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Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest (20 August 1881 in Birmingham, England – 5 August 1959 in Detroit, Michigan) (aka Eddie Guest) was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the People’s Poet. In 1891, Guest moved with his family to the United States from England. After he began at the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy and then a reporter, his first poem appeared 11 December 1898. He became a naturalized citizen in 1902. For 40 years, Guest was widely read throughout North America, and his sentimental, optimistic poems were in the same vein as the light verse of Nick Kenny, who wrote syndicated columns during the same decades. Guest’s most famous poem is the oft-quoted “Home”: It don’t make a difference how rich ye get t’ be’ How much yer chairs and tables cost, how great the luxury; It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king, Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything. Within the hi how are you there’s got t’ be some babies born an’ then... Right there ye’ve got t’ bring em up t’ women good, an’ men; Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ living in it.” —Excerpt from “Home,” It takes A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916) When you’re up against a trouble, Meet it squarely, face to face, Lift your chin, and set your shoulders, Plant your feet and take a brace, When it’s vain to try to dodge it, Do the best that you can do. You may fail, but you may conquer— See it through! —Excerpt from “See It Through” Guest’s most motivating poem: You can do as much as you think you can, But you'll never accomplish more; If you're afraid of yourself, young man, There's little for you in store. For failure comes from the inside first, It's there, if we only knew it, And you can win, though you face the worst, If you feel that you're going to do it. —Excerpt from “The Secret of the Ages” (1926)

Robert Graves

On July 24, 1895, Robert Graves was born in Wimbledon, near London. His father, Alfred Perceval Graves, was a Gaelic scholar and minor Irish poet. His mother, Amalie von Ranke Graves, was a relation of Leopold von Ranke, one of the founding fathers of modern historical studies. One of ten children, Robert was greatly influenced by his mother's puritanical beliefs and his father's love of Celtic poetry and myth. As a young man, he was more interested in boxing and mountain climbing than studying, although poetry later sustained him through a turbulent adolescence. In 1913 Graves won a scholarship to continue his studies at St. John's College, Oxford, but in August 1914 he enlisted as a junior officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He fought in the Battle of Loos and was injured in the Somme offensive in 1916. While convalescing, he published his first collection of poetry, Over the Brazier. By 1917, though still an active serviceman, Graves had published three volumes. In 1918, he spent a year in the trenches, where he was again severely wounded. In January 1918, at the age of twenty-two, he married eighteen-year-old Nancy Nicholson, with whom he was to have four children. Traumatized by the war, he went to Oxford with his wife and took a position at St. John's College. Graves's early volumes of poetry, like those of his contemporaries, deal with natural beauty and bucolic pleasures, and with the consequences of the First World War. Over the Brazier and Fairies and Fusiliers earned for Graves the reputation as an accomplished war poet. After meeting the American poet and theorist Laura Riding in 1926, Graves's poetry underwent a significant transformation. Douglas Day has written that the "influence of Laura Riding is quite possibly the most important single element in [Graves's] poetic career: she persuaded him to curb his digressiveness and his rambling philosophizing and to concentrate instead on terse, ironic poems written on personal themes." In 1927, Graves and his first wife separated permanently, and in 1929 he published Goodbye to All That, an autobiography that announced his psychological accommodation with the residual horror of his war experiences. Shortly afterward, he departed to Majorca with Laura Riding. In addition to completing many books of verse while in Majorca, Graves also wrote several volumes of criticism, some in collaboration with Riding. The couple cofounded Seizin Press in 1928 and Epilogue, a semiannual magazine, in 1935. During that period, he evolved his theory of poetry as spiritually cathartic to both the poet and the reader. Although Graves claimed that he wrote novels only to earn money, it was through these that he attained status as a major writer in 1934, with the publication of the historical novel I, Claudius, and its sequel, Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina. (During the 1970's, the BBC adapted the novels into an internationally popular television series.) At the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Graves and Riding fled Majorca, eventually settling in America. In 1939, Laura Riding left Graves for the writer Schuyler Jackson; one year later Graves began a relationship with Beryl Hodge that was to last until his death. It was in the 1940s, after his break with Riding, that Graves formulated his personal mythology of the White Goddess. Inspired by late nineteenth-century studies of matriarchal societies and goddess cults, this mythology was to pervade all of his later work. After World War II, Graves returned to Majorca, where he lived with Hodge and continued to write. By the 1950s, Graves had won an enormous international reputation as a poet, novelist, literary scholar, and translator. In 1962, W. H. Auden went as far as to assert that Graves was England's "greatest living poet." In 1968, he received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. During his lifetime he published more than 140 books, including fifty-five collections of poetry (he reworked his Collected Poems repeatedly during his career), fifteen novels, ten translations, and forty works of nonfiction, autobiography, and literary essays. From 1961 to 1966, Graves returned to England to serve as a professor of poetry at Oxford. In the 1970s his productivity fell off; and the last decade of his life was lost in silence and senility. Robert Graves died in Majorca in 1985, at the age of ninety. Poetry * Over the Brazier (1916) * Goliath and David (1917) * Fairies and Fusiliers (1918) * Treasure Box (1920) * Country Sentiment (1920) * The Pier-Glass (1921) * Whipperginny (1923) * To Whom Else? Deyá (1931) * The Poems of Robert Graves (1958) * Man Does, Woman Is (1964) * Love Respelt (1966) * Poems About Love (1969) * Love Respelt Again (1969) * Poems: Abridged for Dolls and Princes (1971) * Poems 1970-1972 (1973) * New Collected Poems (1977) * The Complete Poems, ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward (2000) References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/193

Richard Le Gallienne

Richard Le Gallienne (20 January 1866– 15 September 1947) was an English author and poet. The American actress Eva Le Gallienne (1899–1991) was his daughter, by his second marriage. Life and career He was born in Liverpool. He started work in an accountant’s office, but abandoned this job to become a professional writer. The book My Ladies’ Sonnets appeared in 1887, and in 1889 he became, for a brief time, literary secretary to Wilson Barrett. He joined the staff of the newspaper The Star in 1891, and wrote for various papers by the name Logroller. He contributed to The Yellow Book, and associated with the Rhymers’ Club. His first wife, Mildred Lee, died in 1894. They had one daughter, Hesper. In 1897 he married the Danish journalist Julie Norregard, who left him in 1903 and took their daughter Eva to live in Paris. Le Gallienne subsequently became a resident of the United States. He has been credited with the 1906 translation from the Danish of Peter Nansen’s Love’s Trilogy; but most sources and the book itself attribute it to Julie. They were divorced in June 1911. On October 27, 1911, he married Mrs. Irma Perry, née Hinton, whose previous marriage to her first cousin, the painter and sculptor Roland Hinton Perry, had been dissolved in 1904. Le Gallienne and Irma had known each other for some time, and had jointly published an article as early as 1906. Irma’s daughter Gwendolyn Perry subsequently called herself “Gwen Le Gallienne”, but was almost certainly not his natural daughter, having been born in 1900. Le Gallienne and Irma lived in Paris from the late 1920s, where Gwen was by then an established figure in the expatriate bohéme (see, e.g.) and where he wrote a regular newspaper column. Le Gallienne lived in Menton on the French Riviera during the 1940s. During the Second World War Le Gallienne was prevented from returning to his Menton home and lived in Monaco for the rest of the war. Le Gallienne’s house in Menton was occupied by German troops and his library was nearly sent back to Germany as bounty. Le Gallienne appealed to a German officer in Monaco who allowed him to return to Menton to collect his books. During the war Le Gallienne refused to write propaganda for the local German and Italian authorities, and with no income, once collapsed in the street due to hunger. In later times he knew Llewelyn Powys and John Cowper Powys. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest the stress was “on the last syllable: le gal-i-enn’. As a rule I hear it pronounced as if it were spelled ‘gallion,’ which, of course, is wrong.” (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.) A number of his works are now available online. He also wrote the foreword to “The Days I Knew” by Lillie Langtry 1925, George H. Doran Company on Murray Hill New York. Works * My Ladies’ Sonnets and Other Vain and Amatorious Verses (1887) * Volumes in Folio (1889) poems * George Meredith: Some Characteristics (1890) * The Book-Bills of Narcissus (1891) * English Poems (1892) * The Religion of a Literary Man (1893) * Robert Louis Stevenson: An Elegy and Other Poems (1895) * Quest of the Golden Girl (1896) novel * Prose Fancies (1896) * Retrospective Reviews (1896) * Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1897) * If I Were God (1897) * The Romance Of Zion Chapel (1898) * In Praise of Bishop Valentine (1898) * Young Lives (1899) * Sleeping Beauty and Other Prose Fancies (1900) * The Worshipper Of The Image (1900) * The Love Letters of the King, or The Life Romantic (1901) * An Old Country House (1902) * Odes from the Divan of Hafiz (1903) translation * Old Love Stories Retold (1904) * Painted Shadows (1904) * Romances of Old France (1905) * Little Dinners with the Sphinx and other Prose Fancies (1907) * Omar Repentant (1908) * Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (1909) Translator * Attitudes and Avowals (1910) essays * October Vagabonds (1910) * New Poems (1910) * The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables (1912) * The Lonely Dancer and Other Poems (1913) * The Highway to Happiness (1913) * Vanishing Roads and Other Essays (1915) * The Silk-Hat Soldier and Other Poems in War Time (1915) * The Chain Invisible (1916) * Pieces of Eight (1918) * The Junk-Man and Other Poems (1920) * A Jongleur Strayed (1922) poems * Woodstock: An Essay (1923) * The Romantic '90s (1925) memoirs * The Romance of Perfume (1928) * There Was a Ship (1930) * From a Paris Garret (1936) memoirs * The Diary of Samuel Pepys (editor) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Le_Gallienne

Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran (Arabic pronunciation: [xaˈliːl ʒiˈbrɑːn]) (January 6, 1883 - April 10, 1931); born Gubran Khalil Gubran, was a Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer. Born in the town of Bsharri in modern-day Lebanon (then part of the Ottoman Mount Lebanon mutasarrifate), as a young man he emigrated with his family to the United States where he studied art and began his literary career. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His Romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero. He is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. The book sold well despite a cool critical reception, gaining popularity in the 1930s and again especially in the 1960s counterculture. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. In academic contexts his name is often spelled Jubrān Khalīl Jubrān,:217:255 Jibrān Khalīl Jibrān,:217:559 or Jibrān Xalīl Jibrān;:189 Arabic جبران خليل جبران , January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) also known as Kahlil Gibran, In Lebanon Gibran was born to a Maronite Catholic family from the historical town of Bsharri in northern Lebanon. His mother Kamila, daughter of a priest, was thirty when he was born; his father Khalil was her third husband. As a result of his family's poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth. However, priests visited him regularly and taught him about the Bible, as well as the Arabic and Syriac languages. Gibran's father initially worked in an apothecary but, with gambling debts he was unable to pay, he went to work for a local Ottoman-appointed administrator. Around 1891, extensive complaints by angry subjects led to the administrator being removed and his staff being investigated. Gibran's father was imprisoned for embezzlement, and his family's property was confiscated by the authorities. Kamila Gibran decided to follow her brother to the United States. Although Gibran's father was released in 1894, Kamila remained resolved and left for New York on June 25, 1895, taking Khalil, his younger sisters Mariana and Sultana, and his elder half-brother Peter (in Arabic, Butrus). In the United States The Gibrans settled in Boston's South End, at the time the second largest Syrian/Lebanese-American community in the United States. Due to a mistake at school, he was registered as Kahlil Gibran. His mother began working as a seamstress peddler, selling lace and linens that she carried from door to door. Gibran started school on September 30, 1895. School officials placed him in a special class for immigrants to learn English. Gibran also enrolled in an art school at a nearby settlement house. Through his teachers there, he was introduced to the avant-garde Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day, who encouraged and supported Gibran in his creative endeavors. A publisher used some of Gibran's drawings for book covers in 1898. Gibran's mother, along with his elder brother Peter, wanted him to absorb more of his own heritage rather than just the Western aesthetic culture he was attracted to, so at the age of fifteen, Gibran returned to his homeland to study at a Maronite-run preparatory school and higher-education institute in Beirut, called Al-Hikma (The Wisdom). He started a student literary magazine with a classmate and was elected "college poet". He stayed there for several years before returning to Boston in 1902, coming through Ellis Island (a second time) on May 10. Two weeks before he got back, his sister Sultana died of tuberculosis at the age of 14. The next year, Peter died of the same disease and his mother died of cancer. His sister Marianna supported Gibran and herself by working at a dressmaker’s shop. Art and poetry Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. During this exhibition, Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a respected headmistress ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship that lasted the rest of Gibran’s life. Though publicly discreet, their correspondence reveals that the two were lovers. In fact, Gibran twice proposed to her but marriage was not possible in the face of her family's conservatism. Haskell influenced not only Gibran’s personal life, but also his career. She became his editor, and introduced him to Charlotte Teller, a journalist,and Emilie Michel (Micheline), a French teacher, who accepted to pose for him as a model and became close friends. In 1908, Gibran went to study art in Paris for two years. While there he met his art study partner and lifelong friend Youssef Howayek. While most of Gibran's early writings were in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. His first book for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, in 1918, was The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran also took part in the New York Pen League, also known as the "immigrant poets" (al-mahjar), alongside important Lebanese-American authors such as Ameen Rihani, Elia Abu Madi and Mikhail Naimy, a close friend and distinguished master of Arabic literature, whose descendants Gibran declared to be his own children, and whose nephew, Samir, is a godson of Gibran's. Much of Gibran's writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. But his mysticism is a convergence of several different influences : Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Hinduism and theosophy. He wrote : "You are my brother and I love you. I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel in your church and pray in your synagogue. You and I are sons of one faith - the Spirit." Juliet Thompson, one of Gibran's acquaintances, reported several anecdotes relating to Gibran: She recalls Gibran met `Abdu'l-Bahá, the leader of the Bahá’í Faith at the time of his visit to the United States, circa 1911–1912. Barbara Young, in "This Man from Lebanon: A Study of Khalil Gibran", records Gibran was unable to sleep the night before meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá who sat for a pair of portraits. Thompson reports Gibran saying that all the way through writing of "Jesus, The Son of Man", he thought of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Years later, after the death of `Abdu'l-Bahá, there was a viewing of the movie recording of `Abdu'l-Bahá – Gibran rose to talk and in tears, proclaimed an exalted station of `Abdu'l-Bahá and left the event weeping. His poetry is notable for its use of formal language, as well as insights on topics of life using spiritual terms. Gibran's best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. Its popularity grew markedly during the 1960s with the American counterculture and then with the flowering of the New Age movements. It has remained popular with these and with the wider population to this day. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages, it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States. One of his most notable lines of poetry is from "Sand and Foam" (1926), which reads: "Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you". This line was used by John Lennon and placed, though in a slightly altered form, into the song "Julia" from The Beatles' 1968 album The Beatles (a.k.a. "The White Album”). Drawing and painting Gibran was an accomplished artist, especially in drawing and watercolour, having attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style over then up-and-coming realism. His more than 700 images include portraits of his friends WB Yeats, Carl Jung and August Rodin. A possible Gibran painting was the subject of a June 2012 episode of the PBS TV series History Detectives. Political thought Gibran was by no means a politician. He used to say : "I am not a politician, nor do I wish to become one" and "Spare me the political events and power struggles, as the whole earth is my homeland and all men are my fellow countrymen". Nevertheless, Gibran called for the adoption of Arabic as a national language of Syria, considered from a geographic point of view, not as a political entity. When Gibran met `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1911–12, who traveled to the United States partly to promote peace, Gibran admired the teachings on peace but argued that "young nations like his own" be freed from Ottoman control. Gibran also wrote the famous "Pity The Nation" poem during these years, posthumously published in The Garden of the Prophet. When the Ottomans were finally driven out of Syria during World War I, Gibran's exhilaration was manifested in a sketch called "Free Syria" which appeared on the front page of al-Sa'ih's special "victory" edition. Moreover, in a draft of a play, still kept among his papers, Gibran expressed great hope for national independence and progress. This play, according to Khalil Hawi, "defines Gibran's belief in Syrian nationalism with great clarity, distinguishing it from both Lebanese and Arab nationalism, and showing us that nationalism lived in his mind, even at this late stage, side by side with internationalism.” Death and legacy Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931: the cause was determined to be cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis. Before his death, Gibran expressed the wish that he be buried in Lebanon. This wish was fulfilled in 1932, when Mary Haskell and his sister Mariana purchased the Mar Sarkis Monastery in Lebanon, which has since become the Gibran Museum. The words written next to Gibran's grave are "a word I want to see written on my grave: I am alive like you, and I am standing beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you ...." Gibran willed the contents of his studio to Mary Haskell. There she discovered her letters to him spanning twenty-three years. She initially agreed to burn them because of their intimacy, but recognizing their historical value she saved them. She gave them, along with his letters to her which she had also saved, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library before she died in 1964. Excerpts of the over six hundred letters were published in "Beloved Prophet" in 1972. Mary Haskell Minis (she wed Jacob Florance Minis in 1923) donated her personal collection of nearly one hundred original works of art by Gibran to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia in 1950. Haskell had been thinking of placing her collection at the Telfair as early as 1914. In a letter to Gibran, she wrote "I am thinking of other museums ... the unique little Telfair Gallery in Savannah, Ga., that Gari Melchers chooses pictures for. There when I was a visiting child, form burst upon my astonished little soul." Haskell's gift to the Telfair is the largest public collection of Gibran’s visual art in the country, consisting of five oils and numerous works on paper rendered in the artist’s lyrical style, which reflects the influence of symbolism. The future American royalties to his books were willed to his hometown of Bsharri, to be "used for good causes”. Works In Arabic: * Nubthah fi Fan Al-Musiqa (Music, 1905) * Ara'is al-Muruj (Nymphs of the Valley, also translated as Spirit Brides and Brides of the Prairie, 1906) * al-Arwah al-Mutamarrida (Rebellious Spirits, 1908) * al-Ajniha al-Mutakassira (Broken Wings, 1912) * Dam'a wa Ibtisama (A Tear and A Smile, 1914) * al-Mawakib (The Processions, 1919) * al-‘Awāsif (The Tempests, 1920) * al-Bada'i' waal-Tara'if (The New and the Marvellous, 1923) In English, prior to his death: * The Madman (1918) (downloadable free version) * Twenty Drawings (1919) * The Forerunner (1920) * The Prophet, (1923) * Sand and Foam (1926) * Kingdom of the Imagination (1927) * Jesus, The Son of Man (1928) * The Earth Gods (1931) Posthumous, in English: * The Wanderer (1932) * The Garden of the Prophet (1933, Completed by Barbara Young) * Lazarus and his Beloved (Play, 1933) Collections: * Prose Poems (1934) * Secrets of the Heart (1947) * A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1951) * A Self-Portrait (1959) * Thoughts and Meditations (1960) * A Second Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1962) * Spiritual Sayings (1962) * Voice of the Master (1963) * Mirrors of the Soul (1965) * Between Night & Morn (1972) * A Third Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1975) * The Storm (1994) * The Beloved (1994) * The Vision (1994) * Eye of the Prophet (1995) * The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran (1995) Other: * Beloved Prophet, The love letters of Khalil Gibran and Mary Haskell, and her private journal (1972, edited by Virginia Hilu) Memorials and honors * Lebanese Ministry of Post and Telecommunications published a stamp in his honor in 1971. * Gibran Museum in Bsharri, Lebanon * Gibran Khalil Gibran Garden, Beirut, Lebanon * Gibran Khalil Gibran collectin, Soumaya Museum, Mexico. * Kahlil Gibran Street, Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada inaugurated on 27 Sept. 2008 on occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birth. * Gibran Kahlil Gibran Skiing Piste, The Cedars Ski Resort, Lebanon * Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden in Washington, D.C., dedicated in 1990 * The Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace, University of Maryland, currently held by Suheil Bushrui * Pavilion K. Gibran at École Pasteur in Montréal, Quebec, Canada * Gibran Memorial Plaque in Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts see Kahlil Gibran (sculptor). * Khalil Gibran International Academy, a public high school in Brooklyn, NY, opened in September 2007 * Khalil Gibran Park (Parcul Khalil Gibran) in Bucharest, Romania * Gibran Kalil Gibran sculpture on a marble pedestal indoors at Arab Memorial building at Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil * Gibran Khalil Gibran Memorial, in front of Plaza de las Naciones. Buenos Aires. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalil_Gibran

William Schwenck Gilbert

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (18 November 1836– 29 May 1911) was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for the fourteen comic operas (known as the Savoy operas) produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. The most famous of these include H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre, The Mikado. These, as well as several of the other Savoy operas, continue to be frequently performed in the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies, repertory companies, schools and community theatre groups. Lines from these works have become part of the English language, such as “short, sharp shock”, “What, never? Well, hardly ever!”, and “Let the punishment fit the crime”. Gilbert also wrote the Bab Ballads, an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings. His creative output included over 75 plays and libretti, numerous stories, poems, lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces. His plays and realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. According to The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Gilbert’s “lyrical facility and his mastery of metre raised the poetical quality of comic opera to a position that it had never reached before and has not reached since”. Early life and career Beginnings Gilbert was born at 17 Southampton Street, Strand, London. His father, also named William, was briefly a naval surgeon, who later became a writer of novels and short stories, some of which were illustrated by his son. Gilbert’s mother was the former Anne Mary Bye Morris (1812–1888), the daughter of Thomas Morris, an apothecary. Gilbert’s parents were distant and stern, and he did not have a particularly close relationship with either of them. They quarrelled increasingly, and following the break-up of their marriage in 1876, his relationships with them, especially his mother, became even more strained. Gilbert had three younger sisters, two of whom were born outside England because of the family’s travels during these years: Jane Morris (b. 1838 in Milan, Italy– 1906), who married Alfred Weigall, a miniatures painter; Anne Maude (1845–1932) and Mary Florence (b. 1843 in Boulogne, France– 1911), neither of whom married. Gilbert was nicknamed “Bab” as a baby, and then “Schwenck”, after his father’s godparents. As a child, Gilbert travelled to Italy in 1838 and then France for two years with his parents, who finally returned to settle in London in 1847. He was educated at Boulogne, France from the age of seven (he later kept his diary in French so that the servants could not read it), then at Western Grammar School, Brompton, London, and then at the Great Ealing School, where he became head boy and wrote plays for school performances and painted scenery. He then attended King’s College London, graduating in 1856. He intended to take the examinations for a commission in the Royal Artillery, but with the end of the Crimean War, fewer recruits were needed, and the only commission available to Gilbert would have been in a line regiment. Instead he joined the Civil Service: he was an assistant clerk in the Privy Council Office for four years and hated it. In 1859 he joined the Militia, a part-time volunteer force formed for the defence of Britain, with which he served until 1878 (in between writing and other work), reaching the rank of Captain. In 1863 he received a bequest of £300 that he used to leave the civil service and take up a brief career as a barrister (he had already entered the Inner Temple as a student), but his legal practice was not successful, averaging just five clients a year. To supplement his income from 1861 on, Gilbert wrote a variety of stories, comic rants, grotesque illustrations, theatre reviews (many in the form of a parody of the play being reviewed), and, under the pseudonym “Bab” (his childhood nickname), illustrated poems for several comic magazines, primarily Fun, started in 1861 by H. J. Byron. He published stories, articles, and reviews in papers such as the Cornhill Magazine, London Society, Tinsley’s Magazine and Temple Bar. In addition, Gilbert was the London correspondent for L’Invalide Russe and a drama critic for the Illustrated London Times. In the 1860s he also contributed to Tom Hood’s Christmas annuals, to Saturday Night, the Comic News and the Savage Club Papers. The Observer newspaper in 1870 sent him to France as a war correspondent reporting on the Franco-Prussian War. The poems, illustrated humorously by Gilbert, proved immensely popular and were reprinted in book form as the Bab Ballads. He would later return to many of these as source material for his plays and comic operas. Gilbert and his colleagues from Fun, including Tom Robertson, Tom Hood, Clement Scott and F. C. Burnand (who defected to Punch in 1862) frequented the Arundel Club, the Savage Club, and especially Evans’s café, where they had a table in competition with the Punch 'Round table’. After a relationship in the mid-1860s with novelist Annie Thomas, Gilbert married Lucy Agnes Turner, whom he called “Kitty”, in 1867; she was 11 years his junior. He wrote many affectionate letters to her over the years. Gilbert and Lucy were socially active both in London and later at Grim’s Dyke, often holding dinner parties and being invited to others’ homes for dinner, in contrast to the picture painted by fictionalisations such as the film Topsy-Turvy. The Gilberts had no children, but they had many pets, including some exotic ones. First plays Gilbert wrote and directed a number of plays at school, but his first professionally produced play was Uncle Baby, which ran for seven weeks in the autumn of 1863. In 1865–66, Gilbert collaborated with Charles Millward on several pantomimes, including one called Hush-a-Bye, Baby, On the Tree Top, or, Harlequin Fortunia, King Frog of Frog Island, and the Magic Toys of Lowther Arcade (1866). Gilbert’s first solo success, however, came a few days after Hush-a-Bye Baby premiered. His friend and mentor, Tom Robertson, was asked to write a pantomime but did not think he could do it in the two weeks available, and so he recommended Gilbert instead. Written and rushed to the stage in 10 days, Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack, a burlesque of Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, proved extremely popular. This led to a long series of further Gilbert opera burlesques, pantomimes and farces, full of awful puns (traditional in burlesques of the period), though showing, at times, signs of the satire that would later be a defining part of Gilbert’s work. For instance: This was followed by Gilbert’s penultimate operatic parody, Robert the Devil, a burlesque of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera, Robert le diable, which was part of a triple bill that opened the Gaiety Theatre, London in 1868. The piece was Gilbert’s biggest success to date, running for over 100 nights and being frequently revived and played continuously in the provinces for three years thereafter. In Victorian theatre, "[to degrade] high and beautiful themes... had been the regular proceeding in burlesque, and the age almost expected it" However, Gilbert’s burlesques were considered unusually tasteful compared to the others on the London stage. Isaac Goldberg wrote that these pieces “reveal how a playwright may begin by making burlesque of opera and end by making opera of burlesque.” Gilbert would depart even further from the burlesque style from about 1869 with plays containing original plots and fewer puns. His first full-length prose comedy was An Old Score (1869). German Reed entertainments and other plays of the early 1870s Theatre, at the time Gilbert began writing, had fallen into disrepute. Badly translated and adapted French operettas and poorly written, prurient Victorian burlesques dominated the London stage. As Jessie Bond vividly described it, “stilted tragedy and vulgar farce were all the would-be playgoer had to choose from, and the theatre had become a place of evil repute to the righteous British householder.” From 1869 to 1875, Gilbert joined with one of the leading figures in theatrical reform, Thomas German Reed (and his wife Priscilla), whose Gallery of Illustration sought to regain some of theatre’s lost respectability by offering family entertainments in London. So successful were they that by 1885 Gilbert stated that original British plays were appropriate for an innocent 15-year-old girl in the audience. Three months before the opening of Gilbert’s last burlesque (The Pretty Druidess), the first of his pieces for the Gallery of Illustration, No Cards, was produced. Gilbert created six musical entertainments for the German Reeds, some with music composed by Thomas German Reed himself. The environment of the German Reeds’ intimate theatre allowed Gilbert quickly to develop a personal style and freedom to control all aspects of production, including set, costumes, direction and stage management. These works were a success, with Gilbert’s first big hit at the Gallery of Illustration, Ages Ago, opening in 1869. Ages Ago was also the beginning of a collaboration with the composer Frederic Clay that would last seven years and produce four works. It was at a rehearsal for Ages Ago that Clay formally introduced Gilbert to his friend, Arthur Sullivan. The Bab Ballads and Gilbert’s many early musical works gave him much practice as a lyricist even before his collaboration with Sullivan. Many of the plot elements of the German Reed Entertainments (as well as some from his earlier plays and Bab Ballads) would be reused by Gilbert later in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. These elements include paintings coming to life (Ages Ago, used again in Ruddigore), a deaf nursemaid binding a respectable man’s son to a “pirate” instead of to a “pilot” by mistake (Our Island Home, 1870, reused in The Pirates of Penzance), and the forceful mature lady who is “an acquired taste” (Eyes and No Eyes, 1875, reused in The Mikado). During this time, Gilbert perfected the 'topsy-turvy’ style that he had been developing in his Bab Ballads, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. Mike Leigh describes the “Gilbertian” style as follows: "With great fluidity and freedom, [Gilbert] continually challenges our natural expectations. First, within the framework of the story, he makes bizarre things happen, and turns the world on its head. Thus the Learned Judge marries the Plaintiff, the soldiers metamorphose into aesthetes, and so on, and nearly every opera is resolved by a deft moving of the goalposts... His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real, and the caricature with the natural. In other words, to tell a perfectly outrageous story in a completely deadpan way.” At the same time, Gilbert created several 'fairy comedies’ at the Haymarket Theatre. This series of plays was founded upon the idea of self-revelation by characters under the influence of some magic or some supernatural interference. The first was The Palace of Truth (1870), based partly on a story by Madame de Genlis. In 1871, with Pygmalion and Galatea, one of seven plays that he produced that year, Gilbert scored his greatest hit to date. Together, these plays and their successors such as The Wicked World (1873), Sweethearts (1874), and Broken Hearts (1875), did for Gilbert on the dramatic stage what the German Reed entertainments had done for him on the musical stage: they established that his capabilities extended far beyond burlesque, won him artistic credentials, and demonstrated that he was a writer of wide range, as comfortable with human drama as with farcical humour. The success of these plays, especially Pygmalion and Galatea, gave Gilbert a prestige that would be crucial to his later collaboration with as respected a musician as Sullivan. Though dated, these works demonstrate Gilbert’s desire to give respectable and well-educated theatre audiences comedies that were more refined and tasteful than the usual farces and burlesques playing in London. On the other hand, during the same period, Gilbert pushed the boundaries of how far satire could go in the theatre. He collaborated with Gilbert Arthur à Beckett on The Happy Land (1873), a political satire (in part, a parody of his own The Wicked World), which was briefly banned because of its unflattering caricatures of Gladstone and his ministers. Similarly, The Realm of Joy (1873) was set in the lobby of a theatre performing a scandalous play (implied to be the Happy Land), with many jokes at the expense of the Lord Chamberlain (the “Lord High Disinfectant”, as he’s referred to in the play). In Charity (1874), however, Gilbert uses the freedom of the stage in a different way: to provide a tightly-written critique of the contrasting ways in which Victorian society treated men and women who had sex outside of marriage, which anticipated the 'problem plays’ of Shaw and Ibsen. As a director Once he became established, Gilbert was the stage director for his plays and operas and had strong opinions on how they should best be performed. He was strongly influenced by the innovations in 'stagecraft’, now called stage direction, by the playwrights James Planché and especially Tom Robertson. Gilbert attended rehearsals directed by Robertson to learn this art firsthand from the older director, and he began to apply it in some of his earliest plays. He sought realism in acting, settings, costumes and movement, if not in content of his plays (although he did write a romantic comedy in the “naturalist” style, as a tribute to Robertson, Sweethearts), shunned self-conscious interaction with the audience, and insisted on a style of portrayal in which the characters were never aware of their own absurdity, but were coherent internal wholes. In Gilbert’s 1874 burlesque, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the character Hamlet, in his speech to the players, sums up Gilbert’s theory of comic acting: “I hold that there is no such antick fellow as your bombastical hero who doth so earnestly spout forth his folly as to make his hearers believe that he is unconscious of all incongruity”. With his work along these lines, Gilbert set the ground for later playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde to be able to flourish on the English stage. Robertson "introduced Gilbert both to the revolutionary notion of disciplined rehearsals and to mise-en-scène or unity of style in the whole presentation– direction, design, music, acting." Like Robertson, Gilbert demanded discipline in his actors. He required that his actors know their words perfectly, enunciate them clearly and obey his stage directions, which was something quite new to many actors of the day. A major innovation was the replacement of the star actor with the disciplined ensemble, “raising the director to a new position of dominance” in the theatre. “That Gilbert was a good director is not in doubt. He was able to extract from his actors natural, clear performances, which served the Gilbertian requirements of outrageousness delivered straight.” Gilbert prepared meticulously for each new work, making models of the stage, actors and set pieces, and designing every action and bit of business in advance. Gilbert would not work with actors who challenged his authority. Even during long runs and revivals, Gilbert closely supervised the performances of his plays, making sure that the actors did not make unauthorised additions, deletions or paraphrases. Gilbert was famous for demonstrating the action himself, even as he grew older. Gilbert himself went on stage in a number of productions throughout his lifetime, including several performances as the Associate in Trial by Jury, as substitute for an ailing actor in his play Broken Hearts, and in charity matinees of his one-act plays, such as King Claudius in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Collaboration with Sullivan First collaborations amidst other works In 1871, John Hollingshead commissioned Gilbert to work with Sullivan on a holiday piece for Christmas, Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old, at the Gaiety Theatre. Thespis outran five of its nine competitors for the 1871 holiday season, and its run was extended beyond the length of a normal run at the Gaiety, However, nothing more came of it at that point, and Gilbert and Sullivan went their separate ways. Gilbert worked again with Clay on Happy Arcadia (1872), and with Alfred Cellier on Topsyturveydom (1874), as well as writing several farces, operetta libretti, extravaganzas, fairy comedies, adaptations from novels, translations from the French, and the dramas described above. Also in 1874, he published his last contribution for Fun magazine ("Rosencrantz and Guildenstern"), after a gap of three years, then resigned due to disapproval of the new owner’s other publishing interests. It would be nearly four years after Thespis was produced before the two men worked together again. In 1868, Gilbert had published a short comedic sketch libretto in Fun magazine entitled “Trial by Jury: An Operetta”. In 1873, Gilbert arranged with the theatrical manager and composer, Carl Rosa, to expand the piece into a one-act libretto. Rosa’s wife was to sing the role of the plaintiff. However, Rosa’s wife died in childbirth in 1874. Later in 1874 Gilbert offered the libretto to Richard D’Oyly Carte, but Carte could not use the piece at that time. By early 1875, Carte was managing the Royalty Theatre, and he needed a short opera to be played as an afterpiece to Offenbach’s La Périchole. He contacted Gilbert, asked about the piece, and suggested Sullivan to set the work. Sullivan was enthusiastic, and Trial by Jury was composed in a matter of weeks. The little piece was a runaway hit, outlasting the run of La Périchole and being revived at another theatre. Gilbert continued his quest to gain respect in and respectability for his profession. One thing that may have been holding dramatists back from respectability was that plays were not published in a form suitable for a “gentleman’s library”, as, at the time, they were generally cheaply and unattractively published for the use of actors rather than the home reader. To help rectify this, at least for himself, Gilbert arranged in late 1875 for publishers Chatto and Windus to print a volume of his plays in a format designed to appeal to the general reader, with an attractive binding and clear type, containing Gilbert’s most respectable plays, including his most serious works, but mischievously capped off with Trial by Jury. After the success of Trial by Jury, there were discussions towards reviving Thespis, but Gilbert and Sullivan were not able to agree on terms with Carte and his backers. The score to Thespis was never published, and most of the music is now lost. It took some time for Carte to gather funds for another Gilbert and Sullivan opera, and in this gap Gilbert produced several works including Tom Cobb (1875), Eyes and No Eyes (1875, his last German Reed Entertainment), and Princess Toto (1876), his last and most ambitious work with Clay, a three-act comic opera with full orchestra, as opposed to the shorter works for much reduced accompaniment that came before. Gilbert also wrote two serious works during this time, Broken Hearts (1875) and Dan’l Druce, Blacksmith (1876). Also during this period, Gilbert wrote his most successful comic play, Engaged (1877), which inspired Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Engaged is a parody of romantic drama written in the “topsy-turvy” satiric style of many of Gilbert’s Bab Ballads and the Savoy Operas, with one character pledging his love, in the most poetic and romantic language possible, to every single woman in the play; the “innocent” Scottish rustics being revealed to be making a living through throwing trains off the lines and then charging the passengers for services, and, in general, romance being gladly thrown over in favour of monetary gain. Engaged continues to be performed today by both professional and amateur companies. Peak collaborative years Carte finally assembled a syndicate in 1877 and formed the Comedy Opera Company to launch a series of original English comic operas, beginning with a third collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan, The Sorcerer, in November 1877. This work was a modest success, and H.M.S. Pinafore followed in May 1878. Despite a slow start, mainly due to a scorching summer, Pinafore became a red-hot favourite by autumn. After a dispute with Carte over the division of profits, the other Comedy Opera Company partners hired thugs to storm the theatre one night to steal the sets and costumes, intending to mount a rival production. The attempt was repelled by stagehands and others at the theatre loyal to Carte, and Carte continued as sole impresario of the newly renamed D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Indeed, Pinafore was so successful that over a hundred unauthorised productions sprang up in America alone. Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte tried for many years to control the American performance copyrights over their operas, without success. For the next decade, the Savoy Operas (as the series came to be known, after the theatre Carte later built to house them) were Gilbert’s principal activity. The successful comic operas with Sullivan continued to appear every year or two, several of them being among the longest-running productions up to that point in the history of the musical stage. After Pinafore came The Pirates of Penzance (1879), Patience (1881), Iolanthe (1882), Princess Ida (1884, based on Gilbert’s earlier farce, The Princess), The Mikado (1885), Ruddigore (1887), The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), and The Gondoliers (1889). Gilbert not only directed and oversaw all aspects of production for these works, but he actually designed the costumes himself for Patience, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, and Ruddigore. He insisted on precise and authentic sets and costumes, which provided a foundation to ground and focus his absurd characters and situations. During this time, Gilbert and Sullivan also collaborated on one other major work, the oratorio The Martyr of Antioch, premiered at the Leeds music festival in October 1880. Gilbert arranged the original epic poem by Henry Hart Milman into a libretto suitable for the music, and it contains some original work. During this period, also, Gilbert occasionally wrote plays to be performed elsewhere–both serious dramas (for example The Ne’er-Do-Weel, 1878; and Gretchen, 1879) and humorous works (for example Foggerty’s Fairy, 1881). However, he no longer needed to turn out multiple plays each year, as he had done before. Indeed, during the more than nine years that separated The Pirates of Penzance and The Gondoliers, he wrote just three plays outside of the partnership with Sullivan. Only one of these works, Comedy and Tragedy, proved successful. In 1878, Gilbert realised a lifelong dream to play Harlequin, which he did at the Gaiety Theatre as part of an amateur charity production of The Forty Thieves, partly written by himself. Gilbert trained for Harlequin’s stylised dancing with his friend John D’Auban, who had arranged the dances for some of his plays and would choreograph most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Producer John Hollingshead later remembered, “the gem of the performance was the grimly earnest and determined Harlequin of W. S. Gilbert. It gave me an idea of what Oliver Cromwell would have made of the character.” Another member of the cast recalled that Gilbert was tirelessly enthusiastic about the piece and often invited the cast to his home for dinner extra rehearsals. “A pleasanter, more genial, or agreeable companion than he was it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to find.” In 1882, Gilbert had a telephone installed in his home and at the prompt desk at the Savoy Theatre, so that he could monitor performances and rehearsals from his home study. Gilbert had referred to the new technology in Pinafore in 1878, only two years after the device was invented and before London even had telephone service. Carpet quarrel and end of the collaboration Gilbert sometimes had a strained working relationship with Sullivan, partly because each man saw himself allowing his work to be subjugated to the other’s, and partly due to their opposing personalities. Gilbert was often confrontational and notoriously thin-skinned, though prone to acts of extraordinary kindness, while Sullivan eschewed conflict. In addition, Gilbert imbued his libretti with “topsy-turvy” situations in which the social order was turned upside down. After a time, these subjects were often at odds with Sullivan’s desire for realism and emotional content. In addition, Gilbert’s political satire often poked fun at those in the circles of privilege, while Sullivan was eager to socialise among the wealthy and titled people who would become his friends and patrons. Throughout their collaboration, Gilbert and Sullivan disagreed several times over the choice of a subject. After both Princess Ida and Ruddigore, which were less successful than the seven other operas from H.M.S. Pinafore to The Gondoliers, Sullivan asked to leave the partnership, saying that he found Gilbert’s plots repetitive and that the operas were not artistically satisfying to him. While the two artists worked out their differences, Carte kept the Savoy open with revivals of their earlier works. On each occasion, after a few months’ pause, Gilbert responded with a libretto that met Sullivan’s objections, and the partnership continued successfully. In April 1890, during the run of The Gondoliers, however, Gilbert challenged Carte over the expenses of the production. Among other items to which Gilbert objected, Carte had charged the cost of a new carpet for the Savoy Theatre lobby to the partnership. Gilbert believed that this was a maintenance expense that should be charged to Carte alone. Gilbert confronted Carte, who refused to reconsider the accounts. Gilbert stormed out and wrote to Sullivan that “I left him with the remark that it was a mistake to kick down the ladder by which he had risen”. Helen Carte wrote that Gilbert had addressed Carte “in a way that I should not have thought you would have used to an offending menial.” As scholar Andrew Crowther has explained: After all, the carpet was only one of a number of disputed items, and the real issue lay not in the mere money value of these things, but in whether Carte could be trusted with the financial affairs of Gilbert and Sullivan. Gilbert contended that Carte had at best made a series of serious blunders in the accounts, and at worst deliberately attempted to swindle the others. It is not easy to settle the rights and wrongs of the issue at this distance, but it does seem fairly clear that there was something very wrong with the accounts at this time. Gilbert wrote to Sullivan on 28 May 1891, a year after the end of the “Quarrel”, that Carte had admitted "an unintentional overcharge of nearly £1,000 in the electric lighting accounts alone.” Gilbert brought suit, and after The Gondoliers closed in 1891, he withdrew the performance rights to his libretti, vowing to write no more operas for the Savoy. Gilbert next wrote The Mountebanks with Alfred Cellier and the flop Haste to the Wedding with George Grossmith, and Sullivan wrote Haddon Hall with Sydney Grundy. Gilbert eventually won the lawsuit and felt vindicated, but his actions and statements had been hurtful to his partners. Nevertheless, the partnership had been so profitable that, after the financial failure of the Royal English Opera House, Carte and his wife sought to reunite the author and composer. In 1891, after many failed attempts at reconciliation by the pair, Tom Chappell, the music publisher responsible for printing the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, stepped in to mediate between two of his most profitable artists, and within two weeks had succeeded. Two more operas resulted: Utopia, Limited (1893) and The Grand Duke (1896). Gilbert also offered a third libretto to Sullivan (His Excellency, 1894), but Gilbert’s insistence on casting Nancy McIntosh, his protegée from Utopia, led to Sullivan’s refusal. Utopia, concerning an attempt to “anglicise” a south Pacific island kingdom, was only a modest success, and The Grand Duke, in which a theatrical troupe, by means of a “statutory duel” and a conspiracy, takes political control of a grand duchy, was an outright failure. After that, the partnership ended for good. Sullivan continued to compose comic opera with other librettists but died four years later. In 1904, Gilbert would write, “... Savoy opera was snuffed out by the deplorable death of my distinguished collaborator, Sir Arthur Sullivan. When that event occurred, I saw no one with whom I felt that I could work with satisfaction and success, and so I discontinued to write libretti.” Later years Gilbert built the Garrick Theatre in 1889. The Gilberts moved to Grim’s Dyke in Harrow in 1890, which he purchased from Robert Heriot, to whom the artist Frederick Goodall had sold the property in 1880. In 1891, Gilbert was appointed Justice of the Peace for Middlesex. After casting Nancy McIntosh in Utopia, Limited, he and Lady Gilbert developed an affection for her, and she eventually gained the status of an unofficially adopted daughter, moving to Grim’s Dyke to live with them. She continued living there, even after Gilbert’s death, until Lady Gilbert’s death in 1936. A statue of Charles II, carved by Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber in 1681, was moved in 1875 from Soho Square to an island in the lake at Grim’s Dyke, where it remained when Gilbert purchased the property. On Lady Gilbert’s direction, it was restored to Soho Square in 1938. Although Gilbert announced a retirement from the theatre after the poor initial run of his last work with Sullivan, The Grand Duke (1896) and the poor reception of his 1897 play The Fortune Hunter, he produced at least three more plays over the last dozen years of his life, including an unsuccessful opera, Fallen Fairies (1909), with Edward German. Gilbert also continued to supervise the various revivals of his works by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, including its London Repertory seasons in 1906–09. His last play, The Hooligan, produced just four months before his death, is a study of a young condemned thug in a prison cell. Gilbert shows sympathy for his protagonist, the son of a thief who, brought up among thieves, kills his girlfriend. As in some earlier work, the playwright displays “his conviction that nurture rather than nature often accounted for criminal behaviour”. The grim and powerful piece became one of Gilbert’s most successful serious dramas, and experts conclude that, in those last months of Gilbert’s life, he was developing a new style, a “mixture of irony, of social theme, and of grubby realism,” to replace the old “Gilbertianism” of which he had grown weary. In these last years, Gilbert also wrote children’s book versions of H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado giving, in some cases, backstory that is not found in the librettos. Gilbert was knighted on 15 July 1907 in recognition of his contributions to drama. Sullivan had been knighted for his contributions to music almost a quarter of a century earlier, in 1883. Gilbert was, however, the first British writer ever to receive a knighthood for his plays alone—earlier dramatist knights, such as Sir William Davenant and Sir John Vanbrugh, were knighted for political and other services. On 29 May 1911, Gilbert was about to give a swimming lesson to two young women, Winifred Isabel Emery (1890–1972), and 17-year-old Ruby Preece in the lake of his home, Grim’s Dyke, when Preece lost her footing and called for help. Gilbert dived in to save her but suffered a heart attack in the middle of the lake and died. He was cremated at Golders Green and his ashes buried at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Stanmore. The inscription on Gilbert’s memorial on the south wall of the Thames Embankment in London reads: “His Foe was Folly, and his Weapon Wit”. There is also a memorial plaque at All Saints’ Church, Harrow Weald. Personality Gilbert was known for being prickly. Aware of this general impression, he claimed that “If you give me your attention”, the misanthrope’s song from Princess Ida, was a satiric self-reference, saying: “I thought it my duty to live up to my reputation.” However, many people have defended him, often citing his generosity. Actress May Fortescue recalled, “His kindness was extraordinary. On wet nights and when rehearsals were late and the last buses were gone, he would pay the cab-fares of the girls whether they were pretty or not, instead of letting them trudge home on foot... He was just as large-hearted when he was poor as when he was rich and successful. For money as money he cared less than nothing. Gilbert was no plaster saint, but he was an ideal friend.” Journalist Frank M. Boyd wrote: I fancy that seldom was a man more generally given credit for a personality quite other than his own, than was the case with Sir W. S. Gilbert... Till one actually came to know the man, one shared the opinion held by so many, that he was a gruff, disagreeable person; but nothing could be less true of the really great humorist. He had rather a severe appearance... and like many other clever people, he had precious little use for fools of either sex, but he was at heart as kindly and lovable a man as you could wish to meet. Jessie Bond wrote that Gilbert “was quick-tempered, often unreasonable, and he could not bear to be thwarted, but how anyone could call him unamiable I cannot understand.” George Grossmith wrote to The Daily Telegraph that, although Gilbert had been described as an autocrat at rehearsals, “That was really only his manner when he was playing the part of stage director at rehearsals. As a matter of fact, he was a generous, kind true gentleman, and I use the word in the purest and original sense.” Aside from his occasional creative disagreements with, and eventual rift from, Sullivan, Gilbert’s temper led to the loss of friendships with a number of people. For instance, he quarrelled with his old associate C. H. Workman, over the firing of Nancy McIntosh from the production of Fallen Fairies, and with actress Henrietta Hodson. He also saw his friendship with theatre critic Clement Scott turn bitter. However, Gilbert could be extraordinarily kind. During Scott’s final illness in 1904, for instance, Gilbert donated to a fund for him, visited nearly every day, and assisted Scott’s wife, despite having not been on friendly terms with him for the previous sixteen years. Similarly, Gilbert had written several plays at the behest of comic actor Ned Sothern. However, Sothern died before he could perform the last of these, Foggerty’s Fairy. Gilbert purchased the play back from his grateful widow. According to one London society lady: [Gilbert]'s wit was innate, and his rapier-like retorts slipped out with instantaneous ease. His mind was naturally fastidious and clean; he never asserted himself, never tried to make an effect. He was great-hearted and most understanding, with an underlying poetry of fancy that made him the most delicious companion. They spoke of his quick temper, but that was entirely free from malice or guile. He was soft-hearted as a babe, but there was nothing of the hypocrite about him. What he thought he said on the instant, and though by people of sensitive vanity this might on occasion be resented, to a sensitiveness of a finer kind it was an added link, binding one to a faithful, valued friend. As the writings about Gilbert by husband and wife Seymour Hicks and Ellaline Terriss (frequent guests at his home) vividly illustrate, Gilbert’s relationships with women were generally more successful than his relationships with men. According to George Grossmith, Gilbert “was to those who knew him a courteous and amiable gentleman– a gentleman without veneer.” Grossmith and many others wrote of how Gilbert loved to amuse children: During my dangerous illness, Mr. Gilbert never failed a day to come up and enquire after me... and kept me in roars of laughter the whole time... But to see Gilbert at his best, is to see him at one of his juvenile parties. Though he has no children of his own, he loves them, and there is nothing he would not do to please them. I was never so astonished as when on one occasion he put off some of his own friends to come with Mrs. Gilbert to a juvenile party at my own house. Gilbert’s niece Mary Carter confirmed, "... he loved children very much and lost no opportunity of making them happy... [He was] the kindest and most human of uncles." Grossmith quoted Gilbert as saying, “Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns.” Legacy In 1957, a review in The Times explained “the continued vitality of the Savoy operas” as follows: [T]hey were never really contemporary in their idiom... Gilbert and Sullivan’s [world], from the first moment was obviously not the audience’s world, [it was] an artificial world, with a neatly controlled and shapely precision which has not gone out of fashion– because it was never in fashion in the sense of using the fleeting conventions and ways of thought of contemporary human society... The neat articulation of incredibilities in Gilbert’s plots is perfectly matched by his language... His dialogue, with its primly mocking formality, satisfies both the ear and the intelligence. His verses show an unequalled and very delicate gift for creating a comic effect by the contrast between poetic form and prosaic thought and wording... How deliciously [his lines] prick the bubble of sentiment. Gilbert had many imitators, but no equals, at this sort of thing... [Of] equal importance... Gilbert’s lyrics almost invariably take on extra point and sparkle when set to Sullivan’s music... The two men together remain endlessly and incomparably delightful... Light, and even trifling, though [the operas] may seem upon grave consideration, they yet have the shapeliness and elegance that can make a trifle into a work of art. Gilbert’s legacy, aside from building the Garrick Theatre and writing the Savoy Operas and other works that are still being performed or in print over a hundred and twenty-five years after their creation, is felt perhaps most strongly today through his influence on the American and British musical theatre. The innovations in content and form of the works that he and Sullivan developed, and in Gilbert’s theories of acting and stage direction, directly influenced the development of the modern musical throughout the 20th century. Gilbert’s lyrics employ punning, as well as complex internal and two and three-syllable rhyme schemes, and served as a model for such 20th century Broadway lyricists as P.G. Wodehouse, Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, and Lorenz Hart. Gilbert’s influence on the English language has also been marked, with well-known phrases such as “A policeman’s lot is not a happy one”, “short, sharp shock”, “What never? Well, hardly ever!”, and “let the punishment fit the crime” arising from his pen. In addition, biographies continue to be written about Gilbert’s life and career, and his work is not only performed, but frequently parodied, pastiched, quoted and imitated in comedy routines, film, television and other popular media. Ian Bradley, in connection with the 100th anniversary of Gilbert’s death in 2011 wrote: There has been much discussion about Gilbert’s proper place in British literary and dramatic history. Was he essentially a writer of burlesque, a satirist, or, as some have argued, the forerunner of the theatre of the absurd?... Perhaps he stands most clearly in that distinctively English satirical tradition which stretches back to Jonathan Swift.... Its leading exponents lampoon and send up the major institutions and public figures of the day, wielding the weapon of grave and temperate irony with devastating effect, while themselves remaining firmly within the Establishment and displaying a deep underlying affection for the objects of their often merciless attacks. It is a combination that remains a continuing enigma. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._S._Gilbert

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey. The son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg, two Jewish members of the New York literary counter-culture of the 1920s, Ginsberg was raised among several progressive political perspectives. A supporter of the Communist party, Ginsberg's mother was a nudist whose mental health was a concern throughout the poet's childhood. According to biographer Barry Miles, "Naomi's illness gave Allen an enormous empathy and tolerance for madness, neurosis, and psychosis." As an adolescent, Ginsberg savored Walt Whitman, though in 1939, when Ginsberg graduated high school, he considered Edgar Allan Poe his favorite poet. Eager to follow a childhood hero who had received a scholarship to Columbia University, Ginsberg made a vow that if he got into the school he would devote his life to helping the working class, a cause he took seriously over the course of the next several years. He was admitted to Columbia University, and as a student there in the 1940s, he began close friendships with William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, all of whom later became leading figures of the Beat movement. The group led Ginsberg to a "New Vision," which he defined in his journal: "Since art is merely and ultimately self-expressive, we conclude that the fullest art, the most individual, uninfluenced, unrepressed, uninhibited expression of art is true expression and the true art." Around this time, Ginsberg also had what he referred to as his "Blake vision," an auditory hallucination of William Blake reading his poems "Ah Sunflower," "The Sick Rose," and "Little Girl Lost." Ginsberg noted the occurrence several times as a pivotal moment for him in his comprehension of the universe, affecting fundamental beliefs about his life and his work. While Ginsberg claimed that no drugs were involved, he later stated that he used various drugs in an attempt to recapture the feelings inspired by the vision. In 1954, Ginsberg moved to San Francisco. His mentor, William Carlos Williams, introduced him to key figures in the San Francisco poetry scene, including Kenneth Rexroth. He also met Michael McClure, who handed off the duties of curating a reading for the newly-established "6" Gallery. With the help of Rexroth, the result was "The '6' Gallery Reading" which took place on October 7, 1955. The event has been hailed as the birth of the Beat Generation, in no small part because it was also the first public reading of Ginsberg's "Howl," a poem which garnered world-wide attention for him and the poets he associated with. In response to Ginsberg's reading, McClure wrote: "Ginsberg read on to the end of the poem, which left us standing in wonder, or cheering and wondering, but knowing at the deepest level that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America..." Shortly after Howl and Other Poems was published in 1956 by City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The work overcame censorship trials, however, and became one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages. In the 1960s and 70s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters. As the leading icon of the Beats, Ginsberg was involved in countless political activities, including protests against the Vietnam War, and he spoke openly about issues that concerned him, such as free speech and gay rights agendas. Ginsberg went on to publish numerous collections of poetry, including Kaddish and Other Poems (1961), Planet News (1968), and The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973), which won the National Book Award. In 1993, Ginsberg received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (the Order of Arts and Letters) from the French Minister of Culture. He also co-founded and directed the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. In his later years, Ginsberg became a Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College. On April 5, 1997, in New York City, he died from complications of hepatitis. Selected Bibliography Poetry * Howl and Other Poems (1956) * Kaddish and Other Poems (1961) * Reality Sandwiches (1963) * The Yage Letters (with William S. Burroughs, 1963) * Planet News (1968) * The Gates of Wrath: Rhymed Poems 1948–1951 (1972) * Iron Horse (1972) * The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973) * First Blues: Rags, Ballads & Harmonium Songs 1971 - 1974 (1975) * Mind Breaths (1978) * Plutonian Ode: Poems 1977–1980 (1982) * Collected Poems: 1947–1980 (1984) * White Shroud Poems: 1980–1985 (1986) * Cosmopolitan Greetings Poems: 1986–1993 (1994) * Howl Annotated (1995) * Illuminated Poems (1996) * Selected Poems: 1947–1995 (1996) * Death and Fame: Poems 1993–1997 (1999) Prose * Deliberate Prose 1952–1995 (2000) * The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems 1937-1952 (2006) References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/8

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (2 October 1878– 26 May 1962) was a British Georgian poet, associated with World War I but also the author of much later work. Early work Gibson was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and left the north for London in 1914 after his mother died. He had been publishing poems in magazines since 1895, and his first collections in book form were published by Elkin Mathews in 1902. His collections of verse plays and dramatic poems The Stonefolds and On The Threshold were published by the Samurai Press (of Cranleigh) in 1907, followed next year by the book of poems, The Web of Life. Despite his residence in London, and later in Gloucestershire, many of Gibson’s poems both then and later, have Northumberland settings: Hexham’s Market Cross; Hareshaw; and The Kielder Stone. Others deal with poverty and passion amid wild Northumbrian landscapes. Still others are devoted to fishermen, industrial workers and miners, often alluding to local ballads and the rich folk-song heritage of the North East. It was in London that he met both Edward Marsh and Rupert Brooke, becoming a close friend and later Brooke’s literary executor (with Lascelles Abercrombie and Walter de la Mare). This was at the period when the first Georgian Poetry anthology was being hatched. Gibson was one of the insiders. During the early part of his writing life, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson wrote poems that featured the “macabre.” One such poem is Flannan Isle, based on a real life mystery. Gibson was one of the founders of the so-called ”Dymock poets”, a community of writers who settled briefly, before the outbreak of the Great War, in the village of Dymock, in north Gloucestershire. Reputation His reputation was eclipsed somewhat by the Ezra Pound-T. S. Eliot school of Modernist poetry; his work remained popular. Further reading Dominic Hibberd, Wilfrid Gibson and Harold Monro, the Pioneers (Cecil Woolf, 2006) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid_Wilson_Gibson

Angel Lady (Sandi Guidotti)

I love to write poems. It helps me to put down my feelings and I guess it's a way of venting. I have 2 sons, Jeff & Gary my grandson Josh & granddaughter Caitlin & my baby boy Rocky a ( Shih Tzu). I am so very pleased to say my son Gary and Jen are now husband and wife. They were married on 8/16/15. Such a beautiful Wedding and a most Wonderful Couple who Love each other very much. The best part is from this union I have 2 more grandsons Dillon and Colton, 3 beautiful granddaughters Samy (Samantha), Bella Mia and Addy (Addison) and 2 great grandsons Domy and Austin. This marriage means so very much to me. My daughter in law Jenny has raised her granddaughter Bella since she was 5 days old. She adopted her and her name is Bella Mia (2 years old). She is beautiful like her name. Together my son Gary and Jen will be adopting Bella's half sister Addy (5 years old). Jenny has been fighting to adopt Addy for more than 2 years. Addy has been awarded into the custody of Jenny and Gary. She will be flying home with Jenny on 8/28/15 from Florida to her "FOREVER HOME". In 90 days they will be allowed to adopt Addy. So both Bella and Addy are also my granddaughters. I am so very Happy. I now have a very large and loving family. I have written poems about Addy, and I want to Thank those of you who helped me pray for her to become family. Such a wonderful miracle has been witnessed. She is family now and she is beautiful. I love my daughter in law as she is a wonderful person, a fantastic Mom and a wonderful wife to my son. My son Jeffrey is my Hero. He's an upstanding guy, Honest and true. I'm so proud of him. He's also my Best Friend. God Bless. Sandi.

Jack Gilbert

Jack Gilbert (February 18, 1925 – November 13, 2012) was an American poet. Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood of East Liberty, he attended Peabody High School then worked as a door-to-door salesman, an exterminator, and a steelworker. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954, where he and his classmate Gerald Stern developed a serious interest in poetry and writing. Later, he received his Master's degree from San Francisco State University in 1963. Career His work is distinguished by simple lyricism and straightforward clarity of tone. His first book of poetry, Views of Jeopardy, (1962) won the Yale Younger Poets Prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, while Gilbert was quickly recognized and made into something of a media darling. He then retreated from his earlier activity in the San Francisco poetry scene, where he had participated in Jack Spicer's Poetry as Magic workshop, and moved to Europe. Living on a Guggenheim Fellowship he toured 15 countries as a lecturer on American Literature for the U.S. State Department and lived in England, Denmark, and Greece. Nearly the whole of his career after the publication of his first book of poetry was marked by what he described as a self-imposed isolation. His books of poetry were few and far between; however he continuously maintained his writing and contributed to The American Poetry Review, Genesis West, The Quarterly, Poetry, Ironwood, The Kenyon Review, and The New Yorker. Personal life Gilbert was a close friend of the poet Linda Gregg who was once his student and with whom he was in a relationship for six years. He was married to Michiko Nogami, another former student and a language instructor based in San Francisco, now deceased, about whom he wrote many of his poems. He was also in a significant long term relationship with the poet Laura Ulewicz during the late fifties and early sixties in San Francisco. Gilbert died on November 13, 2012 in Berkeley, California. He was 87. On April 15, 2013 it was announced that Gilbert's Collected Poems was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. The Pulitzer jury's citation read: “a half century of poems reflecting a creative author’s commitment to living fully and honestly and to producing straightforward work that illuminates everyday experience with startling clarity.” Awards 1962 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for Views of Jeopardy 1964 Guggenheim Fellowship 1994 Lannan Literary Award for Poetry 1983 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Monolithos 1983 the American Poetry Review Prize for Monolithos 1983 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Monolithos 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award for Refusing Heaven 2013 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Collected Poems References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Gilbert

Barbara Guest

In 1920, Barbara Guest was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, from which she graduated in 1943. Early in her career, she was known predominantly as a writer of the New York School, a group of poets that included John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, and James Schuyler. The New York School represented a rejection of the dominant school of confessional poetry and was deeply influenced by the action painters of the 1950s and 1960s, particularly Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Larry Rivers. Throughout the 1950s, Guest worked as a writer for Art News magazine, and she has continued to write articles and reviews for many art magazines. The tension between the lyrical (or musical) and the graphic (or material) is a defining feature of her work, and her poetry often utilizes space as a way to draw attention to language. Guest has published numerous collections of poetry, among them The Red Gaze (Wesleyan University Press, 2005); Miniatures and Other Poems (2002), Symbiosis (1999), Defensive Rapture (1994), Fair Realism (1989), Musicality (1988), The Nude (1986), Quilts (1980), and Biography (1980). She is also the author of several plays and a novel, Seeking Air (1978). Her honors include the Robert Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America, the Longwood Award, a San Francisco State award for poetry, the Lawrence Lipton Award for Literature, the Columbia Book Award, and a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts. She lived in Berkeley, California. Guest died on February 15, 2006. A Selected Bibliography Poetry The Blue Stairs (1968) Moscow Mansions (1973) Biography (1980) The Nude (1986) Musicality (1988) Fair Realism (1989) Defensive Rapture (1994) Symbiosis (1999) Miniatures and Other Poems (2002) The Red Gaze (2005) Prose Seeking Air (1978) The Confetti Trees (1999) Rocks on a Platter: Notes on Literature (1999) Plays The Ladies Choice (1953) The Office (1963) Port (1965)




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