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Philip Larkin

Philip Arthur Larkin (9 August 1922 – 2 December 1985) was an English poet and novelist. His first book of poetry, The North Ship, was published in 1945, followed by two novels, Jill (1946) and A Girl in Winter (1947), but he came to prominence in 1955 with the publication of his second collection of poems, The Less Deceived, followed by The Whitsun Weddings (1964) and High Windows (1974). He contributed to The Daily Telegraph as its jazz critic from 1961 to 1971, articles gathered together in All What Jazz: A Record Diary 1961–71 (1985), and he edited The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse (1973). He was the recipient of many honours, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He was offered, but declined, the position of poet laureate in 1984, following the death of John Betjeman. After graduating from Oxford in 1943 with a first in English language and literature, Larkin became a librarian. It was during the thirty years he served as university librarian at the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull that he produced the greater part of his published work. His poems are marked by what Andrew Motion calls a very English, glum accuracy about emotions, places, and relationships, and what Donald Davie described as lowered sights and diminished expectations. Eric Homberger called him "the saddest heart in the post-war supermarket"—Larkin himself said that deprivation for him was what daffodils were for Wordsworth. Influenced by W. H. Auden, W. B. Yeats, and Thomas Hardy, his poems are highly structured but flexible verse forms. They were described by Jean Hartley, the ex-wife of Larkin's publisher George Hartley (The Marvell Press), as a "piquant mixture of lyricism and discontent", though anthologist Keith Tuma writes that there is more to Larkin's work than its reputation for dour pessimism suggests. Larkin's public persona was that of the no-nonsense, solitary Englishman who disliked fame and had no patience for the trappings of the public literary life. The posthumous publication by Anthony Thwaite in 1992 of his letters triggered controversy about his personal life and political views, described by John Banville as hair-raising, but also in places hilarious. Lisa Jardine called him a "casual, habitual racist, and an easy misogynist", but the academic John Osborne argued in 2008 that "the worst that anyone has discovered about Larkin are some crass letters and a taste for porn softer than what passes for mainstream entertainment". Despite the controversy Larkin was chosen in a 2003 Poetry Book Society survey, almost two decades after his death, as Britain's best-loved poet of the previous 50 years, and in 2008 The Times named him Britain's greatest post-war writer. In 2010, 25 years after his death, Larkin's adopted home city, Kingston upon Hull commemorated him with the Larkin 25 Festival which culminated in the unveiling of a statue of Larkin by Martin Jennings on 2 December 2010, the 25th anniversary of his death. Early life and education Philip Larkin was born on 9 August 1922 in Coventry, the only son and younger child of Sydney Larkin (1884–1948), who came from Lichfield, and his wife, Eva Emily Day (1886–1977) of Epping. The family lived in Radford, Coventry until Larkin was five years old, before moving to a large three-storey middle-class house complete with servants quarters near to Coventry railway station and King Henry VIII School, in Manor Road. Having survived the bombings of the Second World War their former house in Manor Road was demolished in the 1960s to make way for a road modernisation programme, the construction of an inner ring road. His sister Catherine, known as Kitty, was 10 years older than he was. His father, a self-made man who had risen to be Coventry City Treasurer, was a singular individual, 'nihilistically disillusioned in middle age', who combined a love of literature with an enthusiasm for Nazism, and had attended two Nuremberg rallies during the mid-'30s. He introduced his son to the works of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce and above all D. H. Lawrence. His mother was a nervous and passive woman, " a kind of defective mechanism...Her ideal is 'to collapse' and to be taken care of", dominated by her husband. Larkin's early childhood was in some respects unusual: he was educated at home until the age of eight by his mother and sister, neither friends nor relatives ever visited the family home, and he developed a stammer. Nonetheless, when he joined Coventry's King Henry VIII Junior School he fitted in immediately and made close, long-standing friendships, such as those with James "Jim" Sutton, Colin Gunner and Noel "Josh" Hughes. Although home life was relatively cold, Larkin enjoyed support from his parents. For example, his deep passion for jazz was supported by the purchase of a drum kit and a saxophone, supplemented by a subscription to Down Beat. From the junior school he progressed to King Henry VIII Senior School. He fared quite poorly when he sat his School Certificate exam at the age of 16. Despite his results, however, he was allowed to stay on at school; two years later he earned distinctions in English and History, and passed the entrance exams for St John's College, Oxford, to read English. Larkin began at Oxford University in October 1940, a year after the outbreak of World War II. The old upper class traditions of university life had, at least for the time being, faded, and most of the male students were studying for highly truncated degrees. Due to his poor eyesight, Larkin failed his military medical examination and was able to study for the usual three years. Through his tutorial partner, Norman Iles, he met Kingsley Amis, who encouraged his taste for ridicule and irreverence and who remained a close friend throughout Larkin's life. Amis, Larkin and other university friends formed a group they dubbed "The Seven", meeting to discuss each other's poetry, listen to jazz, and drink enthusiastically. During this time he had his first real social interaction with the opposite sex, but made no romantic headway. In 1943 he sat his finals, and, having dedicated much of his time to his own writing, was greatly surprised at being awarded a first-class honours degree. Early career and relationships In autumn 1943 Larkin was appointed librarian of the public library in Wellington, Shropshire. It was while working there that in the spring of 1944 he met his first girlfriend, Ruth Bowman, an academically ambitious 16-year-old schoolgirl. In autumn 1945, Ruth went to continue her studies at King's College London; during one of his visits their friendship developed into a sexual relationship. By June 1946, Larkin was halfway through qualifying for membership of the Library Association and was appointed assistant librarian at University College, Leicester. It was visiting Larkin in Leicester and witnessing the university's Senior Common Room that gave Kingsley Amis the inspiration to write Lucky Jim (1954), the novel that made Amis famous and to whose long gestation Larkin contributed considerably. Six weeks after his father's death from cancer in March 1948, Larkin proposed to Ruth, and that summer the couple spent their annual holiday touring Hardy country. In June 1950 Larkin was appointed sub-librarian at Queen's University Belfast, a post he took up that September. Prior to his departure he and Ruth split up. At some stage between the appointment to the position at Queen's and the end of the engagement to Ruth, Larkin's friendship with Monica Jones, a lecturer in English at Leicester, also developed into a sexual relationship. He spent five years in Belfast, which appear to have been the most contented of his life. While his relationship with Jones developed, he also had "the most satisfyingly erotic [affair] of his life" with Patsy Strang, who at the time was in an open marriage with one of his colleagues. At one stage she offered to leave her husband to marry Larkin. From summer 1951 onwards Larkin would holiday with Jones in various locations around the British Isles. While in Belfast he also had a significant though sexually undeveloped friendship with Winifred Arnott, the subject of "Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album", which came to an end when she married in 1954. This was this period in which he gave Kingsley Amis extensive advice on the writing of Lucky Jim. Amis repaid the debt by dedicating the finished book to Larkin. In 1955 Larkin became University Librarian at the University of Hull, a post he would hold until his death. For his first year he lodged in bedsits. In 1956, at the age of 34, he rented a self-contained flat on the top-floor of 32 Pearson Park, a three-storey red-brick house overlooking the park, previously the American Consulate. This, it seems, was the vantage point later commemorated in the poem High Windows. Of the city itself Larkin commented: "I never thought about Hull until I was here. Having got here, it suits me in many ways. It is a little on the edge of things, I think even its natives would say that. I rather like being on the edge of things. One doesn't really go anywhere by design, you know, you put in for jobs and move about, you know, I've lived in other places." In the post-war years, Hull University underwent significant expansion, as was typical of British universities during that period. When Larkin took up his appointment there, the plans for a new university library were already far advanced. He made a great effort in just a few months to familiarize himself with them before they were placed before the University Grants Committee; he suggested a number of emendations, some major and structural, all of which were adopted. It was built in two stages, and in 1967 it was named the Brynmor Jones Library after the university's vice-chancellor. One of Larkin's colleagues at Hull said he became a great figure in post-war British librarianship. Ten years after the new library's completion, Larkin computerized records for the entire library stock, making it the first library in Europe to install a GEAC system, an automated online circulation system. Richard Goodman wrote that Larkin excelled as an administrator, committee man and arbitrator. "He treated his staff decently, and he motivated them", Goodman said. "He did this with a combination of efficiency, high standards, humour and compassion." From 1957 until his death, Larkin's secretary was Betty Mackereth. All access to him by his colleagues was through her, and she came to know as much about Larkin's compartmentalized life as anyone. During his 30 years there, the library's stock sextupled, and the budget expanded from £4, to £448,, in real terms a twelvefold increase. Later life In February 1961 Larkin's friendship with his colleague Maeve Brennan became romantic, despite her strong Roman Catholic beliefs. In spring 1963 Brennan persuaded him to go with her to a dance for university staff, despite his preference for smaller gatherings. This seems to have been a pivotal moment in their relationship, and he memorialised it in his longest (and unfinished) poem "The Dance". Around this time, also at her prompting, Larkin learnt to drive and bought a car – his first, a Singer Gazelle. Meanwhile Monica Jones, whose parents had died in autumn 1959, bought a holiday cottage in Haydon Bridge, near Hexham, which she and Larkin visited regularly. His poem "Show Saturday" is a description of the 1973 Bellingham show in the North Tyne valley. In 1964, in the wake of the publication of The Whitsun Weddings, Larkin was the subject of an episode of the arts programme Monitor, directed by Patrick Garland. The programme, which shows him being interviewed by fellow poet John Betjeman in a series of locations in and around Hull, allowed Larkin to play a significant part in the creation of his own public persona; one he would prefer his readers to imagine. In 1968, Larkin was offered the OBE, which he declined. Later in life he accepted the offer of being made a Companion of Honour. Larkin's role in the creation of Hull University's new Brynmor Jones Library had been important and demanding. Soon after the completion of the second and larger phase of construction in 1969, he was able to redirect his energies. In October 1970 he started work on compiling a new anthology, The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse (1973). He was awarded a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford for two academic terms, allowing him to consult Oxford's Bodleian Library, a copyright library. Larkin was a major contributor to the re-evaluation of the poetry of Thomas Hardy, which, in comparison to his novels, had been overlooked; in Larkin's "idiosyncratic" and "controversial" anthology, Hardy was the poet most generously represented. There were twenty-seven poems by Hardy, compared with only nine by T. S. Eliot; the other poets most extensively represented were W. B. Yeats, W. H. Auden and Rudyard Kipling. Larkin included six of his own poems—the same number as for Rupert Brooke. In the process of compiling the volume he had been disappointed not to find more and better poems as evidence that the clamour over the Modernists had stifled the voices of traditionalists. The most favourable responses to the anthology were those of Auden and John Betjeman, while the most hostile was that of Donald Davie, who accused Larkin of "positive cynicism" and of encouraging "the perverse triumph of philistinism, the cult of the amateur ... [and] the weakest kind of Englishry". After an initial period of anxiety about the anthology's reception, Larkin enjoyed the clamour. In 1971 Larkin regained contact with his schoolfriend Colin Gunner, who had led a picaresque life. Their subsequent correspondence has gained notoriety as in these letters "Larkin was particularly frank about political and personal opinions", expressing right-wing views and using racist language. In the period from 1973 to 1974 Larkin became an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford and was awarded honorary degrees by Warwick, St Andrews and Sussex universities. In January 1974 Hull University informed Larkin that they were going to dispose of the building on Pearson Park in which he lived. Shortly afterwards he bought a detached two-storey 1950s house in a street called Newland Park which was described by his university colleague John Kenyon as "an entirely middle-class backwater". Larkin, who moved into the house in June of that year, thought the four-bedroom property "utterly undistinguished" and reflected, "I can't say it's the kind of dwelling that is eloquent of the nobility of the human spirit". Shortly after splitting up with Maeve Brennan in August 1973, Larkin attended W. H. Auden's memorial service at Christ Church, Oxford, with Monica Jones as his official partner. However, in March 1975 the relationship with Maeve restarted, and three weeks after this he initiated a secret affair with Betty Mackereth, who served as his secretary for 28 years, writing the long-undiscovered poem "We met at the end of the party" for her. Despite the logistical difficulties of having three relationships simultaneously, the situation continued until March 1978. From then on he and Jones were a monogamous couple. In December 2010, as part of the commemorations of the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death, the BBC broadcast a programme entitled Philip Larkin and the Third Woman focusing on his affair with Mackereth in which she spoke for the first time about their relationship. It included a reading of a newly discovered secret poem, Dear Jake and revealed that Mackereth was one of the inspirations for his writings. Final years and death In 1982 Larkin turned sixty. This was marked most significantly by a collection of essays entitled Larkin at Sixty, edited by Anthony Thwaite and published by Faber and Faber. There were also two television programmes: an episode of The South Bank Show presented by Melvyn Bragg in which Larkin made off-camera contributions, and a half-hour special on the BBC that was devised and presented by the Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister Roy Hattersley. In 1983 Jones was hospitalised with shingles. The severity of her symptoms, including its effects on her eyes, distressed Larkin. As her health declined, regular care became necessary: within a month she moved into his Newland Park home and remained there for the rest of her life. At the memorial service for John Betjeman, who died in July 1984, Larkin was asked if he would accept the post of Poet Laureate. He declined, not least because he felt he had long since ceased to be a writer of poetry in a meaningful sense. The following year Larkin began to suffer from oesophageal cancer. On 11 June 1985 he underwent surgery, but his cancer was found to have spread and was inoperable. On 28 November he collapsed and was readmitted to hospital. He died four days later, on 2 December 1985, at the age of 63, and was buried at the Cottingham municipal cemetery near Hull. His headstone reads "Philip Larkin 1922–1985 Writer". Larkin had asked on his deathbed that his diaries be destroyed. The request was granted by Jones, the main beneficiary of his will, and Betty Mackereth; the latter shredded the unread diaries page by page, then had them burned. His will was found to be contradictory regarding his other private papers and unpublished work; legal advice left the issue to the discretion of his literary executors, who decided the material should not be destroyed. When she died on 15 February 2001, Jones, in turn, left one million pounds to St Paul's Cathedral, Hexham Abbey, and Durham Cathedral. Juvenilia and early works From his mid-teens Larkin "wrote ceaselessly", producing both poetry, initially modelled on Eliot and W. H. Auden, and fiction: he wrote five full-length novels, each of which he destroyed shortly after completion. While he was at Oxford University he had a poem published for the first time: "Ultimatum" in The Listener. Around this time he developed a pseudonymous alter ego for his prose, Brunette Coleman. Under this name he wrote two novellas, Trouble at Willow Gables and Michaelmas Term at St Brides (2002), as well as a supposed autobiography and an equally fictitious creative manifesto called "What we are writing for". Richard Bradford has written that these curious works show "three registers: cautious indifference, archly overwritten symbolism with a hint of Lawrence and prose that appears to disclose its writer's involuntary feelings of sexual excitement". After these works Larkin started his first published novel Jill (1946). This was published by Reginald A. Caton, a publisher of barely legal pornography, who also issued serious fiction as a cover for his core activities. Around the time that Jill was being prepared for publication, Caton inquired of Larkin if he also wrote poetry. This resulted in the publication, three months before Jill, of The North Ship (1945), a collection of poems written between 1942 and 1944 which showed the increasing influence of Yeats. Immediately after completing Jill, Larkin started work on the novel A Girl in Winter (1947), completing it in 1945. This was published by Faber and Faber and was well received, The Sunday Times calling it "an exquisite performance and nearly faultless". Subsequently he made at least three concerted attempts at writing a third novel, but none went further than a solid start. Mature works It was during Larkin's five years in Belfast that he reached maturity as a poet. The bulk of his next published collection of poems The Less Deceived (1955) was written there, though eight of the twenty-nine poems included were from the late 1940s. This period also saw Larkin make his final attempts at writing prose fiction, and he gave extensive help to Kingsley Amis with Lucky Jim, which was Amis's first published novel. In October 1954 an article in The Spectator made the first use of the title The Movement to describe the dominant trend in British post-war literature. Various poems by Larkin were included in a 1953 PEN Anthology that also included poems by Amis and Robert Conquest, and Larkin was seen to be a part of this grouping. In 1951 Larkin compiled a collection called XX Poems which he had privately printed in a run of just 100 copies. Many of the poems in it subsequently appeared in his next published volume. In November 1955 The Less Deceived was published by The Marvell Press, an independent company in Hessle near Hull. At first the volume attracted little attention, but in December it was included in The Times' list of Books of the Year. From this point the book's reputation spread and sales blossomed throughout 1956 and 1957. During his first five years in Hull the pressures of work slowed Larkin's output to an average of just two-and-a-half poems a year, but this period saw the writing of some of his best-known poems, such as "An Arundel Tomb", "The Whitsun Weddings" and "Here". In 1963 Faber and Faber reissued Jill, with the addition of a long introduction by Larkin that included much information about his time at Oxford University and his friendship with Kingsley Amis. This acted as a prelude to the release the following year of The Whitsun Weddings, the volume which cemented his reputation; almost immediately after its publication he was granted a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature. In the years that followed Larkin wrote several of his most famous poems, followed in the 1970s by a series of longer and more sober poems, including "The Building" and "The Old Fools". All of these appeared in Larkin's final collection, High Windows, which was published in June 1974. Its more direct use of language meant that it did not meet with uniform praise; nonetheless it sold over twenty thousand copies in its first year alone. For some critics it represents a falling-off from his previous two books, yet it contains a number of his much-loved pieces, including "This Be The Verse" and "The Explosion", as well as the title poem. "Annus Mirabilis" (Year of Wonder), also from that volume, contains the frequently quoted observation that sexual intercourse began in 1963, which the narrator claims was "rather late for me": this despite Larkin having started his own sexual career in 1945. Bradford, prompted by comments in Maeve Brennan's memoir, suggests that the poem commemorates Larkin's relationship with Brennan moving from the romantic to the sexual. Later in 1974 he started work on his final major published poem, "Aubade". It was completed in 1977 and published in the 23 December issue of The Times Literary Supplement. After "Aubade" Larkin wrote only one poem that has attracted close critical attention, the posthumously-published and intensely personal "Love Again". Poetic style Larkin's poetry has been characterized as combining "an ordinary, colloquial style", "clarity", a "quiet, reflective tone", "ironic understatement" and a "direct" engagement with "commonplace experiences", while Jean Hartley summed his style up as a "piquant mixture of lyricism and discontent". Larkin's earliest work showed the influence of Eliot, Auden and Yeats, and the development of his mature poetic identity in the early 1950s coincided with the growing influence on him of Thomas Hardy. The "mature" Larkin style, first evident in The Less Deceived, is "that of the detached, sometimes lugubrious, sometimes tender observer", who, in Hartley's phrase, looks at "ordinary people doing ordinary things". Larkin's mature poetic persona is notable for its "plainness and scepticism". Other recurrent features of his mature work are sudden openings and "highly-structured but flexible verse forms". Terence Hawkes has argued that while most of the poems in The North Ship are "metaphoric in nature, heavily indebted to Yeats's symbolist lyrics", the subsequent development of Larkin's mature style is "not ... a movement from Yeats to Hardy, but rather a surrounding of the Yeatsian moment (the metaphor) within a Hardyesque frame". In Hawkes's view, "Larkin's poetry ... revolves around two losses": the "loss of modernism", which manifests itself as "the desire to find a moment of epiphany", and "the loss of England, or rather the loss of the British Empire, which requires England to define itself in its own terms when previously it could define 'Englishness' in opposition to something else." In 1972 Larkin wrote the oft-quoted "Going, Going", a poem which expresses a romantic fatalism in its view of England that was typical of his later years. In it he prophesies a complete destruction of the countryside, and expresses an idealised sense of national togetherness and identity: "And that will be England gone ... it will linger on in galleries; but all that remains for us will be concrete and tyres". The poem ends with the blunt statement, "I just think it will happen, soon." Larkin's style is bound up with his recurring themes and subjects, which include death and fatalism, as in his final major poem "Aubade". Poet Andrew Motion observes of Larkin's poems that "their rage or contempt is always checked by the ... energy of their language and the satisfactions of their articulate formal control", and contrasts two aspects of his poetic personality—on the one hand an enthusiasm for "symbolist moments" and "freely imaginative narratives", and on the other a "remorseless factuality" and "crudity of language". Motion defines this as a "life-enhancing struggle between opposites", and concludes that his poetry is typically "ambivalent": "His three mature collections have developed attitudes and styles of ... imaginative daring: in their prolonged debates with despair, they testify to wide sympathies, contain passages of frequently transcendent beauty, and demonstrate a poetic inclusiveness which is of immense consequence for his literary heirs." Prose non-fiction Larkin was a notable critic of modernism in contemporary art and literature. His scepticism is at its most nuanced and illuminating in Required Writing, a collection of his book reviews and essays, and at its most inflamed and polemical in his introduction to his collected jazz reviews, All What Jazz, drawn from the 126 record-review columns he wrote for The Daily Telegraph between 1961 and 1971, which contains an attack on modern jazz that widens into a wholesale critique of modernism in the arts. Despite the reputation Larkin not unwillingly acquired as an enemy of modernism, recent critical assessments of Larkin's writings have identified them as possessing some modernist characteristics. Reception history When first published in 1945, The North Ship received just one review, in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, which concluded "Mr Larkin has an inner vision that must be sought for with care. His recondite imagery is couched in phrases that make up in a kind of wistful hinted beauty what they lack in lucidity. Mr Larkin's readers must at present be confined to a small circle. Perhaps his work will gain wider appeal as his genius becomes more mature?" A few years later, though, the poet and critic Charles Madge came across the book and wrote to Larkin with his compliments. When the collection was reissued in 1966 it was presented as a work of juvenilia, and the reviews were gentle and respectful; the most forthright praise came from Elizabeth Jennings in The Spectator: "few will question the intrinsic value of The North Ship or the importance of its being reprinted now. It is good to know that Larkin could write so well when still so young." The Less Deceived was first noticed by The Times, who included it in its List of Books of 1955. In its wake many other reviews followed; "most of them concentrated ... on the book's emotional impact and its sophisticated, witty language." The Spectator felt the collection was "in the running for the best published in this country since the war"; G. S. Fraser, referring to Larkin's perceived association with The Movement felt that Larkin exemplified "everything that is good in this 'new movement' and none of its faults". The TLS called him "a poet of quite exceptional importance", and in June 1956 the Times Educational Supplement was fulsome: "As native as a Whitstable oyster, as sharp an expression of contemporary thought and experience as anything written in our time, as immediate in its appeal as the lyric poetry of an earlier day, it may well be regarded by posterity as a poetic monument that marks the triumph over the formless mystifications of the last twenty years. With Larkin poetry is on its way back to the middlebrow public." Reviewing the book in America the poet Robert Lowell wrote, "No post-war poetry has so caught the moment, and caught it without straining after its ephemera. It's a hesitant, groping mumble, resolutely experienced, resolutely perfect in its artistic methods." However, in time, there was a counter-reaction: David Wright wrote in Encounter that The Less Deceived suffered from the "palsy of playing safe"; in April 1957 Charles Tomlinson wrote a piece for the journal Essays in Criticism, "The Middlebrow Muse", attacking The Movement's poets for their "middle-cum-lowbrowism", "suburban mental ratio" and "parochialism"—Larkin had a "tenderly nursed sense of defeat". In 1962 A. Alvarez, the compiler of an anthology entitled The New Poetry, famously accused Larkin of "gentility, neo-Georgian pastoralism, and a failure to deal with the violent extremes of contemporary life". When The Whitsun Weddings was released Alvarez continued his attacks in a review in The Observer, complaining of the "drab circumspection" of Larkin's "commonplace" subject-matter. However, praise outweighed criticism. John Betjeman felt Larkin had "closed the gap between poetry and the public which the experiments and obscurity of the last fifty years have done so much to widen." In The New York Review of Books Christopher Ricks wrote of the "refinement of self-consciousness, usually flawless in its execution" and Larkin's summoning up of "the world of all of us, the place where, in the end, we find our happiness, or not at all." He felt Larkin to be "the best poet England now has." In his biography Richard Bradford writes that the reviews for High Windows showed "genuine admiration" but notes that they typically encountered problems describing "the individual genius at work" in poems such as "Annus Mirabilis", "The Explosion" and "The Building" while also explaining why each were "so radically different" from one another. Robert Nye in The Times overcame this problem "by treating the differences as ineffective masks for a consistently nasty presence". In Larkin at Sixty, amongst the portraits by friends and colleagues such as Kingsley Amis, Noel Hughes and Charles Monteith and dedicatory poems by John Betjeman, Peter Porter and Gavin Ewart, the various strands of Larkin's output were analysed by critics and fellow poets: Andrew Motion, Christopher Ricks and Seamus Heaney looked at the poems, Alan Brownjohn wrote on the novels, and Donald Mitchell and Clive James looked at his jazz criticism. Critical opinion In 1980 Neil Powell could write that "It is probably fair to say that Philip Larkin is less highly regarded in academic circles than either Thom Gunn or Donald Davie". But more recently Larkin's standing has increased. "Philip Larkin is an excellent example of the plain style in modern times," writes Tijana Stojkovic. Robert Sheppard asserts that "It is by general consent that the work of Philip Larkin is taken to be exemplary". "Larkin is the most widely celebrated and arguably the finest poet of the Movement," states Keith Tuma, and his poetry is "more various than its reputation for dour pessimism and anecdotes of a disappointed middle class suggests". Stephen Cooper's book Philip Larkin: Subversive Writer suggests the changing temper of Larkin studies. Cooper argues that "The interplay of signs and motifs in the early work orchestrates a subversion of conventional attitudes towards class, gender, authority and sexual relations". Cooper identifies Larkin as a progressive writer, and perceives in the letters a "plea for alternative constructs of masculinity, femininity and social and political organisation". Cooper draws on the entire canon of Larkin's works, as well as on unpublished correspondence, to counter the image of Larkin as merely a racist, misogynist reactionary. Instead he identifies in Larkin what he calls a "subversive imagination". He highlights in particular "Larkin's objections to the hypocrisies of conventional sexual politics that hamper the lives of both sexes in equal measure". In similar vein to Cooper, Stephen Regan notes in an essay entitled "Philip Larkin: a late modern poet" that Larkin frequently embraces devices associated with the experimental practices of Modernism, such as "linguistic strangeness, self-conscious literariness, radical self-questioning, sudden shifts of voice and register, complex viewpoints and perspectives, and symbolist intensity". A further indication of a new direction in the critical valuation of Larkin is S. K. Chatterjee's statement that "Larkin is no longer just a name but an institution, a modern British national cultural monument". Chatterjee's view of Larkin is grounded in a detailed analysis of his poetic style. He notes a development from Larkin's early works to his later ones, which sees his style change from "verbal opulence through a recognition of the self-ironising and self-negating potentiality of language to a linguistic domain where the conventionally held conceptual incompatibles – which are traditional binary oppositions between absolutes and relatives, between abstracts and concretes, between fallings and risings and between singleness and multiplicity – are found to be the last stumbling-block for an artist aspiring to rise above the impasse of worldliness". This contrasts with an older view that Larkin's style barely changed over the course of his poetic career. Chatterjee identifies this view as being typified by Bernard Bergonzi's comment that "Larkin's poetry did not ... develop between 1955 and 1974". However, for Chatterjee, Larkin's poetry responds strongly to changing "economic, socio-political, literary and cultural factors". Chatterjee argues that "It is under the defeatist veneer of his poetry that the positive side of Larkin's vision of life is hidden". This positivity, suggests Chatterjee, is most apparent in his later works. Over the course of Larkin's poetic career, "The most notable attitudinal development lay in the zone of his view of life, which from being almost irredeemably bleak and pessimistic in The North Ship, became more and more positive with the passage of time". The view that Larkin is not a nihilist or pessimist, but actually displays optimism in his works, is certainly not universally endorsed, but Chatterjee's lengthy study suggests the degree to which old stereotypes of Larkin are now being transcended. Representative of these stereotypes is Bryan Appleyard's judgement (quoted by Maeve Brennan) that of the writers who "have adopted a personal pose of extreme pessimism and loathing of the world ... none has done so with quite such a grinding focus on littleness and triviality as Larkin the man". Recent criticism of Larkin demonstrates a more complex set of values at work in his poetry and across the totality of his writings. The debate about Larkin is summed up by Matthew Johnson, who observes that in most evaluations of Larkin "one is not really discussing the man, but actually reading a coded and implicit discussion of the supposed values of 'Englishness' that he is held to represent". Changing attitudes to Englishness are reflected in changing attitudes to Larkin, and the more sustained intellectual interest in the English national character, as embodied in the works of Peter Mandler for instance, pinpoint one key reason why there is an increased scholarly interest in Larkin. A summative view similar to those of Johnson and Regan is that of Robert Crawford, who argues that "In various ways, Larkin's work depends on, and develops from, Modernism." Furthermore, he "demonstrates just how slippery the word 'English' is". Despite these recent developments, Larkin and his circle are nonetheless still firmly rejected by modernist critics and poets. For example, the poet Andrew Duncan, writing of The Movement on his pinko.org website, notes that "there now seems to be a very wide consensus that it was a bad thing, and that Movement poems are tedious, shallow, smug, sententious, emotionally dead, etc. Their successors in the mainstream retain most of these characteristics. Wolfgang Gortschacher's book on Little Magazine Profiles ... shows ... that there was a terrific dearth of magazines during the 50s—an impoverishment of openings which correlates with rigid and conservative poetry, and with the hegemony of a few people determined to exclude dissidents." Peter Riley, a key player in the British Poetry Revival, which was a reaction against The Movement's poets, has also criticised Larkin for his uncritical and ideologically narrow position: "What after all were Larkin and The Movement but a denial of the effusive ethics of poetry from 1795 onwards, in favour of 'This is what life is really like' as if anyone thought for a second of representing observable 'life'. W.S. Graham and Dylan Thomas knew perfectly well that 'life' was like that, if you nominated it thus, which is why they went elsewhere." Posthumous reputation Larkin's posthumous reputation was deeply affected by the publication in 1992 of Anthony Thwaite's edition of his letters and, the following year, his official biography, Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion. These revealed his obsession with pornography, his racism, his increasing shift to the political right wing, and his habitual expressions of venom and spleen. In 1990, even before the publication of these two books, Tom Paulin wrote that Larkin's "obscenity is informed by prejudices that are not by any means as ordinary, commonplace, or acceptable as the poetic language in which they are so plainly spelled out." The letters and Motion's biography fuelled further assessments of this kind, such as Lisa Jardine's comment in The Guardian that "The Britishness of Larkin's poetry carries a baggage of attitudes which the Selected Letters now make explicit". On the other hand, the revelations were dismissed by the novelist, Martin Amis, in The War Against Cliché, arguing that the letters in particular show nothing more than a tendency for Larkin to tailor his words according to the recipient. This idea is developed in Richard Bradford's biography: he compares the style Larkin used in his correspondence with the author Barbara Pym with that he adopted with his old schoolfriend Colin Gunner. Commenting on Letters to Monica (2010) Graeme Richardson states that this collection "goes some way towards the restoration of Larkin's tarnished image...reveal(ing) Larkin as not quite the sinister, black-hearted near-rapist everyone thought it was OK to abuse in the 90s." Trying to resolve Larkin's contradictory opinions on race in his book Such Deliberate Disguises: The Art of Philip Larkin, the writer Richard Palmer quotes a letter Larkin wrote to Betjeman, as if it exposes "all the post-Motion and post-Letters furore about Larkin’s 'racism' as the nonsense it is": "The American Negro is trying to take a step forward that can be compared only to the ending of slavery in the nineteenth century. And despite the dogs, the hosepipes and the burnings, advances have already been made towards giving the Negro his civil rights that would have been inconceivable when Louis Armstrong was a young man. These advances will doubtless continue. They will end only when the Negro is as well-housed, educated and medically cared for as the white man." Reviewing Palmer's book, John G. Rodwan, Jr. wonders "if this does not qualify as the thought of a true racist: 'I find the state of the nation quite terrifying. In 10 years’ time we shall all be cowering under our beds as hordes of blacks steal anything they can lay their hands on.' Or this: 'We don’t go to cricket Test matches now, too many fucking niggers about.'" Despite controversy about his personal life and opinions, Larkin remains one of Britain's most popular poets. In 2003, almost two decades after his death, Larkin was chosen as "the nation's best-loved poet" in a survey by the Poetry Book Society, and in 2008 The Times named Larkin as the greatest British post-war writer. Three of his poems, "This Be The Verse", "The Whitsun Weddings" and "An Arundel Tomb", featured in the Nation's Top 100 Poems as voted for by viewers of the BBC's Bookworm in 1995. Media interest in Larkin has increased in the twenty-first century. Larkin's collection The Whitsun Weddings is one of the available poetry texts in the AQA English Literature A Level syllabus, while High Windows is offered by the OCR board. The Philip Larkin Society was formed in 1995, ten years after the poet's death. Buses in Hull displayed extracts from his poems in 2010. Recordings In 1959, The Marvell Press published Listen presents Philip Larkin reading The Less Deceived (Listen LPV1), an LP record on which Larkin recites all the poems from The Less Deceived in the order they appear in the printed volume. This was followed, in 1965, by Philip Larkin reads and comments on The Whitsun Weddings (Listen LPV6), again on The Marvell Press's record label (though the printed volume was published by Faber and Faber). Once again the poems are read in the order in which they appear in the printed volume, but with Larkin including introductory remarks to many of the poems. A recording of Larkin reading the poems from his final collection, High Windows, was published in 1975 as British poets of our time. Philip Larkin; High Windows: poems read by the author (edited by Peter Orr) on the Argo record label (Argo PLP 1202). As with the two previous recordings, the sequencing of the poems is the same as in the printed volume. Larkin also appears on several audio poetry anthologies: The Jupiter Anthology of 20th Century English Poetry – Part III (JUR 00A8), issued in 1963 and featuring "An Arundel Tomb" and "Mr Bleaney" (this same recording was issued in the United States in 1967 on the Folkways record label as Anthology of 20th Century English Poetry – Part III (FL9870)); The Poet Speaks record 8 (Argo PLP 1088), issued in 1967 and featuring "Wants", "Coming", "Nothing to be Said", "Days" and "Dockery and Son"; On Record (YA3), issued in 1974 by Yorkshire Arts Association and featuring "Here", "Days", "Next, Please", "Wedding-Wind", "The Whitsun Weddings", "XXX", "XIII" (these last two poems from The North Ship); and Douglas Dunn and Philip Larkin, issued in 1984 by Faber and Faber (A Faber Poetry cassette), featuring Larkin reading 13 poems including, for the first time on a recording, "Aubade". Despite the fact that Larkin made audio recordings (in studio conditions) of each of his three mature collections, and separate recordings of groups of poems for a number of audio anthologies, he somehow gained a reputation as a poet who was reluctant to make recordings in which he read his own work. While Larkin did express a dislike of the sound of his own voice ("I come from Coventry, between the sloppiness of Leicester and the whine of Birmingham, you know—and sometimes it comes out"), the evidence indicates that this influenced more his preference not to give public readings of his own work, than his willingness to make audio recordings of his poems. In 1980, Larkin was invited by the Poets' Audio Center, Washington, to record a selection of poems from the full range of his poetic output for publication on a Watershed Foundation cassette tape. The recording was made in February 1980 (at Larkin's own expense) by John Weeks, a sound engineer colleague from the University of Hull. Although negotiations between Larkin, his publishers and the Watershed Foundation collapsed, the recording (of Larkin reading 26 poems selected from his four canonical volumes of poetry) was sold – by Larkin – to Harvard University's Poetry Room in 1981. In 2004, a copy of this recording was uncovered in the Hornsea garage studio of the engineer who had made the recording for Larkin. (Subsequently, Larkin's own copy of the recording was found in the Larkin Archive at the University of Hull) News of the “newly discovered” recording made the headlines in 2006, with extracts being broadcast in a Sky News report. A programme examining the discovery in more depth, The Larkin Tapes, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 2008. The recordings were issued on CD by Faber and Faber in January 2009 as The Sunday Sessions. In contrast to the number of audio recordings of Larkin reading his own work, there are very few appearances by Larkin on television. The only programme in which he agreed to be filmed taking part is Down Cemetery Road (1964), from the BBC Monitor series, in which Larkin was interviewed by John Betjeman. The filming took place in and around Hull (with some filming in North Lincolnshire), and showed Larkin in his natural surroundings: his flat in Pearson Park, the Brynmor Jones Library; and visiting churches and cemeteries. The film was more recently broadcast on BBC Four. In 1981, Larkin was part of a group of poets who surprised John Betjeman on his seventy-fifth birthday by turning up on his doorstep with gifts and greetings. This scene was filmed by Jonathan Stedall and later featured in third episode of his 1983 series for BBC2, Time With Betjeman. In 1982, as part of celebrations for his sixtieth birthday, Larkin was the subject of The South Bank Show. Although Larkin declined the invitation to appear in the programme, he recorded (on audio tape) "a lot of poems" specifically for it. Melvyn Bragg commented, in his introduction to the programme, that the poet had given his full cooperation. The programme, broadcast on 30 May, featured contributions from Kingsley Amis, Andrew Motion and Alan Bennett. Bennett was also filmed reading several Larkin poems a few years later, in an edition of Poetry in Motion, broadcast by Channel 4 in 1990. Fiction based on Larkin's life In 1999, Oliver Ford Davies starred in Ben Brown's play Larkin With Women at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, reprising his role at the Orange Tree Theatre, London in 2006. The play was published by Larkin's usual publishers, Faber and Faber. Set in the three decades after Larkin's arrival in Hull, it explores his long relationships with Monica Jones, Maeve Brennan and Betty Mackereth. Another Larkin inspired entertainment, devised and starring Sir Tom Courtenay, was given a pre-production performance on the afternoon of Saturday 29 June 2002 at Hull University's Middleton Hall. Courtenay performed his one-man play Pretending to Be Me as part of the Second Hull International Conference on the Work of Philip Larkin. In November that year, Courtenay debuted the play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, later transferring the production to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End. An audio recording of the play, which is based on Larkin's letters, interviews, diaries and verse, was released in 2005. In June 2010, Courtenay returned to the University of Hull to give a performance of a newly revised version of Pretending to Be Me called Larkin Revisited in aid of the Larkin statue appeal as part of the Larkin 25 festival. In July 2003, BBC Two broadcast a play entitled Love Again—its title also that of one of Larkin's most painfully personal poems—dealing with the last thirty years of Larkin's life (though not shot anywhere near Hull). The lead role was played by Hugh Bonneville, and in the same year Channel 4 broadcast the documentary Philip Larkin, Love and Death in Hull. In April 2008, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a play by Chris Harrald entitled Mr Larkin's Awkward Day, recounting the practical joke played on him in 1957 by his friend Robert Conquest, a fellow poet. References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Larkin

Henry Lawson

Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson (17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922) was an Australian writer and poet. Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson, Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period and is often called Australia's "greatest short story writer". He was the son of the poet, publisher and feminist Louisa Lawson. Early life Henry Lawson was born 17 June 1867 in a town on the Grenfell goldfields of New South Wales. His father was Niels Hertzberg Larsen, a Norwegian-born miner from Tromøya near Arendal. Niels Larsen went to sea at 21 and arrived in Melbourne in 1855 to join the gold rush, along with partner William Henry John Slee. Lawson's parents met at the goldfields of Pipeclay (now Eurunderee New South Wales). Niels and Louisa Albury (1848–1920) married on 7 July 1866 when he was 32 and she 18. On Henry's birth, the family surname was Anglicised and Niels became Peter Lawson. The newly married couple were to have an unhappy marriage. Louisa, after family-raising, took a significant part in women's movements, and edited a women's paper called The Dawn (published May 1888 to July 1905). She also published her son's first volume, and around 1904 brought out a volume of her own, Dert and Do, a simple story of 18,000 words. In 1905 she collected and published her own verses, The Lonely Crossing and other Poems. Louisa likely had a strong influence on her son's literary work in its earliest days. Peter Lawson's grave (with headstone) is in the little private cemetery at Hartley Vale, New South Wales, a few minutes' walk behind what was Collitt's Inn. Lawson attended school at Eurunderee from 2 October 1876 but suffered an ear infection at around this time. It left him with partial deafness and by the age of fourteen he had lost his hearing entirely. However, his master John Tierney was kind and did all he could for Lawson, who was quite shy. Lawson later attended a Catholic school at Mudgee, New South Wales around 8 km away; the master there, Mr Kevan, would teach Lawson about poetry. Lawson was a keen reader of Dickens and Marryat and novels such as Robbery Under Arms and For the Term of his Natural Life; an aunt had also given him a volume by Bret Harte. Reading became a major source of his education because, due to his deafness, he had trouble learning in the classroom. In 1883, after working on building jobs with his father in the Blue Mountains, Lawson joined his mother in Sydney at her request. Louisa was then living with Henry's sister and brother. At this time, Lawson was working during the day and studying at night for his matriculation in the hopes of receiving a university education. However, he failed his exams. At around 20 years of age Lawson went to the eye and ear hospital in Melbourne but nothing could be done for his deafness. In 1890 he began a relationship with Mary Gilmore. She writes of an unofficial engagement and Lawson's wish to marry her, but it was broken by his frequent absences from Sydney. The story of the relationship is told in the play "All My Love", written by Anne Brooksbank. In 1896, Lawson married Bertha Bredt Jr., daughter of Bertha Bredt, the prominent socialist. The marriage was ill-advised[vague] due to Lawson's alcohol addiction. They had two children, son Jim (Joseph) and daughter Bertha. However, the marriage ended very unhappily. Poetry and prose writing Henry Lawson's first published poem was 'A Song of the Republic' which appeared in The Bulletin, 1 October 1887; his mother's republican friends were an influence. This was followed by 'The Wreck of the Derry Castle' and then 'Golden Gully.' Prefixed to the former poem was an editorial 'note: “In publishing the subjoined verses we take pleasure in stating that the writer is a boy of 17 years, a young Australian, who has as yet had an imperfect education and is earning his living under some difficulties as a housepainter, a youth whose poetic genius here speaks eloquently for itself.” Lawson was 20 years old, not 17.- In 1890-1891 Lawson worked in Albany. He then received an offer to write for the Brisbane Boomerang in 1891, but he lasted only around 7–8 months as the Boomerang was soon in trouble. While in Brisbane he contributed to William Lane's Worker; he later angled for an editorial position with the similarly-named Worker of Sydney, but was unsuccessful. He returned to Sydney and continued to write for the Bulletin which, in 1892, paid for an inland trip where he experienced the harsh realities of drought-affected New South Wales. He also worked as a roustabout in the woolshed at Toorale Station. This resulted in his contributions to the Bulletin Debate and became a source for many of his stories in subsequent years. Elder writes of the trek Lawson took between Hungerford and Bourke as "the most important trek in Australian literary history" and says that "it confirmed all his prejudices about the Australian bush. Lawson had no romantic illusions about a 'rural idyll'." As Elder continues, his grim view of the outback was far removed from "the romantic idyll of brave horsemen and beautiful scenery depicted in the poetry of Banjo Paterson". Lawson's most successful prose collection is While the Billy Boils, published in 1896. In it he "continued his assault on Paterson and the romantics, and in the process, virtually reinvented Australian realism". Elder writes that "he used short, sharp sentences, with language as raw as Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver. With sparse adjectives and honed-to-the-bone description, Lawson created a style and defined Australians: dryly laconic, passionately egalitarian and deeply humane." Most of his work focuses on the Australian bush, such as the desolate "Past Carin'", and is considered by some to be among the first accurate descriptions of Australian life as it was at the time.[citation needed] "The Drover's Wife" with its "heart-breaking depiction of bleakness and loneliness" is regarded as one of his finest short stories. It is regularly studied in schools and has often been adapted for film and theatre. Lawson was a firm believer in the merits of the sketch story, commonly known simply as 'the sketch,' claiming that "the sketch story is best of all." Lawson's Jack Mitchell story, On The Edge Of A Plain, is often cited as one of the most accomplished examples of the sketch. Like the majority of Australians, Lawson lived in a city, but had had plenty of experience in outback life, in fact, many of his stories reflected his experiences in real life. In Sydney in 1898 he was a prominent member of the Dawn and Dusk Club, a bohemian club of writer friends who met for drinks and conversation. Later years In 1903 he bought a room at Mrs Isabel Byers' Coffee Palace in North Sydney. This marked the beginning of a 20-year friendship between Mrs Byers and Lawson. Despite his position as the most celebrated Australian writer of the time, Lawson was deeply depressed and perpetually poor. He lacked money due to unfortunate royalty deals with publishers. His ex-wife repeatedly reported him for non-payment of child maintenance, resulting in gaol terms. He was gaoled at Darlinghurst Gaol for drunkenness and non-payment of child support, and recorded his experience in the haunting poem "One Hundred and Three" - his prison number - which was published in 1908. He refers to the prison as "Starvinghurst Gaol" because of the meagre rations given to the inmates. At this time, Lawson became withdrawn, alcoholic, and unable to carry on the usual routine of life. Mrs Byers (née Ward) was an excellent poet herself and although of modest education, had been writing vivid poetry since her teens in a similar style to Lawson's. Long separated from her husband and elderly, Mrs Byers was, at the time she met Lawson, a woman of independent means looking forward to retirement. Byers regarded Lawson as Australia's greatest living poet, and hoped to sustain him well enough to keep him writing. She negotiated on his behalf with publishers, helped to arrange contact with his children, contacted friends and supporters to help him financially, and assisted and nursed him through his mental and alcohol problems. She wrote countless letters on his behalf and knocked on any doors that could provide Henry with financial assistance or a publishing deal. It was in Mrs Isabel Byers' home that Henry Lawson died, of cerebral hemorrhage, in Abbotsford, Sydney in 1922. He was given a state funeral. His death registration on the NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages index is ref. 10451/1922 and was recorded at the Petersham Registration District. It shows his parents as Peter and Louisa. His funeral was attended by the Prime Minister Billy Hughes and the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang (who was the husband of Lawson's sister-in-law Hilda Bredt), as well as thousands of citizens. He is interred at Waverley Cemetery. Lawson was the first person to be granted a New South Wales state funeral (traditionally reserved for Governors, Chief Justices, etc.) on the grounds of having been a 'distinguished citizen'. Honours A bronze statue of Lawson accompanied by a swagman, a dog and a fencepost (reflecting his writing) stands in The Domain, Sydney. The Henry Lawson Memorial committee raised money through public donation to commission the statue by sculptor George Washington Lambert in 1927. The work was unveiled on 28 July 1931 by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game. In 1949 Lawson was the subject of an Australian postage stamp. He was featured on the first (paper) Australian ten dollar note issued in 1966 when decimal currency was first introduced into Australia. Lawson was pictured against scenes from the town of Gulgong in NSW. This note was replaced by a polymer note in 1993; the polymer series had different people featured on the notes. Wikipedia Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Lawson

Henry W. Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses. Early life and education Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807, to Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow in Portland, Maine, then a district of Massachusetts, and he grew up in what is now known as the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. His father was a lawyer, and his maternal grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, was a general in the American Revolutionary War and a Member of Congress. He was named after his mother's brother Henry Wadsworth, a Navy lieutenant who died only three years earlier at the Battle of Tripoli. Young Longfellow was the second of eight children; his siblings were Stephen (1805), Elizabeth (1808), Anne (1810), Alexander (1814), Mary (1816), Ellen (1818), and Samuel (1819). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was enrolled in a dame school at the age of three and by age six was enrolled at the private Portland Academy. In his years there, he earned a reputation as being very studious and became fluent in Latin. His mother encouraged his enthusiasm for reading and learning, introducing him to Robinson Crusoe and Don Quixote. He printed his first poem – a patriotic and historical four stanza poem called "The Battle of Lovell's Pond" – in the Portland Gazette on November 17, 1820. He stayed at the Portland Academy until the age of fourteen. He spent much of his summers as a child at his grandfather Peleg's farm in the western Maine town of Hiram. In the fall of 1822, the 15-year old Longfellow enrolled at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, alongside his brother Stephen. His grandfather was a founder of the college and his father was a trustee. There, Longfellow met Nathaniel Hawthorne, who would later become his lifelong friend. He boarded with a clergyman for a time before rooming on the third floor of what is now Maine Hall in 1823. He joined the Peucinian Society, a group of students with Federalist leanings. In his senior year, Longfellow wrote to his father about his aspirations: I will not disguise it in the least... the fact is, I most eagerly aspire after future eminence in literature, my whole soul burns most ardently after it, and every earthly thought centres in it... I am almost confident in believing, that if I can ever rise in the world it must be by the exercise of my talents in the wide field of literature. He pursued his literary goals by submitting poetry and prose to various newspapers and magazines, partly due to encouragement from a professor named Thomas Cogswell Upham. Between January 1824 and his graduation in 1825, he had published nearly 40 minor poems. About 24 of them appeared in the short-lived Boston periodical The United States Literary Gazette. When Longfellow graduated from Bowdoin, he was ranked fourth in the class, and had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He gave the student commencement address. European tours and professorships After graduating in 1825, he was offered a job as professor of modern languages at his alma mater. The story, possibly apocryphal, is that an influential trustee, Benjamin Orr, had been so impressed by Longfellow's translation of Horace that he was hired under the condition that he travel to Europe to study French, Spanish, and Italian. Whatever the motivation, he began his tour of Europe in May 1826 aboard the ship Cadmus. His time abroad would last three years and cost his father $2,.. He traveled to France, Spain, Italy, Germany, back to France, then England before returning to the United States in mid-August 1829. While overseas, he learned French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, mostly without formal instruction. In Madrid, he spent time with Washington Irving and was particularly impressed by the author's work ethic. Irving encouraged the young Longfellow to pursue writing. While in Spain, Longfellow was saddened to learn his favorite sister, Elizabeth, had died of tuberculosis at the age of 20 that May while he was abroad. On August 27, 1829, he wrote to the president of Bowdoin that he was turning down the professorship because he considered the $600 salary "disproportionate to the duties required". The trustees raised his salary to $800 with an additional $100 to serve as the college's librarian, a post which required one hour of work per day. During his years teaching at the college, he translated textbooks in French, Italian, and Spanish; his first published book was in 1833, a translation of the poetry of medieval Spanish poet Jorge Manrique. He also published a travel book, Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea, first published in serial form before a book edition was released in 1835. Shortly after the book's publication, Longfellow attempted to join the literary circle in New York and asked George Pope Morris for an editorial role at one of Morris's publications. Longfellow considered moving to New York after New York University considered offering him a newly-created professorship of modern languages, though there would be no salary. The professorship was not created and Longfellow agreed to continue teaching at Bowdoin. It may have been joyless work. He wrote, "I hate the sight of pen, ink, and paper... I do not believe that I was born for such a lot. I have aimed higher than this”. On September 14, 1831, Longfellow married Mary Storer Potter, a childhood friend from Portland. The couple settled in Brunswick, though the two were not happy there. Longfellow published several nonfiction and fiction prose pieces inspired by Irving, including "The Indian Summer" and "The Bald Eagle" in 1833. In December 1834, Longfellow received a letter from Josiah Quincy III, president of Harvard College, offering him the Smith Professorship of Modern Languages position with the stipulation that he spend a year or so abroad. There, he further studied German as well as Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, and Icelandic. In October 1835, during the trip, his wife Mary had a miscarriage about six months into her pregnancy. She did not recover and died after several weeks of illness at the age of 22 on November 29, 1835. Longfellow had her body embalmed immediately and placed into a lead coffin inside an oak coffin which was then shipped to Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston. He was deeply saddened by her death, writing "One thought occupies me night and day... She is dead—She is dead! All day I am weary and sad". Three years later, he was inspired to write the poem "Footsteps of Angels" about her. Several years later, he wrote the poem "Mezzo Cammin" expressed his personal struggles in his middle years. When he returned to the United States in 1836, Longfellow took up the professorship at Harvard. He was required to live in Cambridge to be close to the campus and rented rooms at the Craigie House in the spring of 1837, now preserved as the Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site. The home, built in 1759, had once been the headquarters of George Washington during the Siege of Boston beginning in July 1775. Previous boarders also included Jared Sparks, Edward Everett, and Joseph Emerson Worcester. Longfellow began publishing his poetry, including the collection Voices of the Night in 1839. The bulk of Voices of the Night, Longfellow's debut book of poetry, was translations though he also included nine original poems and seven poems he had written as a teenager. Ballads and Other Poems was published shortly thereafter in 1841 and included "The Village Blacksmith" and "The Wreck of the Hesperus", which were instantly popular. Longfellow also became part of the local social scene, creating a group of friends who called themselves the Five of Clubs. Members included Cornelius Conway Felton, George Stillman Hillard, and Charles Sumner, the latter of whom would become Longfellow's closest friend over the next 30 years. As a professor, Longfellow was well liked, though he disliked being "constantly a playmate for boys" rather than "stretching out and grappling with men's minds.” Courtship of Frances Appleton Longfellow began courting Frances "Fanny" Appleton, the daughter of a wealthy Boston industrialist, Nathan Appleton and sister of Thomas Gold Appleton. At first, she was not interested but Longfellow was determined. In July 1839, he wrote to a friend: "[V]ictory hangs doubtful. The lady says she will not! I say she shall! It is not pride, but the madness of passion". His friend George Stillman Hillard encouraged Longfellow in the pursuit: "I delight to see you keeping up so stout a heart for the resolve to conquer is half the battle in love as well as war". During the courtship, Longfellow frequently walked from Cambridge to the Appleton home in Beacon Hill in Boston by crossing the Boston Bridge. That bridge was replaced in 1906 by a new bridge which was later renamed the. Longfellow Bridge. During his courtship, Longfellow continued writing and, in late 1839, published Hyperion, a book in prose inspired by his trips abroad and his unsuccessful courtship of Fanny Appleton. Amidst this, Longfellow fell into "periods of neurotic depression with moments of panic" and took a six-month leave of absence from Harvard to attend a health spa in the former Marienberg Benedictine Convent at Boppard in Germany. After returning, Longfellow published a play in 1842, The Spanish Student, reflecting his memories from his time in Spain in the 1820s. There was some confusion over its original manuscript. After being printed in Graham's Magazine, its editor Rufus Wilmot Griswold saved the manuscript from the trash. Longfellow was surprised to hear that it had been saved, unusual for a printing office, and asked to borrow it so that he could revise it, forgetting to return it to Griswold. The often vindictive Griswold wrote an angry letter in response. A small collection, Poems on Slavery, was published in 1842 as Longfellow's first public support of abolitionism. However, as Longfellow himself wrote, the poems were "so mild that even a Slaveholder might read them without losing his appetite for breakfast". A critic for The Dial agreed, calling it "the thinnest of all Mr. Longfellow's thin books; spirited and polished like its forerunners; but the topic would warrant a deeper tone". The New England Anti-Slavery Association, however, was satisfied with the collection enough to reprint it for further distribution. On May 10, 1843, after seven years, Longfellow received a letter from Fanny Appleton agreeing to marry him and, too restless to take a carriage, walked 90 minutes to meet her at her house. They were married shortly thereafter. Nathan Appleton bought the Craigie House as a wedding present to the pair. Longfellow would live there for the remainder of his life. His love for Fanny is evident in the following lines from Longfellow's only love poem, the sonnet "The Evening Star", which he wrote in October 1845: "O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! My morning and my evening star of love!" He once attended a ball without her and noted, "The lights seemed dimmer, the music sadder, the flowers fewer, and the women less fair.” He and Fanny had six children: Charles Appleton (1844–1893), Ernest Wadsworth (1845–1921), Fanny (1847–1848), Alice Mary (1850–1928), Edith (1853–1915), and Anne Allegra (1855–1934). Their second-youngest daughter, Edith, married Richard Henry Dana III, son of the popular writer Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast. When the younger Fanny was born on April 7, 1847, Dr. Nathan Cooley Keep administered ether as the first obstetric anesthetic in the United States to Fanny Longfellow. A few months later, on November 1, 1847, the poem "Evangeline" was published for the first time. His literary income was increasing considerably: in 1840, he had made $219 from his work but the year 1850 brought him $1,. On June 14, 1853, Longfellow held a farewell dinner party at his Cambridge home for his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was preparing to move overseas. Shortly thereafter in 1854, Longfellow retired from Harvard, devoting himself entirely to writing. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of Laws from Harvard in 1859. Death of Frances On July 9, 1861, a hot day, Fanny was putting locks of her children's hair into an envelope and attempting to seal it with hot sealing wax while Longfellow took a nap. Her dress suddenly caught fire, though it is unclear exactly how; it may have been burning wax or a lighted candle which fell on her dress. Longfellow, awakened from his nap, rushed to help her and threw a rug over her, though it was too small. He stifled the flames with his body as best he could, but she was already badly burned. Over a half a century later, Longfellow's youngest daughter Annie explained the story differently, claiming that there was no candle or wax but that the fire started from a self-lighting match that had fallen on the floor. In both versions of the story, however, Fanny was taken to her room to recover and a doctor was called. She was in and out of consciousness throughout the night and was administered ether. The next morning, July 10, 1861, she died shortly after 10 o'clock after requesting a cup of coffee. Longfellow, in trying to save her, had burned himself badly enough for him to be unable to attend her funeral. His facial injuries caused him to stop shaving, thereafter wearing the beard which has become his trademark. Devastated by her death, he never fully recovered and occasionally resorted to laudanum and ether to deal with it. He worried he would go insane and begged "not to be sent to an asylum" and noted that he was "inwardly bleeding to death". He expressed his grief in the sonnet "The Cross of Snow" (1879), which he wrote eighteen years later to commemorate her death: Such is the cross I wear upon my breast These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes And seasons, changeless since the day she died. Later life and death Longfellow spent several years translating Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. To aid him in perfecting the translation and reviewing proofs, he invited friends to weekly meetings every Wednesday starting in 1864. The "Dante Club", as it was called, regularly included William Dean Howells, James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton and other occasional guests. The full three-volume translation was published in the spring of 1867, though Longfellow would continue to revise it, and it went through four printings in its first year. By 1868, Longfellow's annual income was over $48,. In 1874, Samuel Cutler Ward helped him sell the poem "The Hanging of the Crane" to the New York Ledger for $3,; it was the highest price ever paid for a poem. During the 1860s, Longfellow supported abolitionism and especially hoped for reconciliation between the northern and southern states after the American Civil War. He wrote in his journal in 1878: "I have only one desire; and that is for harmony, and a frank and honest understanding between North and South". Longfellow, despite his aversion to public speaking, accepted an offer from Joshua Chamberlain to speak at his fiftieth reunion at Bowdoin College; he read the poem "Morituri Salutamus" so quietly that few could hear him. The next year, 1876, he declined an offer to be nominated for the Board of Overseers at Harvard "for reasons very conclusive to my own mind". On August 22, 1879, a female admirer traveled to Longfellow's house in Cambridge and, unaware to whom she was speaking, asked Longfellow: "Is this the house where Longfellow was born?" Longfellow told her it was not. The visitor then asked if he had died here. "Not yet", he replied. In March 1882, Longfellow went to bed with severe stomach pain. He endured the pain for several days with the help of opium before he died surrounded by family on Friday, March 24, 1882. He had been suffering from peritonitis. At the time of his death, his estate was worth an estimated $356,. He is buried with both of his wives at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His last few years were spent translating the poetry of Michelangelo; though Longfellow never considered it complete enough to be published during his lifetime, a posthumous edition was collected in 1883. Scholars generally regard the work as autobiographical, reflecting the translator as an aging artist facing his impending death. Writing Style Though much of his work is categorized as lyric poetry, Longfellow experimented with many forms, including hexameter and free verse. His published poetry shows great versatility, using anapestic and trochaic forms, blank verse, heroic couplets, ballads and sonnets. Typically, Longfellow would carefully consider the subject of his poetic ideas for a long time before deciding on the right metrical form for it. Much of his work is recognized for its melody-like musicality. As he says, "what a writer asks of his reader is not so much to like as to listen". As a very private man, Longfellow did not often add autobiographical elements to his poetry. Two notable exceptions are dedicated to the death of members of his family. "Resignation", written as a response to the death of his daughter Fanny in 1848, does not use first-person pronouns and is instead a generalized poem of mourning. The death of his second wife Frances, as biographer Charles Calhoun wrote, deeply affected Longfellow personally but "seemed not to touch his poetry, at least directly". His memorial poem to her, a sonnet called "The Cross of Snow", was not published in his lifetime. Longfellow often used didacticism in his poetry, though he focused on it less in his later years. Much of his poetry imparts cultural and moral values, particularly focused on promoting life as being more than material pursuits. Longfellow also often used allegory in his work. In "Nature", for example, death is depicted as bedtime for a cranky child. Many of the metaphors he used in his poetry as well as subject matter came from legends, mythology, and literature. He was inspired, for example, by Norse mythology for "The Skeleton in Armor" and by Finnish legends for The Song of Hiawatha. In fact, Longfellow rarely wrote on current subjects and seemed detached from contemporary American concerns. Even so, Longfellow, like many during this period, called for the development of high quality American literature. In Kavanagh, a character says: We want a national literature commensurate with our mountains and rivers... We want a national epic that shall correspond to the size of the country... We want a national drama in which scope shall be given to our gigantic ideas and to the unparalleled activity of our people... In a word, we want a national literature altogether shaggy and unshorn, that shall shake the earth, like a herd of buffaloes thundering over the prairies. He was also important as a translator; his translation of Dante became a required possession for those who wanted to be a part of high culture. He also encouraged and supported other translators. In 1845, he published The Poets and Poetry of Europe, an 800-page compilation of translations made by other writers, including many by his friend and colleague Cornelius Conway Felton. Longfellow intended the anthology "to bring together, into a compact and convenient form, as large an amount as possible of those English translations which are scattered through many volumes, and are not accessible to the general reader". In honor of Longfellow's role with translations, Harvard established the Longfellow Institute in 1994, dedicated to literature written in the United States in languages other than English. In 1874, Longfellow oversaw a 31-volume anthology called Poems of Places, which collected poems representing several geographical locations, including European, Asian, and Arabian countries. Emerson was disappointed and reportedly told Longfellow: "The world is expecting better things of you than this... You are wasting time that should be bestowed upon original production". In preparing the volume, Longfellow hired Katherine Sherwood Bonner as an amanuensis. Critical response Longfellow's early collections, Voices of the Night and Ballads and Other Poems, made him instantly popular. The New-Yorker called him "one of the very few in our time who has successfully aimed in putting poetry to its best and sweetest uses". The Southern Literary Messenger immediately put Longfellow "among the first of our American poets". Poet John Greenleaf Whittier said that Longfellow's poetry illustrated "the careful moulding by which art attains the graceful ease and chaste simplicity of nature". Longfellow's friend Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. wrote of him as "our chief singer" and one who "wins and warms... kindles, softens, cheers [and] calms the wildest woe and stays the bitterest tears!" The rapidity with which American readers embraced Longfellow was unparalleled in publishing history in the United States; by 1874, he was earning $3, per poem. His popularity spread throughout Europe as well and his poetry was translated during his lifetime into Italian, French, German, and other languages. As scholar Bliss Perry later wrote, Longfellow was so highly praised that criticizing him was a criminal act like "carrying a rifle into a national park". In the last two decades of his life, he often received requests for autographs from strangers, which he always sent. John Greenleaf Whittier suggested it was this massive correspondence that led to Longfellow's death, writing: "My friend Longfellow was driven to death by these incessant demands". Contemporary writer Edgar Allan Poe wrote to Longfellow in May 1841 of his "fervent admiration which [your] genius has inspired in me" and later called him "unquestionably the best poet in America". However, after Poe's reputation as a critic increased, he publicly accused Longfellow of plagiarism in what has been since termed by Poe biographers as "The Longfellow War". His assessment was that Longfellow was "a determined imitator and a dextrous adapter of the ideas of other people", specifically Alfred, Lord Tennyson. His accusations may have been a publicity stunt to boost readership of the Broadway Journal, for which he was the editor at the time. Longfellow did not respond publicly, but, after Poe's death, he wrote: "The harshness of his criticisms I have never attributed to anything but the irritation of a sensitive nature chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong". Margaret Fuller judged him "artificial and imitative" and lacking force. Poet Walt Whitman also considered Longfellow an imitator of European forms, though he praised his ability to reach a popular audience as "the expressor of common themes – of the little songs of the masses". He added, "Longfellow was no revolutionarie: never traveled new paths: of course never broke new paths." Lewis Mumford said that Longfellow could be completely removed from the history of literature without much effect. Towards the end of his life, contemporaries considered him more of a children's poet as many of his readers were children. A contemporary reviewer noted in 1848 that Longfellow was creating a "Goody two-shoes kind of literature... slipshod, sentimental stories told in the style of the nursery, beginning in nothing and ending in nothing". A more modern critic said, "Who, except wretched schoolchildren, now reads Longfellow?" A London critic in the London Quarterly Review, however, condemned all American poetry, saying, "with two or three exceptions, there is not a poet of mark in the whole union" but singled out Longfellow as one of those exceptions. As an editor of the Boston Evening Transcript wrote in 1846, "Whatever the miserable envy of trashy criticism may write against Longfellow, one thing is most certain, no American poet is more read”. Legacy Longfellow was the most popular poet of his day and is generally regarded as the most distinguished poet the country had produced. As a friend once wrote to him, "no other poet was so fully recognized his lifetime". Many of his works helped shape the American character and its legacy, particularly with the poem "Paul Revere's Ride". He was such an admired figure in the United States during his life that his 70th birthday in 1877 took on the air of a national holiday, with parades, speeches, and the reading of his poetry. Over the years, Longfellow's personality has become part of his reputation. He has been presented as a gentle, placid, poetic soul: an image perpetuated by his brother Samuel Longfellow, who wrote an early biography which specifically emphasized these points. As James Russell Lowell said, Longfellow had an "absolute sweetness, simplicity, and modesty". At Longfellow's funeral, his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson called him "a sweet and beautiful soul". In reality, Longfellow's life was much more difficult than was assumed. He suffered from neuralgia, which caused him constant pain, and he also had poor eyesight. He wrote to friend Charles Sumner: "I do not believe anyone can be perfectly well, who has a brain and a heart". He had difficulty coping with the death of his second wife. Longfellow was very quiet, reserved, and private; in later years, he was known for being unsocial and avoided leaving home. He had become one of the first American celebrities and was also popular in Europe. It was reported that 10, copies of The Courtship of Miles Standish sold in London in a single day. Children adored him and, when the "spreading chestnut-tree" mentioned in the poem "The Village Blacksmith" was cut down, the children of Cambridge had the tree converted into an armchair which they presented to the poet. In 1884, Longfellow became the first non-British writer for whom a commemorative sculpted bust was placed in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey in London; he remains the only American poet represented with a bust. More recently, he was honored in March 2007 when the United States Postal Service made a stamp commemorating him. A number of schools are named after him in various states as well. Neil Diamond's 1974 hit song, "Longfellow Serenade", is a reference to the poet. He is a protagonist in Matthew Pearl's murder mystery The Dante Club (2003). Longfellow's popularity rapidly declined, beginning shortly after his death and into the twentieth century as academics began to appreciate poets like Walt Whitman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Robert Frost. In the twentieth century, literary scholar Kermit Vanderbilt noted, "Increasingly rare is the scholar who braves ridicule to justify the art of Longfellow's popular rhymings." 20th century poet Lewis Putnam Turco concluded "Longfellow was minor and derivative in every way throughout his career... nothing more than a hack imitator of the English Romantics.” Poetry collections * Voices of the Night (1839) * Ballads and Other Poems (1841) * Poems on Slavery (1842) * The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems (1845) * Birds of Passage (1845) * The Seaside and the Fireside (1850) * The Courtship of Miles Standish and Other Poems (1858) * Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863) * Household Poems (1865) * Flower-de-Luce (1867) * Three Books of Song (1872)[106] * The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems (1875)[106] * Kéramos and Other Poems (1878)[106] * Ultima Thule (1880)[106] * In the Harbor (1882)[106] * Michel Angelo: A Fragment (incomplete; published posthumously) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow

D. H. Lawrence

David Herbert Richards Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile which he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, "The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. Lawrence is now valued by many as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature. Early life The fourth child of Arthur John Lawrence, a barely literate miner, and Lydia (née Beardsall), a former schoolmistress, Lawrence spent his formative years in the coal mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. The house in which he was born, in Eastwood, 8a Victoria Street, is now the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum. His working-class background and the tensions between his parents provided the raw material for a number of his early works. Lawrence would return to this locality and often wrote about nearby Underwood, calling it; "the country of my heart," as a setting for much of his fiction. The young Lawrence attended Beauvale Board School (now renamed Greasley Beauvale D. H. Lawrence Primary School in his honour) from 1891 until 1898, becoming the first local pupil to win a County Council scholarship to Nottingham High School in nearby Nottingham. He left in 1901, working for three months as a junior clerk at Haywood's surgical appliances factory, but a severe bout of pneumonia, reportedly the result of being accosted by a group of factory girls (as detailed by school friend, George Neville), ended this career. Whilst convalescing he often visited Hagg's Farm, the home of the Chambers family, and began a friendship with Jessie Chambers. An important aspect of this relationship with Jessie and other adolescent acquaintances was a shared love of books, an interest that lasted throughout Lawrence's life. In the years 1902 to 1906 Lawrence served as a pupil teacher at the British School, Eastwood. He went on to become a full-time student and received a teaching certificate from University College, Nottingham, in 1908. During these early years he was working on his first poems, some short stories, and a draft of a novel, Laetitia, that was eventually to become The White Peacock. At the end of 1907 he won a short story competition in the Nottingham Guardian, the first time that he had gained any wider recognition for his literary talents. Early career In the autumn of 1908 the newly qualified Lawrence left his childhood home for London. While teaching in Davidson Road School, Croydon, he continued writing. Some of the early poetry, submitted by Jessie Chambers, came to the attention of Ford Madox Ford, then known as Ford Hermann Hueffer and editor of the influential The English Review. Hueffer then commissioned the story Odour of Chrysanthemums which, when published in that magazine, encouraged Heinemann, a London publisher, to ask Lawrence for more work. His career as a professional author now began in earnest, although he taught for a further year. Shortly after the final proofs of his first published novel The White Peacock appeared in 1910, Lawrence's mother died. She had been ill with cancer. The young man was devastated and he was to describe the next few months as his "sick year." It is clear that Lawrence had an extremely close relationship with his mother and his grief following her death became a major turning point in his life, just as the death of Mrs. Morel forms a major turning point in his autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers, a work that draws upon much of the writer's provincial upbringing. In 1911 Lawrence was introduced to Edward Garnett, a publisher's reader, who acted as a mentor, provided further encouragement, and became a valued friend, as Garnett's son David was also. Throughout these months the young author revised Paul Morel, the first draft of what became Sons and Lovers. In addition, a teaching colleague, Helen Corke, gave him access to her intimate diaries about an unhappy love affair, which formed the basis of The Trespasser, his second novel. In November 1911, he came down with a pneumonia again; once he recovered, Lawrence decided to abandon teaching in order to become a full time author. He also broke off an engagement to Louie Burrows, an old friend from his days in Nottingham and Eastwood. In March 1912 Lawrence met Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen), with whom he was to share the rest of his life. She was six years older than her new lover, married to Lawrence's former modern languages professor from University College, Nottingham, Ernest Weekley, and with three young children. She eloped with Lawrence to her parents' home in Metz, a garrison town then in Germany near the disputed border with France. Their stay here included Lawrence's first brush with militarism, when he was arrested and accused of being a British spy, before being released following an intervention from Frieda Weekley's father. After this encounter Lawrence left for a small hamlet to the south of Munich, where he was joined by Weekley for their "honeymoon", later memorialised in the series of love poems titled Look! We Have Come Through (1917). 1912 also saw the first of Lawrence's so-called "mining plays", The Daughter-in-Law, written in Nottingham dialect. The play was never to be performed, or even published, in Lawrence's lifetime. From Germany they walked southwards across the Alps to Italy, a journey that was recorded in the first of his travel books, a collection of linked essays titled Twilight in Italy and the unfinished novel, Mr Noon. During his stay in Italy, Lawrence completed the final version of Sons and Lovers that, when published in 1913, was acknowledged to represent a vivid portrait of the realities of working class provincial life. Lawrence though, had become so tired of the work that he allowed Edward Garnett to cut about a hundred pages from the text. Lawrence and Frieda returned to Britain in 1913 for a short visit. At this time, he now encountered and befriended critic John Middleton Murry and New Zealand-born short story writer Katherine Mansfield. Lawrence was able to meet with Welsh tramp poet W. H. Davies whose work, much of which was inspired by nature, he much admired. Davies had begun to collect autographs and was particularly keen to obtain Lawrence's. Georgian poetry publisher Edward Marsh was able to secure an autograph (probably as part of a signed poem) and also invited Lawrence and Frieda to meet Davies in London on 28 July, under his supervision. Lawrence was immediately captivated by the poet and later invited Davies to join Frieda and him in Germany. Despite his early enthusiasm for Davies' work, however, Lawrence's opinion changed after reading Foliage and he commented after reading Nature Poems in Italy that they seemed ".. so thin, one can hardly feel them". Lawrence and Weekley soon went back to Italy, staying in a cottage in Fiascherino on the Gulf of Spezia. Here he started writing the first draft of a work of fiction that was to be transformed into two of his better-known novels, The Rainbow and Women in Love. While writing Women in Love in Cornwall during 1916–17, Lawrence developed a strong and possibly romantic relationship with a Cornish farmer named William Henry Hocking. Although it is not absolutely clear if their relationship was sexual, Lawrence's wife, Frieda Weekley, said she believed it was. Lawrence's fascination with themes of homosexuality could also be related to his own sexual orientation. This theme is also overtly manifested in Women in Love. Indeed, in a letter written during 1913, he writes, "I should like to know why nearly every man that approaches greatness tends to homosexuality, whether he admits it or not..." He is also quoted as saying, "I believe the nearest I've come to perfect love was with a young coal-miner when I was about 16." Eventually, Weekley obtained her divorce. The couple returned to Britain shortly before the outbreak of World War I and were married on 13 July 1914. In this time, Lawrence worked with London intellectuals and writers such as Dora Marsden and the people involved with The Egoist (T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and others). The Egoist, an important Modernist literary magazine, published some of his work. He was also reading and adapting Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto. He also met at this time the young Jewish artist Mark Gertler, and they became for a time good friends; Lawrence would describe Gertler's 1916 anti-war painting, 'The Merry-Go-Round' as 'the best modern picture I have seen: I think it is great and true.' Gertler would inspire the character Loerke (a sculptor) in Women in Love. Weekley's German parentage and Lawrence's open contempt for militarism meant that they were viewed with suspicion in wartime Britain and lived in near destitution. The Rainbow (1915) was suppressed after an investigation into its alleged obscenity in 1915. Later, they were accused of spying and signalling to German submarines off the coast of Cornwall where they lived at Zennor. During this period he finished Women in Love. In it Lawrence explores the destructive features of contemporary civilization through the evolving relationships of four major characters as they reflect upon the value of the arts, politics, economics, sexual experience, friendship and marriage. This book is a bleak, bitter vision of humanity and proved impossible to publish in wartime conditions. Not published until 1920, it is now widely recognised as an English novel of great dramatic force and intellectual subtlety. In late 1917, after constant harassment by the armed forces authorities, Lawrence was forced to leave Cornwall at three days' notice under the terms of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). This persecution was later described in an autobiographical chapter of his Australian novel Kangaroo, published in 1923. He spent some months in early 1918 in the small, rural village of Hermitage near Newbury, Berkshire. He then lived for just under a year (mid-1918 to early 1919) at Mountain Cottage, Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, where he wrote one of his most poetic short stories, The Wintry Peacock. Until 1919 he was compelled by poverty to shift from address to address and barely survived a severe attack of influenza. Exile After the traumatic experience of the war years, Lawrence began what he termed his 'savage pilgrimage', a time of voluntary exile. He escaped from Britain at the earliest practical opportunity, to return only twice for brief visits, and with his wife spent the remainder of his life travelling. This wanderlust took him to Australia, Italy, Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), the United States, Mexico and the South of France. Lawrence abandoned Britain in November 1919 and headed south, first to the Abruzzi region in central Italy and then onwards to Capri and the Fontana Vecchia in Taormina, Sicily. From Sicily he made brief excursions to Sardinia, Monte Cassino, Malta, Northern Italy, Austria and Southern Germany. Many of these places appeared in his writings. New novels included The Lost Girl (for which he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction), Aaron's Rod and the fragment titled Mr Noon (the first part of which was published in the Phoenix anthology of his works, and the entirety in 1984). He experimented with shorter novels or novellas, such as The Captain's Doll, The Fox and The Ladybird. In addition, some of his short stories were issued in the collection England, My England and Other Stories. During these years he produced a number of poems about the natural world in Birds, Beasts and Flowers. Lawrence is widely recognised as one of the finest travel writers in the English language. Sea and Sardinia, a book that describes a brief journey from Taormina undertaken in January 1921, is a recreation of the life of the inhabitants of this part of the Mediterranean. Less well known is the brilliant memoir of Maurice Magnus, Memoirs of the Foreign Legion, in which Lawrence recalls his visit to the monastery of Monte Cassino. Other non-fiction books include two responses to Freudian psychoanalysis and Movements in European History, a school textbook that was published under a pseudonym, a reflection of his blighted reputation in Britain. Later life and career In late February 1922 the Lawrences left Europe behind with the intention of migrating to the United States. They sailed in an easterly direction, first to Ceylon and then on to Australia. A short residence in Darlington, Western Australia, which included an encounter with local writer Mollie Skinner, was followed by a brief stop in the small coastal town of Thirroul, New South Wales, during which Lawrence completed Kangaroo, a novel about local fringe politics that also revealed a lot about his wartime experiences in Cornwall. The Lawrences finally arrived in the US in September 1922. Here they encountered Mabel Dodge Luhan, a prominent socialite, and considered establishing a utopian community on what was then known as the 160-acre (0. km2) Kiowa Ranch near Taos, New Mexico. After arriving in Lamy, New Mexico, via train, they acquired the property, now called the D. H. Lawrence Ranch, in 1924 in exchange for the manuscript of Sons and Lovers. He stayed in New Mexico for two years, with extended visits to Lake Chapala and Oaxaca in Mexico. While Lawrence was in New Mexico, he was visited by Aldous Huxley. While in the U.S., Lawrence rewrote and published Studies in Classic American Literature, a set of critical essays begun in 1917, and later described by Edmund Wilson as "one of the few first-rate books that have ever been written on the subject." These interpretations, with their insights into symbolism, New England Transcendentalism and the puritan sensibility, were a significant factor in the revival of the reputation of Herman Melville during the early 1920s. In addition, Lawrence completed a number of new fictional works, including The Boy in the Bush, The Plumed Serpent, St Mawr, The Woman who Rode Away, The Princess and assorted short stories. He also found time to produce some more travel writing, such as the collection of linked excursions that became Mornings in Mexico. A brief voyage to England at the end of 1923 was a failure and he soon returned to Taos, convinced that his life as an author now lay in America. However, in March 1925 he suffered a near fatal attack of malaria and tuberculosis while on a third visit to Mexico. Although he eventually recovered, the diagnosis of his condition obliged him to return once again to Europe. He was dangerously ill and the poor health limited his ability to travel for the remainder of his life. The Lawrences made their home in a villa in Northern Italy, living near Florence while he wrote The Virgin and the Gipsy and the various versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928). The latter book, his last major novel, was initially published in private editions in Florence and Paris and reinforced his notoriety. Lawrence responded robustly to those who claimed to be offended, penning a large number of satirical poems, published under the title of "Pansies" and "Nettles", as well as a tract on Pornography and Obscenity. The return to Italy allowed Lawrence to renew old friendships; during these years he was particularly close to Aldous Huxley, who was to edit the first collection of Lawrence's letters after his death, along with a memoir. With artist Earl Brewster, Lawrence visited a number of local archaeological sites in April 1927. The resulting essays describing these visits to old tombs were written up and collected together as Sketches of Etruscan Places, a book that contrasts the lively past with Benito Mussolini's fascism. Lawrence continued to produce fiction, including short stories and The Escaped Cock (also published as The Man Who Died), an unorthodox reworking of the story of Jesus Christ's Resurrection. During these final years Lawrence renewed a serious interest in oil painting. Official harassment persisted and an exhibition of some of these pictures at the Warren Gallery in London was raided by the police in mid 1929 and a number of works were confiscated. Nine of the Lawrence oils have been on permanent display in the La Fonda Hotel in Taos since shortly after Frieda's death. They hang in a small gallery just off the main lobby and are available for viewing. Death Lawrence continued to write despite his failing health. In his last months he wrote numerous poems, reviews and essays, as well as a robust defence of his last novel against those who sought to suppress it. His last significant work was a reflection on the Book of Revelation, Apocalypse. After being discharged from a sanatorium, he died at the Villa Robermond in Vence, France, from complications of tuberculosis. Frieda Weekley commissioned an elaborate headstone for his grave bearing a mosaic of his adopted emblem of the phoenix. After Lawrence's death, Frieda married Angelo Ravagli. She returned to live on the ranch in Taos and later her third husband brought Lawrence's ashes to be interred there in a small chapel set amid the mountains of New Mexico. The headstone has recently been donated to D. H. Lawrence Heritage and is now on display in the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum in his home town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. Views Critic and admirer Terry Eagleton situates Lawrence on the radical right wing, as hostile to democracy, liberalism, socialism, and egalitarianism, though never actually embracing fascism. Some of Lawrence's beliefs can be seen in his letters to Bertrand Russell around the year 1915, where he voices his opposition to enfranchising the working class, his hostility to the burgeoning labour movements, and disparages the French Revolution, referring to "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" as the "three-fanged serpent." Rather than a republic, Lawrence called for an absolute Dictator and equivalent Dictatrix to lord over the lower peoples. Lawrence continued throughout his life to develop his highly personal philosophy. His unpublished introduction to Sons and Lovers established the duality central to much of his fiction. This is done with reference to the Holy Trinity. As his philosophy develops, Lawrence moves away from more direct Christian analogies and instead touches upon Mysticism, Buddhism, and Pagan theologies. In some respects, Lawrence was a forerunner of the growing interest in the occult that occurred in the 20th century. Novels Lawrence is perhaps best known for his novels Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover. Within these Lawrence explores the possibilities for life and living within an industrial setting. In particular Lawrence is concerned with the nature of relationships that can be had within such settings. Though often classed as a realist, Lawrence's use of his characters can be better understood with reference to his philosophy. His depiction of sexual activity, though shocking at the time, has its roots in this highly personal way of thinking and being. It is worth noting that Lawrence was very interested in human touch behaviour (see Haptics) and that his interest in physical intimacy has its roots in a desire to restore our emphasis on the body, and re-balance it with what he perceived to be western civilisation's slow process of over-emphasis on the mind. In his later years Lawrence developed the potentialities of the short novel form in St Mawr, The Virgin and the Gypsy and The Escaped Cock. Short stories Lawrence's best-known short stories include The Captain's Doll, The Fox, The Ladybird, Odour of Chrysanthemums, The Princess, The Rocking-Horse Winner, St Mawr, The Virgin and the Gypsy and The Woman who Rode Away. (The Virgin and the Gypsy was published as a novella after he died.) Among his most praised collections is The Prussian Officer and Other Stories, published in 1914. His collection The Woman Who Rode Away and Other Stories, published in 1928, develops his themes of leadership that he also explored in novels such as Kangaroo, The Plumed Serpent and Fanny and Annie. Poetry Although best known for his novels, Lawrence wrote almost 800 poems, most of them relatively short. His first poems were written in 1904 and two of his poems, Dreams Old and Dreams Nascent, were among his earliest published works in The English Review. His early works clearly place him in the school of Georgian poets, a group not only named after the reigning monarch but also to the romantic poets of the previous Georgian period whose work they were trying to emulate. What typified the entire movement, and Lawrence's poems of the time, were well-worn poetic tropes and deliberately archaic language. Many of these poems displayed what John Ruskin referred to as the pathetic fallacy, the tendency to ascribe human emotions to animals and even inanimate objects. Just as the First World War dramatically changed the work of many of the poets who saw service in the trenches, Lawrence's own work saw a dramatic change, during his years in Cornwall. During this time, he wrote free verse influenced by Walt Whitman. He set forth his manifesto for much of his later verse in the introduction to New Poems. "We can get rid of the stereotyped movements and the old hackneyed associations of sound or sense. We can break down those artificial conduits and canals through which we do so love to force our utterance. We can break the stiff neck of habit...But we cannot positively prescribe any motion, any rhythm." Lawrence rewrote many of his novels several times to perfect them and similarly he returned to some of his early poems when they were collected in 1928. This was in part to fictionalise them, but also to remove some of the artifice of his first works. As he put in himself: "A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his hand over the demon's mouth sometimes and speaks for him." His best known poems are probably those dealing with nature such as those in Birds Beasts and Flowers and Tortoises. Snake, one of his most frequently anthologised, displays some of his most frequent concerns; those of man's modern distance from nature and subtle hints at religious themes. In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree I came down the steps with my pitcher And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me. (Excerpt, "Snake") Look! We have come through! is his other work from the period of the end of the war and it reveals another important element common to much of his writings; his inclination to lay himself bare in his writings. Although Lawrence could be regarded as a writer of love poems, his usually deal in the less romantic aspects of love such as sexual frustration or the sex act itself. Ezra Pound in his Literary Essays complained of Lawrence's interest in his own "disagreeable sensations" but praised him for his "low-life narrative." This is a reference to Lawrence's dialect poems akin to the Scots poems of Robert Burns, in which he reproduced the language and concerns of the people of Nottinghamshire from his youth. Tha thought tha wanted ter be rid o' me. 'Appen tha did, an' a'. Tha thought tha wanted ter marry an' se If ter couldna be master an' th' woman's boss, Tha'd need a woman different from me, An' tha knowed it; ay, yet tha comes across Ter say goodbye! an' a'. (Excerpt, "The Drained Cup") Although Lawrence's works after his Georgian period are clearly in the modernist tradition, they were often very different to many other modernist writers, such as Pound. Modernist works were often austere in which every word was carefully worked on and hard-fought for. Lawrence felt all poems had to be personal sentiments and that spontaneity was vital for any work. He called one collection of poems Pansies, partly for the simple ephemeral nature of the verse but also as a pun on the French word panser, to dress or bandage a wound. "The Noble Englishman" and "Don't Look at Me" were removed from the official edition of Pansies on the grounds of obscenity, which he felt wounded by. Even though he lived most of the last ten years of his life abroad, his thoughts were often still on England. Published in 1930, just eleven days after his death, his last work Nettles was a series of bitter, nettling but often wry attacks on the moral climate of England. O the stale old dogs who pretend to guard the morals of the masses, how smelly they make the great back-yard wetting after everyone that passes. (Excerpt, "The Young and Their Moral Guardians") Two notebooks of Lawrence's unprinted verse were posthumously published as Last Poems and More Pansies. These contain two of Lawrence's most famous poems about death, Bavarian Gentians and The Ship of Death. Literary criticism Lawrence's criticism of other authors often provides great insight into his own thinking and writing. Of particular note is his Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays and Studies in Classic American Literature. In the latter, Lawrence's responses to Whitman, Melville and Edgar Allan Poe shed particular light on the nature of Lawrence's craft. Lady Chatterley trial A heavily censored abridgement of Lady Chatterley's Lover was published in America by Alfred A. Knopf in 1928. This edition was posthumously re-issued in paperback in America both by Signet Books and by Penguin Books in 1946. When the full unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover was published by Penguin Books in Britain in 1960, the trial of Penguin under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 became a major public event and a test of the new obscenity law. The 1959 act (introduced by Roy Jenkins) had made it possible for publishers to escape conviction if they could show that a work was of literary merit. One of the objections was to the frequent use of the word "fuck" and its derivatives and the word "cunt". Various academic critics and experts of diverse kinds, including E. M. Forster, Helen Gardner, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams and Norman St John-Stevas, were called as witnesses, and the verdict, delivered on 2 November 1960, was "not guilty". This resulted in a far greater degree of freedom for publishing explicit material in the UK. The prosecution was ridiculed for being out of touch with changing social norms when the chief prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, asked if it were the kind of book "you would wish your wife or servants to read". The Penguin second edition, published in 1961, contains a publisher's dedication, which reads: "For having published this book, Penguin Books were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, 1959 at the Old Bailey in London from 20 October to 2 November 1960. This edition is therefore dedicated to the twelve jurors, three women and nine men, who returned a verdict of 'Not Guilty' and thus made D. H. Lawrence's last novel available for the first time to the public in the United Kingdom." Posthumous reputation The obituaries shortly after Lawrence's death were, with the notable exception of E. M. Forster, unsympathetic or hostile. However, there were those who articulated a more favourable recognition of the significance of this author's life and works. For example, his longtime friend Catherine Carswell summed up his life in a letter to the periodical Time and Tide published on 16 March 1930. In response to his critics, she claimed: In the face of formidable initial disadvantages and life-long delicacy, poverty that lasted for three quarters of his life and hostility that survives his death, he did nothing that he did not really want to do, and all that he most wanted to do he did. He went all over the world, he owned a ranch, he lived in the most beautiful corners of Europe, and met whom he wanted to meet and told them that they were wrong and he was right. He painted and made things, and sang, and rode. He wrote something like three dozen books, of which even the worst page dances with life that could be mistaken for no other man's, while the best are admitted, even by those who hate him, to be unsurpassed. Without vices, with most human virtues, the husband of one wife, scrupulously honest, this estimable citizen yet managed to keep free from the shackles of civilization and the cant of literary cliques. He would have laughed lightly and cursed venomously in passing at the solemn owls—each one secretly chained by the leg—who now conduct his inquest. To do his work and lead his life in spite of them took some doing, but he did it, and long after they are forgotten, sensitive and innocent people—if any are left—will turn Lawrence's pages and will know from them what sort of a rare man Lawrence was. Aldous Huxley also defended Lawrence in his introduction to a collection of letters published in 1932. However, the most influential advocate of Lawrence's contribution to literature was the Cambridge literary critic F. R. Leavis who asserted that the author had made an important contribution to the tradition of English fiction. Leavis stressed that The Rainbow, Women in Love, and the short stories and tales were major works of art. Later, the Lady Chatterley Trial of 1960, and subsequent publication of the book, ensured Lawrence's popularity (and notoriety) with a wider public. Lawrence held seemingly contradictory views of feminism. The evidence of his written works indicates an overwhelming commitment to representing women as strong, independent and complex; he produced major works in which young, self-directing female characters were central. However, Harrison drew attention to the vein of sadism that runs through Lawrence's writing, and a number of feminist critics, notably Kate Millett, have criticised, indeed ridiculed Lawrence's sexual politics, Millett claiming that he uses his female characters as mouthpieces to promote his creed of male supremacy. This damaged his reputation in some quarters, although Norman Mailer came to Lawrence's defence in The Prisoner of Sex in 1971. Yet Lawrence continues to find an audience, and the ongoing publication of a new scholarly edition of his letters and writings has demonstrated the range of his achievement. Painting D. H. Lawrence had a lifelong interest in painting, which became one of his main forms of expression in his last years. These were exhibited at the Warren Gallery in London's Mayfair in 1929. The exhibition was extremely controversial, with many of the 13, people visiting mainly to gawk. The Daily Express claimed "Fight with an Amazon represents a hideous, bearded man holding a fair-haired woman in his lascivious grip while wolves with dripping jaws look on expectantly, [this] is frankly indecent", but several artists and art experts praised the paintings. Gwen John, reviewing the exhibition in Everyman, spoke of Lawrence's "stupendous gift of self-expression" and singled out The Finding of Moses, Red Willow Trees and Boccaccio Story as "pictures of real beauty and great vitality". Others singled out Contadini for special praise. After a complaint from a member of the public, the police seized thirteen of the twenty-five paintings on view (including Boccaccio Story and Contadini). Despite declarations of support from many writers, artists and members of parliament, Lawrence was able to recover his paintings only by undertaking never to exhibit them in England again. The largest collection of the paintings is now at La Fonda de Taos hotel in Taos, New Mexico. Several, including Boccaccio Story and Resurrection are at the Humanities Research Centre of the University of Texas at Austin. Poetry collections * Love Poems and others (1913) * Amores (1916) * Look! We have come through! (1917) * New Poems (1918) * Bay: a book of poems (1919) * Tortoises (1921) * Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923) * The Collected Poems of D H Lawrence (1928) * Pansies (1929) * Nettles (1930) * Last Poems (1932) * Fire and other poems (1940) References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._H._Lawrence

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal; he died on 22 November 1963—the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died. This has led to the date of his death often being overshadowed by that of Kennedy. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honoured with a memorial in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. Childhood Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 29 November 1898. His father was Albert James Lewis (1863–1929), a solicitor whose father, Richard, had come to Ireland from Wales during the mid-19th century. His mother was Florence Augusta Lewis, née Hamilton (1862–1908), known as Flora, the daughter of a Church of Ireland (Anglican) priest. He had an elder brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis. At the age of four, shortly after his dog Jacksie was killed by a car, he announced that his name was now Jacksie. At first, he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life. When he was seven, his family moved into "Little Lea", the family home of his childhood, in the Strandtown area of East Belfast. As a boy, Lewis had a fascination with anthropomorphic animals, falling in love with Beatrix Potter's stories and often writing and illustrating his own animal stories. He and his brother Warnie together created the world of Boxen, inhabited and run by animals. Lewis loved to read; and, as his father's house was filled with books, he felt that finding a book to read was as easy as walking into a field and "finding a new blade of grass”. Lewis was schooled by private tutors before being sent to the Wynyard School in Watford, Hertfordshire, in 1908, just after his mother's death from cancer. Lewis's brother had enrolled there three years previously. The school was closed not long afterwards due to a lack of pupils; the headmaster Robert "Oldie" Capron was soon after committed to a psychiatric hospital. Lewis then attended Campbell College in the east of Belfast about a mile from his home, but he left after a few months due to respiratory problems. He was then sent to the health-resort town of Malvern, Worcestershire, where he attended the preparatory school Cherbourg House, which Lewis calls "Chartres" in his autobiography. It was during this time that Lewis abandoned his childhood Christian faith and became an atheist, becoming interested in mythology and the occult. In September 1913, Lewis enrolled at Malvern College, where he remained until the following June. He found the school socially competitive. After leaving Malvern, he studied privately with William T. Kirkpatrick, his father's old tutor and former headmaster of Lurgan College. As a teenager, he was wonder-struck by the songs and legends of what he called Northernness, the ancient literature of Scandinavia preserved in the Icelandic sagas. These legends intensified an inner longing he later called "joy". He also grew to love nature; its beauty reminded him of the stories of the North, and the stories of the North reminded him of the beauties of nature. His teenage writings moved away from the tales of Boxen, and he began using different art forms (epic poetry and opera) to try to capture his new-found interest in Norse mythology and the natural world. Studying with Kirkpatrick ("The Great Knock", as Lewis afterwards called him) instilled in him a love of Greek literature and mythology and sharpened his skills in debate and sound reasoning. In 1916, Lewis was awarded a scholarship at University College, Oxford. Before he was allowed to attend Oxford, Lewis was conscripted into the First World War. His experience of the horror of war confirmed his atheism. "My Irish life” Lewis experienced a certain cultural shock on first arriving in England: "No Englishman will be able to understand my first impressions of England", Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy, continuing, "The strange English accents with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons. But what was worst was the English landscape ... I have made up the quarrel since; but at that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal." From boyhood, Lewis immersed himself firstly in Norse, Greek, and, later, in Irish mythology and literature and expressed an interest in the Irish language, though there is not much evidence that he laboured to learn it. He developed a particular fondness for W. B. Yeats, in part because of Yeats's use of Ireland's Celtic heritage in poetry. In a letter to a friend, Lewis wrote, "I have here discovered an author exactly after my own heart, whom I am sure you would delight in, W. B. Yeats. He writes plays and poems of rare spirit and beauty about our old Irish mythology". In 1921, Lewis met Yeats twice, since Yeats had moved to Oxford. Surprised to find his English peers indifferent to Yeats and the Celtic Revival movement, Lewis wrote: "I am often surprised to find how utterly ignored Yeats is among the men I have met: perhaps his appeal is purely Irish – if so, then thank the gods that I am Irish." Early in his career, Lewis considered sending his work to the major Dublin publishers, writing: "If I do ever send my stuff to a publisher, I think I shall try Maunsel, those Dublin people, and so tack myself definitely onto the Irish school." After his conversion to Christianity, his interests gravitated towards Christian spirituality and away from pagan Celtic mysticism. Lewis occasionally expressed a somewhat tongue-in-cheek chauvinism toward the English. Describing an encounter with a fellow Irishman, he wrote: "Like all Irish people who meet in England, we ended by criticisms on the invincible flippancy and dullness of the Anglo-Saxon race. After all, there is no doubt, ami, that the Irish are the only people: with all their faults, I would not gladly live or die among another folk". Throughout his life, he sought out the company of other Irish people living in England and visited Northern Ireland regularly, even spending his honeymoon there in 1958 at the Old Inn, Crawfordsburn. He called this "my Irish life". Various critics have suggested that it was Lewis's dismay over sectarian conflict in his native Belfast that led him to eventually adopt such an ecumenical brand of Christianity.[20] As one critic has said, Lewis "repeatedly extolled the virtues of all branches of the Christian faith, emphasising a need for unity among Christians around what the Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton called 'Mere Christianity', the core doctrinal beliefs that all denominations share." On the other hand, Paul Stevens of the University of Toronto has written that "Lewis's mere Christianity masked many of the political prejudices of an old-fashioned Ulster Protestant, a native of middle-class Belfast for whom British withdrawal from Northern Ireland even in the 1950s and 1960s was unthinkable”. References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis

Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb (London, 10 February 1775 – Edmonton, 27 December 1834) was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847). Lamb has been referred to by E.V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as "the most lovable figure in English literature”. Youth and schooling Lamb was the son of Elizabeth Field and John Lamb. Lamb was the youngest child, with an 11 year older sister Mary, an even older brother John, and 4 other siblings who did not survive their infancy. John Lamb (father), who was a lawyer's clerk, spent most of his professional life as the assistant and servant to a barrister by the name of Samuel Salt who lived in the Inner Temple in London. It was there in the Inner Temple in Crown Office Row, that Charles Lamb was born and spent his youth. Lamb created a portrait of his father in his "Elia on the Old Benchers" under the name Lovel. Lamb's older brother was too much his senior to be a youthful companion to the boy but his sister Mary, being born eleven years before him, was probably his closest playmate. Lamb was also cared for by his paternal aunt Hetty, who seems to have had a particular fondness for him. A number of writings by both Charles and Mary suggest that the conflict between Aunt Hetty and her sister-in-law created a certain degree of tension in the Lamb household. However, Charles speaks fondly of her and her presence in the house seems to have brought a great deal of comfort to him. Some of Lamb's fondest childhood memories were of time spent with Mrs. Field, his maternal grandmother, who was for many years a servant to the Plummer family, who owned a large country house called Blakesware, near Widford, Hertfordshire. After the death of Mrs. Plummer, Lamb's grandmother was in sole charge of the large home and, as Mr. Plummer was often absent, Charles had free rein of the place during his visits. A picture of these visits can be glimpsed in the Elia essay Blakesmoor in H—shire. "Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it. The tapestried [sic] bed-rooms – tapestry so much better than painting – not adorning merely, but peopling the wainscots – at which childhood ever and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlid (replaced as quickly) to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter with those stern bright visages, staring reciprocally – all Ovid on the walls, in colours vivider than his descriptions.” Little is known about Charles's life before the age of seven. We know that Mary taught him to read at a very early age and he read voraciously. It is believed that he suffered from smallpox during his early years which forced him into a long period of convalescence. After this period of recovery Lamb began to take lessons from Mrs. Reynolds, a woman who lived in the Temple and is believed to have been the former wife of a lawyer. Mrs. Reynolds must have been a sympathetic schoolmistress because Lamb maintained a relationship with her throughout his life and she is known to have attended dinner parties held by Mary and Charles in the 1820s. E.V. Lucas suggests that sometime in 1781 Charles left Mrs. Reynolds and began to study at the Academy of William Bird. His time with William Bird did not last long, however, because by October 1782 Lamb was enrolled in Christ's Hospital, a charity boarding school chartered by King Edward VI in 1552. Christ's Hospital was a traditional English boarding school; bleak and full of violence. The headmaster, Mr. Boyer, has become famous for his teaching in Latin and Greek, but also for his brutality. A thorough record of Christ's Hospital in Several essays by Lamb as well as the Autobiography of Leigh Hunt and the Biographia Literaria of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom Charles developed a friendship that would last for their entire lives. Despite the brutality Lamb got along well at Christ's Hospital, due in part, perhaps, to the fact that his home was not far distant thus enabling him, unlike many other boys, to return often to the safety of home. Years later, in his essay "Christ’s Hospital Five and Thirty Years Ago," Lamb described these events, speaking of himself in the third person as "L.” “I remember L. at school; and can well recollect that he had some peculiar advantages, which I and other of his schoolfellows had not. His friends lived in town, and were near at hand; and he had the privilege of going to see them, almost as often as he wished, through some invidious distinction, which was denied to us.” Christ's Hospital was a typical English boarding school and many students later wrote of the terrible violence they suffered there. The upper master of the school from 1778 to 1799 was Reverend James Boyer, a man renowned for his unpredictable and capricious temper. In one famous story Boyer was said to have knocked one of Leigh Hunt's teeth out by throwing a copy of Homer at him from across the room. Lamb seemed to have escaped much of this brutality, in part because of his amiable personality and in part because Samuel Salt, his father's employer and Lamb's sponsor at the school was one of the institute's Governors. Charles Lamb suffered from a stutter and this "an inconquerable impediment" in his speech deprived him of Grecian status at Christ's Hospital and thus disqualifying him for a clerical career. While Coleridge and other scholarly boys were able to go on to Cambridge, Lamb left school at fourteen and was forced to find a more prosaic career. For a short time he worked in the office of Joseph Paice, a London merchant and then, for 23 weeks, until 8 February 1792, held a small post in the Examiner's Office of the South Sea House. Its subsequent downfall in a pyramid scheme after Lamb left would be contrasted to the company's prosperity in the first Elia essay. On 5 April 1792 he went to work in the Accountant's Office for British East India Company, the death of his father's employer having ruined the family's fortunes.Charles would continue to work there for 25 years, until his retirement with pension. In 1792 while tending to his grandmother, Mary Field, in Hertfordshire, Charles Lamb fell in love with a young woman named Ann Simmons. Although no epistolary record exists of the relationship between the two, Lamb seems to have spent years wooing Miss Simmons. The record of the love exists in several accounts of Lamb's writing. Rosamund Gray is a story of a young man named Allen Clare who loves Rosamund Gray but their relationship comes to nothing because of the sudden death of Miss Gray. Miss Simmons also appears in several Elia essays under the name "Alice M." The essays "Dream Children," "New Year's Eve," and several others, speak of the many years that Lamb spent pursuing his love that ultimately failed. Miss Simmons eventually went on to marry a silversmith by the name of Bartram and Lamb called the failure of the affair his 'great disappointment. Family tragedy Charles and his sister Mary both suffered periods of mental illness. Charles spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital during 1795. He was, however, already making his name as a poet. On 22 September 1796, a terrible event occurred: Mary, "worn down to a state of extreme nervous misery by attention to needlework by day and to her mother at night," was seized with acute mania and stabbed her mother to the heart with a table knife. Although there was no legal status of 'insanity' at the time, a jury returned a verdict of 'Lunacy' and therefore freed her from guilt of willful murder. With the help of friends Lamb succeeded in obtaining his sister's release from what would otherwise have been lifelong imprisonment, on the condition that he take personal responsibility for her safekeeping. Lamb used a large part of his relatively meagre income to keep his beloved sister in a private 'madhouse' in Islington called Fisher House. The 1799 death of John Lamb was something of a relief to Charles because his father had been mentally incapacitated for a number of years since suffering a stroke. The death of his father also meant that Mary could come to live again with him in Pentonville, and in 1800 they set up a shared home at Mitre Court Buildings in the Temple, where they lived until 1809. Despite Lamb's bouts of melancholia and alcoholism, both he and his sister enjoyed an active and rich social life. Their London quarters became a kind of weekly salon for many of the most outstanding theatrical and literary figures of the day. Charles Lamb, having been to school with Samuel Coleridge, counted Coleridge as perhaps his closest, and certainly his oldest, friend. On his deathbed, Coleridge had a mourning ring sent to Lamb and his sister. Fortuitously, Lamb's first publication was in 1796, when four sonnets by "Mr. Charles Lamb of the India House" appeared in Coleridge's Poems on Various Subjects. In 1797 he contributed additional blank verse to the second edition, and met the Wordsworths, William and Dorothy, on his short summer holiday with Coleridge at Nether Stowey, thereby also striking up a lifelong friendship with William. In London, Lamb became familiar with a group of young writers who favoured political reform, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Hazlitt, and Leigh Hunt. Lamb continued to clerk for the East India Company and doubled as a writer in various genres, his tragedy, John Woodvil, being published in 1802. His farce, Mr H, was performed at Drury Lane in 1807, where it was roundly booed. In the same year, Tales from Shakespeare (Charles handled the tragedies; his sister Mary, the comedies) was published, and became a best seller for William Godwin's "Children's Library." In 1819, at age 44, Lamb, who, because of family commitments, had never married, fell in love with an actress, Fanny Kelly, of Covent Garden, and proposed marriage. She refused him, and he died a bachelor. His collected essays, under the title Essays of Elia, were published in 1823 ("Elia" being the pen name Lamb used as a contributor to the London Magazine). A further collection was published ten years or so later, shortly before Lamb's death. He died of a streptococcal infection, erysipelas, contracted from a minor graze on his face sustained after slipping in the street, on 27 December 1834, just a few months after Coleridge. He was 59. From 1833 till their deaths Charles and Mary lived at Bay Cottage, Church Street, Edmonton north of London (now part of the London Borough of Enfield. Lamb is buried in All Saints' Churchyard, Edmonton. His sister, who was ten years his senior, survived him for more than a dozen years. She is buried beside him. Work Lamb's first publication was the inclusion of four sonnets in the Coleridge's Poems on Various Subjects published in 1796 by Joseph Cottle. The sonnets were significantly influenced by the poems of Burns and the sonnets of William Bowles, a largely forgotten poet of the late 18th century. His poems garnered little attention and are seldom read today. Lamb's contributions to the second edition of the Poems showed significant growth as a poet. These poems included The Tomb of Douglas and A Vision of Repentance. Because of a temporary fall-out with Coleridge, Lamb's poems were to be excluded in the third edition of the Poems. As it turned out, a third edition never emerged and instead Coleridge's next publication was the monumentally influential Lyrical Ballads co-published with Wordsworth. Lamb, on the other hand, published a book entitled Blank Verse with Charles Lloyd, the mentally unstable son of the founder of Lloyd's Bank. Lamb's most famous poem was written at this time entitled The Old Familiar Faces. Like most of Lamb's poems it is particularly sentimental but it is still remembered and widely read, often included in Poetic Collections. Of particular interest to Lambarians is the opening verse of the original version of The Old Familiar Faces which is concerned with Lamb's mother. It was a verse that Lamb chose to remove from the edition of his Collected Work published in 1818. I had a mother, but she died, and left me, Died prematurely in a day of horrors - All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. From a fairly young age Lamb desired to be a poet but never gained the success that he had hoped. Lamb lived under the poetic shadow of his friend Coleridge. In the final years of the 18th century Lamb began to work on prose with the novella entitled Rosamund Gray, a story of a young girl who was thought to be inspired by Ann Simmonds, with whom Charles Lamb was thought to be in love. Although the story is not particularly successful as a narrative because of Lamb's poor sense of plot, it was well thought of by Lamb's contemporaries and led Shelley to observe “what a lovely thing is Rosamund Gray! How much knowledge of the sweetest part of our nature in it!" (Quoted in Barnett, page 50) n the first years of the 19th century Lamb began his fruitful literary cooperation with his sister Mary. Together they wrote at least three books for William Godwin’s Juvenile Library. The most successful of these was of course Tales From Shakespeare which ran through two editions for Godwin and has now been published dozens of times in countless editions, many of them illustrated. Lamb also contributed a footnote to Shakespearean studies at this time with his essay "On the Tragedies of Shakespeare," in which he argues that Shakespeare should be read rather than performed in order to gain the proper effect of his dramatic genius. Beside contributing to Shakespeare studies with his book Tales From Shakespeare, Lamb also contributed to the popularization of Shakespeare's contemporaries with his book Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets Who Lived About the Time of Shakespeare. Although he did not write his first Elia essay until 1820, Lamb’s gradual perfection of the essay form for which he eventually became famous began as early 1802 in a series of open letters to Leigh Hunt’s Reflector. The most famous of these is called "The Londoner" in which Lamb famously derides the contemporary fascination with nature and the countryside. Legacy Anne Fadiman notes regretfully that Lamb is not widely read in modern times: "I do not understand why so few other readers are clamoring for his company... [he] is kept alive largely through the tenuous resuscitations of university English departments." Lamb was honoured by The Latymer School, a grammar school in Edmonton, a suburb of London where he lived for a time; it has six houses, one of which, "Lamb", is named after Charles. Selected works * Blank Verse, poetry, 1798 * A Tale of Rosamund Gray, and old blind Margaret, 1798 * John Woodvil, poetic drama, 1802 * Tales from Shakespeare, 1807 * The Adventures of Ulysses, 1808 * Specimens of English Dramatic poets who lived about the time of Shakespeare, 1808 * On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, 1811 * Witches and Other Night Fears, 1821 * The Pawnbroker's Daughter, 1825 * Eliana, 1867 * Essays of Elia, 1823 * The Last Essays of Elia, 1833 References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lamb

James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell (/ˈloʊəl/; February 22, 1819– August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets. These poets usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside. Lowell graduated from Harvard College in 1838, despite his reputation as a troublemaker, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. He published his first collection of poetry in 1841 and married Maria White in 1844. He and his wife had several children, though only one survived past childhood. The couple soon became involved in the movement to abolish slavery, with Lowell using poetry to express his anti-slavery views and taking a job in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the editor of an abolitionist newspaper. After moving back to Cambridge, Lowell was one of the founders of a journal called The Pioneer, which lasted only three issues. He gained notoriety in 1848 with the publication of A Fable for Critics, a book-length poem satirizing contemporary critics and poets. The same year, he published The Biglow Papers, which increased his fame. He went on to publish several other poetry collections and essay collections throughout his literary career. Maria White died in 1853, and Lowell accepted a professorship of languages at Harvard in 1854; he continued to teach there for twenty years. He traveled to Europe before officially assuming his role in 1856. He married his second wife, Frances Dunlap, shortly thereafter in 1857. That year Lowell also became editor of The Atlantic Monthly. It was not until 20 years later that Lowell received his first political appointment, the ambassadorship to the Kingdom of Spain. He was later appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. He spent his last years in Cambridge, in the same estate where he was born, and died there in 1891. Lowell believed that the poet played an important role as a prophet and critic of society. He used poetry for reform, particularly in abolitionism. However, Lowell’s commitment to the anti-slavery cause wavered over the years, as did his opinion on African-Americans. Lowell attempted to emulate the true Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters, particularly in The Biglow Papers. This depiction of the dialect, as well as Lowell’s many satires, was an inspiration to writers like Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken. Biography Early life The first of the Lowell family ancestors to come to the United States from Britain was Percival Lowle, who settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1639. James Russell Lowell was born February 22, 1819, the son of the Reverend Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. (1782–1861), a minister at a Unitarian church in Boston, who had previously studied theology at Edinburgh, and Harriett Brackett Spence Lowell. By the time James Russell Lowell was born, the family owned a large estate in Cambridge called Elmwood. He was the youngest of six children; his siblings were Charles, Rebecca, Mary, William, and Robert. Lowell’s mother built in him an appreciation for literature at an early age, especially in poetry, ballads, and tales from her native Orkney. He attended school under Sophia Dana, who would later marry George Ripley, and later studied at a school run by a particularly harsh disciplinarian, where one of his classmates was Richard Henry Dana, Jr. Beginning in 1834, at the age of 15, Lowell attended Harvard College, though he was not a good student and often got into trouble. In his sophomore year alone, he was absent from required chapel attendance 14 times and from classes 56 times. In his last year there, he wrote, “During Freshman year, I did nothing, during Sophomore year I did nothing, during Junior year I did nothing, and during Senior year I have thus far done nothing in the way of college studies.” In his senior year, he became one of the editors of Harvardiana literary magazine, to which he contributed prose and poetry that he admitted was of low quality. As he said later, "I was as great an ass as ever brayed & thought it singing." During his undergraduate years, Lowell was a member of Hasty Pudding and served both as Secretary and Poet. Lowell was elected the poet of the class of 1838 and, as was tradition, was asked to recite an original poem on Class Day, the day before Commencement, on July 17, 1838. Lowell, however, was suspended and not allowed to participate. Instead, his poem was printed and made available thanks to subscriptions paid by his classmates. Lowell had composed the poem in Concord, Massachusetts, where, because of his neglect of his studies, he had been exiled by the Harvard faculty to the care of the Rev. Barzallai Frost. During his stay in Concord, he became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and got to know the other Transcendentalists. The poem satirized the social movements of the day; abolitionists, Thomas Carlyle, Emerson, and the Transcendentalists were treated. Not knowing what vocation to choose after graduating, he vacillated among business, the ministry, medicine, and law. Having decided to practice law, he enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1840 and was admitted to the bar two years later. While studying law, however, he contributed poems and prose articles to various magazines. During this time, Lowell was admittedly depressed and often had suicidal thoughts. He once confided to a friend that he held a cocked pistol to his forehead and considered killing himself at the age of 20. Marriage and family In late 1839, Lowell met Maria White through her brother William, a classmate of his at Harvard, and the two became engaged in the autumn of 1840. Maria’s father Abijah White, a wealthy merchant from Watertown, insisted that their wedding be postponed until Lowell had gainful employment. They were finally married on December 26, 1844, shortly after the groom published Conversations on the Old Poets, a collection of his previously published essays. A friend described their relationship as “the very picture of a True Marriage.” Lowell himself believed she was made up “half of earth and more than half of Heaven.” Like Lowell, she wrote poetry, and the next twelve years of Lowell’s life were deeply affected by her influence. He said his first book of poetry, A Year’s Life (1841), “owes all its beauty to her,” though it only sold 300 copies. Her character and beliefs led her to become involved in the movements directed against intemperance and slavery. Maria was a member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and persuaded her husband to become an abolitionist. James had previously expressed antislavery sentiments, but Maria urged him towards more active expression and involvement. His second volume of poems, Miscellaneous Poems, expressed these antislavery thoughts and its 1,500 copies sold well. Maria was in poor health, and thinking her lungs could heal there, the couple moved to Philadelphia shortly after their marriage. In Philadelphia, he became a contributing editor for the Pennsylvania Freeman, an abolitionist newspaper. In the spring of 1845, the Lowells returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to make their home at Elmwood. They had four children, though only one (Mabel, born 1847) survived past infancy. Their first, Blanche, was born December 31, 1845, but lived only fifteen months; Rose, born in 1849, survived only a few months as well; their only son, Walter, was born in 1850 but died in 1852. Lowell was very affected by the loss of almost all of his children. His grief over the death of his first daughter in particular was expressed in his poem “The First Snowfall” (1847). Again, Lowell considered suicide, writing to a friend that he thought “of my razors and my throat and that I am a fool and a coward not to end it all at once.” Literary career Lowell’s earliest poems were published without remuneration in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1840. Lowell, inspired to new efforts towards self-support, joined with his friend Robert Carter in founding a literary journal, The Pioneer. The periodical was distinguished by the fact that most of its content was new rather than material that had been previously published elsewhere, and by the inclusion of very serious criticism, which covered not only literature but also art and music. Lowell wrote that it would “furnish the intelligent and reflecting portion of the Reading Public with a rational substitute for the enormous quantity of thrice-diluted trash, in the shape of namby-pamby love tales and sketches, which is monthly poured out to them by many of our popular Magazines.” William Wetmore Story noted the journal’s higher taste, writing that "it took some stand & appealled to a higher intellectual Standard than our puerile milk or watery namby-pamby Mags with which we are overrun." The first issue of the journal included the first appearance of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Lowell, shortly after the first issue, was treated for an eye disease in New York, and in his absence Carter did a poor job of managing the journal. After three monthly numbers, beginning in January 1843, the magazine ceased publication, leaving Lowell $1,800 in debt. Poe mourned the journal’s demise, calling it “a most severe blow to the cause—the cause of a Pure Taste.” Despite the failure of The Pioneer, Lowell continued his interest in the literary world. He wrote a series on “Anti-Slavery in the United States” for the London Daily News, though his series was discontinued by the editors after four articles in May 1846. Lowell had published these articles anonymously, believing they would have more impact if they were not known to be the work of a committed abolitionist. In the spring of 1848 he formed a connection with the National Anti-Slavery Standard of New York, agreeing to contribute weekly either a poem or a prose article. After only one year, he was asked to contribute half as often to the Standard to make room for contributions from Edmund Quincy, another writer and reformer. A Fable for Critics, one of Lowell’s most popular works, was published in 1848. A satire, it was published anonymously. It proved popular, and the first three thousand copies sold out quickly. In it, Lowell took good-natured jabs at his contemporary poets and critics. Not all the subjects included were pleased, however. Edgar Allan Poe, who had been referred to as part genius and “two-fifths sheer fudge,” reviewed the work in the Southern Literary Messenger and called it “'loose’—ill-conceived and feebly executed, as well in detail as in general.... we confess some surprise at his putting forth so unpolished a performance.” Lowell offered the profits from the book’s success, which proved relatively small, to his New York friend Charles Frederick Briggs, despite his own financial needs. In 1848, Lowell also published The Biglow Papers, later named by the Grolier Club as the most influential book of 1848. The first 1,500 copies sold out within a week and a second edition was soon issued, though Lowell made no profit, having had to absorb the cost of stereotyping the book himself. The book presented three main characters, each representing different aspects of American life and using authentic American dialects in their dialogue. Under the surface, The Biglow Papers was also a denunciation of the Mexican–American War and war in general. First trip to Europe In 1850, Lowell’s mother died unexpectedly, as did his third daughter, Rose. Her death left Lowell depressed and reclusive for six months, despite the birth of his son Walter by the end of the year. He wrote to a friend that death “is a private tutor. We have no fellow-scholars, and must lay our lessons to heart alone.” These personal troubles as well as the Compromise of 1850 inspired Lowell to accept an offer from William Wetmore Story to spend a winter in Italy. To pay for the trip, Lowell sold land around Elmwood, intending to sell off further acres of the estate over time to supplement his income, ultimately selling off 25 of the original 30 acres (120,000 m2). Walter died suddenly in Rome of cholera, and Lowell and his wife, with their daughter Mabel, returned to the United States in October 1852. Lowell published recollections of his journey in several magazines, many of which would be collected years later as Fireside Travels (1867). He also edited volumes with biographical sketches for a series on British Poets. His wife Maria, who had been suffering from poor health for many years, became very ill in the spring of 1853 and died on October 27 of tuberculosis. Just before her burial, her coffin was opened so that her daughter Mabel could see her face while Lowell “leaned for a long while against a tree weeping,” according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife, who were in attendance. In 1855, Lowell oversaw the publication of a memorial volume of his wife’s poetry, with only fifty copies for private circulation. Despite his self-described “naturally joyous” nature, life for Lowell at Elmwood was further complicated by his father becoming deaf in his old age, and the deteriorating mental state of his sister Rebecca, who sometimes went a week without speaking. He again cut himself off from others, becoming reclusive at Elmwood, and his private diaries from this time period are riddled with the initials of his wife. On March 10, 1854, for example, he wrote: "Dark without & within. M.L. M.L. M.L." Longfellow, a friend and neighbor, referred to Lowell as “lonely and desolate.” Professorship and second marriage At the invitation of his cousin John Amory Lowell, James Russell Lowell was asked to deliver a lecture at the prestigious Lowell Institute. Some speculated the opportunity was because of the family connection, offered as an attempt to bring him out of his depression. Lowell chose to speak on “The English Poets,” telling his friend Briggs that he would take revenge on dead poets “for the injuries received by one whom the public won’t allow among the living.” The first of the twelve-part lecture series was to be on January 9, 1855, though by December, Lowell had only completed writing five of them, hoping for last-minute inspiration. His first lecture was on John Milton and the auditorium was oversold; Lowell had to give a repeat performance the next afternoon. Lowell, who had never spoken in public before, was praised for these lectures. Francis James Child said that Lowell, whom he deemed was typically “perverse,” was able to “persist in being serious contrary to his impulses and his talents.” While his series was still in progress, Lowell was offered the Smith Professorship of Modern Languages at Harvard, a post vacated by Longfellow, at an annual salary of $1,200, though he never applied for it. The job description was changing after Longfellow; instead of teaching languages directly, Lowell would supervise the department and deliver two lecture courses per year on topics of his own choosing. Lowell accepted the appointment, with the proviso that he should have a year of study abroad. He set sail on June 4 of that year, leaving his daughter Mabel in the care of a governess named Frances Dunlap. Abroad, he visited Le Havre, Paris, and London, spending time with friends including Story, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Leigh Hunt. Primarily, however, Lowell spent his time abroad studying languages, particularly German, which he found difficult. He complained: “The confounding genders! If I die I shall have engraved on my tombstone that I died of der, die, das, not because I caught them but because I couldn’t.” He returned to the United States in the summer of 1856 and began his college duties. Towards the end of his professorship, then-president of Harvard Charles William Eliot noted that Lowell seemed to have “no natural inclination” to teach; Lowell agreed, but retained his position for twenty years. He focused on teaching literature, rather than etymology, hoping that his students would learn to enjoy the sound, rhythm, and flow of poetry rather than the technique of words. He summed up his method: “True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exists, but what they mean; it is not memory but judgment.” Still grieving the loss of his wife, during this time Lowell avoided Elmwood and instead lived on Kirkland Street in Cambridge, an area known as Professors’ Row. He stayed there, along with his daughter Mabel and her governess Frances Dunlap, until January 1861. Lowell had intended never to remarry after the death of his wife Maria White. However, in 1857, surprising his friends, he became engaged to Frances Dunlap, who many described as simple and unattractive. Dunlap, niece of the former governor of Maine Robert P. Dunlap, was a friend of Lowell’s first wife and formerly wealthy, though she and her family had fallen into reduced circumstances. Lowell and Dunlap married on September 16, 1857, in a ceremony performed by his brother. Lowell wrote, "My second marriage was the wisest act of my life, & as long as I am sure of it, I can afford to wait till my friends agree with me.” The war years and beyond In the autumn of 1857, The Atlantic Monthly was established, and Lowell was its first editor. With its first issue in November of that year, he at once gave the magazine the stamp of high literature and of bold speech on public affairs. In January 1861, Lowell’s father died of a heart attack, inspiring Lowell to move his family back to Elmwood. As he wrote to his friend Briggs, “I am back again to the place I love best. I am sitting in my old garret, at my old desk, smoking my old pipe... I begin to feel more like my old self than I have these ten years.” Shortly thereafter, in May, he left The Atlantic Monthly when James Thomas Fields took over as editor; the magazine had been purchased by Ticknor and Fields for $10,000 two years before. Lowell returned to Elmwood by January 1861 but maintained an amicable relationship with the new owners of the journal, continuing to submit his poetry and prose for the rest of his life. His prose, however, was more abundantly presented in the pages of the North American Review during the years 1862–1872. For the Review, he served as a coeditor along with Charles Eliot Norton. Lowell’s reviews for the journal covered a wide variety of literary releases of the day, though he was writing fewer poems. As early as 1845, Lowell had predicted the debate over slavery would lead to war and, as the American Civil War broke out in the 1860s, Lowell used his role at the Review to praise Abraham Lincoln and his attempts to maintain the Union. Lowell lost three nephews during the war, including Charles Russell Lowell, Jr, who became a Brigadier General and fell at the battle of Cedar Creek. Lowell himself was generally a pacifist. Even so, he wrote, “If the destruction of slavery is to be a consequence of the war, shall we regret it? If it be needful to the successful prosecution of the war, shall anyone oppose it?” His interest in the Civil War inspired him to write a second series of The Biglow Papers, including one specifically dedicated to the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation called “Sunthin’ in the Pastoral Line” in 1862. Shortly after Lincoln’s assassination, Lowell was asked to present a poem at Harvard in memory of graduates killed in the war. His poem, “Commemoration Ode,” cost him sleep and his appetite, but was delivered on July 21, 1865, after a 48-hour writing binge. Lowell had high hopes for his performance but was overshadowed by the other notables presenting works that day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. “I did not make the hit I expected,” he wrote, “and am ashamed at having been tempted again to think I could write poetry, a delusion from which I have been tolerably free these dozen years.” Despite his personal assessment, friends and other poets sent many letters to Lowell congratulating him. Emerson referred to his poem’s "high thought & sentiment" and James Freeman Clarke noted its “grandeur of tone.” Lowell later expanded it with a strophe to Lincoln. In the 1860s, Lowell’s friend Longfellow spent several years translating Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and regularly invited others to help him on Wednesday evenings. Lowell was one of the main members of the so-called “Dante Club,” along with William Dean Howells, Charles Eliot Norton and other occasional guests. Shortly after serving as a pallbearer at the funeral of friend and publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis, on January 24, 1867, Lowell decided to produce another collection of his poetry. Under the Willows and Other Poems was released in 1869, though Lowell originally wanted to title it The Voyage to the Vinland and Other Poems. The book, dedicated to Norton, collected poems Lowell had written within the previous twenty years and was his first poetry collection since 1848. Lowell intended to take another trip to Europe. To finance it, he sold off more of Elmwood’s acres and rented the house to Thomas Bailey Aldrich; Lowell’s daughter Mabel, by this time, had moved into a new home with her husband Edward Burnett, the son of a successful businessman-farmer from Southboro, Massachusetts. Lowell and his wife set sail on July 8, 1872, after he took a leave of absence from Harvard. They visited England, Paris, Switzerland, and Italy. While overseas, he received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Oxford and another from Cambridge University. They returned to the United States in the summer of 1874. Political appointments Lowell resigned from his Harvard professorship in 1874, though he was persuaded to continue teaching through 1877. It was in 1876 that Lowell first stepped into the field of politics. That year, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes won the nomination and, eventually, the presidency. In May 1877, President Hayes, an admirer of The Biglow Papers, sent William Dean Howells to Lowell with a handwritten note proffering an ambassadorship to either Austria or Russia; Lowell declined, but noted his interest in Spanish literature. Lowell was then offered and accepted the role of Minister to the court of Spain at an annual salary of $12,000. Lowell sailed from Boston on July 14, 1877, and, though he expected he would be away for a year or two, he would not return to the United States until 1885, with the violinist Ole Bull renting Elmwood for a portion of that time. The Spanish media referred to him as “José Bighlow.” Lowell was well-prepared for his political role, having been trained in law, as well as being able to read in multiple languages. He had trouble socializing while in Spain, however, and amused himself by sending humorous dispatches to his political bosses in the United States, many of which were later collected and published posthumously in 1899 as Impressions of Spain. Lowell’s social life improved when the Spanish Academy elected him a corresponding member in late 1878, allowing him contribute to the preparation of a new dictionary. In January 1880, Lowell was informed he was appointed Minister to England, his nomination made without his knowledge as far back as June 1879. He was granted a salary of $17,500 with about $3,500 for expenses. While serving in this capacity, he addressed an importation of allegedly diseased cattle and made recommendations that predated the Pure Food and Drug Act. Queen Victoria commented that she had never seen an ambassador who “created so much interest and won so much regard as Mr. Lowell.” Lowell held this role until the close of Chester A. Arthur’s presidency in the spring of 1885, despite his wife’s failing health. Lowell was already well known in England for his writing and, during his time there, he befriended fellow author Henry James, who referred to him as “conspicuously American.” Lowell also befriended Leslie Stephen many years earlier and became the godfather to his daughter, future writer Virginia Woolf. Lowell was popular enough that he was offered a professorship at Oxford after his recall by president Grover Cleveland, though the offer was declined. His second wife, Frances, died on February 19, 1885, while still in England. Later years and death He returned to the United States by June 1885, living with his daughter and her husband in Southboro, Massachusetts. He then spent time in Boston with his sister before returning to Elmwood in November 1889. By this time, most of his friends were dead, including Quincy, Longfellow, Dana, and Emerson, leaving him depressed and contemplating suicide again. Lowell spent part of the 1880s delivering various speeches, and his last published works were mostly collections of essays, including Political Essays, and a collection of his poems Heartsease and Rue in 1888. His last few years he traveled back to England periodically and when he returned to the United States in the fall of 1889, he moved back to Elmwood with Mabel, while her husband worked for clients in New York and New Jersey. That year, Lowell gave an address at the centenary of George Washington’s inauguration. Also that year, the Boston Critic dedicated a special issue to Lowell on his seventieth birthday to recollections and reminiscences by his friends, including former presidents Hayes and Benjamin Harrison and British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone as well as Alfred Tennyson and Francis Parkman. In the last few months of his life, Lowell struggled with gout, sciatica in his left leg, and chronic nausea; by the summer of 1891, doctors believed that Lowell had cancer in his kidneys, liver, and lungs. His last few months, he was administered opium for the pain and was rarely fully conscious. He died on August 12, 1891, at Elmwood. After services in the Appleton Chapel, he was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. After his death, Norton served as his literary executor and published several collections of Lowell’s works and his letters. Writing style and literary theory Early in his career, James Russell Lowell’s writing was influenced by Swedenborgianism, a Spiritualism-infused form of Christianity founded by Emanuel Swedenborg, causing Frances Longfellow (wife of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) to mention that “he has been long in the habit of seeing spirits.” He composed his poetry rapidly when inspired by an “inner light” but could not write to order. He subscribed to the common nineteenth-century belief that the poet was a prophet but went further, linking religion, nature, and poetry, as well as social reform. Evert Augustus Duyckinck and others welcomed Lowell as part of Young America, a New York-based movement. Though not officially affiliated with them, he shared some of their ideals, including the belief that writers have an inherent insight into the moral nature of humanity and have an obligation for literary action along with their aesthetic function. Unlike many of his contemporaries, including members of Young America, Lowell did not advocate for the creation of a new national literature. Instead, he called for a natural literature, regardless of country, caste, or race, and warned against provincialism which might “put farther off the hope of one great brotherhood.” He agreed with his neighbor Longfellow that “whoever is most universal, is also most national.” As Lowell said: I believe that no poet in this age can write much that is good unless he gives himself up to [the radical] tendency... The proof of poetry is, in my mind, that it reduces to the essence of a single line the vague philosophy which is floating in all men’s minds, and so render it portable and useful, and ready to the hand... At least, no poem ever makes me respect its author which does not in some way convey a truth of philosophy. A scholar of linguistics, Lowell was one of the founders of the American Dialect Society. He used this interest in his writing, particularly in The Biglow Papers, presenting a heavily ungrammatical phonetic spelling of the Yankee dialect. In using this vernacular, Lowell intended to get closer to the common man’s experience and was rebelling against more formal and, as he thought, unnatural representations of Americans in literature. As he wrote in his introduction to The Biglow Papers, “few American writers or speakers wield their native language with the directness, precision, and force that are common as the day in the mother country.” Though intentionally humorous, this accurate presentation of the dialect was pioneering work in American literature. For example, Lowell’s character Hosea Biglow says in verse: Lowell is considered one of the Fireside Poets, a group of writers from New England in the 1840s who all had a substantial national following and whose work was often read aloud by the family fireplace. Besides Lowell, the main figures from this group were Longfellow, Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, and William Cullen Bryant. Beliefs Although he was an abolitionist, Lowell’s opinions on African-Americans wavered. Though Lowell advocated suffrage for blacks, he noted that their ability to vote could be troublesome. Even so, he wrote, “We believe the white race, by their intellectual and traditional superiority, will retain sufficient ascendancy to prevent any serious mischief from the new order of things.” Freed slaves, he wrote, were "dirty, lazy & lying." Even before his marriage to the abolitionist Maria White, Lowell wrote: “The abolitionists are the only ones with whom I sympathize of the present extant parties.” After his marriage, Lowell at first did not share White’s enthusiasm for the cause but was eventually pulled in. The couple often gave money to fugitive slaves, even when their own financial situation was not strong, especially if they were asked to free a spouse or child. Even so, he did not always fully agree with the followers of the movement. The majority of these people, he said, “treat ideas as ignorant persons do cherries. They think them unwholesome unless they are swallowed, stones and all.” Lowell depicted Southerners very unfavorably in his second collection of The Biglow Papers but, by 1865, admitted that Southerners were “guilty only of weakness” and, by 1868, said that he sympathized with Southerners and their viewpoint on slavery. Enemies and friends of Lowell alike questioned his vacillating interest in the question of slavery. Abolitionist Samuel Joseph May accused Lowell of trying to quit the movement because of his association with Harvard and the Boston Brahmin culture: “Having got into the smooth, dignified, self-complacent, and change-hating society of the college and its Boston circles, Lowell has gone over to the world, and to 'respectability’.” Lowell was also involved in other reform movements. He urged for better conditions for factory workings, opposed capital punishment, and supported the temperance movement. His friend Longfellow was especially concerned about his fanaticism for temperance, worrying that Lowell would ask him to destroy his wine cellar. There are many references to Lowell’s drinking during his college years and part of his reputation in school was based on it. His friend Edward Everett Hale denied these allegations and, even then, Lowell considered joining the “Anti-Wine” club and later, during the early years of his first marriage, became a teetotaler. However, as Lowell gained notoriety, he became popular in social circles and clubs and, away from his wife, he drank rather heavily. When he drank, he had wild mood swings, ranging from euphoria to frenzy. Criticism and legacy In 1849, Lowell said of himself, “I am the first poet who has endeavored to express the American Idea, and I shall be popular by and by.” Poet Walt Whitman said: “Lowell was not a grower—he was a builder. He built poems: he didn’t put in the seed, and water the seed, and send down his sun—letting the rest take care of itself: he measured his poems—kept them within formula.” Fellow Fireside Poet John Greenleaf Whittier praised Lowell by writing two poems in his honor and calling him “our new Theocritus” and “one of the strongest and manliest of our writers–a republican poet who dares to speak brave words of unpopular truth.” British author Thomas Hughes referred to Lowell as one of the most important writers in the United States: "Greece had her Aristophanes; Rome her Juvenal; Spain has had her Cervantes; France her Rabelais, her Molière, her Voltaire; Germany her Jean Paul, her Heine; England her Swift, her Thackeray; and America has her Lowell." Lowell’s satires and use of dialect were an inspiration for writers like Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, H. L. Mencken, and Ring Lardner. Contemporary critic and editor Margaret Fuller wrote, “his verse is stereotyped; his thought sounds no depth, and posterity will not remember him.” Duyckinck thought Lowell was too similar to other poets like William Shakespeare and John Milton. Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that, though Lowell had significant technical skill, his poetry “rather expresses his wish, his ambition, than the uncontrollable interior impulse which is the authentic mark of a new poem... and which is felt in the pervading tone, rather than in brilliant parts or lines.” Even his friend Richard Henry Dana Jr., questioned Lowell’s abilities, calling him "very clever, entertaining & good humored... but he is rather a trifler, after all." In the twentieth century, poet Richard Armour dismissed Lowell, writing: “As a Harvard graduate and an editor for the Atlantic Monthly, it must have been difficult for Lowell to write like an illiterate oaf, but he succeeded.” The poet Amy Lowell featured her relative James Russell Lowell in her poem A Critical Fable (1922), the title mocking A Fable for Critics. Here, a fictional version of Lowell says he does not believe that women will ever be equal to men in the arts and “the two sexes cannot be ranked counterparts.” Modern literary critic Van Wyck Brooks wrote that Lowell’s poetry was forgettable: “one read them five times over and still forgot them, as if this excellent verse had been written in water.” Nonetheless, in 1969 the Modern Language Association established a prize named after Lowell, awarded annually for “an outstanding literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography.” Lowell’s poem “The Present Crisis,” an early work that addressed the national crisis over slavery leading up to the Civil War, has had an impact in the modern civil rights movement. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People named its newsletter The Crisis after the poem, and Martin Luther King, Jr. frequently quoted the poem in his speeches and sermons. The poem was also the source of the hymn Once to Every Man and Nation. List of selected works Poetry collections * A Year’s Life (1841) * Miscellaneous Poems (1843) * The Biglow Papers (1848) * A Fable for Critics (1848) * Poems (1848) * The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848) * Under the Willows (1869) * The Cathedral (1870) * Heartsease and Rue (1888) Essay collections * Conversations on the Old Poets (1844) * Fireside Travels (1864) * Among My Books (1870) * My Study Windows (1871) * Among My Books (second collection, 1876) * Democracy and Other Addresses (1886) * Political Essays (1888) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Russell_Lowell

Bruce Lee

Bruce Jun Fan Lee was born in the hour of the Dragon, between 6 and 8 a.m., in the year of the Dragon on November 27, 1940 at the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Today, a plaque in the hospital’s entry commemorates the place of his birth. Bruce’s birth, in the hour and the year of the Dragon, is a powerful symbol in Chinese astrology. It would be a strong omen of the powerful life that was to be lived by Bruce Lee and the explosive impact his life would have on countless others. Bruce was the fourth child born to Lee Hoi Chuen and his wife Grace Ho. He had two older sisters, Phoebe and Agnes, an older brother, Peter, and a younger brother, Robert. Lee Hoi Chuen was, by profession, a comedian in the Chinese opera and an actor in Cantonese films. At the time Bruce was born, Mr. and Mrs. Lee were on tour with the opera company in the United States. Thus, it was fortuitous for Bruce’s future that his birth took place in America, as he would return 18 years later to claim his birthright of American citizenship. Bruce’s parents gave him the name “Jun Fan.” Since it is Chinese custom to put the surname first, Bruce’s full name is written Lee Jun Fan. The true meaning of Jun Fan deserves an explanation as it, too, would foretell the journey of the newly born Lee son. Literally, JUN means “to arouse to the active state” or “to make prosperous.” It was a common middle name used by Hong Kong Chinese boys in those days, understandably because China and the Chinese people were very vulnerable at that time, and everyone, including Bruce’s parents, wanted the “sleeping lion of the East” to wake up. The FAN syllable refers to the Chinese name for San Francisco, but its true meaning is “fence of a garden” or “bordering subordinate countries of a big country.” During the period of the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911), many Chinese immigrated to Hawaii and San Francisco as laborers, and the implication became that the United States was FAN of the Great Ching Empire. Thus the true meaning of Bruce’s name--JUN FAN--was “to arouse and make FAN (the United States) prosperous.” The gut feeling of many Chinese at that time, who felt suppressed by and inferior to foreign powers, was that they wished to outshine the more superior countries and regain the Golden Age of China. Bruce’s parents wanted Bruce to have his name shine and shake the foreign countries, which he certainly succeeded in doing. The English name, BRUCE, was given to the baby boy by a nurse in the Jackson Street Hospital although he was never to use this name until he entered secondary school and began his study of the English language. The story goes that on the first day of English class, the students were asked to write down their English names, and Bruce, not knowing his name, copied the name of the student next to him. His family almost never used the name Bruce, especially in his growing up years when his nickname in the family was “SAI FON,” which literally means Little Peacock. This is a girl’s nickname, but in being applied to Bruce, it had a serious purpose. The first-born child of Mr. and Mrs. Lee had been a boy who did not survive infancy. Their belief was that if the gods did not favor the birth of a male child, the babe might be taken away. Thus, the name, Little Peacock, was used as a ruse to fool the gods into thinking that Bruce was a girl. It was a term of great affection within the family circle. At the age of three months, Lee Hoi Chuen, his wife Grace and baby Bruce returned to Hong Kong where Bruce would be raised until the age of 18. Probably because of the long ocean voyage and the change in climates, Bruce was not a strong child in his very early years, a condition that would change when he took up the study of gung fu at the age of 13. (Bruce always spelled his Chinese martial art as GUNG FU, which is the Cantonese pronunciation of the more commonly spelled Kung Fu, a Mandarin pronunciation.) Bruce’s most prominent memory of his early years was the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese during the World War II years (1941-1945). The residence of the Lee family was a flat at 218 Nathan Road in Kowloon directly across the street from the military encampment of the Japanese. Bruce’s mother often told the story of young Bruce, less than 5 years old, leaning precariously off the balcony of their home raising his fist to the Japanese Zeros circling above. Another nickname the family often applied to Bruce was “Mo Si Ting” which means “never sits still” and aptly described his personality. The Japanese occupation was Bruce’s first prescient memory, but Hong Kong had been a British Crown Colony since the late 1800’s. The English returned to power at the end of the war. It is not hard to see why young Bruce would have rebellious feelings toward foreign usurpation of his homeland. In his teenage years Bruce was exposed to the common practice of unfriendly taunting by English school boys who appeared to feel superior to the Chinese. It is not surprising that Bruce and his friends retaliated by returning the taunts and sometimes getting into fights with the English boys. This atmosphere laid the background for Bruce to begin his study of martial arts. At the age of 13, Bruce was introduced to Master Yip Man, a teacher of the Wing Chun style of gung fu. For five years Bruce studied diligently and became very proficient. He greatly revered Yip Man as a master teacher and wise man and frequently visited with him in later years. When he first took up gung fu, he used his new skills to pummel his adversaries, but it did not take long for Bruce to learn that the real value of martial arts training is that the skills of physical combat instill confidence to the point that one does not feel the constant need to defend one’s honor through fighting. In high school, Bruce, now no longer a weak child, was beginning to hone his body through hard training. One of his accomplishments was winning an interschool Boxing Championship against an English student in which the Marquis of Queensbury rules were followed and no kicking was allowed. Given the graceful movements, which would later be spectacularly displayed in his films, it is no surprise that Bruce was also a terrific dancer, and in 1958 he won the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship. He studied dancing as assiduously as he did gung fu, keeping a notebook in which he had noted 108 different cha cha steps. It is easy to see that Bruce possessed the traits of self-discipline and hard work which would later hold him in good stead, even though at this stage he was not among the best academic students in the class. In addition to his studies, gung fu and dancing, Bruce had another side interest during his school years. He was a child actor under the tutelage of his father who must have known from an early age that Bruce had a streak of showmanship. Bruce’s very first role was as a babe in arms as he was carried onto the stage. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in 20 films. In those days movie making was not particularly glamorous or remunerative in Hong Kong, but Bruce loved acting. His mother often told stories of how Bruce was impossible to wake up to go to school, but just a tap on the shoulder at midnight would rouse him from his bed to go to the film studio. Movies were most often made at night in Hong Kong in order to minimize the sounds of the city. (See Filmography) At the age of 18, Bruce was looking for new vistas in his life, as were his parents who were discouraged that Bruce had not made more progress academically. It was common practice for high school graduates to go overseas to attend colleges, but that required excellent grades. Bruce’s brother and sister had come to the United States on student visas for their higher education. Although Bruce had not formally graduated from high school, and was more interested in gung fu, dancing and acting, his family decided that it was time for him to return to the land of his birth and find his future there. In April of 1959, with $100 in his pocket, Bruce boarded a steamship in the American Presidents Line and began his voyage to San Francisco. His passage was in the lower decks of the ship, but it didn’t take long for Bruce to be invited up to the first class accommodations to teach the passengers the cha cha. Landing in San Francisco, Bruce was armed with the knowledge that his dancing abilities might provide him a living, so his first job was as a dance instructor. One of his first students was Bob Lee, brother of James Y. Lee, who would become Bruce’s great friend, colleague in the martial arts, and eventually partner and Assistant Instructor of the Oakland Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. Bruce did not stay long in San Francisco, but traveled to Seattle where a family friend, Ruby Chow, had a restaurant and had promised Bruce a job and living quarters above the restaurant. By now Bruce had left his acting and dancing passions behind and was intent on furthering his education. He enrolled at Edison Technical School where he fulfilled the requirements for the equivalent of high school graduation and then enrolled at the University of Washington. Typical of his personality traits, he attacked learning colloquial English as he had his martial arts training. Not content to speak like a foreigner, he applied himself to learning idiosyncrasies of speech. His library contained numerous books, underlined and dog-eared on common English idiomatic phrases. Although he never quite lost the hint of an English accent when speaking, his ability to turn a phrase or “be cool” was amazing for one who did not speak a word of the language until the age of 12. Bruce’s written English skills exceeded his spoken language abilities at first because he had been well tutored in the King’s proper English prose in Hong Kong. When his wife-to-be met him at the University of Washington, he easily edited her English papers for correct grammar and syntax. At the university, Bruce majored in philosophy. His passion for gung fu inspired a desire to delve into the philosophical underpinnings of the arts. Many of his written essays during those years would relate philosophical principles to certain martial arts techniques. For instance, he wrote often about the principles of yin and yang and how they could translate into hard and soft physical movements. In this way he was completing his education as a true martial artist in the time-honored Chinese sense of one whose knowledge encompasses the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the arts. In the three years that Bruce studied at the university, he supported himself by teaching gung fu, having by this time given up working in the restaurant, stuffing newspapers or various other odd jobs. He and a few of his new friends would meet in parking lots, garages or any open space and play around with gung fu techniques. In the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, “gung fu” was an unknown term; in fact, the only physical art that might be listed in the yellow pages was Judo. Even the name “karate” was not a familiar term. The small group of friends was intrigued by this art called gung fu. One of the first students in this group was Jesse Glover who continues to teach some of Bruce’s early techniques to this day. It was during this period that Bruce and Taky Kimura became friends. Not only would Taky become Bruce’s gung fu student and the first Assistant Instructor he ever had, but the friendship forged between the two men was a source of love and strength for both of them. Taky Kimura has continued to be Bruce’s staunch supporter, devoting endless hours to preserving his art and philosophy throughout the 30 years since Bruce’s passing. The small circle of friends that Bruce had made encouraged him to open a real school of gung fu and charge a nominal sum for teaching in order to support himself while attending school. Renting a small basement room with a half door entry from 8th Street in Seattle’s Chinatown, Bruce decided to call his school the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. In 1963, having established a dedicated group of students and having given numerous demonstrations at the university, Bruce thought he might attract more students by opening a larger school at 4750 University Way where he also lived in a small room in the back of the kwoon. One of his students in 1963 was a freshman at the University of Washington, Linda Emery. Linda knew who Bruce was from his guest lectures in Chinese philosophy at Garfield High School, and in the summer after graduating, at the urging of her Chinese girlfriend, SueAnn Kay, Linda started taking gung fu lessons. It wasn’t long before the instructor became more interesting than the lessons. Bruce and Linda were married in 1964. By this time, Bruce had decided to make a career out of teaching gung fu. His plan involved opening a number of schools around the country and training assistant instructors to teach in his absence. Leaving his Seattle school in the hands of Taky Kimura, Bruce and Linda moved to Oakland where Bruce opened his second school with James Lee. The two men had formed a friendship over the years with each traveling frequently between Seattle and Oakland. James was a gung fu man from way back, but when he saw Bruce’s stuff he was so impressed that he wanted to join with him in starting a school. Thus the second branch of the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute was founded. Having now been in the United States for five years, Bruce had left behind any thought of acting as a career, and devoted himself completely to his choice of martial arts as a profession. Up to this time Bruce’s gung fu consisted mostly of wing chun techniques and theory he had learned from Yip Man. Gradually though, because of his burgeoning interest in the philosophy of martial arts and his desire for self improvement, he was expanding his repertoire. A particular incident accelerated his process of self-exploration. In 1964 Bruce was challenged by some gung fu men from San Francisco who objected to his teaching of non-Chinese students. Bruce accepted the challenge and the men arrived at the kwoon in Oakland on the appointed day for the face off. The terms were that if Bruce were defeated he would stop teaching the non Chinese. It was a short fight with the gung fu man from The City giving up when Bruce had him pinned to the floor after about three minutes. The significance of this fight was that Bruce was extremely disappointed in his own performance. Even though he had won, he was winded and discouraged about his inability to put the man away in under three minutes. This marked a turning point for Bruce in his exploration of his martial art and the enhancement of his physical fitness. Thus began the evolution of Jeet Kune Do. Just as Bruce was cementing his plans to expand his martial arts schools, fate stepped in to move his life in another direction. In the preceding years Bruce had made the acquaintance of Ed Parker, widely regarded as the father of American Kenpo. In August of 1964, Ed invited Bruce to Long Beach, CA to give a demonstration at his First International Karate Tournament. Bruce’s exhibition was spectacular. He used Taky as his partner and demonstrated his blindfolded chi sao techniques. At one point he used a member of the audience to show the power of his one-inch punch. Such was Bruce’s charisma that he spoke conversationally, injecting humor into his comments while at the same time emphatically demonstrating his power, precision and speed. A member of the audience was Jay Sebring, a well-known hair stylist to the stars. As fate would have it, the following week, Jay was styling the hair of William Dozier, an established producer. Mr. Dozier mentioned to Jay that he was looking for an actor to play the part of Charlie Chan’s son in a series to be entitled, “Number One Son.” Jay told the producer about having seen this spectacular young Chinese man giving a gung fu demonstration just a few nights before. Mr. Dozier obtained a copy of the film that was taken at Ed Parker’s tournament. The next week he called Bruce at home in Oakland and invited him to come to Los Angeles for a screen test. Bruce’s screen test was impressive, but in the meantime plans for “Number One Son” had been scuttled. Mr. Dozier was now immersed in the production of the “Batman” TV series, but still he wanted to hang onto Bruce. The plan was that if Batman was successful for more than one season, then Dozier wanted to capitalize on the popularity of another comic book character, “The Green Hornet” with Bruce playing the part of Kato. To keep Bruce from signing with someone else, Mr. Dozier paid him an $1,800 option for one year. About this time things were changing in Bruce’s personal life as well. His own number one son, Brandon Bruce Lee, was born February 1, 1965. One week later Bruce’s father, Lee Hoi Chuen, died in Hong Kong. Bruce was pleased that his father had known about the birth of the first grandchild in the Lee family. Given these events and the arrival of the lump sum option money, Bruce decided it was time to make a trip to Hong Kong to visit his mother and introduce the family to both Linda and Brandon. They stayed in the family flat on Nathan Road for four months. While there Bruce was able to “play gung fu” with Master Yip Man and the students of the wing chun school. Upon leaving Hong Kong, Bruce and his family traveled to Seattle where they stayed with Linda’s family for another four months. During this time Bruce spent a great deal of time with Taky and the students at the Seattle school. After Seattle, the family moved back to James Lee’s house in Oakland for several months before making the move to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, he got better acquainted with Dan Inosanto whom he had known through Ed Parker. It was not long before Bruce opened his third gung fu school with Dan as his assistant instructor During this entire year of traveling and working closely with his best gung fu colleagues, Bruce was going through a period of intense self-exploration. Bruce was always a goal setter. However, he was never obstinate about his goals and if the wind changed, he could steer his life on a different course. He was in a period of transition at this time, deciding whether to make acting his career or continue on the path of opening nationwide schools of gung fu. His decision was to focus on acting and see if he could turn it into a productive career. He often said his passion was pursuit of the martial arts, but his career choice was filmmaking. The chief reason that Bruce turned his attention to acting was that he had lost interest in spreading his way of martial arts in a wide scale manner. He had begun to see that if his schools became more numerous, he would lose control of the quality of the teaching. Bruce loved to teach gung fu, and he loved his students. Countless hours were spent in his backyard or in the kwoon, one on one with students. They were like members of the family. His love for his martial arts was not something he wanted to turn into a business. In 1966, production started on “The Green Hornet.” The filming lasted for six months, the series for one season, and that was the end of it. Bruce’s take home pay was $313 a week, which seemed like a lot of money at the time. When they first started filming, the cameras were not able to record the fight scenes clearly because of Bruce’s speed. They asked him to slow down to capture the action. Bruce’s gung fu moves thrilled audiences, and the series became a sought-after collector item in later years. Bruce maintained a friendship with Van Williams who played the part of Britt Reid. The years between 1967 and 1971 were lean years for the Lee family. Bruce worked hard at furthering his acting career and did get some roles in a few TV series and films. (See Filmography) To support the family, Bruce taught private lessons in Jeet Kune Do, often to people in the entertainment industry. Some of his clients included Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Stirling Silliphant, Sy Weintraub, Ted Ashley, Joe Hyams, James Garner and others. A great blessing was the arrival of a daughter, Shannon Emery Lee, on April 19, 1969. She brought great joy into the Lee household and soon had her daddy around her little finger. During this time Bruce continued the process he had started in Oakland in 1964, the evolution of his way of martial arts, which he called Jeet Kune Do, “The Way of The Intercepting Fist.” He read and wrote extensively his thoughts about physical combat, the psychology of fighting, the philosophical roots of martial arts, and about motivation, self-actualization and liberation of the individual. Thanks to this period in his life, which was at times frustrating, we know more about the mind of Bruce Lee through his writings. Bruce was devoted to physical culture and trained devotedly. In addition to actual sparring with his students, he believed in strenuous aerobic workouts and weight training. His abdominal and forearm workouts were particularly intense. There was rarely a time when Bruce was doing nothing—in fact, he was often seen reading a book, doing forearm curls and watching a boxing film at the same time. He also paid strict attention to his food consumption and took vitamins and Chinese herbs at times. It was actually his zealousness that led to an injury that was to become a chronic source of pain for the rest of his life. On a day in 1970, without warming up, something he always did, Bruce picked up a 125-pound barbell and did a “good morning” exercise. That consists of resting the barbell on one’s shoulders and bending straight over at the waist. After much pain and many tests, it was determined that he had sustained an injury to the fourth sacral nerve. He was ordered to complete bed rest and told that undoubtedly he would never do gung fu again. For the next six months, Bruce stayed in bed. It was an extremely frustrating, depressing and painful time, and a time to redefine goals. It was also during this time that he did a great deal of the writing that has been preserved. After several months, Bruce instituted his own recovery program and began walking, gingerly at first, and gradually built up his strength. He was determined that he would do his beloved gung fu again. As can be seen by his later films, he did recover full use of his body, but he constantly had to take measures like icing, massage and rest to take care of his back. Bruce was always imagining story ideas. One of the projects he had been working on was the idea of a television series set in the Old West, featuring an Eastern monk who roamed the countryside solving problems. He pitched the idea at Warner Bros. and it was enthusiastically received. The producers talked at great length to Bruce about the proposed series always with the intent that Bruce would play the role of the Eastern wise man. In the end, the role was not offered to Bruce; instead it went to David Carradine. The series was “Kung Fu.” The studio claimed that a Chinese man was not a bankable star at that time. Hugely disappointed, Bruce sought other ways to break down the studio doors. Along with two of his students, Stirling Silliphant, the famed writer, and actor, James Coburn, Bruce collaborated on a script for which he wrote the original story line. The three of them met weekly to refine the script. It was to be called “The Silent Flute.” Again, Warner Bros. was interested and sent the three to India to look for locations. Unfortunately the right locations could not be found, the studio backed off, and the project was put on the back burner. Thwarted again in his effort to make a go of his acting career, Bruce devised a new approach to his goal. In 1970, when Bruce was getting his strength back from his back injury, he took a trip to Hong Kong with son Brandon, age five. He was surprised when he was greeted as “Kato,” the local boy who had been on American TV. He was asked to appear on TV talk shows. He was not aware that Hong Kong film producers were viewing him with interest. In 1971, about the time that “The Silent Flute” failed to materialize, Hong Kong producer Raymond Chow contacted Bruce to interest him in doing two films for Golden Harvest. Bruce decided to do it, reasoning that if he couldn’t enter the front door of the American studios, he would go to Hong Kong, establish himself there and come back in through the side door. In the summer of 1971, Bruce left Los Angeles to fly to Hong Kong, then on to Thailand for the making of “The Big Boss,” later called “Fists of Fury.” Between Hong Kong and Thailand, producer Run Run Shaw attempted to intercede and woo Bruce away from Golden Harvest. But Bruce had signed a deal so he stayed with Raymond Chow. Bruce’s family did not accompany him on this trip because the village where the film was made was not suitable for small children. It was also felt that if this film was not a hit, Bruce might be back in L.A. sooner than expected. Although the working conditions were difficult, and the production quality substandard to what Bruce was accustomed, “The Big Boss” was a huge success. The premier took place at midnight, as was Hong Kong custom. Chinese audiences are infamous for expressing their emotions during films—both positive and negative. The entire cast and production team were very nervous, no one more so than Bruce. At the end of the showing, the entire audience was silent for a moment, then erupted in cheers and hailed their new hero who was viewing from the back of the theater. In September of 1971, with filming set to commence on the second of the contractual films, Bruce moved his family over to Hong Kong and prepared to sell their Los Angeles home. “Fist of Fury,” also called “Chinese Connection” was an even bigger success than the first film breaking all-time box office records. Now that Bruce had completed his contract with Golden Harvest, and had become a bankable commodity, he could begin to have more input into the quality of his films. For the third film, he formed a partnership with Raymond Chow, called Concord Productions. Not only did Bruce write “The Way of the Dragon,” also called “Return of the Dragon,” but he directed and produced it as well. Once again, the film broke records and now, Hollywood was listening. In the fall of 1972, Bruce began filming “The Game of Death,” a story he once again envisioned. The filming was interrupted by the culmination of a deal with Warner Bros. to make the first ever Hong Kong-American co-production. The deal was facilitated mainly by Bruce’s personal relationship with Warner Bros. president, Ted Ashley and by Bruce’s successes in Hong Kong. It was an exciting moment and a turning point in Hong Kong’s film industry. “The Game of Death” was put on hold to make way for the filming of “Enter the Dragon.” Filming “Enter the Dragon” was not an easy undertaking. The American cast and crew and their Chinese counterparts experienced language problems and production difficulties. It was a stressful time for Bruce too as he wanted the film to be especially good and well accepted by Western audiences. “Enter the Dragon” was due to premier at Hollywood’s Chinese theater in August of 1973. Unfortunately, Bruce would not live to see the opening of his film, nor would he experience the accumulated success of more than thirty years of all his films’ popularity. On July 20, 1973, Bruce had a minor headache. He was offered a prescription painkiller called Equagesic. After taking the pill, he went to lie down and lapsed into a coma. He was unable to be revived. Extensive forensic pathology was done to determine the cause of his death, which was not immediately apparent. A nine-day coroner’s inquest was held with testimony given by renowned pathologists flown in from around the world. The determination was that Bruce had a hypersensitive reaction to an ingredient in the pain medication that caused a swelling of the fluid on the brain, resulting in a coma and death. The world lost a brilliant star and an evolved human being that day. His spirit remains an inspiration to untold numbers of people around the world. Copyright @ 2006 Bruce Lee Foundation References Bruce Lee Foundation - http://bruceleefoundation.com/index.cfm/pid/10585

Edward Lear

Edward Lear (12 or 13 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred Tennyson's poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense works, which use real and invented English words. Early years Lear was born into a middle-class family in the village of Holloway near London, the penultimate of twenty-one children (and youngest to survive) of Ann Clark Skerrett and Jeremiah Lear. He was raised by his eldest sister, also named Ann, 21 years his senior. Owing to the family's limited finances, Lear and his sister were required to leave the family home and live together when he was aged four. Ann doted on Edward and continued to act as a mother for him until her death, when he was almost 50 years of age. Lear suffered from lifelong health afflictions. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and during later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father. The event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. When Lear was about seven years old he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe melancholia which he referred to as "the Morbids.” Artist Lear was already drawing "for bread and cheese" by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious "ornithological draughtsman" employed by the Zoological Society and then from 1832 to 1836 by the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate Knowsley Hall. Lear's first publication, published when he was 19 years old, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830. His paintings were well received and he was compared favourably with the naturalist John James Audubon. Among other travels, he visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during 1873–75. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books. His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson's poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published. Relationships Lear's most fervent and painful friendship involved Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an undoubtedly homosexual passion for him that Lushington did not reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear's death, the disparity of their feelings for one another constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, none of Lear's attempts at male companionship were successful; the very intensity of Lear's affections seemingly doomed the relationships. The closest he came to marriage with a woman was two proposals, both to the same person 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, which died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson. San Remo and death Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in Sanremo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named "Villa Tennyson". Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: "Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph" or "Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps" which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos. After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888, of the heart disease from which he had suffered since at least 1870. Lear's funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear's physician, none of Lear's many lifelong friends being able to attend. Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. On his headstone are inscribed these lines about Mount Tomohrit (in Albania) from Tennyson's poem To E.L. [Edward Lear], On His Travels in Greece: all things fair. With such a pencil, such a pen. You shadow forth to distant men, I read and felt that I was there. The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear's birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman's Mews, Islington, in London, and his bicentenary during 2012 was celebrated with a variety of events, exhibitions and lectures in venues across the world including an International Owl and Pussycat Day on his birthday. References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lear

Amy Lowell

Amy Lawrence Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts, who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. Personal Life Lowell was born into Brookline's Lowell family, sister to astronomer Percival Lowell and Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell. She never attended college because her family did not consider it proper for a woman to do so. She compensated for this lack with avid reading and near-obsessive book collecting. She lived as a socialite and travelled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 (age 28) after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe. Lowell was said to be lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell were reputed to be lovers. Russell is reputed to be the subject of Lowell's more erotic works, most notably the love poems contained in 'Two Speak Together', a subsection of Pictures of the Floating World. The two women traveled to England together, where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who at once became a major influence and a major critic of her work. Pound considered Lowell's embrace of Imagism to be a kind of hi-jacking of the movement. Lowell has been linked romantically to writer Mercedes de Acosta, but the only evidence of any contact between them is a brief correspondence about a planned memorial for Duse. Lowell was a short but imposing figure who kept her hair in a bun and wore a pince-nez. Lowell smoked cigars constantly, claiming that they lasted longer than cigarettes. A glandular problem kept her perpetually overweight, so that poet Witter Bynner once said, in a cruel comment repeated by Ezra Pound and thereafter commonly misattributed to him, that she was a "hippo poetess." Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1925, at the age of 51. The following year, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for What's O'Clock. That collection included the patriotic poem "Lilacs", which Louis Untermeyer said was the poem of hers he liked best. Career Her first published work appeared in 1910 in Atlantic Monthly. The first published collection of her poetry, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, appeared two years later, in 1912. An additional group of uncollected poems was added to the volume The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell, published in 1955 with an introduction by Louis Untermeyer, who considered himself her friend. Though she sometimes wrote sonnets, Lowell was an early adherent to the "free verse" method of poetry and one of the major champions of this method. She defined it in her preface to "Sword Blades and Poppy Seed"; in the North American Review for January, 1917; in the closing chapter of "Tendencies in Modern American Poetry"; and also in the Dial (January 17, 1918), as: "The definition of Vers libre is: a verse-formal based upon cadence. To understand vers libre, one must abandon all desire to find in it the even rhythm of metrical feet. One must allow the lines to flow as they will when read aloud by an intelligent reader. Or, to put it another way, unrhymed cadence is "built upon 'organic rhythm,' or the rhythm of the speaking voice with its necessity for breathing, rather than upon a strict metrical system. Free verse within its own law of cadence has no absolute rules; it would not be 'free' if it had." Untermeyer writes that "[s]he was not only a disturber but an awakener." In many poems, Lowell dispenses with line breaks, so that the work looks like prose on the page. This technique she labeled "polyphonic prose”. Throughout her working life, Lowell was a promoter of both contemporary and historical poets. Her book Fir-Flower Poets was a poetical re-working of literal translations of the works of ancient Chinese poets, notably Li Tai-po (A.D. 701-762). Her writing also included critical works on French literature. At the time of her death, she died she was attempting to complete her two-volume biography of John Keats. Writing of Keats, Lowell said that "the stigma of oddness is the price a myopic world always exacts of genius.” Lowell not only published her own work, but also that of other writers. According to Untermeyer, she "captured" the Imagist movement from Ezra Pound. Pound threatened to sue her for bringing out her three-volume series Some Imagist Poets, and thereafter derisively called the American Imagists the "Amygist" movement. Pound criticized her as not an imagist, but merely a rich woman who was able to financially assist the publication of imagist poetry. She said that Imagism was weak before she took it up, whereas others said it became weak after Pound's "exile" towards Vorticism. Altercation with F. Holland Day Lowell was frustrated in composing her biography of Keats by the famous publisher and photographer F. Holland Day. Day, alongside an unrivaled possession of Keatsiana, possessed exclusive copies of Fanny Brawne's letters to Keats. Fanny was the woman whom Keats had unsuccessfully pursued and the letters were therefore of considerable biographical interest. Lowell, who hoped to publish the definitive volume of biography, was forced to pursue a reluctant and rather mischievously reticent Day for these artifacts, with little success. Legacy In the post-World War I years, Lowell was largely forgotten, but the women's movement in the 1970s and women's studies brought her back to light. According to Heywood Broun, however, Lowell personally argued against feminism. Additional sources of interest in Lowell today come from the anti-war sentiment of the oft-taught poem "Patterns"; her personification of inanimate objects, as in "The Green Bowl," and "The Red Lacquer Music Stand"; and her lesbian themes, including the love poems addressed to Ada Dwyer Russell in "Two Speak Together" and her poem "The Sisters", which addresses her female poetic predecessors. References Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Lowell

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace (1618–1657) was an English poet in the seventeenth century. He was a cavalier poet who fought on behalf of the king during the Civil war. His best known works are To Althea, from Prison, and To Lucasta, Going to the Warres. Early life and family Richard Lovelace was born in 1618. His exact birthplace is unknown, but it is documented that it was either Woolwich, Kent, or Holland. He was the oldest son of Sir William Lovelace and Anne Barne Lovelace and had four brothers and three sisters. His father was from an old distinguished military and legal family and the Lovelace family owned a considerable amount of property in Kent. His father, Sir William Lovelace, knt., was a member of the Virginia Company and an incorporator in the second Virginia Company in 1609. He was a soldier and he died during the war with Spain and Holland in the siege of Grol, a few days before the town fell. Richard was only 9 years old when his father died. Richard's father was the son of Sir William Lovelace and Elizabeth Aucher who was the daughter of Mabel Wroths and Edward Aucher, Esq. who inherited, under his father's Will, the manors of Bishopsbourne and Hautsborne. Elizabeth's nephew was Sir Anthony Aucher (1614 – 31 May 1692) an English politician and Cavalier during the English Civil War. He was the son of her brother Sir Anthony Aucher and his wife Hester Collett. Richard Lovelace's mother, Anne Barne (1587–1633), was the daughter of Sir William Barne and the granddaughter of Sir George Barne III (1532- d. 1593), the Lord Mayor of London and a prominent merchant and public official from London during the reign of Elizabeth I; and Anne Gerrard, daughter of Sir William Garrard, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1555. Richard Lovelace's mother was also the daughter of Anne Sandys and the granddaughter of Cicely Wilford and the Most Reverend Dr. Edwin Sandys, an Anglican church leader who successively held the posts of the Bishop of Worcester (1559–1570), Bishop of London (1570–1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576–1588). He was one of the translators of the Bishops' Bible. Anne Barne Lovelace married as her second husband, on 20 January 1630, at Greenwich, England, the Very Rev. Dr. Jonathan Browne They were the parents of one child, Anne Browne, who married Herbert Crofte, S.T.P. and D.D and were the parents of Sir Herbert Croft, 1st Baronet. His brother, Francis Lovelace (1621–1675), was the second governor of the New York colony appointed by the Duke of York, later King James II of England. He was also the great nephew of both George Sandys (2 March 1577 – March 1644), an English traveller, colonist and poet; and of Sir Edwin Sandys (9 December 1561 – October 1629), an English statesman and one of the founders of the London Company. In 1629, when Lovelace was eleven, he went to Sutton’s Foundation at Charterhouse School, then located in London. However, there is not a clear record that Lovelace actually attended because it is believed that he studied as a “boarder” because he did not need financial assistance like the “scholars”. He spent five years at Charterhouse, three of which were spent with Richard Crashaw, who also became a poet. On 5 May 1631, Lovelace was sworn in as a “Gentleman Wayter Extraordinary” to the King. This was an “honorary position for which one paid a fee”. He then went on to Gloucester Hall, Oxford, in 1634. Collegiate career Richard Lovelace attended Oxford University and he was praised by one of his contemporaries, Anthony Wood. for being “the most amiable and beautiful person that ever eye beheld; a person also of innate modesty, virtue and courtly deportment, which made him then, but especially after, when he retired to the great city, much admired and adored by the female sex" At the age of eighteen, during a three-week celebration at Oxford, he was granted the degree of Master of Arts. While at school, he tried to portray himself more as a social connoisseur rather than a scholar, continuing his image of being a Cavalier. Being a Cavalier poet, Lovelace wrote to praise a friend or fellow poet, to give advice in grief or love, to define a relationship, to articulate the precise amount of attention a man owes a woman, to celebrate beauty, and to persuade to love. Lovelace wrote a comedy, 'The Scholars,' and a tragedy titled 'The Soldiers,' while at Oxford. He then left for Cambridge University for a few months where he met Lord Goring, who led him into political trouble. Politics and prison Lovelace’s poetry was often influenced by his experiences with politics and association with important figures of his time. At the age of thirteen, Lovelace became a "Gentlemen Wayter Extraordinary" to the King and at nineteen he contributed a verse to a volume of elegies commemorating Princess Katharine. In 1639 Lovelace joined the regiment of Lord Goring, serving first as a senior ensign and later as a captain in the Bishops’ Wars. This experience inspired the 'Sonnet. To Generall Goring.' Upon his return to his home in Kent in 1640, Lovelace served as a country gentleman and a justice of the peace where he encountered firsthand the civil turmoil regarding religion and politics. In 1641 Lovelace led a group of men to seize and destroy a petition for the abolition of Episcopal rule, which had been signed by fifteen thousand people. The following year he presented the House of Commons with Dering’s pro-Royalist petition which was supposed to have been burned. These actions resulted in Lovelace’s first imprisonment. Shortly thereafter, he was released on bail with the stipulation that he avoid communication with the House of Commons without permission. This prevented Lovelace, who had done everything to prove himself during the Bishops’ Wars, from participating in the first phase of the English Civil War. However, this first experience of imprisonment did result in some good, as it brought him to write one of his finest and most beloved lyrics, 'To Althea, from Prison,' in which he illustrates his noble and paradoxical nature. Lovelace did everything he could to remain in the king’s favor despite his inability to participate in the war. Richard Lovelace did his part again during the political chaos of 1648, though it is unclear specifically what his actions were. He did, however, manage to warrant himself another prison sentence; this time for nearly a year. When he was released in April 1649, the king had been executed and Lovelace’s cause seemed lost. As in his previous incarceration, this experience led to creative production—this time in the form of spiritual freedom, as reflected in the release of his first volume of poetry, Lucasta. Literature Richard Lovelace first started writing while he was a student at Oxford and wrote almost 200 poems from that time until his death. His first work was a drama titled The Scholars. The play was never published; however, it was performed at college and then in London. In 1640, he wrote a tragedy titled 'The Soldier' which was based on his own military experience. When serving in the Bishops' Wars, he wrote the sonnet 'To Generall Goring,' which is a poem of Bacchanalian celebration rather than a glorification of military action. One of his extremely famous poems is 'To Lucasta, Going to the Warres,' written in 1640 and exposed in his first political action. During his first imprisonment in 1642, he wrote his most famous poem 'To Althea, From Prison.' Later on that year during his travels to Holland with General Goring, he wrote 'The Rose,' following with 'The Scrutiny' and on 14 May 1649, 'Lucasta' was published. He also wrote poems analyzing the details of many simple insects. 'The Ant,' 'The Grasse-hopper,' 'The Snayl,' 'The Falcon,' 'The Toad and Spyder.' Of these poems, 'The Grasse-hopper' is his most well-known. In 1660, after Lovelace died, "Lucasta: Postume Poems" was published; it contains 'A Mock-Song,' which has a much darker tone than his previous works. William Winstanley, who praised much of Richard Lovelace's works, thought highly of him and compared him to an idol; "I can compare no Man so like this Colonel Lovelace as Sir Philip Sidney,” of which it is in an Epitaph made of him; Nor is it fit that more I should aquaint Lest Men adore in one A Scholar, Souldier, Lover, and a Saint His most quoted excerpts are from the beginning of the last stanza of To Althea, From Prison: Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for an hermitage and the end of To Lucasta. Going to the Warres: I could not love thee, dear, so much, Lov'd I not Honour more. Chronology 1618- Richard Lovelace born, either in Woolwich, Kent, or in Holland. 1629- King Charles I nominated “Thomas [probably Richard] Lovelace,” upon petition of Lovelace’s mother, Anne Barne Lovelace, to Sutton’s foundation at Charterhouse. 1631- On 5 May, Lovelace is made “Gentleman Wayter Extraordinary” to the King. 1634- On 27 June, he matriculates as Gentleman Commoner at Gloucester Hall, Oxford. 1635- Writes a comedy, The Scholars. 1636- On 31 August, the degree of M.A. is presented to him. 1637- On 4 October, he enters Cambridge University. 1638-1639- His first printed poems appear: ‘An Elegy” on Princess Katherine; prefaces to several books. 1639- He is senior ensign in General Goring’s regiment - in the First Scottish Expedition. “Sonnet to Goring.” 1640- Commissioned captain in the Second Scottish Expedition; writes a tragedy, The Soldier. He then returns home at 21, into the possession of his family’s property. 1641- Lovelace tears up a pro-Parliament, anti-Episcopacy petition at a meeting in Maidstone, Kent. 1642- 30 April, he presents the anti-Parliamentary Petition of Kent and is imprisoned at Gatehouse. After appealing, he is released on bail, 21 June. The Civil war begins on 22 August, he writes “To Althea, from Prison,” “To Lucasta.” In September, he goes to Holland with General Goring. He writes “The Rose.” 1642-1646-Probably serves in Holland and France with General Goring. He writes “The Scrutiny.” 1643- Sells some of his property to Richard Hulse. 1646- In October, he is wounded at Dunkirk, while fighting under the Great Conde against the Spaniards. 1647- He is admitted to the Freedom at the Painters’ Company. 1648-On 4 February, Lucasta is licensed at the Stationer’s Register. On 9 June, Lovelace is again imprisoned at Peterhouse. 1649- On 9 April, he is released from jail. He then sells the remaining family property and portraits to Richard Hulse. On 14 May, Lucasta is published. 1650-1657- Lovelace’s whereabouts unknown, though various poems are written. 1657- Lovelace dies. 1659-1660- Lucasta, Postume Poems is published. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lovelace

Robert Lowell

In 1917, Robert Lowell was born into one of Boston's oldest and most prominent families. He attended Harvard College for two years before transferring to Kenyon College, where he studied poetry under John Crowe Ransom and received an undergraduate degree in 1940. He took graduate courses at Louisiana State University where he studied with Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks. His first and second books, Land of Unlikeness (1944) and Lord Weary's Castle (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1947, at the age of thirty), were influenced by his conversion from Episcopalianism to Catholicism and explored the dark side of America's Puritan legacy. Under the influence of Allen Tate and the New Critics, he wrote rigorously formal poetry that drew praise for its exceptionally powerful handling of meter and rhyme. Lowell was politically involved—he became a conscientious objector during the Second World War and was imprisoned as a result, and actively protested against the war in Vietnam—and his personal life was full of marital and psychological turmoil. He suffered from severe episodes of manic depression, for which he was repeatedly hospitalized. Partly in response to his frequent breakdowns, and partly due to the influence of such younger poets as W. D. Snodgrass and Allen Ginsberg, Lowell in the mid-fifties began to write more directly from personal experience, and loosened his adherence to traditional meter and form. The result was a watershed collection, Life Studies (1959), which forever changed the landscape of modern poetry, much as Eliot's The Waste Land had three decades before. Considered by many to be the most important poet in English of the second half of the twentieth century, Lowell continued to develop his work with sometimes uneven results, all along defining the restless center of American poetry, until his sudden death from a heart attack at age 60. Robert Lowell served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1962 until his death in 1977. Poetry Land of Unlikeness (1944) Lord Weary's Castle (1946) Poems, 1938-1949 (1950) The Mills of the Kavanaughs (1951) Life Studies (1959) Imitations (1961) For the Union Dead (1964) Selected Poems (1965) Near the Ocean (1967) The Voyage and Other Versions of Poems by Baudelaire (1968) Notebooks, 1967-1968 (1969) The Dolphin (1973) For Lizzie and Harriet (1973) History (1973) Selected Poems (1976) Day by Day (1977) Prose The Collected Prose (1987) Anthology Phaedra (1961) Prometheus Bound (1969) Drama The Old Glory (1965) References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/10

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde (/ˈɔːdri lɔːrd/; born Audrey Geraldine Lorde, February 18, 1934– November 17, 1992) was an African American writer, feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, particularly in her poems expressing anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Her poems and prose largely dealt with issues related to civil rights, feminism, and the exploration of black female identity. In relation to non-intersectional feminism in the United States, Lorde famously said, “Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” Life and work Lorde was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants from Barbados and Carriacou, Frederick Byron Lorde (called Byron) and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde, who settled in Harlem. Lorde’s mother was of mixed ancestry but could pass for white, a source of pride for her family. Lorde’s father was darker than the Belmar family liked, and they only allowed the couple to marry because of Byron Lorde’s charm, ambition, and persistence. Nearsighted to the point of being legally blind, and the youngest of three daughters (two older sisters, Phyllis and Helen), Audre Lorde grew up hearing her mother’s stories about the West Indies. She learned to talk while she learned to read, at the age of four, and her mother taught her to write at around the same time. She wrote her first poem when she was in eighth grade. Born Audrey Geraldine Lorde, she chose to drop the “y” from her first name while still a child, explaining in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name that she was more interested in the artistic symmetry of the “e”-endings in the two side-by-side names “Audre Lorde” than in spelling her name the way her parents had intended. Lorde’s relationship with her parents was difficult from a young age. She was able to spend very little time with her father and mother, who were busy maintaining their real estate business in the tumultuous economy after the Great Depression, and when she did see them, they were often cold or emotionally distant. In particular, Lorde’s relationship with her mother, who was deeply suspicious of people with darker skin than hers (which Lorde’s was) and the outside world in general, was characterized by “tough love” and strict adherence to family rules. Lorde’s difficult relationship with her mother would figure prominently in later poems, such as Coal’s “Story Books on a Kitchen Table.” As a child, Lorde, who struggled with communication, came to appreciate the power of poetry as a form of expression. She memorized a great deal of poetry, and would use it to communicate, to the extent that, “If asked how she was feeling, Audre would reply by reciting a poem.” Around the age of twelve, she began writing her own poetry and connecting with others at her school who were considered “outcasts” as she felt she was. She attended Hunter College High School, a secondary school for intellectually gifted students, and graduated in 1951. In 1954, she spent a pivotal year as a student at the National University of Mexico, a period she described as a time of affirmation and renewal, during which she confirmed her identity on personal and artistic levels as a lesbian and poet. On her return to New York, she attended Hunter College, graduating class of 1959. There, she worked as a librarian, continued writing and became an active participant in the gay culture of Greenwich Village. She furthered her education at Columbia University, earning a master’s degree in Library Science in 1961. She also worked during this time as a librarian at Mount Vernon Public Library and married attorney Edwin Rollins; they divorced in 1970 after having two children, Elizabeth and Jonathan. In 1966, Lorde became head librarian at Town School Library in New York City, where she remained until 1968. In 1968 Lorde was writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, where she met Frances Clayton, a white professor of psychology, who was to be her romantic partner until 1989. Lorde’s time at Tougaloo College, like her year at the National University of Mexico, was a formative experience for Lorde as an artist. She led workshops with her young, black undergraduate students, many of whom were eager to discuss the civil rights issues of that time. Through her interactions with her students, she reaffirmed her desire not only to live out her “crazy and queer” identity, but devoted new attention to the formal aspects of her craft as a poet. Her book of poems Cables to Rage came out of her time and experiences at Tougaloo. From 1977 to 1978 Lorde had a brief affair with the sculptor and painter Mildred Thompson. The two met in Nigeria in 1977 at the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77). Their affair ran its course during the time that Thompson lived in Washington, D.C. The Berlin Years In 1984 Audre Lorde started a visiting professorship in Berlin Germany at the Free University of Berlin. She was invited by Dagmar Schultz who met her at the UN “World Women’s Conference” in Copenhagen in 1980. While Lorde was in Germany she made a significant impact on the women there and was a big part of the start of the Afro-German movement. The term Afro-German was created by Lorde and some Black German women as a nod to African-American. During her many trips to Germany, she touched many women’s lives including May Ayim, Ika Hugel-Marshell, and Hegal Emde. All of these women decided to start writing after they met Audre Lorde. She encouraged the women of Germany to speak up and have a voice. Instead of fighting through violence, Lorde thought that language was a powerful form of resistance. Her impact on Germany reached more than just Afro-German women. Many white women and men found Lorde’s work to be very beneficial to their own lives. They started to put their privilege and power into question and became more conscious. Because of her impact on the Afro-German movement, Dagmar Schultz put together a documentary to highlight the chapter of her life that was not known to many. Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years was accepted by the Berlinale in 2012 and from then was showed at many different film festivals around the world and received five awards. The film showed the lack of recognition that Lorde received for her contributions towards the theories of intersectionality. Last years Audre Lorde battled cancer for fourteen years. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978 and underwent a mastectomy. Six years later, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. After her diagnosis, she chose to become more focused on both her life and her writing. She wrote The Cancer Journals, which won the American Library Association Gay Caucus Book of the Year Award in 1981. She featured as the subject of a documentary called A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde, which shows her as an author, poet, human rights activist, feminist, lesbian, a teacher, a survivor, and a crusader against bigotry. She is quoted in the film as saying: “What I leave behind has a life of its own. I’ve said this about poetry; I’ve said it about children. Well, in a sense I’m saying it about the very artifact of who I have been.” From 1991 until her death, she was the New York State Poet Laureate. In 1992, she received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle. In 2001, Publishing Triangle instituted the Audre Lorde Award to honour works of lesbian poetry. Lorde died of liver cancer on November 17, 1992, in St. Croix, where she had been living with Gloria I. Joseph. She was 58. In an African naming ceremony before her death, she took the name Gamba Adisa, which means “Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known”. Work Poetry Lorde focused her discussion of difference not only on differences between groups of women but between conflicting differences within the individual. “I am defined as other in every group I’m part of,” she declared. “The outsider, both strength and weakness. Yet without community there is certainly no liberation, no future, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between me and my oppression”. She described herself both as a part of a “continuum of women” and a “concert of voices” within herself. Her conception of her many layers of selfhood is replicated in the multi-genres of her work. Critic Carmen Birkle wrote: “Her multicultural self is thus reflected in a multicultural text, in multi-genres, in which the individual cultures are no longer separate and autonomous entities but melt into a larger whole without losing their individual importance.” Her refusal to be placed in a particular category, whether social or literary, was characteristic of her determination to come across as an individual rather than a stereotype. Lorde considered herself a “lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and used poetry to get this message across. Lorde’s poetry was published very regularly during the 1960s—in Langston Hughes’ 1962 New Negro Poets, USA; in several foreign anthologies; and in black literary magazines. During this time, she was also politically active in civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements. In 1968, Lorde published The First Cities, her first volume of poems. It was edited by Diane di Prima, a former classmate and friend from Hunter College High School. The First Cities has been described as a “quiet, introspective book,” and Dudley Randall, a poet and critic, asserted in his review of the book that Lorde “does not wave a black flag, but her blackness is there, implicit, in the bone”. Her second volume, Cables to Rage (1970), which was mainly written during her tenure as poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, addressed themes of love, betrayal, childbirth, and the complexities of raising children. It is particularly noteworthy for the poem “Martha,” in which Lorde openly confirms her homosexuality for the first time in her writing: "[W]e shall love each other here if ever at all.” Nominated for the National Book Award for poetry in 1973, From a Land Where Other People Live (Broadside Press) shows Lorde’s personal struggles with identity and anger at social injustice. The volume deals with themes of anger, loneliness, and injustice, as well as what it means to be an African-American woman, mother, friend, and lover. 1974 saw the release of New York Head Shop and Museum, which gives a picture of Lorde’s New York through the lenses of both the civil rights movement and her own restricted childhood: stricken with poverty and neglect and, in Lorde’s opinion, in need of political action. Despite the success of these volumes, it was the release of Coal in 1976 that established Lorde as an influential voice in the Black Arts Movement (Norton), as well as introducing her to a wider audience. The volume includes poems from both The First Cities and Cables to Rage, and it unties many of the themes Lorde would become known for throughout her career: her rage at racial injustice, her celebration of her black identity, and her call for an intersectional consideration of women’s experiences. Lorde followed Coal up with Between Our Selves (also in 1976) and Hanging Fire (1978). In Lorde’s volume The Black Unicorn (1978), she describes her identity within the mythos of African female deities of creation, fertility, and warrior strength. This reclamation of African female identity both builds and challenges existing Black Arts ideas about pan-Africanism. While writers like Amiri Baraka and Ishmael Reed utilized African cosmology in a way that “furnished a repertoire of bold male gods capable of forging and defending an aboriginal black universe,” in Lorde’s writing “that warrior ethos is transferred to a female vanguard capable equally of force and fertility.” Lorde’s poetry became more open and personal as she grew older and became more confident in her sexuality. In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Lorde states, "Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought…As they become known to and accepted by us, our feelings and the honest exploration of them become sanctuaries and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring ideas." Sister Outsider also elaborates Lorde’s challenge to European-American traditions. Prose The Cancer Journals (1980), derived in part from personal journals written in the late seventies, and A Burst of Light (1988) both use non-fiction prose to preserve, explore, and reflect on Lorde’s diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from breast cancer. In both works, Lorde deals with Western notions of illness, treatment, and physical beauty and prosthesis, as well as themes of death, fear of mortality, victimization versus survival, and inner power. Lorde’s deeply personal novel Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982), described as a “biomythography,” chronicles her childhood and adulthood. The narrative deals with the evolution of Lorde’s sexuality and self-awareness. In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984), Lorde asserts the necessity of communicating the experience of marginalized groups in order to make their struggles visible in a repressive society. She emphasizes the need for different groups of people (particularly white women and African-American women) to find common ground in their lived experience. One of her works in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches is “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Lorde questions the scope and ability for change to be instigated when examining problems through a racist, patriarchal lens. She insists that women see differences between other women not as something to be tolerated, but something that is necessary to generate power and to actively “be” in the world. This will create a community that embraces differences, which will ultimately lead to liberation. Lorde elucidates, “Divide and conquer, in our world, must become define and empower." Also, one must educate themselves about the oppression of others because expecting a marginalized group to educate the oppressors is the continuation of racist, patriarchal thought. She explains that this is a major tool utilized by oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns. She concludes that in order to bring about real change, we cannot work within the racist, patriarchal framework because change brought about in that will not remain. Another work in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches is “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.*” Lorde discusses the importance of speaking, even when afraid because one’s silence will not protect them from being marginalized and oppressed. Many people fear to speak the truth because of how it may cause pain, however, one ought to put fear into perspective when deliberating whether to speak or not. Lorde emphasizes that “the transformation of silence into language and action is a self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger." People are afraid of others’ reactions for speaking, but mostly for demanding visibility, which is essential to live. Lorde adds, “We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid." People are taught to respect their fear of speaking more than silence, but ultimately, the silence will choke us anyway, so we might as well speak the truth. In 1980, together with Barbara Smith and Cherríe Moraga, she co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for women of color. Lorde was State Poet of New York from 1991 to 1992. Theory Her writings are based on the “theory of difference,” the idea that the binary opposition between men and women is overly simplistic; although feminists have found it necessary to present the illusion of a solid, unified whole, the category of women itself is full of subdivisions. Lorde identified issues of class, race, age, gender, and even health– this last was added as she battled cancer in her later years– as being fundamental to the female experience. She argued that, although differences in gender have received all the focus, it is essential that these other differences are also recognized and addressed. “Lorde,” writes the critic Carmen Birkle, “puts her emphasis on the authenticity of experience. She wants her difference acknowledged but not judged; she does not want to be subsumed into the one general category of ‘woman.’” This theory is today known as intersectionality. While acknowledging that the differences between women are wide and varied, most of Lorde’s works are concerned with two subsets that concerned her primarily—race and sexuality. In Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson’s documentary A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde, Lorde says, "Let me tell you first about what it was like being a Black woman poet in the ‘60s, from jump. It meant being invisible. It meant being really invisible. It meant being doubly invisible as a Black feminist woman and it meant being triply invisible as a Black lesbian and feminist". In her essay “The Erotic as Power,” written in 1978 and collected in Sister Outsider, Lorde theorizes the Erotic as a site of power for women only when they learn to release it from its suppression and embrace it. She proposes that the Erotic needs to be explored and experienced wholeheartedly, because it exists not only in reference to sexuality and the sexual, but also as a feeling of enjoyment, love, and thrill that is felt towards any task or experience that satisfies women in their lives, be it reading a book or loving one’s job. She dismisses “the false belief that only by the suppression of the erotic within our lives and consciousness can women be truly strong. But that strength is illusory, for it is fashioned within the context of male models of power.” She explains how patriarchal society has misnamed it used it against women, causing women to fear it. Women also fear it because the erotic is powerful and a deep feeling. Women must share each others’ power rather than use it without consent, which is abuse. They should do it as a method to connect everyone in their differences and similarities. Utilizing, the erotic as power allows women to use their knowledge and power to face the issues of racism, patriarchy, and our anti-erotic society. Contemporary feminist thought Lorde set out to confront issues of racism in feminist thought. She maintained that a great deal of the scholarship of white feminists served to augment the oppression of black women, a conviction that led to angry confrontation, most notably in a blunt open letter addressed to the fellow radical lesbian feminist Mary Daly, to which Lorde claimed she received no reply. Daly’s reply letter to Lorde, dated 4½ months later, was found in 2003 in Lorde’s files after she died. This fervent disagreement with notable white feminists furthered Lorde’s persona as an outsider: "In the institutional milieu of black feminist and black lesbian feminist scholars [...] and within the context of conferences sponsored by white feminist academics, Lorde stood out as an angry, accusatory, isolated black feminist lesbian voice". The criticism was not one-sided: many white feminists were angered by Lorde’s brand of feminism. In her 1984 essay “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Lorde attacked underlying racism within feminism, describing it as unrecognized dependence on the patriarchy. She argued that, by denying difference in the category of women, white feminists merely furthered old systems of oppression and that, in so doing, they were preventing any real, lasting change. Her argument aligned white feminists who did not recognize race as a feminist issue with white male slave-masters, describing both as “agents of oppression.” Lorde’s comments on feminism In Audre Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference,” she writes: “Certainly there are very real differences between us of race, age, and sex. But it is not those differences between us that are separating us. It is rather our refusal to recognize those differences, and to examine the distortions which result from our misnaming them and their effects upon human behavior and expectation.” More specifically she states: “As white women ignore their built-in privilege of whiteness and define woman in terms of their own experience alone, then women of color become ‘other’.” Self-identified as “a forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two,” Lorde is considered as “other, deviant, inferior, or just plain wrong” in the eyes of the normative “white male heterosexual capitalist” social hierarchy. “We speak not of human difference, but of human deviance,” she writes. In this respect, Lorde’s ideology coincides with womanism, which “allows black women to affirm and celebrate their color and culture in a way that feminism does not.” Influences on Black Feminism Lorde’s work on black feminism continues to be examined by scholars today. Jennifer C. Nash examines how black feminists acknowledge their identities and find love for themselves through those differences. Nash cites Lorde, who writes, “I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices." Nash explains that Lorde is urging black feminists to embrace politics rather than fear it, which will lead to an improvement in society for them. Lorde adds, “Black women sharing close ties with each other, politically or emotionally, are not the enemies of Black men. Too frequently, however, some Black men attempt to rule by fear those Black women who are more ally than enemy.” Lorde insists that the fight between black women and men must end in order to end racist politics. Personal Identity Throughout Lorde’s career she included the idea of a collective identity in many of her poems and books. Audre Lorde did not just identify with one category but she wanted to celebrate all parts of herself equally. She was known to describe herself as African-American, black, feminist, poet, mother, etc. In her novel Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Lorde focuses on how her many different identities shape her life and the different experiences she has because of them. She shows us that personal identity is found within the connections between seemingly different parts of life. Personal identity is often associated with the visual aspect of a person, but as Lies Xhonneux theorizes when identity is singled down to just to what you see, some people, even within minority groups, can become invisible. In her late book The Cancer Journals she said “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” This is important because an identity is more than just what people see or think of a person, it is something that must be defined by the individual. “The House of Difference” is a phrase that has stuck with Lorde’s identity theories. Her idea was that everyone is different from each other and it is the collective differences that make us who we are, instead of one little thing. Focusing on all of the aspects of identity brings people together more than choosing one piece of an identity. Audre Lorde and womanism Audre Lorde’s criticism of feminists of the 1960s identified issues of race, class, age, gender and sexuality. Similarly, author and poet Alice Walker coined the term “womanist” in an attempt to distinguish black female and minority female experience from “feminism”. While “feminism” is defined as “a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women” by imposing simplistic opposition between “men” and “women,” the theorists and activists of the 1960s and 1970s usually neglected the experiential difference caused by factors such as race and gender among different social groups. Womanism and its ambiguity Womanism’s existence naturally opens various definitions and interpretations. Alice Walker’s comments on womanism, that “womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender,” suggests that the scope of study of womanism includes and exceeds that of feminism. In its narrowest definition, womanism is the black feminist movement that was formed in response to the growth of racial stereotypes in the feminist movement. In a broad sense, however, womanism is “a social change perspective based upon the everyday problems and experiences of black women and other women of minority demographics,” but also one that “more broadly seeks methods to eradicate inequalities not just for black women, but for all people” by imposing socialist ideology and equality. However, because womanism is open to interpretation, one of the most common criticisms of womanism is its lack of a unified set of tenets. It is also criticized for its lack of discussion of sexuality. Lorde actively strived for the change of culture within the feminist community by implementing womanist ideology. In the journal "Anger Among Allies: Audre Lorde’s 1981 Keynote Admonishing the National Women’s Studies Association," it is stated that Lorde’s speech contributed to communication with scholars’ understanding of human biases. While “anger, marginalized communities, and US Culture” are the major themes of the speech, Lorde implemented various communication techniques to shift subjectivities of the “white feminist” audience. Lorde further explained that “we are working in a context of oppression and threat, the cause of which is certainly not the angers which lie between us, but rather that virulent hatred leveled against all women, people of color, lesbians and gay men, poor people—against all of us who are seeking to examine the particulars of our lives as we resist our oppressions, moving towards coalition and effective action.” Audre Lorde and critique of womanism A major critique of womanism is its failure to explicitly address homosexuality within the female community. Very little womanist literature relates to lesbian or bisexual issues, and many scholars consider the reluctance to accept homosexuality accountable to the gender simplistic model of womanism. According to Lorde’s essay “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference,” “the need for unity is often misnamed as a need for homogeneity.” She writes, “A fear of lesbians, or of being accused of being a lesbian, has led many Black women into testifying against themselves.” Contrary to this, Audre Lorde was very open to her own sexuality and sexual awakening. In Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, her famous “biomythography” (a term coined by Lorde that combines “biography” and “mythology”) she writes, “Years afterward when I was grown, whenever I thought about the way I smelled that day, I would have a fantasy of my mother, her hands wiped dry from the washing, and her apron untied and laid neatly away, looking down upon me lying on the couch, and then slowly, thoroughly, our touching and caressing each other’s most secret places.” According to scholar Anh Hua, Lorde turns female abjection—menstruation, female sexuality, and female incest with the mother—into powerful scenes of female relationship and connection, thus subverting patriarchal heterosexist culture. With such a strong ideology and open-mindedness, Lorde’s impact on lesbian society is also significant. An attendee of a 1978 reading of Lorde’s essay “Uses for the Erotic: the Erotic as Power” says: “She asked if all the lesbians in the room would please stand. Almost the entire audience rose.” Tributes The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is an organization in New York City named for Michael Callen and Audre Lorde, which is dedicated to providing medical health care to the city’s LGBT population without regard to ability to pay. Callen-Lorde is the only primary care center in New York City created specifically to serve the LGBT community. The Audre Lorde Project, founded in 1994, is a Brooklyn-based organization for queer people of color. The organization concentrates on community organizing and radical nonviolent activism around progressive issues within New York City, especially relating to queer and transgender communities, AIDS and HIV activism, pro-immigrant activism, prison reform, and organizing among youth of color. The Audre Lorde Award is an annual literary award presented by Publishing Triangle to honor works of lesbian poetry, first presented in 2001. In 2014 Lorde was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display in Chicago, Illinois that celebrates LGBT history and people. Works * Books * Lorde, Audre (1968). The First Cities. New York City: Poets Press. OCLC 12420176. * Lorde, Audre (1970). Cables to Rage. London: Paul Breman. OCLC 18047271. * Lorde, Audre (1973). From a Land Where Other People Live. Detroit: Broadside Press. ISBN 9780910296977. * Lorde, Audre (1974). New York Head Shop and Museum. Detroit: Broadside Press. ISBN 9780910296342. * Lorde, Audre (1976). Coal. New York: W. W. Norton Publishing. ISBN 9780393044461. * Lorde, Audre (1976). Between Our Selves. Point Reyes, California: Eidolon Editions. OCLC 2976713. * Lorde, Audre (1978). Hanging Fire. * Lorde, Audre (1978). The Black Unicorn. New York: W. W. Norton Publishing. ISBN 9780393312379. * Lorde, Audre (1980). The Cancer Journals. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books. ISBN 9781879960732. * Lorde, Audre (1981). Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power. Tucson, Arizona: Kore Press. ISBN 9781888553109. * Lorde, Audre (1982). Chosen Poems: Old and New. New York: W. W. Norton Publishing. ISBN 9780393300178. * Lorde, Audre (1983). Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Trumansburg, New York: The Crossing Press. ISBN 9780895941220. * Lorde, Audre (1984). Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, New York: The Crossing Press. ISBN 9780895941411. (reissued 2007) * Lorde, Audre (1986). Our Dead Behind Us. New York: W. W. Norton Publishing. ISBN 9780393303278. * Lorde, Audre (1988). A Burst of Light. Ithaca, New York: Firebrand Books. ISBN 9780932379399. * Lorde, Audre (1993). The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance. New York: W. W. Norton Publishing. ISBN 9780393035131. * Lorde, Audre (2009). I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195341485. * Book chapters * Lorde, Audre (1997), “Age, race, class, and sex: women redefining difference”, in McClintock, Anne; Mufti, Aamir; Shohat, Ella, Dangerous liaisons: gender, nation, and postcolonial perspectives, Minnesota, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 374–380, ISBN 9780816626496. Interviews * “Interview with Audre Lorde,” in Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis, ed. Robin Ruth Linden (East Palo Alto, Calif.: Frog in the Well, 1982.), pp. 66–71 ISBN 0-960-36283-5 OCLC 7877113 Biographical film * A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (1995) Documentary by Michelle Parkeson. * The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde (2002). Documentary by Jennifer Abod. * Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 (2012). Documentary by Dagmar Schultz. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audre_Lorde

Philip Levine

Philip Levine (January 10, 1928– February 14, 2015) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He taught for more than thirty years in the English department of California State University, Fresno and held teaching positions at other universities as well. He served on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets from 2000 to 2006, and was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for 2011–2012. Biography Philip Levine grew up in industrial Detroit, the second of three sons and the first of identical twins of Jewish immigrant parents. His father, Harry Levine, owned a used auto parts business, his mother, Esther Priscol (Prisckulnick) Levine, was a bookseller. When Levine was five years old, his father died. While growing up, he faced the anti-Semitism embodied by Father Coughlin, the pro-Nazi radio priest. Levine started to work in car manufacturing plants at the age of 14. Detroit Central High School graduated him in 1946 and he went to college at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) in Detroit, where he began to write poetry, encouraged by his mother, to whom he dedicated the book of poems, The Mercy. Levine earned his A.B. in 1950 and went to work for Chevrolet and Cadillac in what he called “stupid jobs.” He married his first wife, Patty Kanterman, in 1951. The marriage lasted until 1953. In 1953, he attended the University of Iowa without registering, studying with, among others, poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman, the latter of whom Levine called his “one great mentor.” In 1954, he earned a mail-order masters degree with a thesis on John Keats’ “Ode to Indolence,” and married actress Frances J. Artley. He returned to the University of Iowa teaching technical writing, completing his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1957. The same year, he was awarded the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University. In 1958, he joined the English department at California State University in Fresno, where he taught until his retirement in 1992. He also taught at many other universities, among them New York University as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, Columbia, Princeton, Brown, Tufts, and the University of California at Berkeley. Levine and his wife had made their homes in Fresno and Brooklyn. He died of pancreatic cancer on February 14, 2015, age 87. Work The familial, social, and economic world of twentieth-century Detroit is one of the major subjects of Levine’s life work. His portraits of working class Americans and his continuous examination of his Jewish immigrant inheritance (both based on real life and described through fictional characters) has left a testimony of mid-twentieth century American life. Levine’s working experience lent his poetry a profound skepticism with regard to conventional American ideals. In his first two books, On the Edge (1963) and Not This Pig (1968), the poetry dwells on those who suddenly become aware that they are trapped in some murderous processes not of their own making. In 1968, Levine signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse to make tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. In his first two books, Levine was somewhat traditional in form and relatively constrained in expression. Beginning with They Feed They Lion, typically Levine’s poems are free-verse monologues tending toward trimeter or tetrameter. The music of Levine’s poetry depends on tension between his line-breaks and his syntax. The title poem of Levine’s book 1933 (1974) is an example of the cascade of clauses and phrases one finds in his poetry. Other collections include The Names of the Lost, A Walk with Tom Jefferson, New Selected Poems, and the National Book Award-winning What Work Is. On November 29, 2007 a tribute was held in New York City in anticipation of Levine’s eightieth birthday. Among those celebrating Levine’s career by reading Levine’s work were Yusef Komunyakaa, Galway Kinnell, E. L. Doctorow, Charles Wright, Jean Valentine and Sharon Olds. Levine read several new poems as well. Awards * 2013 Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award * 2011 Appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (United States Poet Laureate) * 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry– The Simple Truth (1994) * 1991 National Book Award for Poetry and Los Angeles Times Book Prize– What Work Is * 1987 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Modern Poetry Association and the American Council for the Arts * 1981 Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine * 1980 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship * 1980 National Book Award for Poetry– Ashes: Poems New and Old * 1979 National Book Critics Circle Award– Ashes: Poems New and Old– 7 Years from Somewhere * 1978 Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize from Poetry * 1977 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets– The Names of the Lost (1975) * 1973 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, Frank O’Hara Prize, Guggenheim Foundation fellowship Published works Poetry collections * News of the World, Random House, Inc., 2009, ISBN 978-0-307-27223-2 * Stranger to Nothing: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2006, ISBN 978-1-85224-737-9 * Breath Knopf, 2004, ISBN 978-1-4000-4291-3; reprint, Random House, Inc., 2006, ISBN 978-0-375-71078-0 * The Mercy, Random House, Inc., 1999, ISBN 978-0-375-70135-1 * Unselected Poems, Greenhouse Review Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-9655239-0-5 * The Simple Truth, Alfred A. Knopf, 1994, ISBN 978-0-679-43580-8; Alfred A. Knopf, 1996, ISBN 978-0-679-76584-4 * What Work Is, Knopf, 1992, ISBN 978-0-679-74058-2 * New Selected Poems, Knopf, 1991, ISBN 978-0-679-40165-0 * A Walk With Tom Jefferson, A.A. Knopf, 1988, ISBN 978-0-394-57038-9 * Sweet Will, Atheneum, 1985, ISBN 978-0-689-11585-1 * Selected Poems, Atheneum, 1984, ISBN 978-0-689-11456-4 * One for the Rose, Atheneum, 1981, ISBN 978-0-689-11223-2 * 7 Years From Somewhere, Atheneum, 1979, ISBN 978-0-689-10974-4 * Ashes: Poems New and Old, Atheneum, 1979, ISBN 978-0-689-10975-1 * The Names of the Lost, Atheneum, 1976 * 1933, Atheneum, 1974, ISBN 978-0-689-10586-9 * They Feed They Lion, Atheneum, 1972 * Red Dust (1971) * Pili’s Wall, Unicorn Press, 1971; Unicorn Press, 1980 * Not This Pig, Wesleyan University Press, 1968, ISBN 978-0-8195-2038-8; Wesleyan University Press, 1982, ISBN 978-0-8195-1038-9 * On the Edge (1963) Essays * The Bread of Time (1994) Translations * Off the Map: Selected Poems of Gloria Fuertes, edited and translated with Ada Long (1984) * Tarumba: The Selected Poems of Jaime Sabines, edited and translated with Ernesto Trejo (1979) Interviews * Don’t Ask, University of Michigan Press, 1981, ISBN 978-0-472-06327-7 * Moyers & Company, on December 29, 2013, Philip Levine reads some of his poetry and explores how his years working on Detroit’s assembly lines inspired his poetry. * “Interlochen Center for the Arts”, Interview with Interlochen Arts Academy students on March 17, 1977. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Levine_(poet)

Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov (24 October 1923– 20 December 1997) was a British-born American poet. Early life and influences Levertov was born and grew up in Ilford, London. Her mother, Beatrice Adelaide (née Spooner-Jones) Levertoff, came from a small mining village in North Wales. Her father, Paul Levertoff, had been a teacher at Leipzig University and as a Russian Hassidic Jew was held under house arrest during the First World War as an 'enemy alien’ by virtue of his ethnicity. He emigrated to the UK and became an Anglican priest after converting to Christianity. In the mistaken belief that he would want to preach in a Jewish neighbourhood, he was housed in Ilford, within reach of a parish in Shoreditch, in East London. His daughter wrote, “My father’s Hasidic ancestry, his being steeped in Jewish and Christian scholarship and mysticism, his fervour and eloquence as a preacher, were factors built into my cells”. Levertov, who was educated at home, showed an enthusiasm for writing from an early age and studied ballet, art, piano and French as well as standard subjects. She wrote about the strangeness she felt growing up part Jewish, German, Welsh and English, but not fully belonging to any of these identities. She notes that it lent her a sense of being special rather than excluded: "[I knew] before I was ten that I was an artist-person and I had a destiny". She noted: "Humanitarian politics came early into my life: seeing my father on a soapbox protesting Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia; my father and sister both on soap-boxes protesting Britain’s lack of support for Spain; my mother canvasing long before those events for the League of Nations Union; and all three of them working on behalf of the German and Austrian refugees from 1933 onwards… I used to sell the Daily Worker house-to-house in the working class streets of Ilford Lane". When she was five years old she declared she would be a writer. At the age of 12, she sent some of her poems to T. S. Eliot, who replied with a two-page letter of encouragement. In 1940, when she was 17, Levertov published her first poem. During the Blitz, Levertov served in London as a civilian nurse. Her first book, The Double Image, was published six years later. In 1947, she met and married American writer Mitchell Goodman and moved with him to the United States the following year. Although Levertov and Goodman would eventually divorce in 1975, they did have one son, Nikolai, together and lived mainly in New York City, summering in Maine. In 1955, she became a naturalised American citizen. Levertov’s first two books had comprised poems written in traditional forms and language. But as she accepted the US as her new home and became more and more fascinated with the American idiom, she began to come under the influence of the Black Mountain poets and most importantly William Carlos Williams. Her first American book of poetry, Here and Now, shows the beginnings of this transition and transformation. Her poem “With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads” established her reputation. Later life and work During the 1960s and 70s, Levertov became much more politically active in her life and work. As poetry editor for The Nation, she was able to support and publish the work of feminist and other leftist activist poets. The Vietnam War was an especially important focus of her poetry, which often tried to weave together the personal and political, as in her poem “The Sorrow Dance,” which speaks of her sister’s death. Also in response to the Vietnam War, Levertov joined the War Resisters League, and in 1968 signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the war. Levertov was a founding member of the anti-war collective RESIST along with Noam Chomsky, Mitchell Goodman, William Sloane Coffin, and Dwight Macdonald. Much of the latter part of Levertov’s life was spent in education. After moving to Massachusetts, Levertov taught at Brandeis University, MIT and Tufts University. She also lived part-time in Palo Alto and taught at Stanford University, as professor of English (professor emeritus). There she befriended Robert McAfee Brown, a professor of religion at Stanford and pastor. Franciscan Murray Bodo also became a spiritual advisor to her. In 1984 she uncovered notebooks of her mother and father, resolving some personal and religious conflict. In 1989 she moved from Somerville, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington, and lived near Seward Park, Lake Washington and her beloved Mountain Rainier. On the West Coast, she had a part-time teaching stint at the University of Washington and for 11 years (1982–1993) held a full professorship at Stanford University, where she taught in the Stegner Fellowship program. In 1984 she received a Litt. D. from Bates College. After retiring from teaching, she travelled for a year doing poetry readings in the US and Britain. In 1990 she joined the Catholic Church at St. Edwards, Seattle; she became involved in protests of the US attack on Iraq. She retired from teaching at Stanford. Then in 1994 she was diagnosed with lymphoma, and also suffered pneumonia and acute laryngitis. Despite this she continued to lecture and participate at national conferences, many on spirituality and poetry. In February 1997 she experienced the death of Mitch Goodman. In December 1997, Denise Levertov died at the age of 74 from complications due to lymphoma. She was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle, Washington. Her papers are held at Stanford University. The first full biography appeared in October 2012 by Dana Greene Denise Levertov: A Poet’s Life (Chicago: University of Illinois, 2012). Donna Krolik Hollenberg’s more substantial biography, A Poet’s Revolution: The Life of Denise Levertov, was published by the University of California Press in April 2013. Political poetry Both politics and war are major themes in Levertov’s poetry. Levertov was published in the Black Mountain Review during the 1950s, but denied any formal relations with the group. She began to develop her own lyrical style of poetry through those influences. She felt it was part of a poet’s calling to point out the injustice of the Vietnam War, and she also actively participated in rallies, reading poetry at some. Some of her war poetry was published in her 1971 book To Stay Alive, a collection of anti-Vietnam War letters, newscasts, diary entries, and conversations. Complementary themes in the book involve the tension of the individual vs. the group (or government) and the development of personal voice in mass culture. In her poetry, she promotes community and group change through the imagination of the individual and emphasises the power of individuals as advocates of change. She also links personal experience to justice and social reform. Suffering is another major theme in Levertov’s war poetry. The poems “Poetry, Prophecy, Survival”, “Paradox and Equilibrium”, and "Poetry and Peace: Some Broader Dimensions” revolve around war, injustice, and prejudice. In her volume “Life at War”, Denise Levertov attempts to use imagery to express the disturbing violence of the Vietnam War. Throughout these poems, she addresses violence and savagery, yet tries to bring grace into the equation. She attempts to mix the beauty of language and the ugliness of the horrors of war. The themes of her poems, especially “Staying Alive”, focus on both the cost of war and the suffering of the Vietnamese. In her prose work, The Poet in the World, she writes that violence is an outlet. Levertov’s first successful Vietnam poetry was her book Freeing of the Dust. Some of the themes of this book of poems are the experience of the North Vietnamese, and distrust of people. She attacks the United States pilots in her poems for dropping bombs. Overall, her war poems incorporate suffering to show that violence has become an everyday occurrence. After years of writing such poetry, Levertov eventually came to the conclusion that beauty and poetry and politics can’t go together (Dewey). This opened the door wide for her religious-themed poetry in the later part of her life. Religious influences From a very young age Levertov was influenced by her religion, and when she began writing it was a major theme in her poetry. Through her father she was exposed to both Judaism and Christianity. Levertov always believed that her culture and her family roots had inherent value to herself and her writing. Furthermore, she believed that she and her sister had a destiny pertaining to this. When Levertov moved to the United States, she fell under the influence of the Black Mountain Poets, especially the mysticism of Charles Olson. She drew on the experimentation of Ezra Pound and the style of William Carlos Williams, but was also exposed to the Transcendentalism of Thoreau and Emerson. Although all these factors shaped her poetry, her conversion to Christianity in 1984 was the main influence on her religious writing. Sometime shortly after her move to Seattle in 1989, she became a Roman Catholic. In 1997, she brought together 38 poems from seven of her earlier volumes in The Stream & the Sapphire, a collection intended, as Levertov explains in the foreword to the collection, to “trace my slow movement from agnosticism to Christian faith, a movement incorporating much doubt and questioning as well as affirmation.” Religious themes Denise Levertov wrote many poems with religious themes throughout her career. These poems range from religious imagery to implied metaphors of religion. One particular theme was developed progressively throughout her poetry. This was the pilgrimage/spiritual journey of Levertov towards the deep spiritual understanding and truth in her last poems. One of her earlier poems is “A Tree Telling of Orpheus”, from her book Relearning the Alphabet. This poem uses the metaphor of a tree, which changes and grows when it hears the music of Orpheus. This is a metaphor of spiritual growth. The growth of the tree is like the growth of faith, and as the tree goes through life we also go through life on a spiritual journey. Much of Levertov’s religious poetry was concerned with respect for nature and life. Also among her themes were nothingness and absence. In her earlier poems something is always lacking, searching, and empty. In “Work that Enfaiths” Levertov begins to confront this “ample doubt” and her lack of “burning surety” in her faith. The religious aspect of this is the doubt vs. light debate. Levertov cannot find a balance between faith and darkness. She goes back and forth between the glory of God and nature, but doubt constantly plagues her. In her earlier religious poems Levertov searches for meaning in life. She explores God as he relates to nothing(ness) and everything. In her later poetry, a shift can be seen. “A Door in the Hive” and “Evening Train” are full of poems using images of cliffs, edges, and borders to push for change in life. Once again, Levertov packs her poetry with metaphors. She explores the idea that there can be peace in death. She also begins to suggest that nothing is a part of God. “Nothingness” and darkness are no longer just reasons to doubt and agonise over. “St. Thomas Didymus” and “Mass” show this growth, as they are poems that lack her former nagging wonder and worry. In Evening Train, Levertov’s poetry is highly religious. She writes about experiencing God. These poems are breakthrough poems for her. She writes about a mountain, which becomes a metaphor for life and God. When clouds cover a mountain, it is still huge and massive and in existence. God is the same, she says. Even when He is clouded, we know He is there. Her poems tend to shift away from constantly questioning religion to accepting it simply. In “The Tide”, the final section of Evening Train, Levertov writes about accepting faith and that not knowing answers is tolerable. This acceptance of the paradoxes of faith marks the end of her “spiritual journey”. Levertov’s heavy religious writing began at her conversion to Christianity in 1984. She wrote a great deal of metaphysical poetry to express her religious views, and began to use Christianity to link culture and community together. In her poem “Mass” she writes about how the Creator is defined by His creation. She writes a lot about nature and individuals. In the works of her last phase, Levertov sees Christianity as a bridge between individuals and society, and explores how a hostile social environment can be changed by Christian values. Accomplishments Levertov wrote and published 24 books of poetry, and also criticism and translations. She also edited several anthologies. Among her many awards and honours, she received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Frost Medal the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lannan Award, a Catherine Luck Memorial Grant, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Bibliography Primary works * The Double Image (London, UK: The Cresset Press, 1946) * Here and Now (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Pocket Book Shop, The Pocket Poets Series: Number Six, 1956) * Overland to the Islands (Highlands, NC: Jonathan Williams, Publisher, 1958) * With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1959) * The Jacob’s Ladder (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1961) * O Taste and See: New Poems (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964) * The Sorrow Dance (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1967) * Relearning the Alphabet (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1970) * To Stay Alive (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1971) * Footprints (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1972) * The Freeing of the Dust (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1975) * Life in the Forest (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1978) * Collected Earlier Poems 1940–1960 (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1979) * Pig Dreams: Scenes from the Life of Sylvia (Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press, 1981), Pastels by Liebe Coolidge * Candles in Babylon (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1982) * Poems 1960–1967 (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1983) * Oblique Prayers: New Poems (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1984) * Poems 1968–1972 (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1987) * Breathing the Water (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1987) * A Door in the Hive (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1989) * Evening Train (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1992) * A Door in the Hive / Evening Train (1993) ISBN 1-85224-159-4 * Sands of the Well (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1996) * This Great Unknowing: Last Poems (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2000), With a Note on the Text by Paul A. Lacey * Poems 1972–1982 (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, New Directions Paperbook NDP913, 2001) Collections * "The Collected Poems of Denise Levertov (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 11/2013), Edited and Annotated by Paul A. Lacey and Anne Dewey, with an Introduction by Eavan Boland, Afterword by Paul A. Lacey & Anne Dewey * The Life Around Us: Selected Poems on Nature (1997) * Making Peace (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, New Directions Bibelot NDP1023, 2005), Edited, with an Introduction, by Peggy Rosenthal * The Stream & the Sapphire: Selected Poems on Religious Themes (1997) * Selected Poems (UK: Bloodaxe Books, 1986). ISBN 0-906427-85-1 * This is not to be confused with the 2002 US volume of the same title. From Neil Astley, of Bloodaxe Books: * "Selected Poems (1986) had no editor as such: the book was edited by Bloodaxe Books in consultation with Denise Levertov, with helpful suggestions made by Linda Anderson and Cynthia Fuller. It was originated by Bloodaxe Books for publication in the UK and there was no corresponding US edition. It had no introduction or preface.” * Selected Poems (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2002), preface by Robert Creeley, edited with an afterword by Paul A. Lacey * New Selected Poems (UK: Bloodaxe Books, 2003), preface by Robert Creeley, edited with an afterword by Paul A. Lacey * The latter two volumes are identical in contents. From Neil Astley, of Bloodaxe Books: * "New Selected Poems was first published in the US by New Directions in 2002 under the title Selected Poems, and published by Bloodaxe Books in the UK in 2003 under the title New Selected Poems to avoid confusion with the previous UK edition called Selected Poems. It was edited with an afterword by Paul A. Lacy and has a preface by Robert Creeley. So it is the same book as New Directions’ Selected Poems.” Prose * The Poet in the World (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1973) * Light Up the Cave (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1981) * New & Selected Essays (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1992) * Tesserae: Memories & Suppositions (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1995) Letters * The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams, Edited by Christopher MacGowan (1998). * The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), Edited by Robert J. Bertholf & Albert Gelpi. Translations * Black Iris: Selected Poems by Jean Joubert (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1988), Translated from the French by Denise Levertov * In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1967), Translated by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. and Denise Levertov, with an introduction and notes by Edward Dimock, Jr., Illustrated by Anju Chaudhuri * No Matter No Fact (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, February 1988), Alain Bosquet, Translated by Samuel Beckett, Eduard Roditi, Denise Levertov, and Alain Bosquet * Selected Poems by Eugene Guillevic (NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1969) * White Owl and Blue Mouse (Cambridge, MA: Zoland Books, 1991), Jean Joubert, Illustrations by Michel Gay Edited by Denise Levertov * The Collected Poems of Beatrice Hawley, The (Cambridge, MA: Zoland Books, 1989), Edited and with an Introduction by Denise Levertov * Out of the War Shadow: An Anthology of Current Poetry (NY: War Resisters League, 1967), compiled and edited by Denise Levertov * Songs from an Outcast (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA American Indian Studies Center, 2000), John E. Smelcer References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denise_Levertov




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