 August, and on the liturgical calendar of the United States Episcopal Church on 29 August. Some other churches of the Anglican Communion, such as the Anglican Church of Australia, honour him on the day of his death (31 August). Early life John Bunyan was born in 1628 to Thomas and Margaret Bunyan at Bunyan’s End in the parish of Elstow, Bedfordshire. Bunyan’s End is located about half-way between the hamlet of Harrowden (one mile south-east of Bedford) and Elstow High Street. Bunyan’s date of birth is not known, but he was baptised on 30 November 1628, the baptismal entry in the parish register reading "John the sonne of Thomas Bunnion Jun., the 30 November". The name Bunyan was spelt in many different ways (there are 34 variants in Bedfordshire Record Office) and had its origins in the Norman-French name Buignon. There had been Bunyans in north Bedfordshire since at least 1199. Bunyan’s father was a brazier or tinker who travelled around the area mending pots and pans, and his grandfather had been a chapman or small trader. The Bunyans also owned land in Elstow, so Bunyan’s origins were not quite as humble as he suggested in his autobiographical work Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners when he wrote that his father’s house was “of that rank that is meanest and most despised in the country”. As a child Bunyan learnt his father’s trade of tinker and was given some rudimentary schooling. In Grace Abounding Bunyan recorded few details of his upbringing, but he did note how he picked up the habit of swearing (from his father), suffered from nightmares, and read the popular stories of the day in cheap chap-books. In the summer of 1644 Bunyan lost both his mother and his sister Margaret. That autumn, shortly before or after his sixteenth birthday, Bunyan enlisted in the Parliamentary army when an edict demanded 225 recruits from the town of Bedford. There are few details available about his military service, which took place during the first stage of the English Civil War. A muster roll for the garrison of Newport Pagnell shows him as private “John Bunnian”. In Grace Abounding, he recounted an incident from this time, as evidence of the grace of God: “When I was a Soldier I, with others were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it; But when I was just ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my room, to which, when I had consented, he took my place; and coming to the siege, as he stood Sentinel, he was shot into the head with a Musket bullet and died.” Bunyan’s army service provided him with a knowledge of military language which he then used in his book The Holy War, and also exposed him to the ideas of the various religious sects and radical groups he came across in Newport Pagnell. The garrison town also gave him opportunities to indulge in the sort of behaviour he would later confess to in Grace Abounding: “So that until I came to the state of Marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the Youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness”. Bunyan spent nearly three years in the army, leaving in 1647 to return to Elstow and his trade as a tinker. His father had remarried and had more children and Bunyan moved from Bunyan’s End to a cottage in Elstow High Street. Marriage and conversion Within two years of leaving the army, Bunyan married. The name of his wife and the exact date of his marriage are not known, but Bunyan did recall that his wife, a pious young woman, brought with her into the marriage two books that she had inherited from her father: Arthur Dent’s Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety. He also recalled that, apart from these two books, the newly-weds possessed little: “not having so much household-stuff as a Dish or a Spoon betwixt us both”. The couple’s first daughter, Mary, was born in 1650, and it soon became apparent that she was blind. They would have three more children, Elizabeth, Thomas and John. By his own account, Bunyan had as a youth enjoyed bell-ringing, dancing and playing games including on Sunday, thought by many to be the Sabbath, which was forbidden by the Puritan regime. One Sunday the vicar of Elstow preached a sermon against Sabbath breaking, and Bunyan took this sermon to heart. That afternoon, as he was playing tip-cat (a game in which a small piece of wood is hit with a bat) on Elstow village green, he heard a voice from the heavens “Wilt thou leave thy sins, and go to Heaven? Or have thy sins, and go to Hell?” The next few years were a time of intense spiritual conflict for Bunyan as he struggled with his doubts and fears over religion and guilt over what he saw as his state of sin. During this time Bunyan, whilst on his travels as a tinker, happened to be in Bedford and pass a group of women who were talking about spiritual matters on their doorstep. The women were in fact some of the founding members of the Bedford Free Church or Meeting and Bunyan, who had been attending the parish church of Elstow, was so impressed by their talk that he joined their church. At that time the nonconformist group was meeting in St John’s church in Bedford under the leadership of former Royalist army officer John Gifford. At the instigation of other members of the congregation Bunyan began to preach, both in the church and to groups of people in the surrounding countryside. In 1656, having by this time moved his family to St Cuthbert’s Street in Bedford, he published his first book, Gospel Truths Opened, which was inspired by a dispute with Quakers. In 1658 Bunyan’s wife died, leaving him with four small children, one of them blind. A year later he married an eighteen-year-old woman called Elizabeth. Imprisonment The religious tolerance which had allowed Bunyan the freedom to preach became curtailed with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The members of the Bedford Meeting were no longer able to meet in St John’s church, which they had been sharing with the Anglican congregation. That November, Bunyan was preaching at Lower Samsell, a farm near the village of Westoning, thirteen miles from Bedford, when he was warned that a warrant was out for his arrest. Deciding not to make an escape, he was arrested and brought before the local magistrate Sir Francis Wingate, at Harlington House. The Act of Uniformity, which made it compulsory for preachers to be ordained by an Anglican bishop and for the revised Book of Common Prayer to be used in church services, was still two years away, and the Act of Conventicles, which made it illegal to hold religious meetings of five or more people outside the Church of England was not passed until 1664. Bunyan was arrested under the Conventicle Act of 1593, which made it an offence to attend a religious gathering other than at the parish church with more than five people outside their family. The offence was punishable by 3 months imprisonment followed by banishment or execution if the person then failed to promise not to re-offend. The Act had been little used, and Bunyan’s arrest was probably due in part to concerns that non-conformist religious meetings were being held as a cover for people plotting against the king (although this was not the case with Bunyan’s meetings). The trial of Bunyan took place in January 1661 at the quarter sessions in Bedford, before a group of magistrates under John Kelynge, who would later help to draw up the Act of Uniformity. Bunyan, who had been held in prison since his arrest, was indicted of having “devilishly and perniciousy abstained from coming to church to hear divine service” and having held “several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom”. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment with transportation to follow if at the end of this time he didn’t agree to attend the parish church and desist from preaching. As Bunyan refused to agree to give up preaching, his period of imprisonment eventually extended to 12 years and brought great hardship to his family. Elizabeth, who made strenuous attempts to obtain his release, had been pregnant when her husband was arrested and she subsequently gave birth prematurely to a still-born child. Left to bring up four step-children, one of whom was blind, she had to rely on the charity of Bunyan’s fellow members of the Bedford Meeting and other supporters and on what little her husband could earn in gaol by making shoelaces. But Bunyan remained resolute: “O I saw in this condition I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his Wife and Children; yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it”. Bunyan spent his 12 years’ imprisonment in Bedford County Gaol, which stood on the corner of the High Street and Silver Street. There were however occasions when he was allowed out of prison, depending on the gaolers and the mood of the authorities at the time, and he was able to attend the Bedford Meeting and even preach. His daughter Sarah was born during his imprisonment (the other child of his second marriage, Joseph, was born after his release in 1672). In prison, Bunyan had a copy of the Bible and of John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, as well as writing materials. He also had at times the company of other preachers who had been imprisoned. It was in Bedford Gaol that he wrote Grace Abounding and started work on The Pilgrim’s Progress, as well as penning several tracts that may have brought him a little money. In 1671, while still in prison, he was chosen as pastor of the Bedford Meeting. By that time there was a mood of increasing religious toleration in the country and in March 1672 the king issued a declaration of indulgence which suspended penal laws against nonconformists. Thousands of nonconformists were released from prison, amongst them Bunyan and five of his fellow inmates of Bedford Gaol. Bunyan was freed in May 1672 and immediately obtained a licence to preach under the declaration of indulgence. Later life Following his release from gaol in 1672 Bunyan probably did not return to his former occupation of tinker. Instead he devoted his time to writing and preaching. He continued as pastor of the Bedford Meeting and travelled over Bedfordshire and adjoining counties on horseback to preach, becoming known affectionately as “Bishop Bunyan”. His preaching also took him to London, where Lord Mayor Sir John Shorter became a friend and presented him with a silver-mounted walking stick. The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678 by Nathaniel Ponder and immediately became popular, though probably making more money for its publisher than for its author. Two events marred Bunyan’s life during the later 1670s. Firstly he became embroiled in a scandal concerning a young woman called Agnes Beaumont. When going to preach in Gamlingay in 1674 he allowed Beaumont, a member of the Bedford Meeting, to ride pillion on his horse, much to the anger of her father, who then died suddenly. His daughter was initially suspected of poisoning him, though the coroner found he had died of natural causes. And then in 1676-7 he underwent a second term of imprisonment, probably for refusing to attend the parish church. In 1688, on his way to London, Bunyan made a detour to Reading, Berkshire, to try and resolve a quarrel between a father and son. Continuing to London to the house of his friend, grocer John Strudwick of Snow Hill in the City of London, he was caught in a storm and fell ill with a fever. He died in Strudwick’s house on the morning of 31 August 1688 and was buried in the tomb belonging to Strudwick in Bunhill Fields nonconformist burial ground in London. Bunyan’s estate at his death was worth £42 19s 0d. His widow Elizabeth died in 1691. Works * Between 1656 when he published his first work, Some Gospel Truths Opened (a tract against the Quakers), and his death in 1688, Bunyan published 42 titles. A further two works, including his Last Sermon, were published the following year by George Larkin. In 1692 Southwark comb-maker Charles Doe, who was a friend of Bunyan’s later years, brought out, with the collaboration of Bunyan’s widow, a collection of the author’s works, including 12 previously unpublished titles, mostly sermons. Six years later Doe published The Heavenly Footman and finally in 1765 Relation of My Imprisonment was published, giving a total of 58 published titles. * It is the allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, written during Bunyan’s twelve-year imprisonment although not published until 1678 six years after his release, that made Bunyan’s name as an author with its immediate success. It remains the book for which Bunyan is best remembered. The images Bunyan uses in The Pilgrim’s Progress are reflections of images from his own world; the strait gate is a version of the wicket gate at Elstow Abbey church, the Slough of Despond is a reflection of Squitch Fen, a wet and mossy area near his cottage in Harrowden, the Delectable Mountains are an image of the Chiltern Hills surrounding Bedfordshire. Even his characters, like the Evangelist as influenced by John Gifford, are reflections of real people. Further allegorical works were to follow: The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680), Pilgrim’s Progress Part II, and The Holy War (1682). Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, a spiritual autobiography was published in 1666, when he was still in jail. Adaptations * In March, 2015 Director Darren Wilson announced a Kickstarter campaign to produce a full-length feature film based on The Pilgrims Progress called Heaven Quest: A Pilgrim’s Progress Movie. Memorials * In 1862 a recumbent statue was created to adorn Bunyan’s grave, and restored in 1922. * In 1874, a bronze statue of John Bunyan, sculpted by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, was erected in Bedford. This stands at the south-western corner of St Peter’s Green, facing down Bedford’s High Street. The site was chosen by Boehm for its significance as a crossroads. Bunyan is depicted expounding the Bible, to an invisible congregation, with a broken fetter representing his imprisonment by his left foot. There are three scenes from “The Pilgrim’s Progress” on the stone plinth: Christian at the wicket gate; his fight with Apollyon; and losing his burden at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The statue was unveiled by Lady Augusta Stanley, wife of the Dean of Westminster, on Wednesday 10 June 1874. In 1876 the Duke of Bedford gave bronze doors by Frederick Thrupp depicting scenes from The Pilgrim’s Progress to the Bunyan Meeting (the former Bedford Meeting which had been renamed in Bunyan’s honour). * There is another statue of him in Kingsway, London, and there are memorial windows in Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral and various churches, including Elstow Abbey (the parish church of Elstow) and the Bunyan Meeting Free Church in Bedford. * Bunyan is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 30 August, and on the liturgical calendar of the United States Episcopal Church on 29 August. Some other churches of the Anglican Communion, such as the Anglican Church of Australia, honour him on the day of his death (31 August). Legacy * Bunyan is best remembered for The Pilgrim’s Progress, a book which gained immediate popularity. By 1692, four year’s after the author’s death, publisher Charles Doe estimated that 100,000 copies had been printed in England, as well as editions “in France, Holland, New England and Welch”. By 1938, 250 years after Bunyan’s death, more than 1,300 editions of the book had been printed. * During the 18th century Bunyan’s unpolished style fell out of favour, but his popularity returned with Romanticism, poet Robert Southey writing an appreciative biography in 1830. Bunyan’s reputation was further enhanced by the evangelical revival and he became a favourite author of the Victorians. The tercentenary of Bunyan’s birth, celebrated in 1928, elicited praise from his former adversary, the Church of England. Although popular interest in Bunyan waned during the second half of the twentieth century, academic interest in the writer has increased and Oxford University Press brought out a new edition of his works, beginning in 1976. Authors who have been influenced by Bunyan include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott and George Bernard Shaw. * Bunyan’s work, in particular The Pilgrim’s Progress, has reached a wider audience through stage productions, film, TV, and radio. An opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams based on The Pilgrim’s Progress was first performed at the Royal Opera House in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain and revived in 2012 by the English National Opera. * John Bunyan had six children, five of whom are known to have married, of which four had children. Moot Hall Museum (in Elstow) has a record of John’s descendants, down to the nineteenth century but as of September 2013, no verifiable trace of later descendants has been found. Selected bibliography * * Among Bunyan’s many works: References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bunyan

William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles (24 September 1762– 7 April 1850) was an English priest, poet and critic. Life and career Bowles was born at King’s Sutton, Northamptonshire, where his father was vicar. At the age of 14 he entered Winchester College, where the headmaster at the time was Dr Joseph Warton. In 1781 Bowles left as captain of the school, and went on to Trinity College, Oxford, where he had won a scholarship. Two years later he won the Chancellor’s prize for Latin verse. Bowles came from a line of Church of England clergymen. His great-grandfather Matthew Bowles (1652–1742), grandfather Dr Thomas Bowles (1696–1773) and father William Thomas Bowles (1728–86) had all been parish priests. After taking his degree at Oxford, Bowles followed his forebears into the Church of England, and in 1792, after serving as curate in Donhead St Andrew, was appointed vicar of Chicklade in Wiltshire. In 1797 he received the vicarage of Dumbleton in Gloucestershire, and in 1804 became vicar of Bremhill in Wiltshire, where he wrote the poem seen on Maud Heath’s statue. In the same year his bishop, John Douglas, collated him to a prebendal stall in Salisbury Cathedral. In 1818 he was made chaplain to the Prince Regent, and in 1828 he was elected residentiary canon of Salisbury. Works * In 1789 he published, in a very small quarto volume, Fourteen Sonnets, which were received with extraordinary favour, not only by the general public, but by such men as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wordsworth. * The Sonnets even in form were a revival, a return to an older and purer poetic style, and by their grace of expression, melodious versification, tender tone of feeling and vivid appreciation of the life and beauty of nature, stood out in strong contrast to the elaborated commonplaces which at that time formed the bulk of English poetry. Bowles said thereof Poetic trifles from solitary rambles whilst chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy, written from memory, confined to fourteen lines, this seemed best adapted to the unity of sentiment, the verse flowed in unpremeditated harmony as my ear directed but are far from being mere elegiac couplets. * The longer poems published by Bowles are not of a very high standard, though all are distinguished by purity of imagination, cultured and graceful diction, and great tenderness of feeling. The most extensive were The Spirit of Discovery (1804), which was mercilessly ridiculed by Lord Byron; The Missionary (1813); The Grave of the Last Saxon (1822); and St John in Patmos (1833). Bowles is perhaps more celebrated as a critic than as a poet.In 1806 he published an edition of Alexander Pope’s works with notes and an essay, in which he laid down certain canons as to poetic imagery which, subject to some modification, were later accepted, but which were received at the time with strong opposition by admirers of Pope and his style. The controversy brought into sharp contrast the opposing views of poetry, which may be roughly described as the natural and the artificial. * Bowles was an amiable, absent-minded, and rather eccentric man. His poems are characterised by refinement of feeling, tenderness, and pensive thought, but are deficient in power and passion. Bowles maintained that images drawn from nature are poetically finer than those drawn from art; and that in the highest kinds of poetry the themes or passions handled should be of the general or elemental kind, and not the transient manners of any society. These positions were attacked by Byron, Thomas Campbell, William Roscoe and others, while for a time Bowles was almost solitary. William Hazlitt and the Blackwood critics came to his assistance, and on the whole Bowles had reason to congratulate himself on having established certain principles which might serve as the basis of a true method of poetical criticism, and of having inaugurated, both by precept and by example, a new era in English poetry. Among other prose works from his prolific pen was a Life of Bishop Ken (two volumes, 1830–1831). Other works include Coombe Ellen and St. Michael’s Mount (1798), The Battle of the Nile (1799), and The Sorrows of Switzerland (1801). * Bowles also enjoyed considerable reputation as an antiquary, his principal work in that department being Hermes Britannicus (1828). His Poetical Works were collected in 1855 as part of the Library Edition of the British Poets, with a memoir by George Gilfillan. Reception * Bowles’ work was important to the young Samuel Taylor Coleridge: * Bowles was the cause in the 1820s of the Alexander Pope controversy into which George Gordon, Lord Byron was drawn. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lisle_Bowles

José Carlos Becerra

José Carlos Becerra (Villahermosa, Tabasco, 21 de mayo de 1936 - Brindisi, Italia, 27 de mayo de 1970) fue un poeta mexicano. En 1953 obtuvo el primer lugar en un concurso estatal a nivel preparatoria con el texto titulado "Apología de Hidalgo". A partir de 1954 publicó en la prensa de Villahermosa cuentos y artículos varios. En un concurso estatal de cuento, celebrado en 1956, obtuvo el tercer lugar con "El ahogado" (tema que reaparecerá en dos textos de distintas épocas y en muchas alusiones dispersas). Por entonces redactó los primeros versos suyos que conocemos e inició su amistad con Pellicer Más tarde entró a la Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, y luego en la Facultad de Arquitectura, igual de la UNAM. Tras la represión del movimiento ferrocarrilero encabezado por Demetrio Vallejo, en marzo de 1959, Becerra escribió un poema civil: "Vamos a hacer azúcar con vidrios", que recoge Marco Antonio Acosta en su Antología de poetas tabasqueños. El año de 1964 fue decisivo para Becerra pues murió su madre, a cuya memoria dedicó "Oscura palabra" editado por Arreola en 1965, comenzó a escribir "Relación de los hechos", y a publicar en las revistas El Corno Emplumado, Cuadernos de Bellas Artes, Cuadernos del Viento, Diálogos, Pájaro cascabel, Revista Mexicana de Literatura, Revista de la Universidad de México y en los suplementos: La Cultura en México y El Gallo Ilustrado. Primeros reconocimientos Después de ganar en 1966 premios de poesía en Villahermosa y en Aguascalientes, en 1967 publicó "Relación de los hechos" y participó en el volumen colectivo Poesía joven de México y figuró entre los becarios del Centro Mexicano de Escritores. Era redactor en una agencia de publicidad cuando en 1968 sucedió la matanza de Tlatelolco. Fue de los primeros poetas que protestaron contra el crimen: "El espejo de piedra" apareció en La Cultura en México el 6 de noviembre. Su residencia en Europa Al serle concedida la beca de la Fundación Guggenheim, a finales de septiembre de 1969 salió para Nueva York y de allí hacia Europa. Se estableció durante seis meses en Londres, donde pudo satisfacer su vocación narrativa escribiendo "Fotografía junto a un tulipán" y siguió trabajando en lo que él consideraba un nuevo libro de poemas y eran en realidad tres libros bien diferenciados: La Venta, Fiestas de inviernos y Cómo retrasar la aparición de las hormigas. Durante este periodo, sostuvo una breve y efímera relación amorosa con la entonces estudiante Silvia Molina, quien en 1977 escribió una novela en la que describe y ficcionaliza su amor: La mañana debe seguir gris. En marzo de 1970, tras romper con Molina, y en compañía de otra joven, Becerra inició su viaje por el continente. Pasó por Alemania, Francia, recorrió España y en Madrid se reunió con Vicente Aleixandre. Su proyecto era llegar a Grecia y volver a Inglaterra, pues la Universidad de Essex lo había designado profesor invitado. Su fallecimiento La mañana del 29 de mayo, un cable publicado en la tercera página del Excélsior sorprendió con su escueta brutalidad a los amigos de Becerra y sin embargo dejó creer a algunos que podía tratarse de otra persona, pues en la nota se mencionaba que "El arquitecto mexicano Carlos Becerra Ramos murió hoy en un accidente de carretera, en las cercanías de San Vito de los Normandos. Tenía 34 años de edad (sic)". Por la tarde la noticia estaba confirmada: el arquitecto Carlos Becerra Ramos era ciertamente el poeta José Carlos Becerra. Se sabía también que su muerte ocurrió el miércoles 27 y no el jueves 28 como informaba el cable de ANSA. Con todo, de no haber sido por al publicación de este lacónico despacho, el cónsul de México en Nápoles hubiera sepultado el cadáver en la fosa común de Brindisi y rematado en subasta pública las pertenencias de Becerra, entre ellas los manuscritos de los tres libros inéditos. La noche del 4 de junio de 1970 llegó su féretro a México, al día siguiente, José Carlos Becerra fue sepultado en Villahermosa, Tabasco. Murió a los 34 años y 6 días. Su obra poética íntegra fue editada en el volumen El otoño recorre las islas en 1973, con prólogo de Octavio Paz.[cita requerida] En 1996, Álvaro Ruiz Abreu publicó La Ceiba en Llamas, biografía definitiva sobre Becerra. Referencias Wikipedia - http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/José_Carlos_Becerra SOMBRE UN POETA, SU OTOÑO, SUS ISLAS Y SU NIÑA (“Espero una carta todavía no escrita donde el olvido me nombre su heredero”. José Carlos Becerra) Me parece verlo apresurado y desvelado, en los restiradores de la biblioteca de la Facultad, preparando de última hora sus trabajos en papel destraza. Con su barba de candado y su gabardina un poco arrugada; era estudiante de arquitectura en sus ratos libres, pero en la vida real, era POETA. Acababa de terminar su primer libro: “La corona de hierro”. Llegó una mañana a la imprenta que lo publicaría, con la prisa que lo caracterizaba para cambiar el título, al final se llamó: “Relación de los hechos”. ¿Su nombre?: José Carlos Becerra. Nunca lo conocí en persona, nació en Villahermosa, Tabasco en 1936. Los años y la magia de la literatura que es la verdadera máquina del tiempo, me lo presentaron una tarde y es ahora uno de los amigos que más quiero. Apreciado y admirado por todos, hubo fiesta cuando se le otorgó la beca de la Fundación Memorial Guggenheim, premio que ha cambiado las vidas de muchos autores latinoamericanos. Milagro que algunos anhelamos. Se fue a Europa, compró un Volkswagen sedán algo deteriorado, con una puerta chueca y recorrió los lugares testigos del periodo clásico de la humanidad. Era 1970 cuando en Brindisi, Italia, al tomar una curva en la carretera que lo llevaría a un transbordador rumbo a Grecia, perdió el control del auto y se desbarrancó. Murió joven, 33 años. Lejos de su familia y de su amado Tabasco. Un brevísimo aviso de un periódico mexicano, hizo a algunos amigos temer lo peor. Al confirmarse la triste noticia, después de los trámites de traslado y muchas, muchísimas lágrimas, llegó el momento de rescatar sus manuscritos para evitar al tiempo inexorable lo oportunidad de sepultar su obra. Amigos de verdad y colegas de la talla de Octavio Paz, Alí Chumacero, José Emilio Pacheco y Homero Aridjis, colaboraron en ese trabajo de amor y construcción de un volumen de 350 páginas que contiene toda su poesía: “El otoño recorre las islas”. Cabe en un bolsillo, pero contiene la obra de un poeta que vale la pena leer, releer y recordar para toda la vida. Como se dice en estos casos: de haber vivido más, si ya era prodigioso, lo que hubiera logrado. El volumen en cuestión, rescatado y estructurado por sus amigos, contiene su libro publicado en vida, antes citado, y varios otros libros de poesía; también un relato “Fotografía junto a un tulipán”. Es fácil de conseguir, en librerías, editorial Joaquín Mortiz. Pero la historia tuvo una posdata, años después, la joven escritora Silvia Molina, sorprendió a todo México con una magnífica novela autobiográfica llamada “La mañana debe seguir gris”. En ella relata un periodo de su propia vida en el que realiza un viaje a Londres para estudiar inglés; se queda a vivir en la casa de una tía. Silvia era muy joven, 24 años y se enamora perdidamente de un poeta mexicano sin fortuna pero muy prometedor por su talento, diez años mayor que ella. El idilio entre ambos va floreciendo, en el protocolario ambiente británico, bajo la complicidad de amigas y primas y la reprobación autoritaria de su tía. El poeta en cuestión era sumamente simpático, ocurrente y audaz; seductor espontáneo pero de un gran corazón cargado de esperanza. Ese poeta era José Carlos Becerra, en las semanas previas a su muerte. “La mañana debe seguir gris” es una novela breve, dinámica, muy creativa Ofrece una introducción muy original al tema con formato de diario íntimo, donde nos pone al tanto de las circunstancias y nos describe ampliamente el acontecer periodístico, hoy histórico, que rodea los hechos. En 1977 este libro ganó el premio Xavier Villaurrutia, uno de los más prestigiados de México, tras una gran polémica entre los críticos y el jurado del premio. No faltó quien dijo que la historia “demeritaba la figura del gran poeta José Carlos Becerra”. Por favor, como si un joven poeta soltero, no tuviera derecho a enamorarse. Silvia Molina es una de las autoras más jóvenes que ha ganado ese codiciado premio nacional, por cierto muy bien merecido. Aparte de que se trata de una novela que vale mucho la pena leer, nos regala un retrato vivo, nítido y más claro que un video HD, del añorado poeta, muerto a la edad de Jesús y de Ramón López Velarde. Para quienes no tuvimos la fortuna de conocerlo en persona, el relato de Silvia Molina es muy valioso, sobre todo después de terminar la lectura del maravilloso libro de José Carlos que contiene toda su obra. Así pues, en la intimidad de mi Biblioteca, siempre me aseguro de que ambos libros permanezcan juntos. Un amor de juventud que no pudo consumarse en la tierra, se guardará para siempre con sus dos nombres fundidos en la historia de la literatura mexicana. Dejo los títulos de ambos libros uno junto al otro porque, si nos damos cuenta, forman una hermosa frase: “El otoño recorre las islas, la mañana debe seguir gris” – Alfredo Jiménez G.

Richard Brautigan

Richard Gary Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – ca. September 16, 1984) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America. Early life Brautigan was born in Tacoma, Washington, the only child of Bernard Frederick “Ben” Brautigan, Jr. (July 29, 1908– May 27, 1994) a factory worker and laborer, and Lulu Mary “Mary Lou” Keho (April 7, 1911– September 24, 2005), a waitress. In May 1934, eight months before Richard’s birth, Bernard and Mary Lou separated. Brautigan said that he met his biological father only twice, although after Brautigan’s death, Bernard was said to be unaware that Richard was his child, saying "He’s got the same last name, but why would they wait 45 to 50 years to tell me I’ve got a son?” In 1938, Brautigan and his mother began living with a man named Arthur Martin Titland. The couple produced a daughter named Barbara Ann, born on May 1, 1939, in Tacoma. Brautigan claimed that he had a very traumatic experience when, at age six, his mother left him and his two-year-old sister unattended in a motel room in Great Falls, Montana, for two days. On January 20, 1943, Mary Lou married a fry cook named Robert Geoffrey Porterfield. The couple had a daughter named Sandra Jean, born April 1, 1945, in Tacoma. Mary Lou told Brautigan that Porterfield was his biological father, and Brautigan began using Richard Gary Porterfield as his name. Mary Lou separated from Porterfield in 1946, and married William David Folston, Sr., on June 12, 1950. The couple produced a son named William David, Jr., born on December 19, 1950, in Eugene. Folston was recalled as being a violent alcoholic, whom Richard had seen abusing his mother. Brautigan was raised in poverty; he told his daughter stories of his mother sifting rat feces out of their supply of flour before making flour-and-water pancakes. Brautigan’s family found it difficult to obtain food, and on some occasions they did not eat for days. The family lived on welfare and moved about the Pacific Northwest for nine years before settling in Eugene, Oregon in August 1944. Many of Brautigan’s childhood experiences are included in the poems and stories that he wrote from as early as the age of 12. His novel So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away is loosely based on childhood experiences, including an incident in which Brautigan accidentally shot the brother of a close friend in the ear, injuring him only slightly. On September 12, 1950, Brautigan enrolled at Eugene High School, having graduated from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School. He wrote for his high school newspaper, the Eugene High School News. He also played on his school’s basketball team, and stood 6 feet 4 inches tall (1.93 m) by the time of his graduation. On December 19, 1952, Brautigan’s first published poem, “The Light”, appeared in the school newspaper. Brautigan graduated with honors from Eugene High School on June 9, 1953. After graduation, he moved in with his best friend Peter Webster, and Peter’s mother Edna Webster became a surrogate mother to Brautigan. According to several accounts, Brautigan stayed with Webster for about a year before leaving for San Francisco for the first time in August 1954. He returned to Oregon several times, apparently for lack of money. On December 14, 1955, Brautigan was arrested for throwing a rock through a police station window, supposedly in order to be sent to prison and fed. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and fined $25. He was then committed to the Oregon State Hospital on December 24, 1955, after police noticed patterns of erratic behavior. At the Oregon State Hospital Brautigan was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression, and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy 12 times. While institutionalized, he began writing The God of the Martians, a manuscript of 20 very short chapters totaling 600 words. The manuscript was sent to at least two editors but was rejected by both, and remains unpublished. (A copy of the manuscript was recently discovered with the papers of the last of those editors, Harry Hooton.) On February 19, 1956, Brautigan was released from the hospital and briefly lived with his mother, stepfather, and siblings in Eugene, Oregon. He then left for San Francisco, where he would spend most of the rest of his life except for periods in Tokyo and Montana. Career In San Francisco, Brautigan sought to establish himself as a writer. He was known for handing out his poetry on the streets and performing at poetry clubs. In early 1956, Brautigan typed a three-page manuscript and sent it to The Macmillan Company for publication. The manuscript consisted of two pages with 14 poems and a page with the dedication “for Linda”. Of the poems, only “stars” and “hey” were titled. In a letter dated May 10, 1956, Macmillan rejected the manuscript, stating, “... there is no place where it will fit in”. In 2005, the X-Ray Book Company published the manuscript as a chapbook titled Desire in a Bowl of Potatoes. Brautigan’s first poetry book publication was The Return of the Rivers (1957), a single poem, followed by two collections of poetry: The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958) and Lay the Marble Tea (1959). During the 1960s Brautigan became involved in the burgeoning San Francisco counterculture scene, often appearing as a performance-poet at concerts and participating in the various activities of The Diggers. He contributed several short pieces to be used as broadsides by the Communication Company. Brautigan was also a writer for Change, an underground newspaper created by Ron Loewinsohn. In the summer of 1961, while camping in southern Idaho with his wife and daughter, Brautigan completed the novels A Confederate General From Big Sur and Trout Fishing in America. A Confederate General from Big Sur was his first published novel and met with little critical or commercial success. But when Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame. Literary critics labeled him the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth-movement of the late 1960s, even though he was said to be contemptuous of hippies. Trout Fishing in America has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. During the 1960s Brautigan published four collections of poetry as well as another novel, In Watermelon Sugar (1968). In the spring of 1967 he was Poet-in-Residence at the California Institute of Technology. During this year, he published All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, a chapbook published by The Communication Company. It was printed in an edition of 1,500 copies and distributed free. From 1968 to 1970 Brautigan had 23 short pieces published in Rolling Stone magazine. From late 1968 to February 1969, Brautigan recorded a spoken-word album for The Beatles’ short-lived record-label, Zapple. The label was shut down by Allen Klein before the recording could be released, but it was eventually released in 1970 on Harvest Records as Listening to Richard Brautigan. In the 1970s Brautigan experimented with literary genres. He published five novels (the first of which, The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, had been written in the mid-1960s) and a collection of short stories, Revenge of the Lawn (1971). In 1974 The Cowell Press collected seven of his broadside poems into the book Seven Watermelon Suns. The limited edition of ten copies included embossed color etchings by Ellen Meske. "When the 1960s ended, he was the baby thrown out with the bath water," said his friend and fellow writer, Thomas McGuane. “He was a gentle, troubled, deeply odd guy.” Generally dismissed by literary critics and increasingly abandoned by his readers, Brautigan’s popularity waned throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. His work remained popular in Europe, however, as well as in Japan, where Brautigan visited several times. To his critics, Brautigan was willfully naive. Lawrence Ferlinghetti said of him, "As an editor I was always waiting for Richard to grow up as a writer. It seems to me he was essentially a naïf, and I don’t think he cultivated that childishness, I think it came naturally. It was like he was much more in tune with the trout in America than with people.” Brautigan’s writings are characterized by a remarkable and humorous imagination. The permeation of inventive metaphors lent even his prose-works the feeling of poetry. Evident also are themes of Zen Buddhism like the duality of the past and the future and the impermanence of the present. Zen Buddhism and elements of the Japanese culture can be found in his novel Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel. Brautigan’s last publication before his death in 1984 was his novel So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away, published in 1982. Personal life On June 8, 1957, Brautigan married Virginia Dionne Alder in Reno, Nevada. The couple had one daughter together, Ianthe Elizabeth Brautigan, born on March 25, 1960, in San Francisco. Brautigan’s alcoholism and depression caused him to become increasingly abusive and Alder ended the relationship on December 24, 1962, though the divorce was not finalized until July 28, 1970. Brautigan continued to reside in San Francisco after the separation, while Alder settled in Manoa, Hawaii, and became a feminist and an anti-Vietnam War activist. Brautigan remarried on December 1, 1977, to the Japanese-born Akiko Yoshimura, whom he met in July 1976 while living in Tokyo, Japan. The couple settled in Pine Creek, Park County, Montana, for two years. Brautigan and Yoshimura were divorced in 1980. Brautigan had a relationship with a San Francisco woman named Marcia Clay from 1981 to 1982. He also pursued a brief relationship with Janice Meissner, a woman from the North Beach community of San Francisco. Other relationships were with Marcia Pacaud, who appears on the cover of The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster; Valerie Estes, who appears on the cover of Listening to Richard Brautigan; and Sherry Vetter, who appears on the cover of Revenge of the Lawn. Brautigan was an alcoholic throughout his adult life and suffered years of despair; according to his daughter, he often mentioned suicide over a period of more than a decade before ending his life. In 1984, at age 49, Richard Brautigan had moved to Bolinas, California, where he was living alone in a large, old house that he had bought with his earnings years earlier. He died of a self-inflicted .44 Magnum gunshot wound to the head. His decomposed body was found by Robert Yench, a friend and private investigator, on October 25, 1984. The body was found on the living room floor, in front of a large window that, though shrouded by trees, looked out over the Pacific Ocean. Due to the decomposition of the body it is speculated that Brautigan had ended his life over a month earlier, on September 16, 1984, days after talking to friend Marcia Clay on the telephone (neighbors heard a loud noise that Sunday while watching an NFL game). Brautigan was survived by his parents, both ex-wives, and his daughter Ianthe. He has one grandchild named Elizabeth, who was born about two years after his death. According to Michael Caines, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, the story that Brautigan left a suicide note that simply read: “Messy, isn’t it?” is apocryphal. Ianthe Brautigan has confirmed that her father did not leave such a message. Brautigan once wrote, “All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.” Legacy Several later authors have cited Brautigan as an influence, including Haruki Murakami, W. P. Kinsella, and Sarah Hall. The Library for Unpublished Works envisioned by Brautigan in his novel The Abortion was housed at The Brautigan Library in Burlington, Vermont, until 1995 when it was moved to the nearby Fletcher Free Library where it remained until 2005. Although there were plans to move it to the Presidio branch of the San Francisco Public Library, these never materialized. However, an agreement was made between Brautigan’s daughter Ianthe Brautigan and the Vancouver, Washington, Clark County Historical Museum to move The Brautigan Library to the museum in 2010. Kumquat Meringue was a literary journal published in Rockford, Illinois dedicated to the memory and work of Brautigan. Saltpeter, a London-based production company, launched an international creative society, the Brautigan Book Club (BBC), which uses Brautigan and his work as a creative jumping off point. As of 2012, Saltpeter was developing the world premiere of “the Brautigan opera” developed from Tonseisha– The Man Who Abandoned the World, a play by Los Angeles screenwriter Erik Patterson. In music, the industrial rock band Machines of Loving Grace took its name from one of Brautigan’s best-known poems. The album “Boo, Forever” by indie rock band Field Guides takes its title from the Brautigan poem of the same name. Trout Fishing in America is a musical duo which performs folk rock and children’s music. Neko Case based her song “Margaret vs. Pauline” on the female characters of In Watermelon Sugar. The band b-flower is named after Richard Brautigan, being a shortened version of “Brautigan Flower”. They also reference his work in songs such as "The Eternal 59th Second" (titled after a line in “Trout Fishing in America”). The Lovely Eggs praise Brautigan in their song “Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion?” In March 1994, a teenager named Peter Eastman, Jr. from Carpinteria, California legally changed his name to Trout Fishing in America, and now teaches English at Waseda University in Japan. At around the same time, National Public Radio reported on a young couple who had named their baby Trout Fishing in America. The documentary maker Adam Curtis produced a series of films for the BBC about the effect of computers on society called All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. Brautigan’s daughter, Ianthe Elizabeth Brautigan, describes her memories of her father in her book You Can’t Catch Death (2000). Bibliography Novels and novellas * A Confederate General From Big Sur (1964, ISBN 0-224-61923-3) * Trout Fishing in America (1967 ISBN 0-395-50076-1) Omnibus edition * In Watermelon Sugar (1968 ISBN 0-440-34026-8) * The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971 ISBN 0-671-20872-1) * The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974 ISBN 0-671-21809-3) * Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery (1975 ISBN 0-671-22065-9) * Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976 ISBN 0-671-22331-3) * Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977 ISBN 0-440-02146-4) * The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980 ISBN 0-440-08770-8) * So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away (1982 ISBN 0-395-70674-2) * An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey (1982, but first published in 1994 ISBN 0-312-27710-5) Poetry * The Return of the Rivers (1958) * The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958) * Lay the Marble Tea (1959) * The Octopus Frontier (1960) * All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (1967) * Please Plant This Book (1968) * The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster (1969) * Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt (1970) * Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork (1971 ISBN 0-671-22263-5. ISBN 0-671-22271-6 pbk) * June 30, June 30 (1978 ISBN 0-440-04295-X) * The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings (1999 ISBN 0-395-97469-0) Short story collection * Revenge of the Lawn (October 1, 1971, ISBN 0-671-20960-4) Unpublished novel * The God of the Martians (written 1955-56) Record album * Listening to Richard Brautigan, 1970 (which was intended to be released on The Beatles’ Zapple label, but came out on EMI Harvest instead) - consists of Richard reading several poems and stories, friends reading “Love Poem” and sounds recorded in his apartment in San Francisco. * Richard Brautigan reads the poem 'Love’s Not The Way To Treat A Friend’ on the 1969 album 'Paradise Bar And Grill’ by San Francisco band Mad River. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Brautigan

Rupert Brooke

To Rupert Brooke (by Eden Phillpotts, from ‘Plain Song, 1914-1916’) Though we, a happy few, Indubitably knew That from the purple came This poet of pure flame, The world first saw his light Flash on an evil night, And heard his song from far Above the drone of war. Out of the primal dark He leapt, like lyric lark, Singing his aubade strain; Then fell to earth again. We garner all he gave, And on his hero grave, For love and honour strew, Rosemary, myrtle, rue. Son of the Morning, we Had kept you thankfully; But yours the asphodel: Hail, singer, and farewell! Rupert Chawner Brooke (middle name sometimes given as "Chaucer"; 3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915) was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War, especially "The Soldier". He was also known for his boyish good looks, which were said to have prompted the Irish poet W. B. Yeats to describe him as "the handsomest young man in England”. Early Life And Education Brooke was born at 5 Hillmorton Road, in the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, the second of the three sons of William Parker Brooke, a Rugby schoolmaster, and Ruth Mary Brooke, née Cotterill. He was educated at two independent schools in Rugby: Hillbrow School and Rugby School. While travelling in Europe he prepared a thesis, entitled "John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama", which won him a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, where he became a member of the Cambridge Apostles, was elected as President of the Cambridge University Fabian Society, helped found the Marlowe Society drama club and acted in plays including the Cambridge Greek Play. Life and career Brooke made friends among the Bloomsbury group of writers, some of whom admired his talent while others were more impressed by his good looks. Virginia Woolf boasted to Vita Sackville-West of once going skinny-dipping with Brooke in a moonlit pool when they were in Cambridge together. Brooke belonged to another literary group known as the Georgian Poets and was one of the most important of the Dymock poets, associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock where he spent some time before the war. He also lived in the Old Vicarage, Grantchester. Brooke suffered a severe emotional crisis in 1912, caused by sexual confusion and jealousy, resulting in the breakdown of his long relationship with Ka Cox (Katherine Laird Cox). Brooke's paranoia that Lytton Strachey had schemed to destroy his relationship with Cox by encouraging her to see Henry Lamb precipitated his break with his Bloomsbury group friends and played a part in his nervous collapse and subsequent rehabilitation trips to Germany. As part of his recuperation, Brooke toured the United States and Canada to write travel diaries for the Westminster Gazette. He took the long way home, sailing across the Pacific and staying some months in the South Seas. Much later it was revealed that he may have fathered a daughter with a Tahitian woman named Taatamata with whom he seems to have enjoyed his most complete emotional relationship. Many more people were in love with him. Brooke was romantically involved with the actress Cathleen Nesbitt and was once engaged to Noël Olivier, whom he met, when she was aged 15, at the progressive Bedales School. Brooke was an inspiration to poet John Gillespie Magee, Jr., author of the poem "High Flight". Magee idolised Brooke and wrote a poem about him ("Sonnet to Rupert Brooke"). Magee also won the same poetry prize at Rugby School which Brooke had won 34 years earlier. As a war poet Brooke came to public attention in 1915 when The Times Literary Supplement quoted two of his five sonnets ("IV: The Dead" and "V: The Soldier") in full on 11 March and his sonnet "V: The Soldier" was read from the pulpit of St Paul's Cathedral on Easter Sunday (4 April). Brooke's most famous collection of poetry, containing all five sonnets, 1914 & Other Poems, was first published in May 1915 and, in testament to his popularity, ran to 11 further impressions that year and by June 1918 had reached its 24th impression; a process undoubtedly fuelled through posthumous interest. Death Brooke's accomplished poetry gained many enthusiasts and followers and he was taken up by Edward Marsh who brought him to the attention of Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty. He was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a temporary Sub-Lieutenant[13] shortly after his 27th birthday and took part in the Royal Naval Division's Antwerp expedition in October 1914. He sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 28 February 1915 but developed sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. He died at 4:46 pm on 23 April 1915 in a French hospital ship moored in a bay off the island of Skyros in the Aegean on his way to the landing at Gallipoli. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, he was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros, Greece. The site was chosen by his close friend, William Denis Browne, who wrote of Brooke's death: ...I sat with Rupert. At 4 o’clock he became weaker, and at 4.46 he died, with the sun shining all round his cabin, and the cool sea-breeze blowing through the door and the shaded windows. No one could have wished for a quieter or a calmer end than in that lovely bay, shielded by the mountains and fragrant with sage and thyme. His grave remains there today. Another friend—and war poet—Patrick Shaw-Stewart, also played a prominent role in Brooke's funeral. On 11 November 1985, Brooke was among 16 First World War poets commemorated on a slate monument unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.The inscription on the stone was written by a fellow war poet, Wilfred Owen. It reads: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." The original wooden cross that marked his grave on Skyros, which was painted and carved with his name, was removed to Clifton Road Cemetery in Rugby, Warwickshire, to the Brooke family plot. When a permanent memorial was made for his grave on Skyros, Rupert Brooke's mother, Mary Ruth Brooke, had the original cross brought from Skyros to Rugby and placed at the plot. However, because of perishing in the open air, it was removed from the cemetery in 2008, and replaced by a more permanent marker. The original grave marker from Skyros is now at Rugby School with the memorials of other old Rugbeians. Brooke's brother, 2nd Lt. William Alfred Cotterill Brooke, was a member of the 8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) and was killed in action near Le Rutoire Farm on 14 June 1915 aged 24. He is buried in Fosse 7 Military Cemetery (Quality Street), Mazingarbe, Pas de Calais, France. He had only joined the battalion on 25 May. References Wikipedia—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Brooke

Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was born in Northampton, England, in the year 1612, daughter of Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke; Dudley, who had been a leader of volunteer soldiers in the English Reformation and Elizabethan Settlement, was then a steward to the Earl of Lincoln; Dorothy was a gentlewoman of noble heritage and she was also well educated. At the age of 16, Anne was married to Simon Bradstreet, a 25 year old assistant in the Massachusetts Bay Company and the son of a Puritan minister, who had been in the care of the Dudleys since the death of his father. Anne and her family emigrated to America in 1630 on the Arabella, one of the first ships to bring Puritans to New England in hopes of setting up plantation colonies. The journey was difficult; many perished during the three month journey, unable to cope with the harsh climate and poor living conditions, as sea squalls rocked the vessel, and scurvy brought on by malnutrition claimed their lives. Anne, who was a well educated girl, tutored in history, several languages and literature, was ill prepared for such rigorous travel, and would find the journey very difficult. Their trials and tribulations did not end upon their arrival, though, and many of those who had survived the journey, either died shortly thereafter, or elected to return to England, deciding they had suffered through enough. Thomas Dudley and his friend John Winthrop made up the Boston settlement's government; Winthrop was Governor, Dudley Deputy-Governor and Bradstreet Chief-Administrator. The colonists' fight for survival had become daily routine, and the climate, lack of food, and primitive living arrangements made it very difficult for Anne to adapt. She turned inwards and let her faith and imagination guide her through the most difficult moments; images of better days back in England, and the belief that God had not abandoned them helped her survive the hardships of the colony. Having previously been afflicted with smallpox, Anne would once again fall prey to illness as paralysis took over her joints; surprisingly, she did not let her predicament dim her passion for living, and she and her husband managed to make a home for themselves, and raise a family. Despite her poor health, she had eight children, and loved them dearly. Simon eventually came to prosper in the new land, and for a while it seemed things would not be so bad. Tragedy struck once more, when one night the Bradstreet home was engulfed in flames; a devastating fire which left the family homeless and devoid of personal belongings. It did not take too long for them to get back on their feet, thanks to their hard work, and to Simon's social standing in the community. While Anne and her husband were very much in love, Simon's political duties kept him traveling to various colonies on diplomatic errands, so Anne would spend her lonely days and nights reading from her father's vast collection of books, and educating her children. The reading would not only keep her from being lonely, but she also learned a great deal about religion, science, history, the arts, and medicine; most of all, reading helped her cope with life in New England. Anne Bradstreet was especially fond of poetry, which she had begun to write herself; her works were kept private though, as it was frowned upon for women to pursue intellectual enlightenment, let alone create and air their views and opinions. She wrote for herself, her family, and close circle of educated friends, and did not intend on publication. One of her closest friends, Anne Hutchinson, who was also a religious and educated woman had made the mistake of airing her views publicly, and was banished from her community. However, Anne's work would not remained unnoticed... Her brother-in-law, John Woodbridge, had secretly copied Anne's work, and would later bring it to England to have it published, albeit without her permission. Woodbridge even admitted to it in the preface of her first collection, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts", which was published in 1650. The book did fairly well in England, and was to be the last of her poetry to be published during her lifetime. All her other poems were published posthumously. Anne Bradstreet's poetry was mostly based on her life experience, and her love for her husband and family. One of the most interesting aspects of her work is the context in which she wrote; an atmosphere where the search for knowledge was frowned upon as being against God's will, and where women were relegated to traditional roles. Yet, we cAnneot help but feel the love she had for both God, and her husband, and her intense devotion to both, and to her family, despite the fact that she clearly valued knowledge and intellect, and was a free thinker, who could even be considered an early feminist. By Anne Bradstreet's health was slowly failing; she had been through many ailments, and was now afflicted with tuberculosis. Shortly after contracting the disease, she lost her daughter Dorothy to illness as well, but her will was strong, and perhaps, as a reflection of her own acceptance of death, she found solace in thinking of her daughter in a better place. Soon thereafter, Anne Bradstreet's long and difficult battle with illness would be at an end, and she passed away on September 16, 1672, in Andover, Massachusetts, at the age 60. References AnneBradstreet.com www.annebradstreet.com/anne_bradstreet_bio_002.htm

Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates (August 12, 1859– March 28, 1929) was an American songwriter. She is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem “America the Beautiful”. She popularized “Mrs. Santa Claus” through her poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride (1889). Life and career Bates was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of Congregational pastor William Bates and his wife, Cornelia Frances Lee. She graduated from Wellesley High School in 1874 and from Wellesley College with a B.A. in 1880. She taught at Natick High School during 1880–81 and at Dana Hall School from 1885 until 1889. She returned to Wellesley as an instructor, then an associate professor 1891–93 when she was awarded an M.A. and became full professor of English literature. She studied at Oxford University during 1890–91. While teaching at Wellesley, she was elected a member of the newly formed Pi Gamma Mu honor society for the social sciences because of her interest in history and politics. Bates was a prolific author of many volumes of poetry, travel books, and children’s books. She popularized Mrs. Claus in her poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride from the collection Sunshine and other Verses for Children (1889). She contributed regularly to periodicals, sometimes under the pseudonym James Lincoln, including Atlantic Monthly, The Congregationalist, Boston Evening Transcript, Christian Century, Contemporary Verse, Lippincott’s and Delineator. A lifelong, active Republican, Bates broke with the party to endorse Democratic presidential candidate John W. Davis in 1924 because of Republican opposition to American participation in the League of Nations. She said: “Though born and bred in the Republican camp, I cannot bear their betrayal of Mr. Wilson and their rejection of the League of Nations, our one hope of peace on earth.” Bates never married. In 1910, when a colleague described “free-flying spinsters” as “fringe on the garment of life”, Bates answered: “I always thought the fringe had the best of it. I don’t think I mind not being woven in.” Bates died in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on September 28, 1929, and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Falmouth. The historic home and birthplace of Bates in Falmouth, was sold to Ruth P. Clark in November 2013 for $1,200,000. Relationship with Katharine Coman Bates lived in Wellesley with Katharine Coman, who was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College School Economics department. The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Coman’s death in 1915. In 1922, Bates published Yellow Clover: A Book of Remembrance, a collection of poems written “to or about my Friend” Katharine Coman, some of which had been published in Coman’s lifetime. Some describe the couple as intimate lesbian partners, citing as an example Bates’ 1891 letter to Coman: "It was never very possible to leave Wellesley [for good], because so many love-anchors held me there, and it seemed least of all possible when I had just found the long-desired way to your dearest heart... Of course I want to come to you, very much as I want to come to Heaven." Others contest the use of the term lesbian to describe such a “Boston marriage”. Writes one: “We cannot say with certainty what sexual connotations these relationships conveyed. We do know that these relationships were deeply intellectual; they fostered verbal and physical expressions of love.” America the Beautiful The first draft of “America the Beautiful” was hastily jotted down in a notebook during the summer of 1893, which Bates spent teaching English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Later she remembered: One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse. The words to her only famous poem first appeared in print in The Congregationalist, a weekly journal, for Independence Day, 1895. The poem reached a wider audience when her revised version was printed in the Boston Evening Transcript on November 19, 1904. Her final expanded version was written in 1913. When a version appeared in her collection America the Beautiful, and Other Poems (1912), a reviewer in the New York Times wrote: “we intend no derogation to Miss Katharine Lee Bates when we say that she is a good minor poet.” The hymn has been sung to several tunes, but the familiar one is by Samuel A. Ward (1847–1903), written for his hymn “Materna” (1882). Honors The Bates family home on Falmouth’s Main Street is preserved by the Falmouth Historical Society. There is also a street named in her honor, “Katharine Lee Bates Road” in Falmouth. A plaque marks the site of the home where she lived as an adult on Centre Street in Newton, Massachusetts. The Katharine Lee Bates Elementary School on Elmwood Road in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the Katharine Lee Bates Elementary School, founded in 1957 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Bates Hall dormitory at Wellesley College are named for her. The Katharine Lee Bates Professorship was established at Wellesley shortly after her death. Bates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. Collections of Bates’s manuscripts are housed at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College; Falmouth Historical Society; Houghton Library, Harvard University; Wellesley College Archives. In 2012, she was listed as one of the 31 LGBT history “icons” by the organisers of LGBT History Month. Works Author * The College Beautiful, and Other Poems, Houghton (Cambridge, MA), 1887. * Rose and Thorn, Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society (Boston, MA), 1889. * Hermit Island, Lothrop (Boston, MA), 1890. * Sunshine, and Other Verses for Children, Wellesley Alumnae (Boston, MA), 1890. * The English Religious Drama, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1893, reprinted, Kennikat Press (Port Washington, NY), 1966. * American Literature, Chautauqua Press (New York, NY), 1897. * Spanish Highways and Byways, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1900. * (As James Lincoln) Relishes of Rhyme, Richard G. Badger (Boston, MA), 1903. * From Gretna Green to Land’s End: A Literary Journey in England, photographs by Katharine Coman, Crowell (New York, NY), 1907. * The Story of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1909. * America the Beautiful, and Other Poems, Crowell (New York, NY), 1911. * In Sunny Spain with Pilarica and Rafael, Dutton (New York, NY), 1913. * Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims, Retold by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Angus MacDonall, color plates by Milo Winter, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1914. * Fairy Gold, Dutton, (New York, NY), 1916. * The Retinue, and Other Poems, Dutton (New York, NY), 1918. * Sigurd Our Golden Collie, and Other Comrades of the Road, Dutton (New York, NY), 1919. * Yellow Clover, A Book of Remembrance, Dutton (New York, NY), 1922. * Little Robin Stay-Behind, and Other Plays in Verse for Children, Woman’s Press (New York, NY), 1923. * The Pilgrim Ship, Woman’s Press (New York, NY), 1926. * America the Dream, Crowell (New York, NY), 1930. * An Autobiography, in Brief, of Katharine Lee Bates, Enterprise Press (Falmouth, MA), 1930. * Selected Poems of Katharine Lee Bates, edited by Marion Pelton Guild, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1930. Compiler * Browning Studies: Bibliography, Robinson (Boston, MA), 1896. * English Drama: A Working Basis, Robinson(Boston, MA), 1896, enlarged as Shakespeare: Selective Bibliography and Biographical Notes, compiled by Bates and Lilla Weed, Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA), 1913. Compiled with Lydia Boker Godfrey. * English History Told by English Poets, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1902. Compiled with Katharine Coman. Contributor * Historic Towns of New England, edited by Lyman P. Powell, Putnam (New York, NY), 1898. Editor * The Wedding Day Book, Lothrop (Boston, MA), 1882, published as The Wedding-Day Book, with the Congratulations of the Poets, Lothrop (Boston, MA), 1895. * Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner|Ancient Mariner, Leach, Shewell & Sanborn (Boston, MA), 1889. * Ballad Book, Leach, Shewell & Sanborn (Boston, MA), 1890, reprinted, Books for Libraries Press (Freeport, NY), 1969. * Shakespeare’s Comedy of The Merchant of Venice, Leach, Shewell & Sanborn (Boston, MA), 1894. * Shakespeare’s Comedy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Leach, Shewell & Sanborn (Boston, MA), 1895. * Shakespeare’s Comedy of As You Like It, Leach, Shewell & Sanborn (Boston, MA), 1896. * Stories from the Chap-Book, Stone (Chicago, IL), 1896. * Keats’s The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, Silver, Burdett, (New York, NY), 1902. * The Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, fourteen volumes, Crowell (New York, NY), 1902. * Hamilton Wright Mabie, Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas, Rand, McNally, Chicago, 1902. * The Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary, Crowell (New York, NY), 1903. * John Ruskin, The King of the Golden River; or, the Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria, illustrated by John C. Johansen, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1903. * Tennyson’s The Princess, American Book Co. (New York, NY), 1904. * Tennyson’s Gareth and Lynette, Lancelot and Elaine, The Passing of Arthur, Sibley (Boston, MA), 1905. * The New Irish Drama, Drama League of America (Chicago, IL), 1911. * Thomas Heywood, A Woman Killed with Kindness, and the Faire Maide of the West, Heath (Boston, MA), 1917. * Once Upon a Time; A Book of Old-Time Fairy Tales, illustrated by Margaret Evans Price, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1921. * Tom Thumb and Other Old-Time Fairy Tales, illustrated by Price, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1926. * Jack the Giant-Killer, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1937. * Jack and the Beanstalk; also Toads and Diamonds, Rand, McNally (Chicago, IL), 1937. Introduction * Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home: A Series of English Sketches, Crowell (New York, NY), 1906. * Helen Sanborn, Anne of Brittany, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (Boston, MA), 1917. * Helen Corke, The World’s Family, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1930. Translator * Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Romantic Legends of Spain, Crowell (New York). With Cornelia Frances Bates. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Lee_Bates

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917– December 3, 2000) was an American poet and teacher. She was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer prize when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for her second collection, Annie Allen. Throughout her career she received many more honors. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position held until her death and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kansas, and died on December 3, 2000 in Chicago, IL. She was the first child of David Anderson Brooks and Keziah (Wims) Brooks. Her mother was a school teacher and chose that field of work because she couldn’t afford to attend medical school. Family lore held that her paternal grandfather had escaped slavery to join the Union forces during the American Civil War. When Brooks was six weeks old, her family moved to Chicago during the Great Migration; from then on, Chicago remained her home. According to biographer Kenny Jackson Williams, Brooks first attended a leading white high school in the city, Hyde Park High School, transferred to the all-black Wendell Phillips, and then to the integrated Englewood High School. After completing high school, she graduated in 1936 from Wilson Junior College, now known as Kennedy-King College. Williams noted, "These four schools gave her a perspective on racial dynamics in the city that continue[d] to influence her work. Brooks began writing at an early age and her mother encouraged her saying, 'You are going to be the lady Paul Laurence Dunbar.” After these early educational experiences, Brooks never pursued a four-year degree because she knew she wanted to be a writer and considered it unnecessary. “I am not a scholar,” she later said. “I’m just a writer who loves to write and will always write.” She worked as a typist to support herself while she pursued her career. She would closely identify with Chicago for the rest of her life. In a 1994 interview, she remarked on this, “(L)iving in the city, I wrote differently than I would have if I had been raised in Topeka, KS... I am an organic Chicagoan. Living there has given me a multiplicity of characters to aspire for. I hope to live there the rest of my days. That’s my headquarters. Career Writing Brooks published her first poem in a children’s magazine, American Childhood, when she was 13 years old. By the time she was sixteen, she had compiled a portfolio of around 75 published poems and had her work critiqued by poet and novelist James Weldon Johnson. At seventeen, she started submitting her work to “Lights and Shadows,” the poetry column of the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper. Her poems, many published while she attended Wilson Junior College, ranged in style from traditional ballads and sonnets to poems using blues rhythms in free verse. Her characters were often drawn from the inner city life that Brooks knew well. She said, “I lived in a small second-floor apartment at the corner, and I could look first on one side and then the other. There was my material.” By 1941, Brooks was taking part in poetry workshops. A particularly influential one was organized by Inez Cunningham Stark, an affluent white woman with a strong literary background. Stark offered writing workshops to African-Americans on Chicago’s South Side, which Brooks attended. It was here she gained momentum in finding her voice and a deeper knowledge of the techniques of her predecessors. Renowned poet Langston Hughes stopped by the workshop and heard Brooks read “The Ballad of Pearl May Lee.” Brooks continued to work diligently at her writing and growing the community of artists and writers around her as her poetry began to be taken more seriously. She and her husband frequently threw parties at their apartment at 623 E. 63rd Street and it was in the kitchenette of that apartment that Brooks hosted a party for her friend and mentor Langston Hughes. Once he unexpectedly dropped in and famously shared a meal of mustard greens, ham hocks, and candied sweet potatoes with Brooks and her husband Henry Blakely. Brooks’ published her first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville (1945), with Harper and Row, after strong show of support to the publisher from author Richard Wright. He said to the editors who solicited his opinion on Brooks’ work: “There is no self-pity here, not a striving for effects. She takes hold of reality as it is and renders it faithfully.... She easily catches the pathos of petty destinies; the whimper of the wounded; the tiny accidents that plague the lives of the desperately poor, and the problem of color prejudice among Negroes.” The book earned instant critical acclaim for its authentic and textured portraits of life in Bronzeville. Brooks later said it was a glowing review by Paul Engle in the Chicago Tribune that “initiated My Reputation.” Engle stated that Brooks’ poems were no more “Negro poetry” than Robert Frost’s work was “white poetry.” Brooks received her first Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946 and was included as one of the “Ten Young Women of the Year” in Mademoiselle magazine. In 1967, the year of Hughes’ death, Brooks attended the Second Black Writers’ Conference at Nashville’s Fisk University. Here she met activists and artists such as Imamu Amiri Baraka, Don L. Lee and others who exposed her to new black cultural nationalism. Brooks’ experience at the conference inspired many of her subsequent literary activities. She taught creative writing to some of Chicago’s Blackstone Rangers, a gang of teenagers. In 1968 she published one of her most famous poems, In the Mecca, a long poem about a mother’s search for her lost child in a Chicago apartment building. The poem was nominated for the National Book Award for poetry. Brooks’ second book of poetry, Annie Allen (1950), focused on the life and experiences of a young Black girl as she grew into womanhood in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; she also was awarded Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize. Her autobiographical Report From Part One, including reminiscences, interviews, photographs and vignettes, came out in 1972, and Report From Part Two was published in 1995, when she was almost 80. Teaching Brooks said her first teaching experience was at the University of Chicago when she was invited by author Frank London Brown to teach a course in American literature. It was the beginning of her lifelong commitment to sharing poetry and teaching writing. Brooks taught extensively around the country and held posts at Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Elmhurst College, Columbia University, City College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. On May 1, 1996, Brooks returned to her birthplace of Topeka, Kansas. She gave the keynote speech for the Third Annual Kaw Valley Girl Scout Council’s “Women of Distinction Banquet and String of Pearls Auction.” Archives The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) acquired Brooks’ archives from her daughter Nora. In addition, the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has a collection of her personal papers, especially from 1950 to 1989. Personal life In 1939 Brooks married Henry Lowington Blakely, Jr. They had two children: Henry Lowington Blakely III, born on October 10, 1940; and Nora Blakely, born in 1951. From mid-1961 to late-1964, Henry III served in the U.S. Marine Corps, first at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and then at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. During this time, Brooks mentored his fiancée, Kathleen Hardiman, today known as anthropologist Kathleen Rand Reed, in writing poetry. Upon his return, Blakely and Hardiman married in 1965. Brooks had so enjoyed the mentoring relationship that she began to engage more frequently in that role with the new generation of young black poets. Death Brooks died of cancer at the age of 83 on December 3, 2000, at her home on Chicago’s South Side. She is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois. Honors and legacy 1946, Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry 1946, American Academy of Arts & Letters Award 1950, Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 1968, appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois, a position she held until her death in 2000 1976, the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America 1985, selected as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, an honorary one-year position whose title was renamed the next year to Poet Laureate 1988, inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame 1989, recipient, Life Time Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 1989, awarded the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement by the Poetry Society of America 1992, awarded the Aiken Taylor Award by the Sewanee Review 1994, chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecturer, one of the highest honors in American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government. 1994, Recipient of the National Book Foundations’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters 1995, presented with the National Medal of Arts 1995, honored as the first Woman of the Year chosen by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum 1995, received the Chicago History Museum “Making History Award” for Distinction in Literature 1997, awarded the Order of Lincoln award from The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the highest honor granted by the State of Illinois Brooks also received more than 75 honorary degrees from colleges and universities worldwide. Legacy 1970: “For Sadie and Maud” by Eleanor Holmes Norton, included in Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women’s Liberation Movement (1970), quotes all of Brooks’ poem “Sadie and Maud” 1970: Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois 1995: Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School, Aurora, Illinois 1990: Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, Chicago State University 2001: Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago, Illinois 2001: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Harvey, Illinois 2002: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Oak Park, Illinois 2003: Gwendolyn Brooks Illinois State Library, Springfield, Illinois 2002: 100 Greatest African Americans 2004 Gwendolyn Brooks Park named by the Chicago Park District, 4542 S. Greenwood Ave. Chicago IL 60653 2005: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Bolingbrook, Illinois 2012: Honored on a United States’ postage stamp. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (17 August 1840– 10 September 1922) (sometimes spelled “Wilfred”) was an English poet and writer. He and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt travelled in the Middle East and were instrumental in preserving the Arabian horse bloodlines through their farm, the Crabbet Arabian Stud. He was best known for his poetry, which was published in a collected edition in 1914, but also wrote a number of political essays and polemics. Blunt is also known for his views against imperialism, viewed as relatively enlightened for his time. Early life Blunt was born at Petworth House in Sussex and served in the Diplomatic Service from 1858 to 1869. He was raised in the faith of his mother, a Catholic convert, and educated at Twyford School, Stonyhurst, and at St Mary’s College, Oscott. His most memorable line of poetry on the subject comes from Satan Absolved (1899), where the devil, answering a Kiplingesque remark by God, snaps back: ‘The white man’s burden, Lord, is the burden of his cash’ Here, Longford explains, 'Blunt stood Rudyard Kipling’s familiar concept on its head, arguing that the imperialists’ burden is not their moral responsibility for the colonised peoples, but their urge to make money out of them.' Personal life In 1869, Blunt married Lady Anne Noel, the daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and Ada Lovelace, and granddaughter of Lord Byron. Together the Blunts travelled through Spain, Algeria, Egypt, the Syrian Desert, and extensively in the Middle East and India. Based upon pure-blooded Arabian horses they obtained in Egypt and the Nejd, they co-founded Crabbet Arabian Stud, and later purchased a property near Cairo, named Sheykh Obeyd which housed their horse breeding operation in Egypt. In 1882, he championed the cause of Urabi Pasha, which led him to be banned from entering Egypt for four years. Blunt generally opposed British imperialism as a matter of philosophy, and his support for Irish causes led to his imprisonment in 1888. Wilfrid and Lady Anne’s only child to live to maturity was Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth, later known as Lady Wentworth. As an adult, she was married in Cairo but moved permanently to the Crabbet Park Estate in 1904. Wilfrid had a number of mistresses, among them a long term relationship with the courtesan Catherine “Skittles” Walters, and the Pre-Raphaelite beauty, Jane Morris. Eventually, he moved another mistress, Dorothy Carleton, into his home. This event triggered Lady Anne’s legal separation from him in 1906. At that time, Lady Anne signed a Deed of Partition drawn up by Wilfrid. Under its terms, unfavourable to Lady Anne, she kept the Crabbet Park property (where their daughter Judith lived) and half the horses, while Blunt took Caxtons Farm, also known as Newbuildings, and the rest of the stock. Always struggling with financial concerns and chemical dependency issues, Wilfrid sold off numerous horses to pay debts and constantly attempted to obtain additional assets. Lady Anne left the management of her properties to Judith, and spent many months of every year in Egypt at the Sheykh Obeyd estate, moving there permanently in 1915. Due primarily to the manoeuvering of Wilfrid in an attempt to disinherit Judith and obtain the entire Crabbet property for himself, Judith and her mother were estranged at the time of Lady Anne’s death in 1917. As a result, Lady Anne’s share of the Crabbet Stud passed to Judith’s daughters, under the oversight of an independent trustee. Blunt filed a lawsuit soon afterward. Ownership of the Arabian horses went back and forth between the estates of father and daughter in the following years. Blunt sold more horses to pay off debts and shot at least four in an attempt to spite his daughter, an action which required intervention of the trustee of the estate with a court injunction to prevent him from further “dissipating the assets” of the estate. The lawsuit was settled in favour of the granddaughters in 1920, and Judith bought their share from the trustee, combining it with her own assets and reuniting the stud. Father and daughter briefly reconciled shortly before Wilfrid Scawen Blunt’s death in 1922, but his promise to rewrite his will to restore Judith’s inheritance never materialised. Blunt was a friend of Winston Churchill, aiding him in his 1906 biography of his father, Randolph Churchill, whom Blunt had befriended years earlier in 1883 at a chess tournament. Work in Africa In the early 1880s, Britain was struggling with its Egyptian colony. Wilfrid Blunt was sent to notify Sir Edward Malet, the British agent, as to the Egyptian public opinion concerning the recent changes in government and development policies. In mid-December 1881, Blunt met with Ahmed ‘Urabi, known as Arabi or 'El Wahid’ (the Only One) due to his popularity with the Egyptians. Arabi was impressed with Blunt’s enthusiasm and appreciation of his culture. Their mutual respect created an environment in which Arabi could peacefully explain the reasoning behind a new patriotic movement, 'Egypt for the Egyptians’. Over the course of several days, Arabi explained the complicated background of the revolutionaries and their determination to rid themselves of the Turkish oligarchy. Wilfrid Blunt was vital in the relay of this information to the British empire although his anti-imperialist views were disregarded and England mounted further campaigns in the Sudan in 1885 and 1896–98. Egyptian Garden scandal In 1901, a pack of fox hounds was shipped over to Cairo to entertain the army officers, and subsequently a foxhunt took place in the desert near Cairo. The fox was chased into Blunt’s garden, and the hounds and hunt followed it. As well as a house and garden, the land contained the Blunt’s Sheykh Obeyd stud farm, housing a number of valuable Arabian horses. Blunt’s staff challenged the trespassers– who, though army officers, were not in uniform– and beat them when they refused to turn back. For this, the staff were accused of assault against army officers and imprisoned. Blunt made strenuous efforts to free his staff, much to the embarrassment of the British army officers and civil servants involved. Bibliography * Sonnets and Songs. By Proteus. John Murray, 1875 * Aubrey de Vere (ed.): Proteus and Amadeus: A Correspondence Kegan Paul, 1878 * The Love Sonnets of Proteus. Kegan Paul, 1881 * The Future of Islam Kegan Paul, Trench, London 1882 * Esther (1892) * Griselda Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1893 * The Quatrains of Youth (1898) * Satan Absolved: A Victorian Mystery. J. Lane, London 1899 * Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia (1903) * Atrocities of Justice under the English Rule in Egypt. T. F. Unwin, London 1907. * Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt Knopf, 1907 * India under Ripon; A Private Diary T. Fisher Unwin, London 1909. * Gordon at Khartoum. S. Swift, London 1911. * The Land War in Ireland. S. Swift, London 1912 * The Poetical Works. 2 Vols. . Macmillan, London 1914 * My Diaries. Secker, London 1919; 2 Vols. Knopf, New York 1921 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid_Scawen_Blunt

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842– circa 1914) was an American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer. Bierce’s book The Devil’s Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration;. His story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge has been described as “one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature”; and his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life) was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900. A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. For his horror writing, Michael Dirda ranked him alongside Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.” as a pioneering writer of realist fiction,. His war stories influenced Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, and others, and he was considered an influential and feared literary critic. In recent decades Bierce has gained wider respect as a fabulist and for his poetry. In December 1913, Bierce traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He disappeared, and was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops. He was never seen again. Early life Bierce was born in a log cabin at Horse Cave Creek in Meigs County, Ohio, on June 24, 1842, to Marcus Aurelius Bierce (1799–1876) and Laura Sherwood Bierce. His mother was a descendant of William Bradford. He was the tenth of thirteen children, whose father gave all names beginning with the letter “A”: in order of birth, the Bierce siblings were Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, and Ambrose. His parents were a poor but literary couple who instilled in him a deep love for books and writing. Bierce grew up in Kosciusko County, Indiana, attending high school at the county seat, Warsaw. He left home at 15 to become a printer’s devil at a small Ohio newspaper. Military career At the outset of the American Civil War, Bierce enlisted in the Union Army’s 9th Indiana Infantry. He participated in the operations in Western Virginia (1861), was present at the Battle of Philippi (the first organized land action of the war), and received newspaper attention for his daring rescue, under fire, of a gravely wounded comrade at the Battle of Rich Mountain. In February 1862 he was commissioned a first lieutenant, and served on the staff of General William Babcock Hazen as a topographical engineer, making maps of likely battlefields. Bierce fought at the Battle of Shiloh (April 1862), a terrifying experience that became a source for several short stories and the memoir “What I Saw of Shiloh”. As a staff officer, Bierce became known to leading generals such as George H. Thomas and Oliver O. Howard, both of whom supported his application for admission to West Point in May 1864. General Hazen believed Bierce would graduate from the military academy “with distinction” and William T. Sherman also endorsed the application for admission even though stating he had no personal acquaintance with Bierce. In June 1864, Bierce sustained a serious head wound at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and spent the rest of the summer on furlough, returning to active duty in September. He was discharged from the army in January 1865. His military career resumed, however, in mid-1866, when he joined General Hazen as part of an expedition to inspect military outposts across the Great Plains. The expedition traveled by horseback and wagon from Omaha, Nebraska, arriving toward year’s end in San Francisco, California. Personal life Bierce married Mary Ellen “Mollie” Day on December 25, 1871. They had three children: sons Day (1872–1889) and Leigh (1874–1901) and daughter Helen (1875–1940). Both of Bierce’s sons died before he did. Day committed suicide after a romantic rejection, and Leigh died of pneumonia related to alcoholism. Bierce separated from his wife in 1888, after discovering compromising letters to her from an admirer. They divorced in 1904. Mollie Day Bierce died the following year. Bierce was an avowed agnostic. He suffered from lifelong asthma, as well as complications from his war wounds. Journalism In San Francisco, Bierce was awarded the rank of brevet major before resigning from the Army. He remained in San Francisco for many years, eventually becoming famous as a contributor or editor of a number of local newspapers and periodicals, including The San Francisco News Letter, The Argonaut, the Overland Monthly, The Californian and The Wasp. A selection of his crime reporting from The San Francisco News Letter was included in The Library of America anthology True Crime. Bierce lived and wrote in England from 1872 to 1875, contributing to Fun magazine. His first book, The Fiend’s Delight, a compilation of his articles, was published in London in 1873 by John Camden Hotten under the pseudonym “Dod Grile”. Returning to the United States, he again took up residence in San Francisco. From 1879 to 1880, he traveled to Rockerville and Deadwood in the Dakota Territory, to try his hand as local manager for a New York mining company. When the company failed he returned to San Francisco and resumed his career in journalism. From January 1, 1881 until September 11, 1885 he was editor of The Wasp magazine, in which he began a column titled “Prattle”. He also became one of the first regular columnists and editorialists on William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner, eventually becoming one of the most prominent and influential writers and journalists of the West Coast. He remained associated with Hearst Newspapers until 1909. Railroad refinancing bill The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies had received large, low-interest loans from the U.S. government to build the First Transcontinental Railroad. Central Pacific executive Collis P. Huntington persuaded a friendly member of Congress to introduce a bill excusing the companies from repaying the loans, amounting to $130 million (worth $3.74 billion today). In January 1896 Hearst dispatched Bierce to Washington, D.C. to foil this attempt. The essence of the plot was secrecy; the railroads’ advocates hoped to get the bill through Congress without any public notice or hearings. When the angered Huntington confronted Bierce on the steps of the Capitol and told Bierce to name his price, Bierce’s answer ended up in newspapers nationwide: “My price is one hundred thirty million dollars. If, when you are ready to pay, I happen to be out of town, you may hand it over to my friend, the Treasurer of the United States.” Bierce’s coverage and diatribes on the subject aroused such public wrath that the bill was defeated. Bierce returned to California in November. McKinley accusation Because of his penchant for biting social criticism and satire, Bierce’s long newspaper career was often steeped in controversy. On several occasions his columns stirred up a storm of hostile reaction, which created difficulties for Hearst. One of the most notable of these incidents occurred following the assassination of President William McKinley, when Hearst’s opponents turned a poem Bierce had written about the assassination of Governor William Goebel of Kentucky in 1900 into a cause célèbre. Bierce meant his poem to express a national mood of dismay and fear, but after McKinley was shot in 1901, it seemed to foreshadow the crime: Hearst was thereby accused by rival newspapers—and by then-Secretary of State Elihu Root—of having called for McKinley’s assassination. Despite a national uproar that ended his ambitions for the presidency (and even his membership in the Bohemian Club), Hearst kept employing Bierce. Literary works During his lifetime, Bierce was better known as a journalist than as a fiction writer. His most popular stories were written in rapid succession between 1888 and 1891, in what was characterized as “a tremendous burst of consummate art”. Bierce’s works often highlight the inscrutability of the universe and the absurdity of death. Bierce wrote realistically of the terrible things he had seen in the war in such stories as “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, “A Horseman in the Sky”, “One of the Missing”, and “Chickamauga”. His grimly realistic cycle of 25 war stories has been called “the greatest anti-war document in American literature”. According to Milton Subotsky, Bierce helped pioneer the psychological horror story. In addition to his ghost and war stories, he also published several volumes of poetry. His Fantastic Fables anticipated the ironic style of grotesquerie that became a more common genre in the 20th century. One of Bierce’s most famous works is his much-quoted The Devil’s Dictionary, originally an occasional newspaper item, first published in book form in 1906 as The Cynic’s Word Book. Described as “howlingly funny”, it consists of satirical definitions of English words which lampoon cant and political double-talk. Bierce edited the twelve volumes of The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, which were published from 1909 to 1912. The seventh volume consists solely of The Devil’s Dictionary. Bierce has been criticized by his contemporaries and later scholars for deliberately pursuing improbability and for his penchant toward “trick endings”. In his later stories, apparently under the influence of Maupassant, Bierce “dedicated himself to shocking the audience”, as if his purpose was “to attack the reader’s smug intellectual security”. Bierce’s bias towards Naturalism has also been noted: “The biting, deriding quality of his satire, unbalanced by any compassion for his targets, was often taken as petty meanness, showing contempt for humanity and an intolerance to the point of merciless cruelty”. Stephen Crane was of the minority of Bierce’s contemporaries who valued Bierce’s experimental short stories. In his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature”, H. P. Lovecraft characterized Bierce’s fictional work as “grim and savage.” Lovecraft goes on to say that nearly all of Bierce’s stories are of the horror genre and some shine as great examples of weird fiction. Critic William Dean Howells said, “Mr. Bierce is among our three greatest writers.” When told this, Bierce responded, “I am sure Mr. Howells is the other two.” Disappearance In October 1913, Bierce, then age 71, departed from Washington, D.C. for a tour of his old Civil War battlefields. By December he had passed through Louisiana and Texas, crossing by way of El Paso into Mexico, which was in the throes of revolution. In Ciudad Juárez he joined Pancho Villa’s army as an observer, and in that role he witnessed the Battle of Tierra Blanca. Bierce is known to have accompanied Villa’s army as far as the city of Chihuahua. His last known communication with the world was a letter he wrote there to Blanche Partington, a close friend, dated December 26, 1913. After closing this letter by saying, “As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination,” he vanished without a trace, his disappearance becoming one of the most famous in American literary history. Skeptic Joe Nickell argued that no letter had ever been found; all that existed was a notebook belonging to his secretary and companion, Carrie Christiansen, containing a rough summary of a purported letter and her statement that the originals had been destroyed. There was an official investigation by U.S. consular officials of the disappearance of one of its citizens. Some of Villa’s men were questioned at the time of his disappearance and afterwards, with contradictory accounts. Pancho Villa’s representative in the U.S., Felix A. Sommerfeld, was contacted by U.S. chief of staff Hugh L. Scott and Sommerfeld investigated the disappearance. Bierce was said to have been last seen in the city of Chihuahua in January. Oral tradition in Sierra Mojada, Coahuila, documented by a priest named James Lienert, states that Bierce was executed by firing squad in the town cemetery there. However, Nickell finds this story to be unreliable. He quotes Bierce’s friend and biographer Walter Neale as saying that Bierce had not ridden for quite some time, was suffering from serious asthma, and had been severely critical of Pancho Villa. Neale concludes that it would have been highly unlikely for Bierce to have gone to Mexico and joined Villa. All investigations into his fate have proven fruitless, and Nickell concedes that despite a lack of hard evidence that Bierce had gone to Mexico, there is also none that he had not. Therefore, despite an abundance of theories (including death by suicide), his end remains shrouded in mystery. Legacy and influence H. L. Mencken called Bierce “the one genuine wit that These States have ever seen.” At least three films have been made of Bierce’s story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. A silent film version, The Bridge, was made in 1929. A French version called La Rivière du Hibou, directed by Robert Enrico, was released in 1962; this black-and-white film faithfully recounts the original narrative using voiceover. It aired in 1964 on American television as one of the final episodes of the television series The Twilight Zone: “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. Prior to The Twilight Zone, the story had been adapted as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Another version, directed by Brian James Egen, was released in 2005. It was also adapted for the CBS radio programs Suspense and Escape. Actor James Lanphier (1920-1969) played Bierce, with James Hampton as William Randolph Hearst, in the 1964 episode “The Paper Dynasty”, of the syndicated western television series Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. In the story line, Hearst struggles to turn a profit despite increased circulation of The San Francisco Examiner. Robert O. Cornthwaite appears as Sam Chamberlain. Two adaptations were made of Bierce’s story “Eyes of the Panther”. One version was developed for Shelley Duvall’s Nightmare Classics series and was released in 1990. It runs about 60 minutes. A shorter version was released in 2007 by director Michael Barton and runs about 23 minutes. “The Damned Thing” was adapted into a Masters of Horror episode of the same title directed by Tobe Hooper. American composer Rodney Waschka II composed an opera, Saint Ambrose, based on Bierce’s life. Carlos Fuentes’s novel The Old Gringo is a fictionalized account of Bierce’s disappearance; it was later adapted into the film Old Gringo (1989), starring Gregory Peck in the title role. Fuentes stated: “What started this novel was my admiration for Ambrose Bierce and for his Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.” Bierce’s disappearance and trip to Mexico provide the background for the vampire horror film From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (2000), in which Bierce’s character plays a central role. Bierce’s fate is the subject of Gerald Kersh’s “The Oxoxoco Bottle” (aka “The Secret of the Bottle”), which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on December 7, 1957, and was reprinted in the anthology Men Without Bones. Bierce reappears in the future on Mount Shasta in Robert Heinlein’s novella, “Lost Legacy”. The short film “Ah! Silenciosa” (1999), starring Jim Beaver as Bierce, weaves elements of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” into a speculation on Bierce’s disappearance. In the fall of 2001, An Occurrence Remembered, a theatrical retelling of Bierce’s An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge and Chickamauga, premiered off-Broadway in New York City under the production and direction of Lorin Morgan-Richards and lead choreographer Nicole Cavaliere. Bierce was a major character in a series of mystery books written by Oakley Hall and published between 1998 and 2006. Biographer Richard O’Conner argued that, "War was the making of Bierce as a man and a writer... [he became] truly capable of transferring the bloody, headless bodies and boar-eaten corpses of the battlefield onto paper.” Essayist Clifton Fadiman wrote, “Bierce was never a great writer. He has painful faults of vulgarity and cheapness of imagination. But... his style, for one thing, will preserve him; and the purity of his misanthropy, too, will help to keep him alive.” Author Alan Gullette argues that Bierce’s war tales may be the best writing on war, outranking his contemporary Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage) and even Ernest Hemingway. Author Kurt Vonnegut once stated that he considered “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” the “greatest American short story” and a work of “flawless... American genius”. American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena Charles Fort wrote about the unexplained disappearances of Ambrose Bierce and Ambrose Small, and asked, “Was somebody collecting Ambroses?” Ambrose Bierce features as a character in Winston Groom’s 2016 novel El Paso. In the novel, Bierce is personally executed by Pancho Villa. Bierce as a fictional character Unusually for a person best known for the sedentary occupation of writing, Bierce has been fictionalized in more than 50 novels, short stories, movies, television shows, stage plays, and comic books. Most of these works draw upon Bierce’s vivid personality, colorful wit, relationships with famous people such as Jack London or William Randolph Hearst, or, quite frequently, his mysterious disappearance. Bierce has been portrayed by such well-known authors as Ray Bradbury, Jack Finney, Carlos Fuentes, Winston Groom, and Robert Heinlein. Some works featuring a fictional Ambrose Bierce have received favorable reviews, generated international sales, or earned major awards. Works Volumes published Published during Bierce’s lifetime * The Fiend’s Delight (as by “Dod Grile”). (London: John Camden Hotten, 1873). Stories, satire, journalism, poetry. * Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California (as by “Dod Grile”). (London: Chatto & Windus, 1873). Stories, satire, epigrams, journalism. * Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (as by “Dod Grile”). (London and New York: George Routledge & Sons, 1874). Fables, stories, journalism. * (with Thomas A. Harcourt) The Dance of Death (as by “William Herman”). (San Francisco: H. Keller & Co., 1877). Satire. * Map of the Black Hills Region, Showing the Gold Mining District and the Seat of the Indian War (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Co., 1877). Nonfiction: map. * Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (San Francisco: E. L. G. Steele, 1891; many subsequent editions, some under the title In the Midst of Life). Fiction: stories. * (with G. A. Danziger) The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter (Chicago: F. J. Schulte & Co., 1892). Fiction: novel (translation of Die Mönch des Berchtesgaden by Richard Voss). * Black Beetles in Amber (San Francisco and New York: Western Authors Publishing, 1892). Poetry. * Can Such Things Be? (New York: Cassell, 1893). Fiction: stories. * How Blind Is He (San Francisco: F. Soulé Campbell, c. 1896). Poetry. * Fantastic Fables (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1899). Fiction: fables. * The Cynic’s Word Book (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906). Satire. * A Son of the Gods and A Horseman in the Sky (San Francisco: Paul Elder, 1907). Fiction: stories. * Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults (New York and Washington, D.C.: Neale Publishing, 1909). Nonfiction: precise use of words. * Shapes of Clay (San Francisco: W. E. Wood [ George Sterling ], 1903). Poetry. * The Shadow on the Dial and Other Essays S. O. Howes, ed. (San Francisco: A. M. Robertson, 1909). Collected journalism. * The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (New York and Washington, D.C.: Neale Publishing, 1909-1912): * Volume I: Ashes of the Beacon * Volume II: In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians * Volume III: Can Such Things Be? * Volume IV: Shapes of Clay * Volume V: Black Beetles in Amber * Volume VI: The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter; Fantastic Fables * Volume VII: The Devil’s Dictionary * Volume VIII: Negligible Tales; On with the Dance; Epigrams * Volume IX: Tangential Views * Volume X: The Opinionator * Volume XI: Antepenultimata * Volume XII: In Motley Published posthumously * Fiction * My Favorite Murder (New York: Curtis J. Kirch, 1916) * A Horseman in the Sky: A Watcher by the Dead: The Man and the Snake (San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1920) * Ten Tales (London: First Edition Club, 1925) * Fantastic Debunking Fables (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, 1926) * An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Other Stories (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1926) * The Horseman in the Sky and Other Stories (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1926) * Tales of Ghouls and Ghosts (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * Tales of Haunted Houses (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * My Favorite Murder and Other Stories (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * Ghost and Horror Stories, E. F. Bleiler, ed. (New York: Dover, 1964) * The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, Ernest Jerome Hopkins, ed. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970) * The Stories and Fables of Ambrose Bierce, Edward Wagenknecht, ed. (Owings Mills, MD: Stemmer House, 1977) * For the Ahkoond (West Warwick, RI: Necromomicon Press, 1980) * A Horseman in the Sky (Skokie, IL: Black Cat Press, 1983) * One of the Missing: Tales of the War Between the States (Covelo, CA: Yolla Bolly Press, 1991) * Civil War Stories (New York: Dover, 1994) * An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Other Stories (London: Penguin, 1995) * The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories (Mineola, NY: Dover, 1998) * A Deoderizer of Dead Dogs, Carl Japikse, ed. (Alpharetta, GA: Enthea Press, 1998) * The Collected Fables of Ambrose Bierce, S. T. Joshi, ed. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2000) * The Short Fiction of Ambrose Bierce: A Comprehensive Edition (3 vols.), S. T. Joshi, Lawrence I. Berkove, and David E. Schultz, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 2006) * Ambrose Bierce: Masters of the Weird Tale, S. T. Joshi, ed. (Lakewood, CO: Centipede Press, 2013) * Satire * Extraordinary Opinions on Commonplace Subjects (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * A Cynic Looks at Life (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * The Sardonic Humor of Ambrose Bierce, George Barkin, ed. (New York: Dover, 1963) * The Fall of the Republic and Other Political Satires, S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 2000) * Poetry * An Invocation (San Francisco: John Henry Nash/Book Club of California, 1928) * The Lion and the Lamb (Berkeley: Archetype Press, 1939) * A Vision of Doom: Poems by Ambrose Bierce, Donald Sidney-Fryer, ed. (West Kingston, R.I.: Donald M. Grant, Publisher 1980) * Poems of Ambrose Bierce, M. E. Grenander, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1995) * Journalism * Selections from Prattle, Carroll D. Hall, ed. (San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1936) * The Ambrose Bierce Satanic Reader, Ernest Jerome Hopkins, ed. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968) * Skepticism and Dissent: Selected Journalism from 1898-1901, Lawrence I. Berkove, ed. (Ann Arbor: Delmas, 1980) * Autobiography * Iconoclastic Memories of the Civil War: Bits of Autobiography (Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius, c. 1927) * Battle Sketches (London: First Editions Club, 1930) * A Sole Survivor: Bits of Autobiography, S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1998) * Collections of mixed types of content * The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce (New York: Citadel Press, 1946) * Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War, William McCann, ed. (Chicago: Gateway Editions, 1956) * The Devil’s Advocate: An Ambrose Bierce Reader, Brian St. Pierre, ed. (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1987) * An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Selected Works (Des Moines: Perfection Form Co., 1991) * Shadows of Blue and Gray: The Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce, Brian M. Thomsen, ed. (New York: Forge, 2002) * Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period: The Complete Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce, Russell Duncan and David J. Klooster, eds. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 2002) * Ambrose Bierce: The Devil’s Dictionary, Tales, and Memoirs, S. T. Joshi, ed. (Boone, IA: Library of America, 2011) * Letters * Containing Four Ambrose Bierce Letters (New York: Charles Romm, 1921) * The Letters of Ambrose Bierce, Bertha Clark Pope [and George Sterling, uncredited], eds. (San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1922) * Twenty-one Letters of Ambrose Bierce, Samuel Loveman, ed. (Cleveland: George Kirk, 1922) * A Letter and a Likeness (n.p.: Harvey Taylor, [1930?]) * Battlefields and Ghosts (Palo Alto: Harvest Press, 1931) * Ambrose Bierce: “My Dear Rearden”: a Letter. (Berkeley: Bancroft Library Press, 1997) * A Much Misunderstood Man: Selected Letters of Ambrose Bierce, S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, eds. (Columbus: Ohio State University, 2003) * My Dear Mac: Three Letters (Berkeley: Bancroft Library Press, 2006) Short stories * Ambrose Bierce was a prolific writer of short fiction. He wrote 249 short stories, 846 fables, and more than 300 humorous Little Johnny stories. The following list provides links to more information about notable stories by Bierce. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce

Robert Laurence Binyon

Robert Laurence Binyon, CH (10 August 1869– 10 March 1943) was an English poet, dramatist and art scholar. His most famous work, For the Fallen, is well known for being used in Remembrance Sunday services. Pre-war life Laurence Binyon was born in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. His parents were Frederick Binyon, and Mary Dockray. Mary’s father, Robert Benson Dockray, was the main engineer of the London and Birmingham Railway. The family were Quakers. Binyon studied at St Paul’s School, London. Then he read Classics (Honour Moderations) at Trinity College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1891. Immediately after graduating in 1893, Binyon started working for the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum, writing catalogues for the museum and art monographs for himself. In 1895 his first book, Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century, was published. In that same year, Binyon moved into the Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, under Campbell Dodgson. In 1909, Binyon became its Assistant Keeper, and in 1913 he was made the Keeper of the new Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings. Around this time he played a crucial role in the formation of Modernism in London by introducing young Imagist poets such as Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and H.D. to East Asian visual art and literature. Many of Binyon’s books produced while at the Museum were influenced by his own sensibilities as a poet, although some are works of plain scholarship– such as his four-volume catalogue of all the Museum’s English drawings, and his seminal catalogue of Chinese and Japanese prints. In 1904 he married historian Cicely Margaret Powell, and the couple had three daughters. During those years, Binyon belonged to a circle of artists, as a regular patron of the Wiener Cafe of London. His fellow intellectuals there were Ezra Pound, Sir William Rothenstein, Walter Sickert, Charles Ricketts, Lucien Pissarro and Edmund Dulac. Binyon’s reputation before the war was such that, on the death of the Poet Laureate Alfred Austin in 1913, Binyon was among the names mentioned in the press as his likely successor (others named included Thomas Hardy, John Masefield and Rudyard Kipling; the post went to Robert Bridges). For the Fallen Moved by the opening of the Great War and the already high number of casualties of the British Expeditionary Force, in 1914 Laurence Binyon wrote his For the Fallen, with its Ode of Remembrance, as he was visiting the cliffs on the north Cornwall coast, either at Polzeath or at Portreath (at each of which places there is a plaque commemorating the event, though Binyon himself mentioned Polzeath in a 1939 interview. The confusion may be related to Porteath Farm being near Polzeath). The piece was published by The Times newspaper in September, when public feeling was affected by the recent Battle of Marne. Today Binyon’s most famous poem, For the Fallen, is often recited at Remembrance Sunday services in the UK; is an integral part of Anzac Day services in Australia and New Zealand and of the 11 November Remembrance Day services in Canada. The third and fourth verses of the poem (although often just the fourth) have thus been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation. They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England’s foam Three of Binyon’s poems, including “For the Fallen”, were set by Sir Edward Elgar in his last major orchestra/choral work, The Spirit of England. In 1915, despite being too old to enlist in the First World War, Laurence Binyon volunteered at a British hospital for French soldiers, Hôpital Temporaire d’Arc-en-Barrois, Haute-Marne, France, working briefly as a hospital orderly. He returned in the summer of 1916 and took care of soldiers taken in from the Verdun battlefield. He wrote about his experiences in For Dauntless France (1918) and his poems, “Fetching the Wounded” and “The Distant Guns”, were inspired by his hospital service in Arc-en-Barrois. Artists Rifles, a CD audiobook published in 2004, includes a reading of For the Fallen by Binyon himself. The recording itself is undated and appeared on a 78 rpm disc issued in Japan. Other Great War poets heard on the CD include Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves, David Jones and Edgell Rickword. Post-war life After the war, he returned to the British Museum and wrote numerous books on art; in particular on William Blake, Persian art, and Japanese art. His work on ancient Japanese and Chinese cultures offered strongly contextualised examples that inspired, among others, the poets Ezra Pound and W. B. Yeats. His work on Blake and his followers kept alive the then nearly-forgotten memory of the work of Samuel Palmer. Binyon’s duality of interests continued the traditional interest of British visionary Romanticism in the rich strangeness of Mediterranean and Oriental cultures. In 1931, his two volume Collected Poems appeared. In 1932, Binyon rose to be the Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department, yet in 1933 he retired from the British Museum. He went to live in the country at Westridge Green, near Streatley (where his daughters also came to live during the Second World War). He continued writing poetry. In 1933–1934, Binyon was appointed Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. He delivered a series of lectures on The Spirit of Man in Asian Art, which were published in 1935. Binyon continued his academic work: in May 1939 he gave the prestigious Romanes Lecture in Oxford on Art and Freedom, and in 1940 he was appointed the Byron Professor of English Literature at University of Athens. He worked there until forced to leave, narrowly escaping the German invasion of Greece in April 1941 . He was succeeded by Lord Dunsany, who held the chair in 1940-1941. Binyon had been friends with Ezra Pound since around 1909, and in the 1930s the two became especially close; Pound affectionately called him “BinBin”, and assisted Binyon with his translation of Dante. Another protégé was Arthur Waley, whom Binyon employed at the British Museum. Between 1933 and 1943, Binyon published his acclaimed translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy in an English version of terza rima, made with some editorial assistance by Ezra Pound. Its readership was dramatically increased when Paolo Milano selected it for the “The Portable Dante” in Viking’s Portable Library series. Binyon significantly revised his translation of all three parts for the project, and the volume went through three major editions and eight printings (while other volumes in the same series went out of print) before being replaced by the Mark Musa translation in 1981. At his death he was also working on a major three-part Arthurian trilogy, the first part of which was published after his death as The Madness of Merlin (1947). He died in Dunedin Nursing Home, Bath Road, Reading, on 10 March 1943 after an operation. A funeral service was held at Trinity College Chapel, Oxford, on 13 March 1943. There is a slate memorial in St. Mary’s Church, Aldworth, where Binyon’s ashes were scattered. On 11 November 1985, Binyon was among 16 Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner. The inscription on the stone quotes a fellow Great War poet, Wilfred Owen. It reads: “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.” Daughters His three daughters Helen, Margaret and Nicolete became artists. Helen Binyon (1904–1979) studied with Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, illustrating many books for the Oxford University Press, and was also a marionettist. She later taught puppetry and published Puppetry Today (1966) and Professional Puppetry in England (1973). Margaret Binyon wrote children’s books, which were illustrated by Helen. Nicolete, as Nicolete Gray, was a distinguished calligrapher and art scholar. Bibliography of key works Poems and verse * Lyric Poems (1894) * Porphyrion and other Poems (1898) * Odes (1901) * Death of Adam and Other Poems (1904) * London Visions (1908) * England and Other Poems (1909) * “For The Fallen”, The Times, 21 September 1914 * Winnowing Fan (1914) * The Anvil (1916) * The Cause (1917) * The New World: Poems (1918) * The Idols (1928) * Collected Poems Vol 1: London Visions, Narrative Poems, Translations. (1931) * Collected Poems Vol 2: Lyrical Poems. (1931) * The North Star and Other Poems (1941) * The Burning of the Leaves and Other Poems (1944) * The Madness of Merlin (1947) In 1915 Cyril Rootham set “For the Fallen” for chorus and orchestra, first performed in 1919 by the Cambridge University Musical Society conducted by the composer. Edward Elgar set to music three of Binyon’s poems ("The Fourth of August", “To Women”, and “For the Fallen”, published within the collection “The Winnowing Fan”) as The Spirit of England, Op. 80, for tenor or soprano solo, chorus and orchestra (1917). English arts and myth * Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century (1895), Binyon’s first book on painting * John Crone and John Sell Cotman (1897) * William Blake: Being all his Woodcuts Photographically Reproduced in Facsimile (1902) * English Poetry in its relation to painting and the other arts (1918) * Drawings and Engravings of William Blake (1922) * Arthur: A Tragedy (1923) * The Followers of William Blake (1925) * The Engraved Designs of William Blake (1926) * Landscape in English Art and Poetry (1931) * English Watercolours (1933) * Gerard Hopkins and his influence (1939) * Art and freedom. (The Romanes lecture, delivered 25 May 1939). Oxford: The Clarendon press, (1939) Japanese and Persian arts * Painting in the Far East (1908) * Japanese Art (1909) * Flight of the Dragon (1911) * The Court Painters of the Grand Moguls (1921) * Japanese Colour Prints (1923) * The Poems of Nizami (1928) (Translation) * Persian Miniature Painting (1933) * The Spirit of Man in Asian Art (1936) Autobiography * For Dauntless France (1918) (War memoir) Biography * Botticelli (1913) * Akbar (1932) Stage plays * Brief Candles A verse-drama about the decision of Richard III to dispatch his two nephews * “Paris and Oenone”, 1906 * Godstow Nunnery: Play * Boadicea; A Play in eight Scenes * Attila: a Tragedy in Four Acts * Ayuli: a Play in three Acts and an Epilogue * Sophro the Wise: a Play for Children * (Most of the above were written for John Masefield’s theatre). * Charles Villiers Stanford wrote incidental music for Attila in 1907. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Binyon

John Betjeman

Sir John Betjeman, CBE (28 August 1906 – 19 May 1984) was an English poet, writer, and broadcaster who described himself in Who’s Who as a “poet and hack”. He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. He began his career as a journalist and ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television. Life Early life and education Betjeman was born “John Betjemann”. His parents, Mabel (née Dawson) and Ernest Betjemann, had a family firm at 34–42 Pentonville Road which manufactured the kind of ornamental household furniture and gadgets distinctive to Victorians. The family name was changed to the less German-looking “Betjeman” during the First World War. His father’s forebears had actually come from the present day Netherlands and had, ironically, added the extra –n during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War to avoid the anti-Dutch sentiment existing at the time, more than a century earlier, setting up their home and business in Islington, London. Betjeman was baptised at St Anne’s Church, Highgate Rise, a 19th-century church at the foot of Highgate West Hill. The family lived at Parliament Hill Mansions in the Lissenden Gardens private estate in Gospel Oak in north London. In 1909, the Betjemanns moved half a mile north to more opulent Highgate. From West Hill they lived in the reflected glory of the Burdett-Coutts estate: “Here from my eyrie, as the sun went down, I heard the old North London puff and shunt, Glad that I did not live in Gospel Oak.” Betjeman’s early schooling was at the local Byron House and Highgate School, where he was taught by poet T. S. Eliot. After this, he boarded at the Dragon School preparatory school in North Oxford and Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire. In his penultimate year, he joined the secret Society of Amici in which he was a contemporary of both Louis MacNeice and Graham Shepard. He founded The Heretick, a satirical magazine that lampooned Marlborough’s obsession with sport. While at school, his exposure to the works of Arthur Machen won him over to High Church Anglicanism, a conversion of importance to his later writing and conception of the arts. Magdalen College, Oxford Betjeman entered the University of Oxford with difficulty, having failed the mathematics portion of the university’s matriculation exam, Responsions. He was, however, admitted as a commoner (i.e. a non-scholarship student) at Magdalen College and entered the newly created School of English Language and Literature. At Oxford, Betjeman made little use of the academic opportunities. His tutor, a young C. S. Lewis, regarded him as an “idle prig” and Betjeman in turn considered Lewis unfriendly, demanding, and uninspired as a teacher. Betjeman particularly disliked the coursework’s emphasis on linguistics, and dedicated most of his time to cultivating his social life and his interest in English ecclesiastical architecture, and to private literary pursuits. At Oxford he was a friend of Maurice Bowra, later (1938 to 1970) to be Warden of Wadham. Betjeman had a poem published in Isis, the university magazine, and served as editor of the Cherwell student newspaper during 1927. His first book of poems was privately printed with the help of fellow student Edward James. He famously brought his teddy bear Archibald Ormsby-Gore up to Magdalen with him, the memory of which inspired his Oxford contemporary Evelyn Waugh to include Sebastian Flyte’s teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited. Much of this period of his life is recorded in his blank verse autobiography Summoned by Bells published in 1960 and made into a television film in 1976. It is a common misapprehension, cultivated by Betjeman himself, that he did not complete his degree because he failed to pass the compulsory holy scripture examination, known colloquially as “Divvers”, short for “Divinity”. In Hilary term 1928, Betjeman failed Divinity for the second time. He had to leave the university for the Trinity term to prepare for a retake of the exam; he was then allowed to return in October. Betjeman then wrote to the Secretary of the Tutorial Board at Magdalen, G. C. Lee, asking to be entered for the Pass School, a set of examinations taken on rare occasions by undergraduates who are deemed unlikely to achieve an honours degree. In Summoned by Bells Betjeman claims that his tutor, C. S. Lewis, said “You’d have only got a third”– but he had informed the tutorial board that he thought Betjeman would not achieve an honours degree of any class. Permission to sit the Pass School was granted. Betjeman famously decided to offer a paper in Welsh. Osbert Lancaster tells the story that a tutor came by train twice a week (first class) from Aberystwyth to teach Betjeman. However, Jesus College had a number of Welsh tutors who more probably would have taught him. Betjeman finally had to leave at the end of the Michaelmas term, 1928. Betjeman did pass his Divinity examination on his third try but was 'sent down’ after failing the Pass School. He had achieved a satisfactory result in only one of the three required papers (on Shakespeare and other English authors). Betjeman’s academic failure at Oxford rankled with him for the rest of his life and he was never reconciled with C.S. Lewis, towards whom he nursed a bitter detestation. This situation was perhaps complicated by his enduring love of Oxford, from which he accepted an honorary doctorate of letters in 1974. After university Betjeman left Oxford without a degree. Whilst there, however, he had made the acquaintance of people who would later influence his work, including Louis MacNeice and W. H. Auden. He worked briefly as a private secretary, school teacher and film critic for the Evening Standard, where he also wrote for their high-society gossip column, the Londoner’s Diary. He was employed by the Architectural Review between 1930 and 1935, as a full-time assistant editor, following their publishing of some of his freelance work. Timothy Mowl (2000) says, “His years at the Architectural Review were to be his true university”. At this time, while his prose style matured, he joined the MARS Group, an organisation of young modernist architects and architectural critics in Britain. Betjeman’s sexuality can best be described as bisexual, and his longest and best documented relationships were with women, and a fairer analysis of his sexuality may be that he was “the hatcher of a lifetime of schoolboy crushes– both gay and straight”, most of which progressed no further. Nevertheless, he has been considered “temperamentally gay”, and even became a penpal of Lord Alfred 'Bosie’ Douglas of Oscar Wilde fame. On 29 July 1933 he married the Hon. Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of Field Marshal Lord Chetwode. The couple lived in Berkshire and had a son, Paul, in 1937, and a daughter, Candida, in 1942. In 1937, Betjeman was a churchwarden at Uffington, the Berkshire town (since relocated to Oxfordshire) where he lived. That year, he paid for the cleaning of the church’s royal arms and later presided over the conversion of the church’s oil lamps to electricity. The Shell Guides were developed by Betjeman and Jack Beddington, a friend who was publicity manager with Shell-Mex Ltd, to guide Britain’s growing number of motorists around the counties of Britain and their historical sites. They were published by the Architectural Press and financed by Shell. By the start of World War II 13 had been published, of which Cornwall (1934) and Devon (1936) were written by Betjeman. A third, Shropshire, was written with and designed by his good friend John Piper in 1951. In 1939, Betjeman was rejected for active service in World War II but found war work with the films division of the Ministry of Information. In 1941 he became British press attaché in neutral Dublin, Ireland, working with Sir John Maffey. He may have been involved with the gathering of intelligence. He is reported to have been selected for assassination by the IRA. The order was rescinded after a meeting with an unnamed Old IRA man who was impressed by his works. Betjeman wrote a number of poems based on his experiences in “Emergency” World War II Ireland including "The Irish Unionist’s Farewell to Greta Hellstrom in 1922" (written during the war) which contained the refrain “Dungarvan in the rain”. The object of his affections, “Greta”, has remained a mystery until recently revealed to have been a member of a well-known Anglo-Irish family of Western county Waterford. His official brief included establishing friendly contacts with leading figures in the Dublin literary scene: he befriended Patrick Kavanagh, then at the very start of his career. Kavanagh celebrated the birth of Betjeman’s daughter with a poem “Candida”; another well-known poem contains the line Let John Betjeman call for me in a car. After World War II Betjeman’s wife Penelope became a Roman Catholic in 1948. The couple drifted apart and in 1951 he met Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, with whom he developed an immediate and lifelong friendship. By 1948 Betjeman had published more than a dozen books. Five of these were verse collections, including one in the USA. Sales of his Collected Poems in 1958 reached 100,000. The popularity of the book prompted Ken Russell to make a film about him, John Betjeman: A Poet in London (1959). Filmed in 35mm and running 11 minutes and 35 seconds, it was first shown on BBC’s Monitor programme. He continued writing guidebooks and works on architecture during the 1960s and 1970s and started broadcasting. He was a founder member of the Victorian Society (1958). Betjeman was closely associated with the culture and spirit of Metro-land, as outer reaches of the Metropolitan Railway were known before the war. In 1973 he made a widely acclaimed television documentary for the BBC called Metro-Land, directed by Edward Mirzoeff. On the centenary of Betjeman’s birth in 2006, his daughter led two celebratory railway trips: from London to Bristol, and through Metro-land, to Quainton Road. In 1974, Betjeman and Mirzoeff followed up Metro-Land with A Passion for Churches, a celebration of Betjeman’s beloved Church of England, filmed entirely in the Diocese of Norwich. In 1975, he proposed that the Fine Rooms of Somerset House should house the Turner Bequest, so helping to scupper the plan of the Minister for the Arts for a Theatre Museum to be housed there. In 1977 the BBC broadcast “The Queen’s Realm: A Prospect of England”, an aerial anthology of English landscape, music and poetry, selected by Betjeman and produced by Edward Mirzoeff, in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Betjeman was fond of the ghost stories of M.R. James and supplied an introduction to Peter Haining’s book M.R. James– Book of the Supernatural. He was susceptible to the supernatural. Diana Mitford tells the story of Betjeman staying at her country home, Biddesden House, in the 1920s. She says, “he had a terrifying dream, that he was handed a card with wide black edges, and on it his name was engraved, and a date. He knew this was the date of his death”. For the last decade of his life Betjeman suffered increasingly from Parkinson’s disease. He died at his home in Trebetherick, Cornwall on 19 May 1984, aged 77, and is buried nearby at St Enodoc’s Church. Poetry Betjeman’s poems are often humorous, and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image. His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace. Auden said in his introduction to Slick But Not Streamlined, “so at home with the provincial gaslit towns, the seaside lodgings, the bicycle, the harmonium.” His poetry is similarly redolent of time and place, continually seeking out intimations of the eternal in the manifestly ordinary. There are constant evocations of the physical chaff and clutter that accumulates in everyday life, the miscellanea of an England now gone but not beyond the reach of living memory. He talks of Ovaltine and Sturmey-Archer bicycle gears. “Oh! Fuller’s angel cake, Robertson’s marmalade,” he writes, “Liberty lampshades, come shine on us all.” In a 1962 radio interview he told teenage questioners that he could not write about 'abstract things’, preferring places, and faces. Philip Larkin wrote of his work, "how much more interesting & worth writing about Betjeman’s subjects are than most other modern poets, I mean, whether so-and-so achieves some metaphysical inner unity is not really so interesting to us as the overbuilding of rural Middlesex". Betjeman was a practising Anglican and his religious beliefs come through in some of his poems. He combined piety with a nagging uncertainty about the truth of Christianity. Unlike Thomas Hardy, who disbelieved in the truth of the Christmas story while hoping it might be so, Betjeman affirms his belief even while fearing it might be false. In the poem “Christmas”, one of his most openly religious pieces, the last three stanzas that proclaim the wonder of Christ’s birth do so in the form of a question “And is it true...?” His views on Christianity were expressed in his poem “The Conversion of St. Paul”, a response to a radio broadcast by humanist Margaret Knight: Betjeman became Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1972, the first Knight Bachelor to be appointed (the only other, Sir William Davenant, had been knighted after his appointment). This role, combined with his popularity as a television performer, ensured that his poetry reached an audience enormous by the standards of the time. Similarly to Tennyson, he appealed to a wide public and managed to voice the thoughts and aspirations of many ordinary people while retaining the respect of many of his fellow poets. This is partly because of the apparently simple traditional metrical structures and rhymes he uses. In the early 1970s, he began a recording career of four albums on Charisma Records which included Betjeman’s Banana Blush (1974) and Late Flowering Love (1974), where his poetry reading is set to music with overdubbing by leading musicians of the time. His recording catalogue extends to nine albums, four singles and two compilations. Betjeman and architecture Betjeman had a fondness for Victorian architecture and was a founding member of the Victorian Society. He wrote on this subject in First and Last Loves (1952) and more extensively in London’s Historic Railway Stations in 1972, defending the beauty of twelve stations. He led the campaign to save Holy Trinity, Sloane Street in London when it was threatened with demolition in the early 1970s. He fought a spirited but unsuccessful campaign to save the Propylaeum, known commonly as the Euston Arch, London. He is considered instrumental in helping to save St Pancras railway station, London, and was commemorated when it became an international terminus for Eurostar in November 2007. He called the plan to demolish St Pancras a “criminal folly”. About it he wrote, "What [the Londoner] sees in his mind’s eye is that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill and outlined against a foggy sunset, and the great arc of Barlow’s train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street.” On the reopening of St Pancras station in 2007, a statue of Betjeman was commissioned from curators Futurecity. A proposal by artist Martin Jennings was selected from a shortlist. The finished work was erected in the station at platform level, including a series of slate roundels depicting selections of Betjeman’s writings. Betjeman was given the remaining two-year lease on Victorian Gothic architect William Burges’s Tower House in Holland Park upon leaseholder Mrs E.R.B. Graham’s death in 1962. Betjeman felt he could not afford the financial implications of taking over the house permanently, with his potential liability for £10,000 of renovations upon the expiration of the lease. After damage from vandals, restoration began in 1966. Betjeman’s lease included furniture from the house by Burges, and Betjeman gave three pieces, the Zodiac settle, the Narcissus washstand, and the Philosophy cabinet, to Evelyn Waugh. Betjeman responded to architecture as the visible manifestation of society’s spiritual life as well as its political and economic structure. He attacked speculators and bureaucrats for what he saw as their rapacity and lack of imagination. In the preface of his collection of architectural essays First and Last Loves he says, “We accept the collapse of the fabrics of our old churches, the thieving of lead and objects from them, the commandeering and butchery of our scenery by the services, the despoiling of landscaped parks and the abandonment to a fate worse than the workhouse of our country houses, because we are convinced we must save money.” In a BBC film made in 1968 but not broadcast at that time, Betjeman described the sound of Leeds to be of “Victorian buildings crashing to the ground”. He went on to lambast John Poulson’s British Railways House (now City House), saying how it blocked all the light out to City Square and was only a testament to money with no architectural merit. He also praised the architecture of Leeds Town Hall. In 1969 Betjeman contributed the foreword to Derek Linstrum’s Historic Architecture of Leeds. Betjeman was for over 20 years a trustee of the Bath Preservation Trust and was Vice-President from 1965 to 1971, at a time when Bath—a city rich in Georgian architecture—was coming under increasing pressure from modern developers, and a major road was proposed to cut across it. He also created a short television documentary called Architecture of Bath, in which he voiced his concerns about the way the city’s architectural heritage was being mistreated. From 1946 to 1948 he had served as Secretary to the Oxford Preservation Trust. Legacy A memorial window, designed by John Piper, in All Saints’ Church, Farnborough, Hampshire, where Betjeman lived in the nearby Rectory. The Betjeman Millennium Park at Wantage in Oxfordshire, where he lived from 1951 to 1972 and where he set his book Archie and the Strict Baptists One of the roads in Pinner, a town covered in Betjeman’s film Metro-Land is called Betjeman Close, while another in Chorleywood, also covered in Metro-Land, is called Betjeman Gardens. The John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People (2006–) is open to 10- to 13-year-olds living anywhere in the British Isles (including the Republic of Ireland), with a first prize of £1,000. In addition to prizes for individual finalists, state schools who enter pupils may win one of six one-day poetry workshops. One of the engines on the pier railway at Southend-on-Sea is named Sir John Betjeman (the other Sir William Heygate). A British Rail Class 86 AC electric locomotive, 86229, was named Sir John Betjeman by the man in person at St Pancras station on 24 June 1983, just before his death; it was renamed Lions Group International in 1998 and is now in storage. The nameplate is now carried by Class 90 locomotive 90007, in service on the London– Norwich route. In 2003, to mark their centenary, the residents of Lissenden Gardens in north London put up a blue plaque to mark Betjeman’s birthplace. In 2006, a blue plaque was installed on Betjeman’s childhood home, 31 West Hill, Highgate, London N6. In 2006 a blue plaque was erected at Garrard’s Farm, Uffington, Oxfordshire which had been his first married home. The statue of Betjeman at St Pancras station in London by sculptor Martin Jennings was unveiled in 2007. In 2012 Betjeman featured on BBC Radio 4 as author of the week on The Write Stuff. On 1 September 2014 Betjeman was the subject of the hour-long BBC Four documentary Return to Betjemanland, presented by his biographer A. N. Wilson. At the start of the broadcast, there was a spoken tribute to Betjeman’s daughter Candida Lycett Green, who had died just twelve days earlier on 19 August, aged 71. On 28 August 2016 a bust of Betjeman based on the St Pancras statue was unveiled outside the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage, Oxfordshire. Awards and honours * 1960 Queen’s Medal for Poetry * 1960 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) * 1968 Companion of Literature, the Royal Society of Literature * 1969 Knight Bachelor * 1972 Poet Laureate * 1973 Honorary Member, the American Academy of Arts and Letters. * 2011 Honoured by the University of Oxford, his alma mater, as one of its 100 most distinguished members from ten centuries. Works * Mount Zion (1932) * Continual Dew (1937) * Old Lights For New Chancels (1940) * New Bats in Old Belfries (1945) * A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954) * Poems in the Porch (1954) * Summoned by Bells (1960) * High and Low (1966) * A Nip in the Air (1974) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Betjeman

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Early life and education Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire in 1816, the third of six children, to Maria (née Branwell) and her husband Patrick Brontë (formerly surnamed Brunty or Prunty), an Irish Anglican clergyman. In 1820, the family moved a few miles to the village of Haworth, where Patrick had been appointed Perpetual Curate of St Michael and All Angels Church. Charlotte's mother died of cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to be taken care of by her sister Elizabeth Branwell. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (She used the school as the basis for Lowood School in Jane Eyre). The school's poor conditions, Charlotte maintained, permanently affected her health and physical development and hastened the deaths of her two elder sisters, Maria (born 1814) and Elizabeth (born 1815), who died of tuberculosis in June 1825. Soon after their deaths, her father removed Charlotte and Emily from the school. At home in Haworth Parsonage Charlotte acted as "the motherly friend and guardian of her younger sisters". She and her surviving siblings — Branwell, Emily, and Anne – created their own literary fictional worlds, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of these imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote Byronic stories about their imagined country, "Angria", and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about "Gondal". The sagas they created were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in partial manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood. Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head in Mirfield, from 1831 to 1832, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. Shortly after she wrote the novella The Green Dwarf (1833) using the name Wellesley. Charlotte returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. Politically a Tory, she preached tolerance rather than revolution. She held high moral principles, and, despite her shyness in company, was always prepared to argue her beliefs. Brussels In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enrol in a boarding school run by Constantin Heger (1809–96) and his wife Claire Zoé Parent Heger (1804–87). In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the boarding school was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after the death of their mother to look after the children, died of internal obstruction in October 1842. Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the school. Her second stay was not a happy one; she became lonely, homesick and deeply attached to Constantin Heger. She returned to Haworth in January 1844 and used her time at the boarding school as the inspiration for some experiences in The Professor and Villette. First publication In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. These pseudonyms veiled the sisters' gender whilst preserving their real initials, thus Charlotte was "Currer Bell". "Bell" was the middle name of Haworth's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, whom Charlotte later married. On the decision to use noms de plume, Charlotte wrote: Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called 'feminine' – we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise. Although only two copies of the collection of poetry were sold, the sisters continued writing for publication and began their first novels, continuing to use their noms de plume when sending manuscripts to potential publishers. Jane Eyre Charlotte's first manuscript, The Professor, did not secure a publisher, although she was heartened by an encouraging response from Smith, Elder & Co of Cornhill, who expressed an interest in any longer works which "Currer Bell" might wish to send. Charlotte responded by finishing and sending a second manuscript in August 1847, and six weeks later Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, was published. Jane Eyre was a success, and initially received favourable reviews. There was speculation about the identity of Currer Bell, and whether Bell was a man or a woman. The speculation heightened on the subsequent publication of novels by Charlotte's sisters: Emily's Wuthering Heights by "Ellis Bell" and Anne's Agnes Grey by "Acton Bell". Accompanying the speculation was a change in the critical reaction to Charlotte's work; accusations began to be made that Charlotte's writing was "coarse", a judgement which was made more readily once it was suspected that "Currer Bell" was a woman. However sales of Jane Eyre continued to be strong, and may even have increased due to the novel's developing reputation as an 'improper' book. Shirley and family bereavements Following the success of Jane Eyre, in 1848 Charlotte began work on the manuscript of her second novel, Shirley. The manuscript was only partially completed when the Brontë household suffered a tragic turn of events, experiencing the deaths of three family members within eight months. In September 1848 Charlotte's only brother, Branwell, died of chronic bronchitis and marasmus exacerbated by heavy drinking, although Charlotte believed his death was due to tuberculosis. Branwell was a suspected "opium eater", a laudanum addict. Emily became seriously ill shortly after Branwell's funeral, and died of pulmonary tuberculosis in December 1848. Anne died of the same disease in May 1849. Charlotte was unable to write at this time. After Anne's death Charlotte resumed writing as a way of dealing with her grief, and Shirley was published in October 1849. Shirley deals with the themes of industrial unrest and the role of women in society. Unlike Jane Eyre, which is written from the first-person perspective of the main character, Shirley is written in the third-person and lacks the emotional immediacy of Jane Eyre, and reviewers found it less shocking. In society In view of the success of her novels, particularly Jane Eyre, Charlotte was persuaded by her publisher to visit London occasionally, where she revealed her true identity and began to move in a more exalted social circle, becoming friends with Harriet Martineau and Elizabeth Gaskell, and acquainted with William Makepeace Thackeray and G. H. Lewes. She never left Haworth for more than a few weeks at a time as she did not want to leave her ageing father's side. Thackeray’s daughter, the writer Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie recalled a visit to her father by Charlotte: …two gentlemen come in, leading a tiny, delicate, serious, little lady, with fair straight hair, and steady eyes. She may be a little over thirty; she is dressed in a little barège dress with a pattern of faint green moss. She enters in mittens, in silence, in seriousness; our hearts are beating with wild excitement. This then is the authoress, the unknown power whose books have set all London talking, reading, speculating; some people even say our father wrote the books – the wonderful books… The moment is so breathless that dinner comes as a relief to the solemnity of the occasion, and we all smile as my father stoops to offer his arm; for, genius though she may be, Miss Brontë can barely reach his elbow. My own personal impressions are that she is somewhat grave and stern, specially to forward little girls who wish to chatter… Every one waited for the brilliant conversation which never began at all. Miss Brontë retired to the sofa in the study, and murmured a low word now and then to our kind governess… the conversation grew dimmer and more dim, the ladies sat round still expectant, my father was too much perturbed by the gloom and the silence to be able to cope with it at all… after Miss Brontë had left, I was surprised to see my father opening the front door with his hat on. He put his fingers to his lips, walked out into the darkness, and shut the door quietly behind him… long afterwards… Mrs. Procter asked me if I knew what had happened… It was one of the dullest evenings [Mrs Procter] had ever spent in her life… the ladies who had all come expecting so much delightful conversation, and the gloom and the constraint, and how finally, overwhelmed by the situation, my father had quietly left the room, left the house, and gone off to his club. Friendship with Elizabeth Gaskell Charlotte sent copies of Shirley to leading authors of the day, including Elizabeth Gaskell. Gaskell and Charlotte met in August 1850 and began a friendship which, whilst not necessarily close, was significant in that Gaskell wrote Charlotte's biography after her death in 1855. The Life of Charlotte Brontë, was published in 1857 and was unusual at the time in that, rather than analysing its subject's achievements, it concentrated on the private details of Charlotte's life, in particular placing emphasis on aspects which countered the accusations of 'coarseness' which had been levelled at Charlotte's writing. Though frank in places, Gaskell was selective about which details she revealed; for example, she suppressed details of Charlotte's love for Heger, a married man, as being too much of an affront to contemporary morals and as a source of distress to Charlotte's still-living friends, father and husband. Gaskell also provided doubtful and inaccurate information about Patrick Brontë, claiming, for example, that he did not allow his children to eat meat. This is refuted by one of Emily Brontë's diary papers, in which she describes the preparation of meat and potatoes for dinner at the parsonage, as Juliet Barker points out in her biography, The Brontës. It has been argued that the particular approach of Mrs Gaskell transferred the focus of attention away from the 'difficult' novels, not just of Charlotte but all the sisters, and began a process of sanctification of their private lives. Villette Charlotte's third published novel, and the last to be published during her lifetime, was Villette, which came out in 1853. Its main themes include isolation, how such a condition can be borne, and the internal conflict brought about by societal repression of individual desire. Its main character, Lucy Snowe, travels abroad to teach in a boarding school in the fictional town of Villette, where she encounters a culture and religion different to her own, and where she falls in love with a man ('Paul Emanuel') whom she cannot marry. Her experiences result in her having a breakdown, but eventually she achieves independence and fulfilment in running her own school. Villette marked Charlotte's return to writing from a first-person perspective (that of Lucy Snowe), a technique she had used successfully in Jane Eyre. Another similarity to Jane Eyre was Charlotte's use of aspects from her own life as inspiration for fictional events, in particular reworking her time spent at the pensionnat in Brussels into Lucy spending time teaching at the boarding school, and falling in love with Constantin Heger into Lucy falling in love with 'Paul Emanuel'. Villette was acknowledged by the critics of the day as a potent and sophisticated piece of writing, although it was criticised for its 'coarseness' and not suitably 'feminine' in its portrayal of Lucy's desires. Illness and subsequent death In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate and possibly the model for Jane Eyre's St. John Rivers. She became pregnant soon after the marriage. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, she was attacked by "sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness." Charlotte died, with her unborn child, on 31 March 1855, at the age of 38. Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers[who?] suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. There is evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Brontë household's oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in the Church of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth. Posthumously, her first-written novel was published in 1857. The fragment she worked on in her last years in 1860 has been twice completed by recent authors, the more famous version being Emma Brown: A Novel from the Unfinished Manuscript by Charlotte Brontë by Clare Boylan in 2003. Much Angria material has appeared in published form since the author's death. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Brontë

Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar (19 December 1808– 31 July 1889), a contemporary and acquaintance of Robert Murray M’cheyne was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymn-writer. Life The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents. In 1853 Bonar earned the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of Aberdeen. Bonar’s wife, Jane Catherine Bonar, died in 1876. He died at this home, 10 Palmerston Road in the Grange, 31 July 1889. They are buried together in the Canongate Kirkyard in the lair of Alexander Bonar, near the bottom of the eastern extension. Service He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John’s parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. Works * He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for “The Quarterly journal of Prophecy” from 1848 to 1873 and for the “Christian Treasury” from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts wrote a number of hymns, many of which, e.g., “I heard the voice of Jesus say” and “Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power,” became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including “The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth” in 1869, and in 1884 “The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds”, who was married to Bonar’s daughter and who died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France. * His hymns, which number over 140, include: * All That I Was * Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God * I heard the Voice of Jesus say * I Was a Wandering Sheep * Thy way, not mine, O Lord * Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face * A few more years shall roll * Come Lord and tarry not * O love of God, how strong and true * Some of his books include: * Words to Winners of Souls. Nabu Press. 2011. ISBN 978-1-24772-723-3. * The Everlasting Righteousness. Banner of Truth. 1996. ISBN 978-0-85151-655-4. * God’s Way of Holiness. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1-85792-503-6. * How Shall I Go to God. Baker Book House. 1977. ISBN 978-0-8010-0713-2. * Night of Weeping. Christian Focus Publications. 1999. ISBN 978-1-85792-441-1. * God’s Way of Peace ISBN 1-4590-9630-4 * Follow the Lamb ISBN 0-906731-63-1 * Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on The Acts & Larger Epistles– commentary on Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians ASIN B002ZJRS9K * Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation - commentary on the Book of Revelation ASIN B002ZRQ55U References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatius_Bonar

Frank Bidart

Frank Bidart (born May 27, 1939 in Bakersfield, California) is an American academic and poet, and a three time Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry. Biography Bidart is a native of California and considered a career in acting or directing when he was young. In 1957, he began to study at the University of California at Riverside, where he was introduced to writers such as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and started to look at poetry as a career path. He then went on to Harvard, where he was a student and friend of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. He began studying with Lowell and Reuben Brower in 1962. He has been an English professor at Wellesley College since 1972, and has taught at nearby Brandeis University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and he is gay. In his early work, he was noted for his dramatic monologue poems like “Ellen West” which Bidart wrote from the point of view of a woman with an eating disorder and “Herbert White” which he wrote from the point of view of a psychopath. He has also written openly about his family in the style of confessional poetry. He co-edited the Collected Poems of Robert Lowell which was published in 2003 after years of working on the book’s voluminous footnotes with his co-editor David Gewanter. Bidart was the 2007 winner of Yale University’s Bollingen Prize in American Poetry. His chapbook, Music Like Dirt, later included in the collection Star Dust, was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His 2013 book “Metaphysical Dog” was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He currently maintains a strong working relationship with actor and fellow poet James Franco, with whom he collaborated during the making of Franco’s short film “Herbert White” (2010), based on Bidart’s poem of the same name. In 2017, Bidart received the Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Recognition Award, as well as The National Book Award for Poetry, for his "Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016.” Bibliography Poetry * Golden State (1973) * The Book of the Body (1977) * The Sacrifice (1983) * In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90 (1990) * Desire (1997) received the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and the 1998 Bobbitt Prize for Poetry; finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award * Music Like Dirt (Sarabande Books, 2002), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize * Star Dust (2005), in two sections * Watching the Spring Festival (2008) * Metaphysical Dog (2013), nominated for the National Book Award in Poetry and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (2017), winner of the National Book Award in Poetry Other * Editor, with David Gewanter, of Robert Lowell’s Collected Poems (2003) Awards and honors * 1981 The Paris Review’s first Bernard F. Conners Prize for “The War of Vaslav Nijinsky” * 1991 Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation Writers’ Award * 1992 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences * 1995 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Poetry given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters * 1997 Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America * 2000 Wallace Stevens Award of The Academy of American Poets; subsequently elected a Chancellor of the Academy (2003) * 2007 Bollingen Prize in American Poetry * 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Poetry), winner for Metaphysical Dog * 2013 National Book Award (Poetry), finalist for Metaphysical Dog * 2014 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry * 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Recognition Award * 2017 National Book Award in Poetry References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Bidart

Edmund Blunden

Edmund Charles Blunden, CBE, MC (1 November 1896– 20 January 1974) was an English poet, author and critic. Like his friend Siegfried Sassoon, he wrote of his experiences in World War I in both verse and prose. For most of his career, Blunden was also a reviewer for English publications and an academic in Tokyo and later Hong Kong. He ended his career as Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Biography Early years and World War I Born in London, Blunden was the eldest of the nine children of Charles Edmund Blunden (1871–1951) and his wife, Georgina Margaret née Tyler, who were joint-headteachers of Yalding school. Blunden was educated at Christ’s Hospital and The Queen’s College, Oxford. In August 1915 Blunden was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Sussex Regiment and served with them right up to the end of World War I, taking part in the actions at Ypres and the Somme, and receiving the Military Cross in the process. Unusually for a junior infantry officer, Blunden survived nearly two years in the front line without physical injury, but for the rest of his life bore mental scars from his experiences. With characteristic self-deprecation he attributed his survival to his diminutive size: he made “an inconspicuous target”. His own account of his frequently traumatic experiences was published in 1928 under the title Undertones of War. Career as a writer Blunden left the army in 1919 and took up the scholarship at Oxford that he had won while still at school. On the same English Literature course was Robert Graves, and the two were close friends during their time at Oxford together, but Blunden found university life unsatisfactory and left in 1920 to take up a literary career, at first acting as assistant to Middleton Murry on the Athenaeum. An early supporter was Siegfried Sassoon, who became a lifelong friend. In 1920 Blunden published a collection of poems, The Waggoner, and with Alan Porter edited the poems of John Clare (mostly from Clare’s manuscript). Blunden’s next book of poems, The Shepherd, published in 1922 won the Hawthornden Prize, but his poetry, though well reviewed, did not provide enough to live on, and in 1924 he accepted the post of Professor of English at the University of Tokyo. He returned to England in 1927, and was literary editor of the Nation for a year. In 1927 he published a short book, On the Poems of Henry Vaughan, Characteristics and Intimations, with his principal Latin poems carefully translated into English verse (London: H. Cobden-Sanderson, 1927), expanding and revising an essay that he had published in November 1926 in the London Mercury. In 1931 he returned to Oxford as a Fellow of Merton College, where he was highly regarded as a tutor. During his years in Oxford, Blunden published extensively: several collections of poetry including Choice or Chance (1934) and Shells by a Stream (1944), prose works on Charles Lamb; Edward Gibbon; Keats’s publisher; Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley: A Life Story); John Taylor; and Thomas Hardy; and a book about a game he loved, Cricket Country (1944). He returned to full-time writing in 1944, becoming assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement. In 1947 he returned to Japan as a member of the British liaison mission in Tokyo. In 1953, after three years back in England he accepted the post of Professor of English Literature at the University of Hong Kong. Blunden retired in 1964 and settled in Suffolk. In 1966 he was nominated for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry in succession to Robert Graves; with some misgivings he agreed to stand and was elected by a large majority over the other candidate, Robert Lowell. However, he now found the strain of public lecturing too much for him, and after two years he resigned. He died of a heart attack at his home at Long Melford, Suffolk, on 20 January 1974, and is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. Personal life Blunden was married three times. While still in the army he met and married Mary Daines in 1918. They had three children, the first of whom died in infancy. They divorced in 1931, and in 1933 Blunden married Sylva Norman, a young novelist and critic. That marriage, which was childless, was dissolved in 1945, and in the same year he married Claire Margaret Poynting (1918-2000), a former pupil of his; they had four daughters. While in Japan in the summer of 1925, he met Aki Hayashi, with whom he began a relationship. When Blunden returned to England in 1927, Aki accompanied him and would become his secretary. The relationship later changed from a romantic one to a platonic friendship, and they remained in contact for the rest of her life. Blunden’s love of cricket, celebrated in his book Cricket Country, is described by the biographer Philip Ziegler as fanatical. Blunden and his friend Rupert Hart-Davis regularly opened the batting for a publisher’s eleven in the 1930s (Blunden insisted on batting without gloves). An affectionate obituary tribute in The Guardian commented, “He loved cricket... and played it ardently and very badly”, while in a review of Cricket Country, George Orwell described him as “the true cricketer”: The test of a true cricketer is that he shall prefer village cricket to 'good’ cricket [.... Blunden’s] friendliest memories are of the informal village game, where everyone plays in braces, where the blacksmith is liable to be called away in mid-innings on an urgent job, and sometimes, about the time when the light begins to fail, a ball driven for four kills a rabbit on the boundary. In a 2009 appreciation of the book and its author, Bangalore writer Suresh Menon writes, Any cricket book that talks easily of Henry James and Siegfried Sassoon and Ranji and Grace and Richard Burton (the writer, not the actor) and Coleridge is bound to have a special charm of its own. As Blunden says, “The game which made me write at all, is not terminated at the boundary, but is reflected beyond, is echoed and varied out there among the gardens and the barns, the dells and the thickets, and belongs to some wider field.” Perhaps that is what all books on cricket are trying to say. Blunden had a robust sense of humour. In Hong Kong he relished linguistic misunderstandings such as those of the restaurant that offered “fried prawn’s balls” and the schoolboy who wrote, “In Hong Kong there is a queer at every bus-stop.” His fellow poets’ regard for Blunden was illustrated by the contributions to a dinner in his honour for which poems were specially written by Cecil Day-Lewis and William Plomer; T. S. Eliot and Walter de la Mare were guests; and Siegfried Sassoon provided the Burgundy. Honours Blunden’s public honours included the C.B.E., 1951; the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, 1956; The Royal Society of Literature’s Benson Medal; the Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class (Japan), 1963; and Honorary Membership of the Japan Academy. On 11 November 1985, Blunden was among 16 Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey The inscription on the stone was written by fellow Great War poet, Wilfred Owen. It reads: “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.” Works * = * Blunden’s output was prolific. To those who thought he published too much he quoted Walter de la Mare’s observation that time was the poet’s best editor. His books of poetry include Poems 1913 and 1914 (1914); Poems Translated from the French (1914); Three Poems (1916); The Barn (1916); The Silver Bird of Herndyke Mill; Stane Street; The Gods of the World Beneath, (1916); The Harbingers (1916); Pastorals (1916); The Waggoner and Other Poems (1920); The Shepherd, and Other Poems of Peace and War (1922); Old Homes (1922); To Nature: New Poems (1923); Dead Letters (1923); Masks of Time: A New Collection of Poems Principally Meditative (1925); Japanese Garland (1928); Retreat (1928); Winter Nights: A Reminiscence (1928); Near and Far: New Poems (1929); A Summer’s Fancy (1930); To Themis: Poems on Famous Trials (1931); Constantia and Francis: An Autumn Evening, (1931); Halfway House: A Miscellany of New Poems, (1932); Choice or Chance: New Poems (1934); Verses: To H. R. H. The Duke of Windsor, (1936); An Elegy and Other Poems (1937); On Several Occasions (1938); Poems, 1930–1940 (1940); Shells by a Stream (1944); After the Bombing, and Other Short Poems (1949); Eastward: A Selection of Verses Original and Translated (1950); Records of Friendship (1950); A Hong Kong House (1959); Poems on Japan (1967). * Artists Rifles, an audiobook CD published in 2004, includes a reading of Concert Party, Busseboom by Blunden himself, recorded in 1964 by the British Council. Other Great War poets heard on the CD include Siegfried Sassoon, Edgell Rickword, Robert Graves, David Jones and Lawrence Binyon. Blunden can also be heard on Memorial Tablet, an audiobook of readings by Sassoon issued in 2003. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Blunden

Joel Barlow

Joel Barlow (March 24, 1754– December 26, 1812) was an American poet, diplomat, and politician. In politics, he supported the French Revolution and was an ardent Jeffersonian. In his own time, Barlow was known especially for the epic Vision of Columbus, though modern readers may be more familiar with The Hasty-Pudding (1793). He also helped draft the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, which includes the controversial and disputed phrase: “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. Biography Barlow was born in Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He briefly attended Dartmouth College before he graduated from Yale College in 1778, where he was also a postgraduate student for two years. In 1778, he published an anti-slavery poem entitled “The Prospect of Peace”. From September 1780 until the close of the Revolutionary War, he was chaplain in a Massachusetts brigade. Then, in 1783, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut. In July 1784, he established a weekly paper called American Mercury with which he was connected for a year. In 1786, he was admitted to the bar. At Hartford, he was a member of a group of young writers including Lemuel Hopkins, David Humphreys, and John Trumbull, known in American literary history as the “Hartford Wits”. He contributed to the Anarchiad, a series of satirico-political papers and, in 1787, published a long and ambitious poem, The Vision of Columbus, which gave him a considerable literary reputation and was once much read. Barlow was an ardent patriot in the American Revolution. He was engaged in the Battle of Long Island and served as a chaplain for the 4th Massachusetts Brigade. He was a Mason and he became a good friend to Thomas Paine. Barlow got involved with the French Revolution. He stood for election in the French Assembly and accepted French citizenship. Even though he had dedicated his “Vision of Columbus” to Louis XVI, he called for the beheading of the latter. Barlow died of pneumonia in the village of Zarnowiec, between Warsaw and Kraków, on December 24, 1812. Poetry In 1807, he published the Columbiad, an extended edition of his Vision of Columbus. It added to his reputation in some quarters, but on the whole it was not well received has subsequently been much ridiculed. The poem for which he is now best known is his mock heroic The Hasty-Pudding (1793), first published in the New York Magazine and now a standard item in literary anthologies. Besides the writings mentioned above, he published Conspiracy of Kings, a Poem addressed to the Inhabitants of Europe from another Quarter of the Globe (1792); View of the Public Debt, Receipts and Expenditure of the United States (1800); the Political Writings of Joel Barlow were published (2nd ed., 1796), but much of his speculation never passed beyond his voluminous notebooks, many of which are conserved in Harvard’s Houghton Library. Thought Professor Goetzmann describes Barlow as a cosmopolitan, along with other Founding Fathers. Barlow saw that the new country of America was a model civilization that prefigured the “uniting of all mankind in one religion, one language and one Newtonian harmonious whole” and “the American Revolution as the opening skirmish of a world revolution on behalf of the rights of all humanity.” An optimist, he saw that scientific and republican progress, along with religion and peoples growing sense of humanity, would lead to the coming of the Millennium. For him, American civilization was world civilization. He also looked forward to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Diplomacy In 1788, he went to France as the agent of the Scioto Land Company, his object being to sell lands and enlist immigrants. He seems to have been ignorant of the fraudulent character of the company, which failed disastrously in 1790. He had previously, however, induced the company of Frenchmen, who ultimately founded Gallipolis, Ohio, to emigrate to America. In Paris, he became a liberal in religion and an advanced republican in politics. He helped Thomas Paine publish the first part of The Age of Reason while Paine was imprisoned during The Reign of Terror. He remained abroad for several years, spending much of his time in London; was a member of the London Society for Constitutional Information; published various radical essays, including a volume entitled Advice to the Privileged Orders (1792), which was proscribed by the British government; and was made a citizen of France in 1792. He was American consul at Algiers in 1795-1797. He used State Department funds for bribes and ransoms to free over 100 American merchant sailors held by pirates. He negotiated treaties with the Barbary states of Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis to avert future seizures of American ships. He returned to America in 1805 and lived at his home, Kalorama, in what is now Washington, D.C.. In 1811, he became American minister plenipotentiary to France, charged with negotiating a commercial treaty with Napoleon and securing the restitution of confiscated American property or indemnity. He was summoned for an interview with Napoleon at Wilna but failed to see the emperor there. He was caught up in the famous retreat of the French army; and, overcome by exposure, he died at the Polish village of Żarnowiec. Barlow was painted by Robert Fulton and John Vanderlyn (1798). Legacy Barlow, Ohio is named in his honor. He was one of the contributing editors of the first agricultural magazine in America, the Agricultural Museum. Joel Barlow High School in Redding, Connecticut, is named for him. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Barlow

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (/bɑːrˈboʊld/, by herself possibly /bɑːrˈboʊ/, as in French, née Aikin; 20 June 1743– 9 March 1825) was a prominent English poet, essayist, literary critic, editor, and children’s author. A “woman of letters” who published in multiple genres, Barbauld had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the Palgrave Academy and an innovative children’s writer; her primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors such as Elizabeth Benger emulated her. Barbauld’s literary career spanned numerous periods in British literary history: her work promoted the values of both the Enlightenment and Sensibility, and her poetry was foundational to the development of British Romanticism. Barbauld was also a literary critic, and her anthology of 18th-century British novels helped establish the canon as known today. Barbauld’s career as a poet ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, which criticised Britain’s participation in the Napoleonic Wars. Vicious reviews shocked Barbauld, and she published nothing else during her lifetime. Her reputation was further damaged when many of the Romantic poets she had inspired in the heyday of the French Revolution turned against her in their later, more conservative, years. Barbauld was remembered only as a pedantic children’s writer during the 19th century, and largely forgotten during the 20th century, but the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1980s renewed interest in her works and restored her place in literary history. Sources Much of what is known about Barbauld’s life comes from two memoirs, the first published in 1825 and written by her niece Lucy Aikin, the second published in 1874 and written by her great-niece Anna Letitia Le Breton. Some letters from Barbauld to others also exist. However, a great many Barbauld family documents were lost in a fire that was the result of the London blitz in 1940. Early life Barbauld was born on 20 June 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt in Leicestershire to Jane and John Aikin. She was named after her maternal grandmother and referred to as “Nancy” (an 18th-century nickname for Anna). She was baptised by her mother’s brother, John Jennings, in Huntingdonshire two weeks after her birth. Barbauld’s father was headmaster of the Dissenting academy in Kibworth Harcourt and minister at a nearby Presbyterian church. She spent her childhood in what Barbauld scholar William McCarthy describes as “one of the best houses in Kibworth and in the very middle of the village square”; she was much in the public eye, as the house was also a boys’ school. The family had a comfortable standard of living. McCarthy suggests they may have ranked with large freeholders, well-to-do tradesmen, and manufacturers. At his death in 1780, Barbauld’s father’s estate was valued at more than £2,500. Barbauld commented to her husband in 1773 that “For the early part of my life I conversed little with my own Sex. In the Village where I was, there was none to converse with.” Barbauld was surrounded by boys as a child and adopted their high spirits. Her mother attempted to quash these, which would have been viewed as unseemly in a woman; according to Lucy Aikin’s memoir, what resulted was “a double portion of bashfulness and maidenly reserve” in Barbauld’s character. Barbauld was never quite comfortable with her identity as a woman and always believed that she failed to live up to the ideal of womanhood; much of her writing would center around issues central to women and her “outsider” perspective allowed her to question many of the traditional assumptions about femininity during the 18th century. Barbauld demanded that her father teach her the classics and after much pestering, he did. Thus she had the opportunity to learn Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and many other subjects generally deemed unsuitable for women at the time. Barbauld’s penchant for study worried her mother, who expected her to end up a spinster because of her intellectualism; the two were never as close as Barbauld and her father. Yet Barbauld’s mother was proud of her accomplishments and in later years wrote of her daughter: “I once indeed knew a little girl who was as eager to learn as her instructors could be to teach her, and who at two years old could read sentences and little stories in her wise book, roundly, without spelling; and in half a year more could read as well as most women; but I never knew such another, and I believe never shall.” Barbauld’s brother, John Aikin, described their father as “the best parent, the wisest counsellor, the most affectionate friend, every thing that could command love and veneration”. Barbauld’s father prompted many such tributes, although Lucy Aikin described him as excessively modest and reserved. Barbauld developed a strong bond with her brother during childhood, standing in as a mother figure to him; they eventually became literary partners. In 1817, Joanna Baillie commented of their relationship “How few brothers and sisters have been to one another what they have been through so long a course of years!” In 1758, the family moved to Warrington Academy, in Warrington, where Barbauld’s father had been offered a teaching position. It drew many luminaries of the day, such as the natural philosopher and Unitarian theologian Joseph Priestley, and came to be known as “the Athens of the North” for its stimulating intellectual atmosphere. One other luminary may have been the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat; school records suggest he was a “French master” there in the 1770s. He may also have been a suitor to Barbauld; he allegedly wrote to John Aikin declaring his intention to become an English citizen and to marry her. Archibald Hamilton Rowan also fell in love with Barbauld and described her as, “possessed of great beauty, distinct traces of which she retained to the latest of her life. Her person was slender, her complexion exquisitely fair with the bloom of perfect health; her features regular and elegant, and her dark blue eyes beamed with the light of wit and fancy.” Despite her mother’s anxiety, Barbauld received many offers of marriage around this time—all of which she declined. First literary successes and marriage In 1773, Barbauld brought out her first book of poems, after her friends had praised them and convinced her to publish. The collection, entitled simply Poems, went through four editions in just one year and surprised Barbauld by its success. Barbauld became a respected literary figure in England on the reputation of Poems alone. The same year she and her brother, John Aikin, jointly published Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose, which was also well received. The essays in it (most of which were by Barbauld) were favourably compared to Samuel Johnson’s. In May 1774, despite some “misgivings”, Barbauld married Rochemont Barbauld (1749–1808), the grandson of a French Huguenot and a former pupil at Warrington. According to Barbauld’s niece, Lucy Aikin: [H]er attachment to Mr. Barbauld was the illusion of a romantic fancy—not of a tender heart. Had her true affections been early called forth by a more genial home atmosphere, she would never have allowed herself to be caught by crazy demonstrations of amorous rapture, set off with theatrical French manners, or have conceived of such exaggerated passion as a safe foundation on which to raise the sober structure of domestic happiness. My father ascribed that ill-starred union in great part to the baleful influence of [Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s] ‘Nouvelle Heloise,’ Mr. B. impersonating St. Preux. [Barbauld] was informed by a true friend that he had experienced one attack of insanity, and was urged to break off the engagement on that account.—'Then’ answered she, ‘if I were now to disappoint him, he would certainly go mad.’ To this there could be no reply; and with a kind of desperate generosity she rushed upon her melancholy destiny. After the wedding, the couple moved to Suffolk, near where Rochemont had been offered a congregation and a school for boys. Barbauld took this time and rewrote some of the psalms, a common pastime in the 18th century, publishing them as Devotional Pieces Compiled from the Psalms and the Book of Job. Attached to this work is her essay “Thoughts on the Devotional Taste, on Sects and on Establishments”, which explains her theory of religious feeling and the problems inherent in the institutionalisation of religion. It seems that Barbauld and her husband were concerned that they would never have a child of their own and in 1775, after only a year of marriage, Barbauld suggested to her brother that they adopt one of his children: I am sensible it is not a small thing we ask; nor can it be easy for a parent to part with a child. This I would say, from a number, one may more easily be spared. Though it makes a very material difference in happiness whether a person has children or no children, it makes, I apprehend, little or none whether he has three, or four; five, or six; because four or five are enow [sic] to exercise all his whole stock of care and affection. We should gain, but you would not lose. Eventually her brother conceded and the couple adopted Charles; it was for him that Barbauld wrote her most famous books: Lessons for Children (1778–79) and Hymns in Prose for Children (1781). Palgrave Academy Barbauld and her husband spent eleven years teaching at Palgrave Academy in Suffolk. Early on, Barbauld was not only responsible for running her own household but also the school’s—she was accountant, maid, and housekeeper. The school opened with only eight boys but when the Barbaulds left in 1785, around forty were enrolled, a testament to the excellent reputation the school had acquired. The Barbaulds’ educational philosophy attracted Dissenters as well as Anglicans. Palgrave replaced the strict discipline of traditional schools such as Eton, which often used corporal punishment, with a system of “fines and jobations” and even, it seems likely, “juvenile trials,” that is, trials run by and for the students themselves. Moreover, instead of the traditional classical studies, the school offered a practical curriculum that stressed science and the modern languages. Barbauld herself taught the foundational subjects of reading and religion to the youngest boys and geography, history, composition and rhetoric, and science to higher grade levels. She was a dedicated teacher, producing a “weekly chronicle” for the school and writing theatrical pieces for the students to perform. Barbauld had a profound effect on many of her students; one who went on to great success, William Taylor, a preeminent scholar of German literature, referred to Barbauld as “the mother of his mind.” Political involvement and Hampstead In September 1785, the Barbaulds left Palgrave for a tour of France; Rochemont’s mental health had been deteriorating and he was no longer able to carry out his teaching duties. In 1787, they moved to Hampstead where Rochemont was asked to serve as the minister at what later became Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel. It was here that Barbauld became close friends with Joanna Baillie, the playwright. Although no longer in charge of a school, the Barbaulds did not abandon their commitment to education; they often had one or two pupils living with them, who had been recommended by personal friends. It was during this time, the heyday of the French Revolution, that Barbauld published her most radical political pieces. From 1787 to 1790, Charles James Fox attempted to convince the House of Commons to pass a law granting Dissenters full citizenship rights. When this bill was defeated for the third time, Barbauld wrote one of her most passionate pamphlets, An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Readers were shocked to discover that such a well-reasoned argument should come from a woman. In 1791, after William Wilberforce’s attempt to outlaw the slave trade failed, Barbauld published her Epistle to William Wilberforce Esq. On the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade, which not only lamented the fate of the slaves but also warned of the cultural and social degeneration the British could expect if they did not abandon slavery. In 1792, she continued this theme of national responsibility in an anti-war sermon entitled Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation which argued that each individual is responsible for the actions of the nation: “We are called upon to repent of national sins, because we can help them, and because we ought to help them.” Stoke Newington and the end of a literary career In 1802, the Barbaulds moved to Stoke Newington where Rochemont took over the pastoral duties of the Chapel at Newington Green. Barbauld herself was happy to be nearer her brother, John, because her husband’s mind was rapidly failing. Rochemont developed a “violent antipathy to his wife and he was liable to fits of insane fury directed against her. One day at dinner he seized a knife and chased her round the table so that she only saved herself by jumping out of the window.” Such scenes repeated themselves to Barbauld’s great sadness and real danger, but she refused to leave him. Rochemont drowned himself in the nearby New River in 1808 and Barbauld was overcome with grief. When Barbauld returned to writing, she produced the radical poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (1812) that depicted England as a ruin. It was reviewed so viciously that Barbauld never published another work within her lifetime, although it is now often viewed by scholars as her greatest poetic achievement. Barbauld died in 1825, a renowned writer, and was buried in the family vault in St Mary’s, Stoke Newington. After Barbauld’s death, a marble tablet was erected in the Newington Green Chapel with the following inscription: Legacy At her death, Barbauld was lauded in the Newcastle Magazine as "unquestionably the first [i.e., best] of our female poets, and one of the most eloquent and powerful of our prose writers" and the Imperial Magazine declared “so long as letters shall be cultivated in Britain, or wherever the English language shall be known, so long will the name of this lady be respected.” She was favourably compared to both Joseph Addison and Samuel Johnson, no mean feat for a woman writer in the 18th century. But by 1925 she was remembered only as a moralising writer for children, if that. It was not until the advent of feminist literary criticism within the academy in the 1970s and 1980s that Barbauld finally began to be included in literary history. Barbauld’s remarkable disappearance from the literary landscape took place for a number of reasons. One of the most important was the disdain heaped upon her by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, poets who in their youthful, radical days had looked to her poetry for inspiration, but in their later, conservative years dismissed her work. Once these poets had become canonised, their opinions held sway. Moreover, the intellectual ferment that Barbauld was an important part of—particularly at the Dissenting academies—had, by the end of the 19th century, come to be associated with the “philistine” middle class, as Matthew Arnold put it. The reformist 18th-century middle class was later held responsible for the excesses and abuses of the industrial age. Finally, the Victorians viewed Barbauld as “an icon of sentimental saintliness” and "erased her political courage, her tough mindedness, [and] her talent for humor and irony", a literary figure that modernists despised. As literary studies developed into a discipline at the end of the 19th century, the story of the origins of Romanticism in England emerged along with it; according to this version of literary history, Coleridge and Wordsworth were the dominant poets of the age. This view held sway for almost a century. Even with the advent of feminist criticism in the 1970s, Barbauld still did not receive her due. As Margaret Ezell explains, feminist critics wanted to resurrect a particular kind of woman—one who was angry, one who resisted the gender roles of her time, and one who attempted to create a sisterhood with other women. Barbauld did not easily fit into these categories and it was not until Romanticism and its canon began to be re-examined through a deep reassessment of feminism itself that a picture emerged of the vibrant voice Barbauld had been. Barbauld’s works fell out of print and no full-length scholarly biography of her was written until William McCarthy’s Anna Letitia Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment in 2009. Her adopted son Charles grew up to be a doctor and chemist; he married a daughter of Gilbert Wakefield. Their child, Anna Letitia Le Breton, wrote literary memoirs, including Memoir of Mrs. Barbauld, including Letters and Notices of her Family and Friends in 1874. Literary analysis Poetry Barbauld’s poetry, which addresses a wide range of topics, has been read primarily by feminist literary critics interested in recovering women writers who were important in their own time but who have been forgotten by literary history. Isobel Armstrong’s work represents one way to do such scholarship; she argues that Barbauld, like other Romantic women poets: ... neither consented to the idea of a special feminine discourse nor accepted an account of themselves as belonging to the realm of the nonrational. They engaged with two strategies to deal with the problem of affective discourse. First, they used the customary 'feminine’ forms and languages, but they turned them to analytical account and used them to think with. Second, they challenged the male philosophical traditions that led to a demeaning discourse of feminine experience and remade those traditions. In her subsequent analysis of “Inscription for an Ice-House” she points to Barbauld’s challenge of Edmund Burke’s characterisation of the sublime and the beautiful and Adam Smith’s economic theories in the Wealth of Nations as evidence for this interpretation. The work of Marlon Ross and Anne K. Mellor represents a second way to apply the insights of feminist theory to the recovery of women writers. They argue that Barbauld and other Romantic women poets carved out a distinctive feminine voice in the literary sphere. As a woman and a Dissenter, Barbauld had a unique perspective on society, according to Ross, and it was this specific position that “obligated” her to publish social commentary. But, Ross points out, women were in a double bind: “they could choose to speak politics in nonpolitical modes, and thus risk greatly diminishing the clarity and pointedness of their political passion, or they could choose literary modes that were overtly political while trying to infuse them with a recognizable 'feminine’ decorum, again risking a softening of their political agenda.” Therefore Barbauld and other Romantic women poets often wrote “occasional poems”. These poems had traditionally commented, often satirically, on national events, but by the end of the 18th century they were increasingly serious and personal. Women wrote sentimental poems, a style then much in vogue, on personal occasions such as the birth of a child and argued that in commenting on the small occurrences of daily life, they would establish a moral foundation for the nation. Scholars such as Ross and Mellor maintain that this adaptation of existing styles and genres is one way that female poets created a feminine Romanticism. Political essays and poems Barbauld’s most significant political texts are: An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts (1790), Epistle to William Wilberforce on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade (1791), Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation (1793), and Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (1812). As Harriet Guest explains, "the theme Barbauld’s essays of the 1790s repeatedly return to is that of the constitution of the public as a religious, civic, and national body, and she is always concerned to emphasize the continuity between the rights of private individuals and those of the public defined in capaciously inclusive terms.” For three years, from 1787 to 1790, Dissenters had been attempting to convince Parliament to repeal the Test and Corporation Acts which limited the civil rights of Dissenters. After the repeal was voted down for the third time, Barbauld burst onto the public stage after “nine years of silence.” Her highly charged pamphlet is written in a biting and sarcastic tone; it opens, “we thank you for the compliment paid the Dissenters, when you suppose that the moment they are eligible to places of power and profit, all such places will at once be filled with them.” She argues that Dissenters deserve the same rights as any other men: “We claim it as men, we claim it as citizens, we claim it as good subjects.” Moreover, she contends that it is precisely the isolation forced on Dissenters by others that marks them out, not anything inherent in their form of worship. Finally, appealing to British patriotism, she maintains that the French cannot be allowed to outstrip the English in liberty. In the following year, 1791, after one of William Wilberforce’s many efforts to suppress the slave trade failed to pass Parliament, Barbauld wrote her Epistle to William Wilberforce on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade. In it, she calls Britain to account for the sin of slavery; in harsh tones, she condemns the “Avarice” of a country which is content to allow its wealth and prosperity to be supported by the labour of enslaved human beings. Moreover, she draws a picture of the plantation mistress and master that reveals all of the failings of the "colonial enterprise: [an] indolent, voluptuous, monstrous woman" and a “degenerate, enfeebled man.” In 1793, when the British government called on the nation to fast in honour of the war, anti-war Dissenters such as Barbauld were left with a moral quandary: “obey the order and violate their consciences by praying for success in a war they disapproved? observe the Fast, but preach against the war? defy the Proclamation and refuse to take any part in the Fast?” Barbauld took this opportunity to write a sermon, Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation, on the moral responsibility of the individual; for her, each individual is responsible for the actions of the nation because he or she constitutes part of the nation. The essay attempts to determine what the proper role of the individual is in the state and while she argues that “insubordination” can undermine a government, she does admit that there are lines of “conscience” that one cannot cross in obeying a government. The text is a classic consideration of the idea of an “unjust war.” In Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (1812), written after Britain had been at war with France for a decade and was on the brink of losing the Napoleonic Wars, Barbauld presented her readers with a shocking Juvenalian satire; she argued that the British empire was waning and the American empire was waxing. It is to America that Britain’s wealth and fame will now go, she contended, and Britain will become nothing but an empty ruin. She tied this decline directly to Britain’s participation in the Napoleonic Wars: This pessimistic view of the future was, not surprisingly, poorly received; “reviews, whether in liberal or conservative magazines, ranged from cautious to patronizingly negative to outrageously abusive.” Barbauld, stunned by the reaction, retreated from the public eye. Even when Britain was on the verge of winning the war, Barbauld could not be joyous. She wrote to a friend: “I do not know how to rejoice at this victory, splendid as it is, over Buonaparte, when I consider the horrible waste of life, the mass of misery, which such gigantic combats must occasion.” Children’s literature Barbauld’s Lessons for Children and Hymns in Prose for Children were a revolution in children’s literature. For the first time, the needs of the child reader were seriously considered. Barbauld demanded that her books be printed in large type with wide margins so that children could easily read them and, even more important, she developed a style of “informal dialogue between parent and child” that would dominate children’s literature for a generation. In Lessons for Children, a four-volume, age-adapted reading primer, Barbauld employs the concept of a mother teaching her son. More than likely, many of the events in these stories were inspired by Barbauld’s experience of teaching her own son, Charles. But this series is far more than a way to acquire literacy—it also introduces the reader to “elements of society’s symbol-systems and conceptual structures, inculcates an ethics, and encourages him to develop a certain kind of sensibility.” Moreover, it exposes the child to the principles of "botany, zoology, numbers, change of state in chemistry... the money system, the calendar, geography, meteorology, agriculture, political economy, geology, [and] astronomy." The series was relatively popular and Maria Edgeworth commented in the educational treatise that she co-authored with her father, Practical Education (1798), that it is “one of the best books for young people from seven to ten years old, that has yet appeared.” Some at the time saw Barbauld’s work as marking a shift in children’s literature from fantasy to didacticism. Sarah Burney, in her popular novel Traits of Nature (1812), has the 14-year-old Christina Cleveland remark, “Well, then; you know fairy-tales are forbidden pleasures in all modern school-rooms. Mrs. Barbauld, and Mrs. Trimmer, and Miss Edgeworth, and a hundred others, have written good books for children, which have thrown poor Mother Goose, and the Arabian Nights, quite out of favour;—at least, with papas and mamas.” Lessons for Children and Hymns in Prose had, for children’s books, an unprecedented impact; not only did they influence the poetry of William Blake and William Wordsworth, they were also used to teach several generations of school children. Children’s literature scholar William McCarthy states, “Elizabeth Barrett Browning could still quote the opening lines of Lessons for Children at age thirty-nine.” Although both Samuel Johnson and Charles James Fox ridiculed Barbauld’s children’s books and believed that she was wasting her talents, Barbauld herself believed that such writing was noble and she encouraged others to follow in her footsteps. As Betsy Rodgers, her biographer explains, “she gave prestige to the writing of juvenile literature, and by not lowering her standard of writing for children, she inspired others to write on a similar high standard.” In fact, because of Barbauld, Sarah Trimmer and Hannah More were inspired to write for poor children as well as organise a large-scale Sunday School movement, Ellenor Fenn wrote and designed a series of readers and games for middle-class children and Richard Lovell Edgeworth began one of the first systematic studies of childhood development which would culminate in not only an educational treatise authored by Maria Edgeworth and himself but also in a large body of children’s stories by Maria herself. Barbauld also collaborated with her brother John Aikin on the six-volume series Evenings at Home (1793). It is a miscellany of stories, fables, dramas, poems, and dialogues. In many ways this series encapsulates the ideals of an Enlightenment education: “curiosity, observation, and reasoning.” For example, the stories encourage learning science through hands-on activities; in “A Tea Lecture” the child learns that tea-making is “properly an operation of chemistry” and lessons on evaporation, and condensation follow. The text also emphasises rationality; in “Things by Their Right Names,” a child demands that his father tell him a story about “a bloody murder.” The father does so, using some of the fictional tropes of fairy tales such as “once upon a time” but confounding his son with details such as the murderers all “had steel caps on.” At the end, the child realises his father has told him the story of a battle and his father comments “I do not know of any murders half so bloody.” Both the tactic of defamiliarising the world to force the reader to think about it rationally and the anti-war message of this tale are prevalent throughout Evenings at Home. In fact, Michelle Levy, a scholar of the period, has argued that the series encouraged readers to “become critical observers of and, where necessary, vocal resisters to authority.” This resistance is learned and practised in the home; according to Levy, “Evenings at Home... makes the claim that social and political reform must begin in the family.” It is families that are responsible for the nation’s progress or regress. According to Lucy Aikin, Barbauld’s niece, Barbauld’s contributions to Evenings at Home consisted of the following pieces: “The Young Mouse,” “The Wasp and Bee,” “Alfred, a drama,” “Animals and Countries,” “Canute’s Reproof,” “The Masque of Nature,” “Things by their right Names,” “The Goose and Horse,” “On Manufactures,” “The Flying-fish,” “A Lesson in the Art of Distinguishing,” “The Phoenix and Dove,” “The Manufacture of Paper,” “The Four Sisters,” and “Live Dolls.” Editorial work Barbauld edited several major works towards the end of her life, all of which helped to shape the canon as known today. First, in 1804 she edited Samuel Richardson’s correspondence and wrote an extensive biographical introduction of the man who was perhaps the most influential novelist of the 18th century. Her "212-page essay on his life and works [was] the first substantial Richardson biography." The following year she edited Selections from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and Freeholder, with a Preliminary Essay, a volume of essays emphasising “wit,” “manners” and “taste.” In 1811, she assembled The Female Speaker, an anthology of literature chosen specifically for young girls. Because, according to Barbauld’s philosophy, what one reads when one is young is formative, she carefully considered the “delicacy” of her female readers and "direct[ed] her choice to subjects more particularly appropriate to the duties, the employments, and the dispositions of the softer sex." The anthology is subdivided into sections such as “moral and didactic pieces” and “descriptive and pathetic pieces”; it includes poetry and prose by, among others, Alexander Pope, Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, Samuel Johnson, James Thomson and Hester Chapone. But it was Barbauld’s fifty-volume series of The British Novelists published in 1810 with her large introductory essay on the history of the novel that allowed her to place her mark on literary history. It was “the first English edition to make comprehensive critical and historical claims” and was in every respect “a canon-making enterprise.” In her insightful essay, Barbauld legitimises the novel, then still a controversial genre, by connecting it to ancient Persian and Greek literature. For her, a good novel is “an epic in prose, with more of character and less (indeed in modern novels nothing) of the supernatural machinery.” Barbauld maintains that novel-reading has a multiplicity of benefits; not only is it a “domestic pleasure” but it is also a way to "infus[e] principles and moral feelings" into the population. Barbauld also provided introductions to each of the fifty authors included in the series. List of works * Unless otherwise noted, this list of works is taken from Wolicky’s entry on Barbauld in the Dictionary of Literary Biography (each year with a link connects to its corresponding "[year] in literature" article, for verse works, or "[year] in literature" article, for prose or mixed prose and verse): * 1768: Corsica: An Ode * 1773: Poems * 1773: Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose (with John Aikin) * 1775: Devotional Pieces, Compiled from the Psalms and the Book of the Job * 1778: Lessons for Children from Two to Three Years Old (London: J. Johnson) * 1778: Lessons for Children of Three Years Old (London: J. Johnson) * 1779: Lessons for Children from Three to Four Years Old (London: J. Johnson) * 1781: Hymns in Prose for Children (London: J. Johnson) * 1787: Lessons for Children, Part Three (London: J. Johnson) * 1788: Lessons for Children, Part Four (London: J. Johnson) * 1790: An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts * 1791: An Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq. on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade (London: J. Johnson) * 1792: Civic Sermons to the People * 1792: Poems. A new edition, corrected. To which is added, An Epistle to William Wilberforce (London: J. Johnson) * 1792: Remarks on Mr. Gilbert Wakefield’s Enquiry into the Expediency and Propriety of Public or Social Worship (London: J. Johnson) * 1792–1796: Evenings at Home, or The Juvenile Budget Opened (with John Aikin, six volumes) * 1793: Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation (1793) * 1794: Reasons for National Penitence Recommended for the Fast Appointed on 28 February 1794 * 1798: “What is Education?” Monthly Magazine 5 * 1800: Odes, by George Dyer, M. Robinson, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, J. Ogilvie, &c. (Ludlow: G. Nicholson) * 1802: The Arts of Life (with John Aikin) * 1804: The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson . . . to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writing, (London: Richard Phillips; edited with a substantial biographical introduction, six volumes) * 1805: Selections from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and Freeholder, with a Preliminary Essay (London: J. Johnson; edited with an introduction, three volumes) * 1805: The Poetical Works of Mark Akenside (London: W. Suttaby; edited) * 1810: The British Novelists; with an Essay; and Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, by Mrs. Barbauld, (London: F. C. & J. Rivington; edited with a comprehensive introductory essay and introductions to each author, 50 volumes) * 1810: An Essay on the Origin and Progress of Novel-Writing * 1811: The Female Speaker; or, Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose and Verse, Selected from the Best Writers, and Adapted to the Use of Young Women (London: J. Johnson; edited) * 1812: Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (London: J. Johnson) * 1825: The Works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld. With a Memoir by Lucy Aikin, Volume 1 (London: Longman; edited by Barbauld’s niece, Lucy Aikin) * 1826: A Legacy for Young Ladies, Consisting of Miscellaneous Pieces, in Prose and Verse (London: Longman; edited by Barbauld’s niece, Lucy Aikin, after Barbauld’s death) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Laetitia_Barbauld

Hilaire Belloc

Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (/hᵻˈlɛər ˈbɛlək/; French: [ilɛʁ bɛlɔk]; 27 July 1870– 16 July 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. He was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford from 1906 to 1910. He was a noted disputant, with a number of long-running feuds, but also widely regarded as a humane and sympathetic man. Belloc became a naturalised British subject in 1902, while retaining his French citizenship. His poetry encompassed comic verses for children and religious poetry. His widely sold Cautionary Tales for Children included “Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion” and “Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death”. He also collaborated with G. K. Chesterton on a number of works. Family and career Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France to a French father and an English mother. He grew up in England where much of his boyhood was spent in Slindon, West Sussex, for which he often felt homesick in later life. This is evidenced in poems such as, “West Sussex Drinking Song”, “The South Country”, and even the more melancholy, “Ha’nacker Mill”. His mother Elizabeth Rayner Parkes (1829–1925) was also a writer and a great-granddaughter of the English chemist Joseph Priestley. She was a major force in efforts to gain greater equality for women, being a co-founder of the English Woman’s Journal and the Langham Place Group. In 1867, she married attorney Louis Belloc, son of the French painter Jean-Hilaire Belloc. In 1872, five years after they wed, Louis died, but not before being wiped out financially in a stock market crash. The young widow then brought her son Hilaire, along with his sister, Marie, back to England, where Hilaire remained, except for his voluntary enlistment as a young man in the French artillery. After being educated at John Henry Newman’s Oratory School in Edgbaston, Birmingham, Belloc served his term of military service, as a French citizen, with an artillery regiment near Toul in 1891. After his military service, Belloc proceeded to Balliol College, Oxford, as a history scholar. He went on to obtain first-class honours in History, and never lost his love for Balliol, as is illustrated by his verse, "Balliol made me, Balliol fed me/ Whatever I had she gave me again". He was powerfully built, with great stamina, and walked extensively in Britain and Europe. While courting his future wife Elodie, whom he first met in 1890, the impecunious Belloc walked a good part of the way from the midwest of the United States to her home in northern California, “paying” for lodging at remote farm houses and ranches by sketching the owners and reciting poetry. He was the brother of the novelist Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes. In 1896, he married Elodie Hogan, an American. In 1906, he purchased land and a house called King’s Land at Shipley, West Sussex, where he brought up his family and lived until shortly before his death. Elodie and Belloc had five children before her 1914 death from influenza. After her death, Belloc wore mourning for the remainder of his life, keeping her room exactly as she had left it. His son Louis was killed in 1918 while serving in the Royal Flying Corps in northern France. Belloc placed a memorial tablet at the nearby Cambrai Cathedral. It is in the same side chapel as the noted icon Our Lady of Cambrai. Belloc suffered a stroke in 1941 and never recovered from its effects. He died on 16 July 1953 at Mount Alvernia Nursing Home in Guildford, Surrey, from burns and shock following a fall he had while placing a log into a fireplace at King’s Land. He is buried at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation of West Grinstead, where he had regularly attended Mass as a parishioner. At his funeral Mass, homilist Monsignor Ronald Knox observed, “No man of his time fought so hard for the good things.” Recent biographies of Belloc have been written by A. N. Wilson and Joseph Pearce, and Jesuit political philosopher James Schall’s Remembering Belloc was published by St. Augustine Press in September 2013. Political career An 1895 graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, Belloc was a noted figure within the University, being President of the Oxford Union, the undergraduate debating society. He went into politics after he became a naturalised British subject. A great disappointment in his life was his failure to gain a fellowship of All Souls College, Oxford in 1895. This failure may have been caused in part by his producing a small statue of the Virgin and placing it before him on the table during the interview for the fellowship. From 1906 to 1910 he was a Liberal Party Member of Parliament for Salford South. During one campaign speech he was asked by a heckler if he was a “papist.” Retrieving his rosary from his pocket he responded, “Sir, so far as possible I hear Mass each day and I go to my knees and tell these beads each night. If that offends you, then I pray God may spare me the indignity of representing you in Parliament.” The crowd cheered and Belloc won the election. His only period of steady employment was from 1914 to 1920 as editor of Land and Water, a journal devoted to the progress of the war. Otherwise he lived by his writing and was often impecunious. In controversy and debate Belloc first came to public attention shortly after arriving at Balliol College, Oxford as a recent French army veteran. Attending his first debate of the Oxford Union Debating Society, he saw that the affirmative position was wretchedly and half-heartedly defended. As the debate drew to its conclusion and the division of the house was called, he rose from his seat in the audience, and delivered a vigorous, impromptu defence of the proposition. Belloc won that debate from the audience, as the division of the house then showed, and his reputation as a debater was established. He was later elected president of the Union. He held his own in debates there with F. E. Smith and John Buchan, the latter a friend. He was at his most effective in the 1920s, on the attack against H. G. Wells’s The Outline of History, in which he criticised Wells’ secular bias and his belief in evolution by means of natural selection, a theory that Belloc asserted had been completely discredited. Wells remarked that “Debating Mr. Belloc is like arguing with a hailstorm”. Belloc’s review of Outline of History famously observed that Wells’ book was a powerful and well-written volume, “up until the appearance of Man, that is, somewhere around page seven.” Wells responded with a small book, Mr. Belloc Objects. Not to be outdone, Belloc followed with, “Mr. Belloc Still Objects.” G. G. Coulton, a keen and persistent opponent, wrote on Mr. Belloc on Medieval History in a 1920 article. After a long simmering feud, Belloc replied with a booklet, The Case of Dr. Coulton, in 1938. His style during later life fulfilled the nickname he received in childhood, Old Thunder. Belloc’s friend, Lord Sheffield, described his provocative personality in a preface to The Cruise of the Nona. In Belloc’s novel of travel, The Four Men, the title characters supposedly represent different facets of the author’s personality. One of the four improvises a playful song at Christmastime, which includes the verse: “May all good fellows that here agree Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me, And may all my enemies go to hell! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! May all my enemies go to hell! Noel! Noel!” The other characters regard the verse as fairly gauche and ill-conceived, so while part of Belloc may have agreed with this song, it is not necessarily representative of Belloc’s personality as a whole. Hobbies During his later years, he would sail when he could afford to do so and became a well-known yachtsman. He won many races and was on the French sailing team. In the early 1930s, he was given an old Jersey pilot cutter, called Jersey. He sailed this for some years around the coasts of England, with the help of younger men. One of them, Dermod MacCarthy, wrote a book about his time on the water with Belloc, called Sailing with Mr Belloc. Writing Belloc wrote on myriad subjects, from warfare to poetry to the many current topics of his day. He has been called one of the Big Four of Edwardian Letters, along with H.G.Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and G. K. Chesterton, all of whom debated with each other into the 1930s. Belloc was closely associated with Chesterton, and Shaw coined the term Chesterbelloc for their partnership. He was co-editor with Cecil Chesterton of the literary periodical the Eye Witness, published until 1912 by Charles Granville’s Stephen Swift Ltd. The paper was later called the New Witness, and still later, G. K.'s Weekly. Asked once why he wrote so much, he responded, “Because my children are howling for pearls and caviar.” Belloc observed that “The first job of letters is to get a canon,” that is, to identify those works which a writer looks upon as exemplary of the best of prose and verse. For his own prose style, he claimed to aspire to be as clear and concise as “Mary had a little lamb.” Essays and travel writing His best travel writing has secured a permanent following. The Path to Rome (1902), an account of a walking pilgrimage he made from central France across the Alps and down to Rome, has remained continuously in print. More than a mere travelogue, “The Path to Rome” contains descriptions of the people and places he encountered, his drawings in pencil and in ink of the route, humour, poesy, and the reflections of a large mind turned to the events of his time as he marches along his solitary way. His book The Pyrenees, published in 1909, shows a depth of detailed knowledge of that region such as would only be gained from personal experience. At every turn, Belloc shows himself to be profoundly in love with Europe and with the Faith that he claims has produced it. As an essayist he was one of a small, admired and dominant group (with Chesterton, E. V. Lucas and Robert Lynd) of popular writers. Poetry His Cautionary Tales for Children; humorous poems with an implausible moral, illustrated by Basil Temple Blackwood (signing as “B.T.B.”) and later by Edward Gorey, are the most widely known of his writings. Supposedly for children, they, like Lewis Carroll’s works, are more to adult and satirical tastes: “Henry King, Who chewed bits of string and was early cut off in dreadful agonies”. A similar poem tells the story of “Rebecca, who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably”. Another one of his famous poems was Matilda, the story of a young girl who died because of her own lies. The tale of “Matilda who told lies and was burnt to death” was adapted into the play Matilda Liar! by Debbie Isitt. Quentin Blake, the illustrator, described Belloc as at one and the same time the overbearing adult and mischievous child. Roald Dahl was a follower. But Belloc has broader if sourer scope. For example, with Lord Lundy (who was “far too freely moved to Tears”): It happened to Lord Lundy then as happens to so many men about the age of 26 they shoved him into politics... leading up to “we had intended you to be the next Prime Minister but three... instead, Lundy is condemned to the ultimate political wilderness: ...The stocks were sold; the Press was squared: The Middle Class was quite prepared. But as it is! . . . My language fails! Go out and govern New South Wales!” The Aged Patriot groaned and died: And gracious! how Lord Lundy cried! Of more weight are Belloc’s Sonnets and Verses, a volume that deploys the same singing and rhyming techniques of his children’s verses. Belloc’s poetry is often religious, often romantic; throughout The Path to Rome he writes in spontaneous song. History, politics, economics Three of his best-known non-fiction works are The Servile State (1912), Europe and Faith (1920) and The Jews (1922). From an early age Belloc knew Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, who was responsible for the conversion of his mother to Roman Catholicism. In The Cruise of the “Nona” (1925), he mentions a “profound thing” that Manning said to him when he was just twenty years old: “All human conflict is ultimately theological.” What Manning meant, Belloc explains, is “that all wars and revolutions, and all decisive struggles between parties of men arise from a difference in moral and transcendental doctrine.” Belloc adds that he never met any man, “arguing for what should be among men, but took for granted as he argued that the doctrine he consciously or unconsciously accepted was or should be a similar foundation for all mankind. Hence battle.” Manning’s involvement in the 1889 London Dock Strike made a major impression on Belloc and his view of politics, according to biographer Robert Speaight. He became a trenchant critic both of capitalism and of many aspects of socialism. With others (G. K. Chesterton, Cecil Chesterton, Arthur Penty) Belloc had envisioned the socioeconomic system of distributism. In The Servile State, written after his party-political career had come to an end, and other works, he criticised the modern economic order and parliamentary system, advocating distributism in opposition to both capitalism and socialism. Belloc made the historical argument that distributism was not a fresh perspective or program of economics but rather a proposed return to the economics that prevailed in Europe for the thousand years when it was Catholic. He called for the dissolution of Parliament and its replacement with committees of representatives for the various sectors of society, an idea that was also popular among Fascists, under the name of corporatism. But original corporatism, sometimes called “paleo-corporatism”, was a system that predates capitalism and fascism. Paleo-corporatism was based around the guilds of the Middle Ages and served to appoint legislators. Neo-corporatism is a fascist system that merges the state with the capitalistic corporations and the corporations then are directed by the state, under nominal private ownership. The owners are thus effectively dis appropriated, and become mere managers in the service of the State, and those who control it. Belloc’s views fit medieval paleo-corporatism rather than neo-corporatist fascism. With these linked themes in the background, he wrote a long series of contentious biographies of historical figures, including Oliver Cromwell, James II, and Napoleon. They show him as an ardent proponent of orthodox Catholicism and a critic of many elements of the modern world. Outside academe, Belloc was impatient with what he considered to be axe-grinding histories, especially what he called “official history.” Joseph Pearce notes also Belloc’s attack on the secularism of H. G. Wells’s popular Outline of History: Belloc objected to his adversary’s tacitly anti-Christian stance, epitomized by the fact that Wells had devoted more space in his “history” to the Persian campaign against the Greeks than he had given to the figure of Christ. He wrote also substantial amounts of military history. In alternative history, he contributed to the 1931 collection If It Had Happened Otherwise edited by Sir John Squire. Reprints Ignatius Press of California and IHS Press of Virginia have reissued Belloc. TAN Books of Charlotte, North Carolina, publishes a number of Belloc’s works, particularly his historical writings. Religion One of Belloc’s most famous statements was “the faith is Europe and Europe is the faith”; this sums up his strongly held, orthodox Catholic views, and the cultural conclusions he drew from them. Those views were expressed at length in many of his works from the period 1920–40. These are still cited as exemplary of Catholic apologetics. They have also been criticised, for instance by comparison with the work of Christopher Dawson during the same period. As a young man, Belloc lost his faith. Then came a spiritual event which he never discussed publicly, and which returned him to and confirmed him in his Catholicism for the remainder of his life. Belloc alludes to this return to the faith in a passage in The Cruise of the Nona. According to his biographer A. N. Wilson (Hilaire Belloc, Hamish Hamilton), Belloc never wholly apostatised from the Faith (ibid p. 105). The momentous event is fully described by Belloc in The Path to Rome (pp. 158–61). It took place in the French village of Undervelier at the time of Vespers. Belloc said of it, “not without tears”, “I considered the nature of Belief” and “it is a good thing not to have to return to the faith”. (See Hilaire Belloc by Wilson at pp. 105–06.) Belloc’s Catholicism was uncompromising. He believed that the Catholic Church provided hearth and home for the human spirit. More humorously, his tribute to Catholic culture can be understood from his well-known saying, “Wherever the Catholic sun does shine, there’s always laughter and good red wine.” He had a disparaging view of the Church of England, and used sharp words to describe heretics, such as, "Heretics all, whoever you may be/ In Tarbes or Nimes or over the sea/ You never shall have good words from me/ Caritas non-conturbat me". Indeed, in his “Song of the Pelagian Heresy” he becomes quite strident, describing how the Bishop of Auxerre, "with his stout Episcopal staff/ So thoroughly thwacked and banged/ The heretics all, both short and tall/ They rather had been hanged". On Islam Belloc’s 1937 book The Crusades: the World’s Debate, he wrote, The story must not be neglected by any modern, who may think in error that the East has finally fallen before the West, that Islam is now enslaved—to our political and economic power at any rate if not to our philosophy. It is not so. Islam essentially survives, and Islam would not have survived had the Crusade made good its hold upon the essential point of Damascus. Islam survives. Its religion is intact; therefore its material strength may return. Our religion is in peril, and who can be confident in the continued skill, let alone the continued obedience, of those who make and work our machines?... There is with us a complete chaos in religious doctrine.... We worship ourselves, we worship the nation; or we worship (some few of us) a particular economic arrangement believed to be the satisfaction of social justice.... Islam has not suffered this spiritual decline; and in the contrast between [our religious chaos and Islam’s] religious certitudes still strong throughout the Mohammedan world lies our peril. In The Great Heresies (1938), Belloc argues that although “That Mohammedan culture happens to have fallen back in material applications; there is no reason whatever why it should not learn its new lesson and become our equal in all those temporal things which now alone give us our superiority over it—whereas in Faith we have fallen inferior to it.” “There is no reason why its recent inferiority in mechanical construction, whether military or civilian, should continue indefinitely. Even a slight accession of material power would make the further control of Islam by an alien culture difficult. A little more and there will cease that which our time has taken for granted, the physical domination of Islam by the disintegrated Christendom we know.” At the time of his writing, the Islamic world was still largely under the rule of the European colonial powers and the threat to Britain was from Fascism and Nazism. Belloc, however, considered that Islam was permanently intent on destroying the Christian faith, as well as the West, which Christendom had built. In The Great Heresies, Belloc grouped the Protestant Reformation together with Islam as one of the major heresies threatening the “Universal Church”. Belloc cited the many beliefs and theological principles which Islam shares with Catholicism. For Belloc, the common ground includes the unity and the omnipotence, personal nature, all-goodness, timelessness and providence of God, His creative power as the origin of all things, and His sustenance of all things by His power alone, the world of good spirits and angels and of evil spirits in war against God, with a chief evil spirit, the immortality of the soul and its responsibility for actions in this life, coupled with the doctrine of reward and punishment after death, the Day of Judgment with Christ as Judge, and the Lady Miriam (Mary) as the first among womenkind—and exactly which, in Belloc’s view, identify it as a heresy: where Islam decisively diverges from Catholicism is the “denial of the Incarnation and all the sacramental life of the Church that followed from it”—with Islam regarding Jesus as a merely human Prophet. Words on antisemitism Whether Belloc was an antisemite is a matter of controversy. Belloc has been deemed by some to be antisemitic and not concerned to conceal his views. A. N. Wilson’s biography expresses the opinion that Belloc had a tendency to allude to Jews in conversation, in a seemingly obsessive fashion on occasion. Anthony Powell’s review of that biography contains Powell’s opinion, that Belloc was thoroughly antisemitic, except at a personal level. There are a number of grounds on which the accusations of antisemitism have been based. From his days in politics onwards, he repeatedly demonstrated a belief that Jewish people had significant control over society and the world of finance. In The Cruise of the Nona, Belloc reflected equivocally on the Dreyfus Affair after thirty years. Norman Rose’s book The Cliveden Set (2000) poses the question of whether Nancy Astor, a friend of Belloc’s in the 1930s until they broke over religious matters, was influenced by him against Jews in general. In his 1922 book, The Jews, Belloc argued that “the continued presence of the Jewish nation intermixed with other nations alien to it presents a permanent problem of the gravest character,” and that the “Catholic Church is the conservator of an age-long European tradition, and that tradition will never compromise with the fiction that a Jew can be other than a Jew. Wherever the Catholic Church has power, and in proportion to its power, the Jewish problem will be recognized to the full.” The Jews was largely perceived as an anti-semitic work. Robert Speaight cited a letter by Belloc in which he pilloried Nesta Webster because of her accusations against “the Jews”. In February 1924, Belloc wrote to an American Jewish friend regarding an allegedly antisemitic book by Webster. Webster had rejected Christianity, studied Eastern religions, accepted the Hindu concept of the equality of all religions and was fascinated by theories of reincarnation and ancestral memory. Speaight also points out that when faced with antisemitism in practice—as at elitist country clubs in the United States before World War II—he voiced his disapproval. Belloc condemned Nazi antisemitism in The Catholic and the War (1940). Sussex Belloc grew up in Slindon and spent most of his life in West Sussex. He always wrote of Sussex as if it were the crown of England and the western Sussex Downs the jewel in that crown. He loved Sussex to the point of idolatry as the place where he was brought up and as his spiritual home. Belloc wrote several works about Sussex including Ha’nacker Mill, The South Country, the travel guide Sussex (1906) and The County of Sussex (1936). One of his best-known works relating to Sussex is The Four Men: a Farrago (1911), in which the four characters, each aspects of Belloc’s personality, travel on a pilgrimage across the county from Robertsbridge in the far east to Harting in the far west. The work has influenced others including Sussex folk musician Bob Copper, who retraced Belloc’s steps in the 1980s. Belloc was also a lover of Sussex songs and wrote lyrics for some songs which have since been put to music. Belloc is remembered in an annual celebration in Sussex, known as Belloc Night, that takes place on the writer’s birthday, 27 July, in the manner of Burns Night in Scotland. The celebration includes reading from Belloc’s work and partaking of a bread and cheese supper with pickles. In the media * Stephen Fry has recorded an audio collection of Belloc’s children’s poetry. * A notable admirer of Belloc was the composer Peter Warlock, who set many of his poems to music. * A well-known parody of Belloc by Sir John Squire, intended as a tribute, is Mr. Belloc’s Fancy. * Syd Barrett, a founder of Pink Floyd, was a fan. His song “Matilda Mother” was drawn directly from verses in Cautionary Tales, and was rewritten when Belloc’s estate refused permission to record them. The Belloc version has been released on a 40th anniversary reissue of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. * King’s Mill, Shipley, owned by Belloc was used in Jonathan Creek * On the second episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in the sketch The Mouse Problem, a list of famous people who secretly were mice is concluded with “and, of course, Hilaire Belloc”. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilaire_Belloc

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant (November 3, 1794– June 12, 1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. Youth and education Bryant was born on November 3, 1794, in a log cabin near Cummington, Massachusetts; the home of his birth is today marked with a plaque. He was the second son of Peter Bryant (b. Aug. 12, 1767, d. Mar. 20, 1820), a doctor and later a state legislator, and Sarah Snell (b. Dec. 4, 1768, d. May 6, 1847). The genealogies of both of his parents trace back to passengers on the Mayflower; his mother’s to John Alden (b. 1599, d. 1687); his father’s to Francis Cooke (b. 1577, d. 1663). He was also a nephew of Charity Bryant, a Vermont seamstress who is the subject of Rachel Hope Cleves’ 2014 book Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America. Bryant and his family moved to a new home when he was two years old. The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, his boyhood home, is now a museum. After just one year at Williams College (he entered with sophomore standing), he hoped to transfer to Yale, but a talk with his father led to the realization that family finances would not support it. His father counseled a legal career as his best available choice, and the disappointed poet began to study law in Worthington and Bridgewater in Massachusetts. He was admitted to the bar in 1815 and began practicing law in nearby Plainfield, walking the seven miles from Cummington every day. On one of these walks, in December 1815, he noticed a single bird flying on the horizon; the sight moved him enough to write “To a Waterfowl”. Bryant developed an interest in poetry early in life. Under his father’s tutelage, he emulated Alexander Pope and other Neo-Classic British poets. “The Embargo”, a savage attack on President Thomas Jefferson published in 1808, reflected Dr. Bryant’s Federalist political views. The first edition quickly sold out—partly because of publicity attached to the poet’s young age. A second, expanded edition included Bryant’s translation of classical verse. During his collegiate studies and his reading for the law, he wrote little poetry, but encounters with the Graveyard Poets and then Wordsworth regenerated his passion for “the witchery of song.” Poetry “Thanatopsis” is Bryant’s most famous poem, which Bryant may have been working on as early as 1811. In 1817 his father took some pages of verse from his son’s desk, and at the invitation of Willard Phillips, an editor of the North American Review who had previously been tutored in the classics by Dr. Bryant, he submitted them along with his own work. The editor of the Review, Edward Tyrrel Channing, read the poem to his assistant, Richard Henry Dana, who immediately exclaimed, “That was never written on this side of the water!” Someone at the North American joined two of the son’s discrete fragments, gave the result the Greek-derived title Thanatopsis ("meditation on death"), mistakenly attributed it to the father, and published it. After clarification of the authorship, the son’s poems began appearing with some regularity in the "[Review]". “To a Waterfowl”, published in 1821 was the most popular. On January 11, 1821, Bryant, still striving to build a legal career, married Frances Fairchild. Soon after, having received an invitation to address the Harvard University Phi Beta Kappa Society at the school’s August commencement, Bryant spent months working on “The Ages”, a panorama in verse of the history of civilization, culminating in the establishment of the United States. As it would in all collections he subsequently issued, “The Ages” led the volume, also entitled Poems, which he arranged to publish on the same trip to Cambridge. For that book, he added sets of lines at the beginning and end of “Thanatopsis” that changed the poem. His career as a poet was now established, though recognition as America’s leading poet waited until 1832, when an expanded Poems was published in the U.S. and, with the assistance of Washington Irving, in Britain. His poetry has been described as being “of a thoughtful, meditative character, and makes but slight appeal to the mass of readers.” Editorial career From 1816 to 1825, Bryant depended on his law practice in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to sustain his family financially, but the strain of dealing with unsophisticated neighbors and juridical pettifoggery pushed him to trade his unrewarding profession for New York City and the promise of a literary career. With the encouragement of a distinguished and well-connected literary family, the Sedgwicks, he quickly gained a foothold in New York City’s vibrant cultural life. His first employment, in 1825, was as editor of the New-York Review, which within the next year merged with the United States Review and Literary Gazette. But in the throes of the failing struggle to raise subscriptions, he accepted part-time duties with the New-York Evening Post under William Coleman; then, partly because of Coleman’s ill health, traceable to the consequences of a duel and then a stroke, Bryant’s responsibilities expanded rapidly. From Assistant Editor he rose to Editor-in-Chief and co-owner of the newspaper that had been founded by Alexander Hamilton. Over the next half century, the “Post” would become the most respected paper in the city and, from the election of Andrew Jackson, the major platform in the Northeast for the Democratic Party and subsequently of the Free Soil and Republican Parties. In the process, the Evening-Post also became the pillar of a substantial fortune. From his Federalist beginnings, Bryant had shifted to being one of the most liberal voices of the century. An early supporter of organized labor, with his 1836 editorials the right of workmen to strike, Bryant also defended of religious minorities and immigrants, and promoted the abolition of slavery. He “threw himself into the foreground of the battle for human rights” and did not cease speaking out against the corrupting influence of certain bankers in spite of their efforts to break down the paper. According to newspaper historian Frank Luther Mott, Bryant was “a great liberal seldom done justice by modern writers”. Ironically, the boy who first tasted fame for his diatribe against Thomas Jefferson and his party became one of the key supporters in the Northeast of that same party under Jackson. Bryant’s views, always progressive though not quite populist, in course led him to join the Free Soilers, and when the Free Soil Party became a core of the new Republican Party in 1856, Bryant vigorously campaigned for John Frémont. That exertion enhanced his standing in party councils, and in 1860, he was one of the prime Eastern exponents of Abraham Lincoln, whom he introduced at Cooper Union. (That “Cooper Union speech” lifted Lincoln to the nomination, and then the presidency.) Although literary historians have neglected his fiction, Bryant’s stories over the seven-year period from his time with the Review to the publication of Tales of Glauber Spa in 1832 show a variety of strategies, making him the most inventive of practitioners of the genre during this early stage of its evolution. Bryant edited the very successful Picturesque America which was published between 1872 and 1874. This two-volume set was lavishly illustrated and described scenic places in the United States and Canada. Later years In his last decade, Bryant shifted from writing his own poetry to a blank verse translation of Homer’s works. He assiduously worked on the Iliad and The Odyssey from 1871 to 1874. He is also remembered as one of the principal authorities on homeopathy and as a hymnist for the Unitarian Church—both legacies of his father’s enormous influence on him. Bryant died in 1878 of complications from an accidental fall suffered after participating in a Central Park ceremony honoring Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini. He is buried at Roslyn Cemetery in Roslyn, Long Island, New York. Critical response Poet and literary critic Thomas Holley Chivers said that the "only thing [Bryant] ever wrote that may be called Poetry is 'Thanatopsis’, which he stole line for line from the Spanish. The fact is, that he never did anything but steal—as nothing he ever wrote is original." Contemporary critic Edgar Allan Poe, on the other hand, praised Bryant and specifically the poem “June” in his essay “The Poetic Principle”: The rhythmical flow, here, is even voluptuous—nothing could be more melodious. The poem has always affected me in a remarkable manner. The intense melancholy which seems to well up, perforce, to the surface of all the poet’s cheerful sayings about his grave, we find thrilling us to the soul—while there is the truest poetic elevation in the thrill. The impression left is one of a pleasurable sadness. Editor and children’s writer Mary Mapes Dodge wrote that Bryant’s poems “have wrought vast and far-reaching good in the world.” She predicted, “You will admire more and more, as you grow older, the noble poems of this great and good man.” Bryant’s poetry is tender and graceful, pervaded by a contemplative melancholy, and a love of solitude and the silence of the woods. Though he was brought up to admire Pope, and in his early youth imitated him, he was one of the first American poets to throw off his influence. He had a high sense of duty, was a prominent and patriotic citizen, and enjoyed the esteem and even the reverence of his fellow-countrymen. Legacy In 1884, New York City’s Reservoir Square, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, was renamed Bryant Park in his honor. The city later named a public high school in Long Island City, Queens in his honor. A park in East York, a suburb of Toronto, Canada, bears the name of Cullen Bryant Park as well. Although he is now thought of as a New Englander, Bryant, for most of his lifetime, was thoroughly a New Yorker—and a very dedicated one at that. He was a major force behind the idea that became Central Park, as well as a leading proponent of creating the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was one of a group of founders of New York Medical College. He had close affinities with the Hudson River School of art and was an intimate friend of Thomas Cole. He defended immigrants and, at some financial risk to himself, championed the rights of workers to form labor unions. As a writer, Bryant was an early advocate of American literary nationalism, and his own poetry focusing on nature as a metaphor for truth established a central pattern in the American literary tradition. Some however, argue that a reassessment is long overdue. It finds great merit in a couple of short stories Bryant wrote while trying to build interest in periodicals he edited. More importantly, it perceives a poet of great technical sophistication who was a progenitor of Walt Whitman, to whom he was a mentor. Martin Luther King, Jr quoted Bryant in his speech “Give Us the Ballot”, when he said, “there is something in this universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying: ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’” The Seattle neighborhood Bryant is named after him. Bryant House at Williams College is named for him. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cullen_Bryant

James Beattie

James Beattie FRSE (/ˈbiːti/; 25 October 1735– 18 August 1803) was a Scottish poet, moralist and philosopher. Life James Beattie was born the son of a shopkeeper and small farmer at Laurencekirk in the Mearns, and educated at Marischal College (later part of Aberdeen University), graduating in 1753. In 1760, he was appointed Professor of moral philosophy there as a result of the interest of his intimate friend, Robert Arbuthnot of Haddo. In the following year he published a volume of poems, The Judgment of Paris (1765), which attracted attention. The two works, however, which brought him most fame were An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, and his poem of The Minstrel. The Essay, intended as an answer to David Hume, had great immediate success, and led to an introduction to the King, a pension of £200, and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford. The first book of The Minstrel was published in 1771 and the second in 1774, and constitutes his true title to remembrance, winning him the praise of Samuel Johnson. It contains much beautiful descriptive writing. Beattie was prominent in arguing against the institution of slavery, notably in his Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770) and Elements of Moral Science. Beattie was an amateur cellist and member of the Aberdeen Musical Society. He considered questions of music philosophy in his essay On Poetry and Music (written 1762, published 1776), which was republished several times and translated into French in 1798. His poem “The Hermit” was set to music by Tommaso Giordani (1778). Beattie was co-founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. Beattie underwent much domestic sorrow in the death of his wife, Mary Dunn, whom he had married in 1767, and two promising sons, which broke down his own health and spirits. He died in Aberdeen in 1803 and is buried there in St Nicholas’ Churchyard. Recognition A biographical sketch, An Account of the Life of James Beattie, LL.D., was published in 1804 by Alexander Bower. The poet Robert Burns informed Mrs Frances Dunlop in a letter that the idea of using Coila as the name of his poetic muse first came to him from Beattie’s use of a muse named 'Scota’ in his Scots language poem of 1768 titled To Mr Alexander at Lochlee. Beattie is one of the sixteen Scottish poets and writers depicted on the Scott Monument on Princes Street in Edinburgh. He appears on the left side of the east face. Works * Original Poems and Translations (1760) * The Judgement of Paris (1765) * Poems on Several Subjects (1766) * An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770) * The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius (1771/2) two volumes * Essays, on the nature and immutability of truth in opposition to sophistry and scepticism. On poetry and music as they affect the mind. On laughter and ludicrous composition. On the utility of classical learning (1776) * Essays on Poetry (1778) * Scoticisms, Arranged in Alphabetical Order, Designed to Correct Improprieties of Speech and Writing (1779) * Poems on several occasions (1780) * Dissertations Moral and Critical (1783) * The Evidence of the Christian Religion Briefly and Plainly Stated (1786) 2 vols. * The theory of language. Part I. Of the origin and general nature of speech. Part II. Of universal grammar (1788) * Elements of Moral Science (1790–1793) two volumes * The Poetical Works of James Beattie (1831) edited by A. Dyce * The poetical works of Beattie, Blair, and Falconer (1868) edited by Charles Cowden Clarke * James Beattie’s Day-Book, 1773-1778 (1948) edited by R. S. Walker * James Beattie’s Diary (1948) edited by R. S. Walker References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Beattie_(poet)

Mathilde Blind

Mathilde Blind (born Mathilde Cohen, pseudonym Claude Lake; 21 March 1841 in Mannheim, Germany– 26 November 1896 in London), was a German-born British poet. Her work was praised by Matthew Arnold and French politician and historian Louis Blanc. Early life Blind was born in Mannheim, Germany, the older child of a banker named Cohen and his second wife, born Friederike Ettlinger. She had a brother, Ferdinand. Cohen died in Mathilde’s infancy and her mother remarried to Karl Blind, who was involved in the Baden insurrection of 1848. They fled in 1849 to London, where Mathilde took Karl’s surname. There she attended the Ladies’ Institute, St John’s Wood, where she was a friend of future novelist Rosa Nouchette Carey. She was greatly influenced by foreign refugees who frequented her stepfather’s house, including Giuseppe Mazzini, for whom she entertained a passionate admiration and about whom she would publish reminiscences in the Fortnightly Review in 1891. At the age of 18, she travelled alone to Switzerland and maintained a fondness for the country throughout her life. Some critics believe that the trip reflected in an “especially cosmopolitan character” in her literary work. While in Switzerland she was barred as a woman from entry to lectures at Zurich University, but she spent much time in company with revolutionaries. In 1866 her brother Ferdinand failed in an attempt to assassinate Otto von Bismarck, then chancellor of the North German Confederation, and committed suicide in prison. Career Her first known production was a German ode recited at Bradford for the Schiller centenary in 1859. It was followed by an English tragedy about Robespierre, which was never printed but earned praise from Louis Blanc, and by a short volume of immature poems published in 1867 under the pseudonym Claude Lake. Visits to Scotland inspired two poems of considerable compass and ambition: the narrative poem “The Prophecy of St. Oran” (published in 1881, but written some years earlier) and “The Heather on Fire” (1886), a denunciation of the Highland clearances. Both are full of impassioned eloquence and energy, and “The Prophecy” in particular has an ample share of the quality Matthew Arnold called “Celtic magic”. “Tarantella”, a prose romance, was published in 1885 (a 2nd edition in 1886; there was also an 1885 Boston edition), but was less attuned to the tastes of her day. In 1888, she produced The Ascent of Man, an ambitious attempt at an epic based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Her goal of dealing with the highest subjects was further shown in her translations of two contemporary European books: David Strauss’s The Old Faith and the New (1873 and 1874) and The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (1890). It also appeared in her lives of two of the most distinguished among women of the period– George Eliot (1883; new e. 1888) and Madame Roland (1886)– for the Eminent Women Series. While writing the latter she lived mainly in Manchester, to be near the painter Ford Madox Brown (who was involved in decorating the town hall with frescoes) and his wife. Brown painted her during this period. Later, Blind traveled widely in Italy and Egypt, partly drawn by the love of nature and antiquity and partly due to her failing health. These travels had their influence in Dramas in Miniature (1891) and Songs and Sonnets (1893), and formed the staple of Birds of Passage (1895). Her last poetical work was performed at Stratford-on-Avon, where the quiet beauty of Warwickshire scenery and the associations with Shakespeare inspired her to write some of her most beloved sonnets. Blind died in London on 26 November 1896, bequeathing the greater part of her property, which had mostly come to her late in life as a legacy from a stepbrother, to Newnham College, Cambridge. She was buried in Finchley Cemetery, under a monument erected by a friend and sponsor, Louis Mond. Assessment More recently Blind has attracted the attention of women’s literature scholars. As one website puts it, “Her burning sense of political and social injustice runs like a unifying thread through her work. Her poetry combines great beauty of sound and image with vigorous narrative, delineation of character, emotional expressiveness, and engagement with intellectual ideas.” The site mentions George Eliot, George Sands and Elizabeth Barrett Browning as her influences . Isobel Armstrong, re-evaluating the longer works, notably “The Heather on Fire” and “The Ascent of Man”, saw in them “a gendered tradition in women’s poetry of the nineteenth century.” She noted that Blind, by re-configuring “a new myth of creativity and gender”, demonstrated the best that this tradition could achieve in social and political analysis. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathilde_Blind




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