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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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