Edgar Albert Guest (20 August 1881 in Birmingham, England– 5 August 1959 in Detroit, Michigan) (aka Eddie Guest) was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the People’s Poet. Career In 1891, Guest moved with his family to the United States from England. After he began at the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy and then a reporter, his first poem appeared 11 December 1898. He became a naturalized citizen in 1902. For 40 years, Guest was widely read throughout North America, and his sentimental, optimistic poems were in the same vein as the light verse of Nick Kenny, who wrote syndicated columns during the same decades. From his first published work in the Detroit Free Press until his death in 1959, Guest penned some 11,000 poems which were syndicated in some 300 newspapers and collected in more than 20 books, including A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916) and Just Folks (1917). Guest was made Poet Laureate of Michigan, the only poet to have been awarded the title. His popularity led to a weekly Detroit radio show which he hosted from 1931 until 1942, followed by a 1951 NBC television series, A Guest in Your Home. He also had a thrice-weekly transcribed radio program that began January 15, 1941, and was sponsored by Land O’Lakes Creameries. The program featured singer Eddy Howard. When Guest died in 1959, he was buried in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery. His great-niece Judith Guest is a successful novelist who wrote Ordinary People. Excerpts Guest’s most famous poem is the oft-quoted “Home”: It don’t make a difference how rich ye get t’ be’ How much yer chairs and tables cost, how great the luxury; It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king, Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything. Within the hi how are you there’s got t’ be some babies born an’ then... Right there ye’ve got t’ bring em up t’ women good, an’ men; Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ living in it.” —Excerpt from “Home,” It takes A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916) When you’re up against a trouble, Meet it squarely, face to face, Lift your chin, and set your shoulders, Plant your feet and take a brace, When it’s vain to try to dodge it, Do the best that you can do. You may fail, but you may conquer— See it through! —Excerpt from “See It Through” Guest’s most motivating poem: You can do as much as you think you can, But you'll never accomplish more; If you're afraid of yourself, young man, There's little for you in store. For failure comes from the inside first, It's there, if we only knew it, And you can win, though you face the worst, If you feel that you're going to do it. —Excerpt from “The Secret of the Ages” (1926) Reputation Guest’s work still occasionally appears in periodicals such as Reader’s Digest, and some favorites, such as “Myself” and “Thanksgiving,” are still studied today. However, in one of the most quoted appraisals of his work, Dorothy Parker reputedly said: “I’d rather flunk my Wassermann test than read a poem by Edgar Guest.” In popular culture A favorite poet of Edith Bunker from the TV show All In The Family. She quotes him in a few episodes including 'Prisoner In The House’, first broadcast on 4 January 1975. Edgar Guest is depicted on the badge worn by the crew of Count Olaf’s submarine Carmelita in The Grim Grotto, the eleventh book in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. In the book Guest is mocked as a “writer of limited skill, who wrote awkward, tedious poetry on hopelessly sentimental topics” (The Grim Grotto (2004) page 281). In the novel I Am Legend, the main character Robert Neville sardonically comments on his own internal monologue: “The last man in the world is Edgar Guest”. Guest’s poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” was recited by Idris Elba on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award on 16 December 2012 whilst celebrating Team GB and Paralympics GB winning the team award for 2012. Guest’s poem “See It Through,” was used in a Chrysler 300 commercial. Guest’s poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” was used in an Audi commercial. Works * Home Rhymes, from Breakfast Table Chat (1909) * A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916) * Just Glad Things (1916) * Just Folks (1917) * Over Here (1918) * Poems of Patriotism (1918) * The Path to Home (1919) * A Dozen New Poems (1920) * Sunny Songs (1920) * Keep Going (Don’t Quit) (1921) * When Day Is Done (1921) * Don’t Quit (3 March 1921) * All That Matters (1922) * Making The House A Home (1922) * The Passing Throng (1923) * Mother (1925) * The Light of Faith (1926) * The Secret of The Ages (1926) * You (1927) * Harbor Lights of Home (1928) * Rhymes of Childhood (1928) * Poems for the Home Folks (1930) * The Friendly Way (1931) * Faith (1932) * Life’s Highway (1933) * Collected Verse of Edgar Guest (1934) * All in a Lifetime (1938) * Between You and Me: My Philosophy of Life (1938) * Today and Tomorrow (1942) * Living the Years (1949) * Sermons We See * See It Through * Life’s Slacker * “Team Work” References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Guest
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 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.
Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature. Auden grew up in Birmingham in a professional middle class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems, written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, alternated between telegraphic modern styles and fluent traditional ones, were written in an intense and dramatic tone, and established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet. He became uncomfortable in this role in the later 1930s, and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939, where he became an American citizen in 1946. His poems in the 1940s explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than his earlier works, but still combined traditional forms and styles with new forms devised by Auden himself. In the 1950s and 1960s many of his poems focused on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions, and he took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings.
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron FRS; 22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), simply known as Lord Byron, was an English poet and peer. One of the leading figures of the Romantic movement, Byron is regarded as one of the greatest English poets. He remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and later travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for seven years in Venice, Ravenna, and Pisa after he was forced to flee England due to lynching threats. During his stay in Italy, he frequently visited his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Later in life Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire and died leading a campaign during that war, for which Greeks revere him as a folk hero. He died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted after the First and Second Sieges of Missolonghi.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Authorship Around 230 years after Shakespeare’s death, doubts began to be expressed about the authorship of the works attributed to him. Proposed alternative candidates include Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Several “group theories” have also been proposed. All but a few Shakespeare scholars and literary historians consider it a fringe theory, with only a small minority of academics who believe that there is reason to question the traditional attribution, but interest in the subject, particularly the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship, continues into the 21st century.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist. He was born in British India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.”
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as the poem "to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. Early life The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland—part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, was born the following year, and the two were baptised together. They had three other siblings: Richard, the eldest, who became a lawyer; John, born after Dorothy, who went to sea and died in 1805 when the ship of which he was Master, the Earl of Abergavenny, was wrecked off the south coast of England; and Christopher, the youngest, who entered the Church and rose to be Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Their father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and, through his connections, lived in a large mansion in the small town. Wordsworth, as with his siblings, had little involvement with their father, and they would be distant from him until his death in 1783. Wordsworth's father, although rarely present, did teach him poetry, including that of Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser, in addition to allowing his son to rely on his own father's library. Along with spending time reading in Cockermouth, Wordsworth would also stay at his mother's parents house in Penrith, Cumberland. At Penrith, Wordsworth was exposed to the moors. Wordsworth could not get along with his grandparents and his uncle, and his hostile interactions with them distressed him to the point of contemplating suicide. After the death of their mother, in 1778, John Wordsworth sent William to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire and Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire; she and William would not meet again for another nine years. Although Hawkshead was Wordsworth's first serious experience with education, he had been taught to read by his mother and had attended a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth. After the Cockermouth school, he was sent to a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families and taught by Ann Birkett, a woman who insisted on instilling in her students traditions that included pursuing both scholarly and local activities, especially the festivals around Easter, May Day, and Shrove Tuesday. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school that Wordsworth was to meet the Hutchinsons, including Mary, who would be his future wife. Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John's College, Cambridge, and received his B.A. degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for his first two summer holidays, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790, he took a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively, and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Relationship with Annette Vallon In November 1791, Wordsworth visited Revolutionary France and became enthralled with the Republican movement. He fell in love with a French woman, Annette Vallon, who in 1792 gave birth to their child, Caroline. Because of lack of money and Britain's tensions with France, he returned alone to England the next year. The circumstances of his return and his subsequent behaviour raise doubts as to his declared wish to marry Annette, but he supported her and his daughter as best he could in later life. The Reign of Terror estranged him from the Republican movement, and war between France and Britain prevented him from seeing Annette and Caroline again for several years. There are strong suggestions that Wordsworth may have been depressed and emotionally unsettled in the mid-1790s. With the Peace of Amiens again allowing travel to France, in 1802 Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, visited Annette and Caroline in Calais. The purpose of the visit was to pave the way for his forthcoming marriage to Mary Hutchinson, and a mutually agreeable settlement was reached regarding Wordsworth's obligations. Afterwards he wrote the poem "It is a beauteous evening, calm and free," recalling his seaside walk with his daughter, whom he had not seen for ten years. At the conception of this poem, he had never seen his daughter before. The occurring lines reveal his deep love for both child and mother. First publication and Lyrical Ballads In his "Preface to Lyrical Ballads", which is called the "manifesto" of English Romantic criticism, Wordsworth calls his poems "experimental." The year 1793 saw Wordsworth's first published poetry with the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. He received a legacy of £900 from Raisley Calvert in 1795 so that he could pursue writing poetry. That year, he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Somerset. The two poets quickly developed a close friendship. In 1797, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Alfoxton House, Somerset, just a few miles away from Coleridge's home in Nether Stowey. Together, Wordsworth and Coleridge (with insights from Dorothy) produced Lyrical Ballads (1798), an important work in the English Romantic movement. The volume gave neither Wordsworth's nor Coleridge's name as author. One of Wordsworth's most famous poems, "Tintern Abbey", was published in the work, along with Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The second edition, published in 1800, had only Wordsworth listed as the author, and included a preface to the poems, which was augmented significantly in the 1802 edition. This Preface to Lyrical Ballads is considered a central work of Romantic literary theory. In it, Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men" and which avoids the poetic diction of much 18th-century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." A fourth and final edition of Lyrical Ballads was published in 1805. The Borderers From 1795 to 1797, he wrote his only play, The Borderers, a verse tragedy set during the reign of King Henry III of England when Englishmen of the north country were in conflict with Scottish rovers. Wordsworth attempted to get the play staged in November 1797, but it was rejected by Thomas Harris, theatre manager of Covent Garden, who proclaimed it "impossible that the play should succeed in the representation". The rebuff was not received lightly by Wordsworth, and the play was not published until 1842, after substantial revision. Germany and move to the Lake District Wordsworth, Dorothy and Coleridge travelled to Germany in the autumn of 1798. While Coleridge was intellectually stimulated by the trip, its main effect on Wordsworth was to produce homesickness. During the harsh winter of 1798–99, Wordsworth lived with Dorothy in Goslar, and, despite extreme stress and loneliness, he began work on an autobiographical piece later titled The Prelude. He wrote a number of famous poems, including "The Lucy poems". He and his sister moved back to England, now to Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District, and this time with fellow poet Robert Southey nearby. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey came to be known as the "Lake Poets". Through this period, many of his poems revolve around themes of death, endurance, separation and grief. Marriage and children In 1802, after Wordsworth's return from his trip to France with Dorothy to visit Annette and Caroline, Lowther's heir, William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, paid the ₤4, debt owed to Wordsworth's father incurred through Lowther's failure to pay his aide. Later that year, on October 4, Wordsworth married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson. Dorothy continued to live with the couple and grew close to Mary. The following year, Mary gave birth to the first of five children, three of whom predeceased William and Mary: * John Wordsworth (18 June 1803 – 1875). * Dora Wordsworth (16 August 1804 – 9 July 1847). * Thomas Wordsworth (15 June 1806 – 1 December 1812). * Catherine Wordsworth (6 September 1808 – 4 June 1812). * William "Willy" Wordsworth (12 May 1810 – 1883). Autobiographical work and Poems in Two Volumes Wordsworth had for years been making plans to write a long philosophical poem in three parts, which he intended to call The Recluse. He had in 1798–99 started an autobiographical poem, which he never named but called the "poem to Coleridge", which would serve as an appendix to The Recluse. In 1804, he began expanding this autobiographical work, having decided to make it a prologue rather than an appendix to the larger work he planned. By 1805, he had completed it, but refused to publish such a personal work until he had completed the whole of The Recluse. The death of his brother, John, in 1805 affected him strongly. The source of Wordsworth's philosophical allegiances as articulated in The Prelude and in such shorter works as "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey" has been the source of much critical debate. While it had long been supposed that Wordsworth relied chiefly on Coleridge for philosophical guidance, more recent scholarship has suggested that Wordsworth's ideas may have been formed years before he and Coleridge became friends in the mid 1790s. While in Revolutionary Paris in 1792, the 22-year-old Wordsworth made the acquaintance of the mysterious traveller John "Walking" Stewart (1747–1822), who was nearing the end of a thirty-years' peregrination from Madras, India, through Persia and Arabia, across Africa and all of Europe, and up through the fledgling United States. By the time of their association, Stewart had published an ambitious work of original materialist philosophy entitled The Apocalypse of Nature (London, 1791), to which many of Wordsworth's philosophical sentiments are likely indebted. In 1807, his Poems in Two Volumes were published, including "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood". Up to this point Wordsworth was known publicly only for Lyrical Ballads, and he hoped this collection would cement his reputation. Its reception was lukewarm, however. For a time (starting in 1810), Wordsworth and Coleridge were estranged over the latter's opium addiction. Two of his children, Thomas and Catherine, died in 1812. The following year, he received an appointment as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, and the £400 per year income from the post made him financially secure. His family, including Dorothy, moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside (between Grasmere and Rydal Water) in 1813, where he spent the rest of his life. The Prospectus In 1814 he published The Excursion as the second part of the three-part The Recluse. He had not completed the first and third parts, and never would. He did, however, write a poetic Prospectus to "The Recluse" in which he lays out the structure and intent of the poem. The Prospectus contains some of Wordsworth's most famous lines on the relation between the human mind and nature: My voice proclaims How exquisitely the individual Mind (And the progressive powers perhaps no less Of the whole species) to the external World Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too, Theme this but little heard of among Men, The external World is fitted to the Mind. Some modern critics[who?] recognise a decline in his works beginning around the mid-1810s. But this decline was perhaps more a change in his lifestyle and beliefs, since most of the issues that characterise his early poetry (loss, death, endurance, separation and abandonment) were resolved in his writings. But, by 1820, he enjoyed the success accompanying a reversal in the contemporary critical opinion of his earlier works. Following the death of his friend the painter William Green in 1823, Wordsworth mended relations with Coleridge. The two were fully reconciled by 1828, when they toured the Rhineland together. Dorothy suffered from a severe illness in 1829 that rendered her an invalid for the remainder of her life. In 1835, Wordsworth gave Annette and Caroline the money they needed for support. The Poet Laureate and other honours Wordsworth received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1838 from Durham University, and the same honour from Oxford University the next year. In 1842 the government awarded him a civil list pension amounting to £300 a year. With the death in 1843 of Robert Southey, Wordsworth became the Poet Laureate. He initially refused the honour, saying he was too old, but accepted when Prime Minister Robert Peel assured him "you shall have nothing required of you" (he became the only laureate to write no official poetry). When his daughter, Dora, died in 1847, his production of poetry came to a standstill. Death William Wordsworth died by re-aggravating a case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850, and was buried at St. Oswald's church in Grasmere. His widow Mary published his lengthy autobiographical "poem to Coleridge" as The Prelude several months after his death. Though this failed to arouse great interest in 1850, it has since come to be recognised as his masterpiece. Major works Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798) * "Simon Lee" * "We are Seven" * "Lines Written in Early Spring" * "Expostulation and Reply" * "The Tables Turned" * "The Thorn" * "Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey" Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800) * Preface to the Lyrical Ballads * "Strange fits of passion have I known" * "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" * "Three years she grew" * "A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal" * "I travelled among unknown men" * "Lucy Gray" * "The Two April Mornings" * "Nutting" * "The Ruined Cottage" * "Michael" * "The Kitten At Play" Poems, in Two Volumes (1807) * "Resolution and Independence" * "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" Also known as "Daffodils" * "My Heart Leaps Up" * "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" * "Ode to Duty" * "The Solitary Reaper" * "Elegiac Stanzas" * "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" * "London, 1802" * "The World Is Too Much with Us" * Guide to the Lakes (1810) * The Excursion (1814) * Laodamia (1815, 1845) * The Prelude (1850) References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth
Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. While he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels mainly for financial gain, he became and continues to be widely regarded for his novels, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd. Hardy's poetry, first published in his fifties, has come to be as well regarded as his novels and has had a significant influence over modern English poetry, especially after The Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s cited Hardy as a major figure.
English Romantic poet John Keats was born on October 31, 1795, in London. The oldest of four children, he lost both his parents at a young age. His father, a livery-stable keeper, died when Keats was eight; his mother died of tuberculosis six years later. After his mother's death, Keats's maternal grandmother appointed two London merchants, Richard Abbey and John Rowland Sandell, as guardians. Abbey, a prosperous tea broker, assumed the bulk of this responsibility, while Sandell played only a minor role. When Keats was fifteen, Abbey withdrew him from the Clarke School, Enfield, to apprentice with an apothecary-surgeon and study medicine in a London hospital. In 1816 Keats became a licensed apothecary, but he never practiced his profession, deciding instead to write poetry.
Edward James (Ted) Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, in the West Riding district of Yorkshire, on August 17, 1930. His childhood was quiet and dominately rural. When he was seven years old his family moved to the small town of Mexborough in South Yorkshire, and the landscape of the moors of that area informed his poetry throughout his life. After high school, Hughes entered the Royal Air Force and served for two years as a ground wireless mechanic. He then moved to Cambridge to attend Pembroke College on an academic scholarship. While in college he published a few poems, majored in Anthropolgy and Archaeology, and studied mythologies extensively. Hughes graduated from Cambridge in 1954. A few years later, in 1956, he co-founded the literary magazine St. Botolph’s Review with a handful of other editors. At the launch party for the magazine, he met Sylvia Plath. A few short months later, on June 16, 1956, they were married. Plath encouraged Hughes to submit his first manuscript, The Hawk in the Rain, to The Poetry Center's First Publication book contest. The judges, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender, awarded the manuscript first prize, and it was published in England and America in 1957, to much critical praise. Hughes lived in Massachusetts with Plath and taught at University of Massachusetts Amherst. They returned to England in 1959, and their first child, Freida was born the following year. Their second child, Nicholas, was born two years later. In 1962, Hughes left Plath for Assia Gutmann Wevill. Less than a year later, Plath committed suicide. Hughes did not write again for years, as he focused all of his energy on editing and promoting Plath’s poems. He was also roundly lambasted by the public, who saw him as responsible for his wife’s suicide. Controversy surrounded his editorial choices regarding Plath’s poems and journals. In 1965, Wevill gave birth to their only child, Shura. Four years later, like Plath, she also commited suicide, killing Shura as well. The following year, in 1970, Hughes married Carol Orchard, with whom he remained married until his death. Hughes’s lengthy career included over a dozen books of poetry, translations, non-fiction and children’s books, such as the famous The Iron Man (1968). His books of poems include: Wolfwatching (1990), Flowers and Insects (1986), Selected Poems 1957-1981 (1982), Moortown (1980), Cave Birds (1979), Crow (1971), and Lupercal (1960). His final collection, The Birthday Letters (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998), published the year of his death, documented his relationship with Plath. Hughes's work is marked by a mythical framework, using the lyric and dramatic monologue to illustrate intense subject matter. Animals appear frequently throughout his work as deity, metaphor, persona, and icon. Perhaps the most famous of his subjects is "Crow," an amalgam of god, bird and man, whose existence seems pivotal to the knowledge of good and evil. Hughes won many of Europe’s highest literary honors, and was appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1984, a post he held until his death. He passed away in October 28, 1998 in Devonshire, England, from cancer. Poetry The Hawk in the Rain (1957) Pike (1959) Lupercal (1960) Crow (1971) Cave Birds (1979) Moortown (1980) Selected Poems 1957-1981 (1982) Flowers and Insects (1986) Wolfwatching (1990) The Birthday Letters (1998) References Poets.org - poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/113
Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley (née Godwin) was his second wife. Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him a marginalized figure during his life, important in a fairly small circle of admirers, and opened him to criticism as well as praise afterward.
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as "In the Valley of Cauteretz", "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and fellow student at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a brain haemorrhage before they could marry. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, "Ulysses," and "Tithonus." During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. A number of phrases from Tennyson's work have become commonplaces of the English language, including "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Early life Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, a rector's son and fourth of 12 children. He derived from a middle-class line of Tennysons, but also had noble and royal ancestry. His father, George Clayton Tennyson (1778–1831), was rector of Somersby (1807–1831), also rector of Benniworth and Bag Enderby, and vicar of Grimsby (1815). The rector was the elder of two sons, but was disinherited at an early age by his father, the landowner George Tennyson (1750–1835) (owner of Bayons Manor and Usselby Hall), in favour of his younger brother Charles, who later took the name Charles Tennyson d'Eyncourt. Rev. George Clayton Tennyson raised a large family and "was a man of superior abilities and varied attainments, who tried his hand with fair success in architecture, painting, music, and poetry. He was comfortably well off for a country clergyman and his shrewd money management enabled the family to spend summers at Mablethorpe and Skegness, on the eastern coast of England." Alfred Tennyson's mother, Elizabeth Fytche (1781–1865), was the daughter of Stephen Fytche (1734–1799), vicar of St. James Church, Louth (1764) and rector of Withcall (1780), a small village between Horncastle and Louth. Tennyson's father "carefully attended to the education and training of his children.” Tennyson and two of his elder brothers were writing poetry in their teens, and a collection of poems by all three were published locally when Alfred was only 17. One of those brothers, Charles Tennyson Turner later married Louisa Sellwood, the younger sister of Alfred's future wife; the other was Frederick Tennyson. Another of Tennyson's brothers, Edward Tennyson, was institutionalised at a private asylum, where he died. Education and first publication In the spring of 1831 Tennyson's father died, requiring him to leave Cambridge before taking his degree. He returned to the rectory, where he was permitted to live for another six years, and shared responsibility for his widowed mother and the family. Arthur Hallam came to stay with his family during the summer and became engaged to Tennyson's sister, Emilia Tennyson. In 1833, Tennyson published his second book of poetry, which included his well-known poem, The Lady of Shalott. The volume met heavy criticism, which so discouraged Tennyson that he did not publish again for 10 years, although he continued to write. That same year, Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage while on vacation in Vienna. Hallam's sudden and unexpected death in 1833 had a profound impact on Tennyson, and inspired several masterpieces, including "In the Valley of Cauteretz" and In Memoriam A.H.H., a long poem detailing the 'Way of the Soul’. Tennyson and his family were allowed to stay in the rectory for some time, but later moved to High Beach, Essex in 1837. An unwise investment in an ecclesiastical wood-carving enterprise soon led to the loss of much of the family fortune. Tennyson then moved to London, and lived for a time at Chapel House, Twickenham. Third publication n 1842, while living modestly in London, Tennyson published two volumes of Poems, of which the first included works already published and the second was made up almost entirely of new poems. They met with immediate success. Poems from this collection, such as Locksley Hall, "Tithonus", and "Ulysses" have met enduring fame. The Princess: A Medley, a satire on women's education, which came out in 1847, was also popular for its lyrics. W. S. Gilbert later adapted and parodied the piece twice: in The Princess (1870) and in Princess Ida (1884). It was in 1850 that Tennyson reached the pinnacle of his career, finally publishing his masterpiece, In Memoriam A.H.H., dedicated to Hallam. Later the same year he was appointed Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth. In the same year (on 13 June), Tennyson married Emily Sellwood, whom he had known since childhood, in the village of Shiplake. They had two sons, Hallam Tennyson (b. 11 August 1852) – named after his friend – and Lionel (b. 16 March 1854). Poet Laureate After Wordsworth's death in 1850, and Samuel Rogers' refusal, Tennyson was appointed to the position of Poet Laureate, which he held until his own death in 1892, by far the longest tenure of any laureate before or since. He fulfilled the requirements of this position by turning out appropriate but often uninspired verse, such as a poem of greeting to Alexandra of Denmark when she arrived in Britain to marry the future King Edward VII. In 1855, Tennyson produced one of his best known works, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a dramatic tribute to the British cavalrymen involved in an ill-advised charge on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War. Other esteemed works written in the post of Poet Laureate include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington and Ode Sung at the Opening of the International Exhibition. Farringford – Lord Tennyson's residence on the Isle of Wight Queen Victoria was an ardent admirer of Tennyson's work, and in 1884 created him Baron Tennyson, of Aldworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. Tennyson initially declined a baronetcy in 1865 and 1868 (when tendered by Disraeli), finally accepting a peerage in 1883 at Gladstone's earnest solicitation. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 11 March 1884. Tennyson also wrote a substantial quantity of non-official political verse, from the bellicose "Form, Riflemen, Form", on the French crisis of 1859, to "Steersman, be not precipitate in thine act/of steering", deploring Gladstone's Home Rule Bill. Statue of Lord Tennyson in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge. Virginia Woolf wrote a play called Freshwater, showing Tennyson as host to his friends Julia Margaret Cameron and G.F.Watts. Tennyson was the first to be raised to a British Peerage for his writing. A passionate man with some peculiarities of nature, he was never particularly comfortable as a peer, and it is widely held that he took the peerage in order to secure a future for his son Hallam. Thomas Edison made sound recordings of Tennyson reading his own poetry, late in his life. They include recordings of The Charge of the Light Brigade, and excerpts from "The splendour falls" (from The Princess), "Come into the garden" (from Maud), "Ask me no more", "Ode on the death of the Duke of Wellington", "Charge of the Heavy Brigade", and "Lancelot and Elaine"; the sound quality is as poor as wax cylinder recordings usually are. Towards the end of his life Tennyson revealed that his "religious beliefs also defied convention, leaning towards agnosticism and pandeism": Famously, he wrote in In Memoriam: "There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds." [The context directly contradicts the apparent meaning of this quote.] In Maud, 1855, he wrote: "The churches have killed their Christ." In "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After," Tennyson wrote: "Christian love among the churches look'd the twin of heathen hate." In his play, Becket, he wrote: "We are self-uncertain creatures, and we may, Yea, even when we know not, mix our spites and private hates with our defence of Heaven." Tennyson recorded in his Diary (p. 127): "I believe in Pantheism of a sort." His son's biography confirms that Tennyson was not an orthodox Christian, noting that Tennyson praised Giordano Bruno and Spinoza on his deathbed, saying of Bruno, "His view of God is in some ways mine," in 1892. Tennyson continued writing into his eighties. He died on 6 October 1892 at Aldworth, aged 83. He was buried at Westminster Abbey. A memorial was erected in All Saints' Church, Freshwater. His last words were; "Oh that press will have me now!”. He was succeeded as 2nd Baron Tennyson by his son, Hallam, who produced an authorised biography of his father in 1897, and was later the second Governor-General of Australia. The art of Tennyson's poetry ennyson used a wide range of subject matter, ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature, as source material for his poetry. The influence of John Keats and other Romantic poets published before and during his childhood is evident from the richness of his imagery and descriptive writing. He also handled rhythm masterfully. The insistent beat of Break, Break, Break emphasises the relentless sadness of the subject matter. Tennyson's use of the musical qualities of words to emphasise his rhythms and meanings is sensitive. The language of "I come from haunts of coot and hern" lilts and ripples like the brook in the poem and the last two lines of "Come down O maid from yonder mountain height" illustrate his telling combination of onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance: The moan of doves in immemorial elms And murmuring of innumerable bees. Tennyson was a craftsman who polished and revised his manuscripts extensively. Few poets have used such a variety of styles with such an exact understanding of metre; like many Victorian poets, he experimented in adapting the quantitative metres of Greek and Latin poetry to English. He reflects the Victorian period of his maturity in his feeling for order and his tendency towards moralising and self-indulgent melancholy. He also reflects a concern common among Victorian writers in being troubled by the conflict between religious faith and expanding scientific knowledge. Like many writers who write a great deal over a long time, he can be pompous or banal, but his personality rings throughout all his works – work that reflects a grand and special variability in its quality. Tennyson possessed the strongest poetic power; he put great length into many works, most famous of which are Maud and Idylls of the King, the latter one of literature's treatments of the legend of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table. Homoerotic imagery The poem In Memoriam about a man’s love for another man includes sexual imagery; for example, the poet compares his sorrow to the sorrow of a loving widower who misses his late wife in bed. Tears of the widower, when he sees A late-lost form that sleep reveals, And moves his doubtful arms, and feels Her place is empty, fall like these; This is not a unique example and material that can be interpreted as homoerotic is widespread in Tennyson’s work. There has been speculation that Tennyson may have experienced homosexual feelings for his friend, though there is no question that he was strongly attracted to women. If Tennyson had bisexual feelings there is no firm evidence that he acted on them. Partial list of works From Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830): The Dying Swan The Kraken Mariana Lady Clara Vere de Vere (1832) From Poems (1833): The Lotos-Eaters The Lady of Shalott (1832, 1842) – three versions painted by J.W. Waterhouse (1888, 1894 and 1916). Also put to music by Loreena McKennitt on her album The Visit (1991). The Palace of Art St. Simeon Stylites (1833) From Poems (1842): Locksley Hall Tithonus Vision of Sin The Two Voices (1834) "Ulysses" (1833) From The Princess; A Medley (1847) "The Princess” Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal – it later appeared as a song in the film Vanity Fair, with musical arrangement by Mychael Danna "Tears, Idle Tears” In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849) Ring Out, Wild Bells (1850) The Eagle (1851) The Sister's Shame From Maud; A Monodrama (1855/1856) Maud The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) – an early recording exists of Tennyson reading this. From Enoch Arden and Other Poems (1862/1864) Enoch Arden The Brook – contains the line "For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever" which inspired the naming of a men's club in New York City. Flower in the crannied wall (1869) The Window – Song cycle with Arthur Sullivan. (1871) Harold (1876) – began a revival of interest in King Harold Idylls of the King (composed 1833–1874) Locksley Hall Sixty Years After (1886) Crossing the Bar (1889) The Foresters – a play with incidental music by Arthur Sullivan (1891) Kapiolani (published after his death by Hallam Tennyson) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred,_Lord_Tennyson
Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English poet, author and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a vainglorious war. He later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston Trilogy". Early life and education Siegfried Sassoon was born and grew up in the neo-gothic mansion named "Weirleigh" (after its builder, Harrison Weir), in Matfield, Kent, to a Jewish father and an Anglo-Catholic mother. His father, Alfred Ezra Sassoon (1861–1895), son of Sassoon David Sassoon, was a member of the wealthy Baghdadi Jewish Sassoon merchant family. For marrying outside the faith he was disinherited. His mother, Theresa, belonged to the Thornycroft family, sculptors responsible for many of the best-known statues in London—her brother was Sir Hamo Thornycroft. There was no German ancestry in Siegfried's family; his mother named him Siegfried because of her love of Wagner's operas. His middle name, Loraine, was the surname of a clergyman with whom she was friendly. Siegfried was the second of three sons, the others being Michael and Hamo. When he was four years old his parents separated. During his father's weekly visits to the boys, Theresa locked herself in the drawing room. In 1895 Alfred Sassoon died of tuberculosis. Sassoon was educated at The New Beacon Preparatory School, Sevenoaks, Kent; at Marlborough College, Marlborough, Wiltshire (where he was a member of Cotton House), and at Clare College, Cambridge, where from 1905 to 1907 he read history. He went down from Cambridge without a degree and spent the next few years hunting, playing cricket and writing verse: some he published privately. Since his father had been disinherited from the Sassoon fortune for marrying a non-Jew, Siegfried had only a small private fortune that allowed him to live modestly without having to earn a living (however, he would later be left a generous legacy by an aunt, Rachel Beer, allowing him to buy the great estate of Heytesbury House in Wiltshire.) His first published success, The Daffodil Murderer (1913), was a parody of John Masefield's The Everlasting Mercy. Robert Graves, in Good-Bye to All That describes it as a "parody of Masefield which, midway through, had forgotten to be a parody and turned into rather good Masefield." Sassoon expressed his opinions on the political situation before the onset of the First World War—"France was a lady, Russia was a bear, and performing in the county cricket team was much more important than either of them". Sassoon wanted to play for Kent County Cricket Club; Kent Captain Frank Marchant was a neighbour of Sassoon. Siegfried often turned out for Bluehouses at the Nevill Ground, where he sometimes played alongside Arthur Conan Doyle. He also played cricket for his house at Marlborough College, once taking 7 wickets for 18 runs. Although an enthusiast, Sassoon was not good enough to play for Kent, but he played cricket for Matfield, and later for the Downside Abbey team, continuing into his seventies. The Western Front: Military Cross Motivated by patriotism, Sassoon joined the British Army just as the threat of World War I was realised, and was in service with the Sussex Yeomanry on the day the United Kingdom declared war (4 August 1914). He broke his arm badly in a riding accident and was put out of action before even leaving England, spending the spring of 1915 convalescing. At around this time his younger brother Hamo was killed in the Gallipoli Campaign. (Rupert Brooke, whom Siegfried had briefly met, died on the way there.) Hamo's death hit Siegfried very hard. He was commissioned into 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve), Royal Welch Fusiliers as a second lieutenant on 29 May 1915, and in November was sent to the 1st Battalion in France. There he met Robert Graves and they became close friends. United by their poetic vocation, they often read and discussed one another's work. Though this did not have much perceptible influence on Graves's poetry, his views on what may be called 'gritty realism' profoundly affected Sassoon's concept of what constituted poetry. He soon became horrified by the realities of war, and the tone of his writing changed completely: where his early poems exhibit a Romantic, dilettantish sweetness, his war poetry moves to an increasingly discordant music, intended to convey the ugly truths of the trenches to an audience hitherto lulled by patriotic propaganda. Details such as rotting corpses, mangled limbs, filth, cowardice and suicide are all trademarks of his work at this time, and this philosophy of 'no truth unfitting' had a significant effect on the movement towards Modernist poetry. Sassoon's periods of duty on the Western Front were marked by exceptionally brave actions, including the single-handed, but vainglorious, capture of a German trench in the Hindenburg Line. Armed with grenades he scattered 60 German soldiers: He went over with bombs in daylight, under covering fire from a couple of rifles, and scared away the occupants. A pointless feat, since instead of signalling for reinforcements, he sat down in the German trench and began reading a book of poems which he had brought with him. When he went back he did not even report. Colonel Stockwell, then in command, raged at him. The attack on Mametz wood had been delayed for two hours because British patrols were still reported to be out. 'British patrols' were Siegfried and his book of poems. 'I'd have got you a D.S.O., if you'd only shown more sense,' stormed Stockwell. Sassoon's bravery was inspiring to the extent that soldiers of his company said that they felt confident only when they were accompanied by him. He often went out on night-raids and bombing patrols and demonstrated ruthless efficiency as a company commander. Deepening depression at the horror and misery the soldiers were forced to endure produced in Sassoon a paradoxically manic courage, and he was nicknamed "Mad Jack" by his men for his near-suicidal exploits. On 27 July 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross; the citation read: 2nd Lt. Siegfried Lorraine [sic] Sassoon, 3rd (attd. 1st) Bn., R. W. Fus. For conspicuous gallantry during a raid on the enemy's trenches. He remained for 1½ hours under rifle and bomb fire collecting and bringing in our wounded. Owing to his courage and determination all the killed and wounded were brought in. Robert Graves described Sassoon as engaging in suicidal feats of bravery. Sassoon was also later (unsuccessfully) recommended for the Victoria Cross. War opposition: Craiglockhart Despite his decoration and reputation, he decided in 1917 to make a stand against the conduct of the war. One of the reasons for his violent anti-war feeling was the death of his friend, David Cuthbert Thomas (called "Dick Tiltwood" in the Sherston trilogy). He would spend years trying to overcome his grief. At the end of a spell of convalescent leave, Sassoon declined to return to duty; instead, encouraged by pacifist friends such as Bertrand Russell and Lady Ottoline Morrell, he sent a letter to his commanding officer, titled Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration. Forwarded to the press and read out in Parliament by a sympathetic MP, the letter was seen by some as treasonous ("I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority") or at best condemnatory of the war government's motives ("I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest"). Rather than court-martial Sassoon, the Under-Secretary of State for War, Ian Macpherson decided that he was unfit for service and had him sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh, where he was officially treated for neurasthenia ("shell shock"). Before declining to return to active service he had thrown the ribbon from his Military Cross into the river Mersey. The novel Regeneration, by Pat Barker, is a fictionalised account of this period in Sassoon's life, and was made into a film starring James Wilby as Sassoon and Jonathan Pryce as W. H. R. Rivers, the psychiatrist responsible for Sassoon's treatment. Rivers became a kind of surrogate father to the troubled young man, and his sudden death in 1922 was a major blow to Sassoon. At Craiglockhart, Sassoon met Wilfred Owen, a fellow poet who would eventually exceed him in fame. It was thanks to Sassoon that Owen persevered in his ambition to write better poetry. A manuscript copy of Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth containing Sassoon's handwritten amendments survives as testimony to the extent of his influence and is currently on display at London's Imperial War Museum. To all intents and purposes, Sassoon became to Owen "Keats and Christ and Elijah"; surviving documents demonstrate clearly the depth of Owen's love and admiration for him. Both men returned to active service in France, but Owen was killed in 1918. Sassoon, despite all this, was promoted to lieutenant, and having spent some time out of danger in Palestine, eventually returned to the Front. On 13 July 1918, Sassoon was almost immediately wounded again—by friendly fire after he was shot in the head by a fellow British soldier who had mistaken him for a German near Arras, France. As a result, he spent the remainder of the war in Britain. By this time he had been promoted acting captain. He relinquished his commission on health grounds on 12 March 1919, but was allowed to retain the rank of captain. After the war, Sassoon was instrumental in bringing Owen's work to the attention of a wider audience. Their friendship is the subject of Stephen MacDonald's play, Not About Heroes. Editor and novelist The war had brought Sassoon into contact with men from less advantaged backgrounds, and he had developed socialist sympathies. Having lived for a period at Oxford, where he spent more time visiting literary friends than studying, he dabbled briefly in the politics of the Labour movement, and in 1919 took up a post as literary editor of the socialist Daily Herald. He lived at 54 Tufton Street, Westminster from 1919 to 1925; the house is no longer standing, but the location of his former home is marked by a memorial plaque. During his period at the Herald, Sassoon was responsible for employing several eminent names as reviewers, including E. M. Forster and Charlotte Mew, and commissioned original material from "names" like Arnold Bennett and Osbert Sitwell. His artistic interests extended to music. While at Oxford he was introduced to the young William Walton, whose friend and patron he became. Walton later dedicated his Portsmouth Point overture to Sassoon in recognition of his financial assistance and moral support. Sassoon later embarked on a lecture tour of the USA, as well as travelling in Europe and throughout Britain. He acquired a car, a gift from the publisher Frankie Schuster, and became renowned among his friends for his lack of driving skill, but this did not prevent him making full use of the mobility it gave him. Sassoon was a great admirer of the Welsh poet Henry Vaughan. On a visit to Wales in 1923, he paid a pilgrimage to Vaughan's grave at Llansantffraed, Powys, and there wrote one of his best-known peacetime poems, At the Grave of Henry Vaughan. The deaths of three of his closest friends, Edmund Gosse, Thomas Hardy and Frankie Schuster (the publisher), within a short space of time, came as another serious setback to his personal happiness. At the same time, Sassoon was preparing to take a new direction. While in America, he had experimented with a novel. In 1928, he branched out into prose, with Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, the anonymously-published first volume of a fictionalised autobiography, which was almost immediately accepted as a classic, bringing its author new fame as a humorous writer. The book won the 1928 James Tait Black Award for fiction. Sassoon followed it with Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Sherston's Progress (1936). In later years, he revisited his youth and early manhood with three volumes of genuine autobiography, which were also widely acclaimed. These were The Old Century, The Weald of Youth and Siegfried's Journey. Personal life Sassoon, having matured greatly as a result of his military service, continued to seek emotional fulfilment, initially in a succession of love affairs with men, including the actor Ivor Novello; Novello's former lover, the actor Glen Byam Shaw; German aristocrat Prince Philipp of Hesse; the writer Beverley Nichols; and an effete aristocrat, the Hon. Stephen Tennant. Only the last of these made a permanent impression, though Shaw remained his close friend throughout his life. In September 1931, Sassoon rented and began to live at Fitz House, Teffont Magna, Wiltshire. In December 1933, to many people's surprise, he married Hester Gatty, who was many years his junior; this led to the birth of a child, something which he had long craved. This child, their only child, George (1936–2006) became a scientist, linguist and author, and was adored by Siegfried, who wrote several poems addressed to him. However, the marriage broke down after World War II, Sassoon apparently unable to find a compromise between the solitude he enjoyed and the companionship he craved. Separated from his wife in 1945, Sassoon lived in seclusion at Heytesbury in Wiltshire, although he maintained contact with a circle which included E. M. Forster and J. R. Ackerley. One of his closest friends was the young cricketer Dennis Silk. He formed a close friendship with Vivien Hancock, headmistress of Greenways School at Ashton Gifford, which his son George attended. The relationship provoked Hester to make some strong accusations against Vivien Hancock, who responded with the threat of legal action. Sassoon was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1951 New Year Honours. Towards the end of his life, he converted to Roman Catholicism. He had hoped that Ronald Knox, a Roman Catholic priest and writer whom he admired, would instruct him in the faith, but Knox was too ill to do so. The priest Sebastian Moore was chosen to instruct him instead, and Sassoon was admitted to the faith at Downside Abbey, close to his home. He also paid regular visits to the nuns at Stanbrook Abbey, and the abbey press printed commemorative editions of some of his poems. During this time he also became interested in the supernatural, and joined the Ghost Club. Siegfried Sassoon died one week before his 81st birthday, of stomach cancer, and is buried at St Andrew's Church, Mells, Somerset, close to Ronald Knox. Legacy On 11 November 1985, Sassoon was among sixteen Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. The inscription on the stone was written by friend and fellow War poet Wilfred Owen. It reads: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." In 2003 saw the publication of Memorial Tablet, an authorised audio CD of readings by Sassoon recorded during the late 1950s. These included extracts from Memoirs of an Infantry Officer and The Weald of Youth, as well as several war poems including Attack, The Dug-Out, At Carnoy and Died of Wounds, and postwar works. The CD also included comment on Sassoon by three of his Great War contemporaries: Edmund Blunden, Edgell Rickword and Henry Williamson. Siegfried Sassoon's only child, George Sassoon, died of cancer in 2006. George had three children, two of whom were killed in a car crash in 1996. His daughter by his first marriage, Kendall Sassoon, is Patron-in-Chief of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, and a Lady Associate Royal Welch Fusilier. In May 2007 Sassoon's Military Cross was put up for sale by his family. It was bought by the Royal Welch Fusiliers for display at their museum in Caernarfon. Sassoon's other service medals went unclaimed until 1985 when his son George obtained them from the Army Medal Office, then based at Droitwich. The 'late claim' medals consisting of the 1914-15 Star Victory Medal and British War Medal along with Sassoon's CBE and Warrant of Appointment were auctioned by Sotheby's in 2008. In June 2009, the University of Cambridge announced plans to purchase a valuable archive of Sassoon's papers from his family, to be added to the university library's existing Sassoon collection. On 4 November 2009 it was reported that this purchase would be supported by £550, from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, meaning that the University still needed to raise a further £110, on top of the money already received in order to meet the full £1. million asking price. The funds were successfully raised, and in December 2009 it was announced that the University had received the papers. Included in the collection are war diaries kept by Sassoon while he served on the Western Front and in Palestine, a draft of "A Soldier’s Declaration" (1917), notebooks from his schooldays, and post-war journals. Other items in the collection include love letters to his wife Hester, and photographs and letters from other writers. Sassoon was an undergraduate at the university, as well as being made an honorary fellow of Clare College, and the collection will be housed at the Cambridge University Library. As well as private individuals, funding came from the Monument Trust, the JP Getty Jr Trust, and Sir Siegmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement. In 2010, Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory and War, a major exhibition of Sassoon's life and archive, was held at Cambridge University. Several of Sassoon's poems have been set to music, some during his lifetime, notably by Cyril Rootham. Poetry collections The Daffodil Murderer (John Richmond: 1913) The Old Huntsman (Heinemann: 1917) The General (Denmark Hill Hospital, April 1917) Does it Matter? (written: 1917) Counter-Attack and Other Poems (Heinemann: 1918) The Hero [Henry Holt, 1918] Picture-Show (Heinemann: 1919) War Poems (Heinemann: 1919) Aftermath (Heinemann: 1920) Recreations (privately printed: 1923) Lingual Exercises for Advanced Vocabularians (privately printed: 1925) Selected Poems (Heinemann: 1925) Satirical Poems (Heinemann: 1926) The Heart's Journey (Heinemann: 1928) Poems by Pinchbeck Lyre (Duckworth: 1931) The Road to Ruin (Faber and Faber: 1933) Vigils (Heinemann: 1935) Rhymed Ruminations (Faber and Faber: 1940) Poems Newly Selected (Faber and Faber: 1940) Collected Poems (Faber and Faber: 1947) Common Chords (privately printed: 1950/1951) Emblems of Experience (privately printed: 1951) The Tasking (privately printed: 1954) Sequences (Faber and Faber: 1956) Lenten Illuminations (Downside Abbey: 1959) The Path to Peace (Stanbrook Abbey Press: 1960) Collected Poems 1908-1956 (Faber and Faber: 1961) The War Poems ed. Rupert Hart-Davis (Faber and Faber: 1983) Prose Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (Faber & Gwyer: 1928) Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (Faber and Faber: 1930) Sherston's Progress (Faber and Faber: 1936) Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (Faber and Faber: 1937) The Old Century and seven more years (Faber and Faber: 1938) On Poetry (University of Bristol Press: 1939) The Weald of Youth (Faber and Faber: 1942) Siegfried's Journey (Faber and Faber: 1946) Meredith (Constable: 1948) - Biography of George Meredith References http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Sassoon
George Meredith, OM (12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909) was an English novelist and poet of the Victorian era. Meredith was born in Portsmouth, England, a son and grandson of naval outfitters. His mother died when he was five. At the age of 14 he was sent to a Moravian School in Neuwied, Germany, where he remained for two years. He read law and was articled as a solicitor, but abandoned that profession for journalism and poetry. He collaborated with Edward Gryffydh Peacock, son of Thomas Love Peacock in publishing a privately circulated literary magazine, the Monthly Observer. He married Edward Peacock's widowed sister Mary Ellen Nicolls in 1849 when he was twenty-one years old and she was twenty-eight. He collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, into Poems, published to some acclaim in 1851. His wife ran off with the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis [1830–1916] in 1858; she died three years later. The collection of "sonnets" entitled Modern Love (1862) came of this experience as did The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, his first "major novel". He married Marie Vulliamy in 1864 and settled in Surrey. He continued writing novels and poetry, often inspired by nature. His writing was characterised by a fascination with imagery and indirect references. He had a keen understanding of comedy and his Essay on Comedy (1877) is still quoted in most discussions of the history of comic theory. In The Egoist, published in 1879, he applies some of his theories of comedy in one of his most enduring novels. Some of his writings, including The Egoist, also highlight the subjugation of women during the Victorian period. During most of his career, he had difficulty achieving popular success. His first truly successful novel was Diana of the Crossways published in 1885. Meredith supplemented his often uncertain writer's income with a job as a publisher's reader. His advice to Chapman and Hall made him influential in the world of letters. His friends in the literary world included, at different times, William and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Leslie Stephen, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing and J. M. Barrie. His contemporary Sir Arthur Conan Doyle paid him homage in the short-story The Boscombe Valley Mystery, when Sherlock Holmes says to Dr. Watson during the discussion of the case, "And now let us talk about George Meredith, if you please, and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow." Oscar Wilde, in his dialogue The Decay of Lying, implies that Meredith, along with Balzac, is his favourite novelist, saying "Ah, Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning". In 1868 he was introduced to Thomas Hardy by Frederick Chapman of Chapman & Hall the publishers. Hardy had submitted his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady. Meredith advised Hardy not to publish his book as it would be attacked by reviewers and destroy his hopes of becoming a novelist. Meredith felt the book was too bitter a satire on the rich and counselled Hardy to put it aside and write another 'with a purely artistic purpose' and more of a plot. Meredith spoke from experience; his first big novel, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, was judged so shocking that Mudie's circulating library had cancelled an order of 300 copies. Hardy continued to try and publish the novel: however it remained unpublished, though he clearly took Meredith's advice seriously. Before his death, Meredith was honoured from many quarters: he succeeded Lord Tennyson as president of the Society of Authors; in 1905 he was appointed to the Order of Merit by King Edward VII. In 1909, he died at his home in Box Hill, Surrey. Works Essays * Essay on Comedy (1877) Novels * The Shaving of Shagpat (1856) * Farina (1857) * The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859) * Evan Harrington (1861) * Emilia in England (1864), republished as Sandra Belloni in 1887 * Rhoda Fleming (1865) * Vittoria (1867) * The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1871) * Beauchamp's Career (1875) * The House on the Beach (1877) * The Case of General Ople and Lady Camper (1877) * The Tale of Chloe (1879) * The Egoist (1879) * The Tragic Comedians (1880) * Diana of the Crossways (1885) * One of our Conquerors (1891) * Lord Ormont and his Aminta (1894) * The Amazing Marriage (1895) * Celt and Saxon (1910) Poetry * Poems (1851) * Modern Love (1862) * Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth (1883) * The Woods of Westermain (1883) * A Faith on Trial (1885) * Ballads and Poems of Tragic Life (1887) * A Reading of Earth (1888) * The Empty Purse (1892) * Odes in Contribution to the Song of French History(1898) * A Reading of Life (1901) * Last Poems (1909) * Lucifer in Starlight * The Lark Ascending (the inspiration for Vaughan Williams' instrumental work The Lark Ascending). References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Meredith
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861) was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death. Barrett Browning opposed slavery and published two poems highlighting the barbarity of slavers and her support for the abolitionist cause. The poems opposing slavery include "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point" and "A Curse for a Nation"; in the first she describes the experience of a slave woman who is whipped, raped, and made pregnant as she curses the slavers. She declared herself glad that the slaves were "virtually free" when the Emancipation Act abolishing slavery in British colonies was passed in 1833, despite the fact that her father believed that Abolitionism would ruin his business.
Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, England. His mother was an accomplished pianist and a devout evangelical Christian. His father, who worked as a bank clerk, was also an artist, scholar, antiquarian, and collector of books and pictures. His rare book collection of more than 6,000 volumes included works in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Much of Browning's education came from his well-read father. It is believed that he was already proficient at reading and writing by the age of five. A bright and anxious student, Browning learned Latin, Greek, and French by the time he was fourteen. From fourteen to sixteen he was educated at home, attended to by various tutors in music, drawing, dancing, and horsemanship.
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.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement. Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats. His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877), while also creating art to illustrate poems such as Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, his sister and celebrated poet. Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris. Early life The son of émigré Italian scholar Gabriele Pasquale Giuseppe Rossetti and his wife Frances Polidori, Rossetti was born in London, England and originally named Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti. His family and friends called him Gabriel, but in publications he put the name Dante first (in honour of Dante Alighieri). He was the brother of poet Christina Rossetti, the critic William Michael Rossetti, and author Maria Francesca Rossetti. The young Rossetti is described as "self-possessed, articulate, passionate and charismatic” but also "ardent, poetic and feckless". Like all his siblings, he aspired to be a poet and attended King's College School, in its original location near the Strand. However, he also wished to be a painter, having shown a great interest in Medieval Italian art. He studied at Henry Sass's Drawing Academy from 1841 to 1845 when he enrolled at the Antique School of the Royal Academy, leaving in 1848. After leaving the Royal Academy, Rossetti studied under Ford Madox Brown, with whom he was to retain a close relationship throughout his life. Following the exhibition of William Holman Hunt's painting The Eve of St. Agnes, Rossetti sought out Hunt's friendship. The painting illustrated a poem by the then still little-known John Keats. Rossetti's own poem "The Blessed Damozel" was an imitation of Keats, so he believed that Hunt might share his artistic and literary ideals. Together they developed the philosophy of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which they founded along with John Everett Millais. The group's intention was to reform English art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach first adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo and the formal training regime introduced by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Their approach was to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art. The eminent critic John Ruskin later wrote: Every Pre-Raphaelite landscape background is painted to the last touch, in the open air, from the thing itself. Every Pre-Raphaelite figure, however studied in expression, is a true portrait of some living person. For the first issue of the Brotherhood's magazine, The Germ, published early in 1850, Rossetti contribute his poem "The Blessed Damozel" and a story about a fictional early Italian artist inspired by a vision of a woman who bids him combine the human and the divine in his art. Rossetti was always more interested in the Medieval than in the modern side of the movement, working on translations of Dante and other Medieval Italian poets, and adopting the stylistic characteristics of the early Italians. Career Beginnings Rossetti's first major paintings in oil display the realist qualities of the early Pre-Raphaelite movement. His Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Ecce Ancilla Domini (1850) both portray Mary as a teenage girl. William Bell Scott saw Girlhood in progress in Hunt's studio and remarked on young Rossetti's technique : He was painting in oils with water-colour brushes, as thinly as in water-colour, on canvas which he had primed with white till the surface was a smooth as cardboard, and every tint remained transparent. I saw at once that he was not an orthodox boy, but acting purely from the aesthetic motive. The mixture of genius and dilettantism of both men shut me up for the moment, and whetted my curiosity. Stung by criticism of his second major painting, Ecce Ancilla Domini, exhibited in 1850, and the "increasingly hysterical critical reaction that greeted Pre-Raphaelitism" in that year, Rossetti turned to watercolours, which could be sold privately. Although his work subsequently won support from John Ruskin, Rossetti only rarely exhibited thereafter. Dante and Medievalism In 1850, Rossetti met Elizabeth Siddal, an important early model for the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Over the next decade, she became his muse, his pupil, and his passion. They were finally married in 1860. Rossetti's incomplete picture Found, begun in 1853 and unfinished at his death, was his only major modern-life subject. It depicted a prostitute, lifted from the street by a country drover who recognises his old sweetheart. However, Rossetti increasingly preferred symbolic and mythological images to realistic ones. For many years, Rossetti worked on English translations of Italian poetry including Dante Alighieri's La Vita Nuova (published as The Early Italian Poets in 1861). These and Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur inspired his art of the 1850s. He created his own method of painting in watercolours, using thick pigments mixed with gum to give rich effects similar to medieval illuminations. He also developed a novel drawing technique in pen-and-ink. His first published illustration was "The Maids of Elfen-Mere" (1855), for a poem by his friend William Allingham, and he contributed two illustrations to Edward Moxon's 1857 edition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Poems as well as illustrations for works by his sister Christina Rossetti. His visions of Arthurian romance and medieval design also inspired William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Neither Burne-Jones nor Morris knew Rossetti personally, but both were much influenced by his works, and met him by recruiting him as a contributor to their Oxford and Cambridge Magazine which Morris founded in 1856 to promote their ideas about art and poetry. In February 1857, Rossetti wrote to William Bell Scott: Two young men, projectors of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, have recently come up to town from Oxford, and are now very intimate friends of mine. Their names are Morris and Jones. They have turned artists instead of taking up any other career to which the university generally leads, and both are men of real genius. Jones's designs are marvels of finish and imaginative detail, unequalled by anything unless perhaps Albert Dürer's finest works. That summer Morris and Rossetti visited Oxford and finding the new Oxford Union debating-hall under construction, pursued a commission to paint the upper walls with scenes from Le Morte d'Arthur and to decorate the roof between the open timbers. Seven artists were recruited, among them Valentine Prinsep and Arthur Hughes, and the work was hastily begun. The frescoes, done too soon and too fast, began to fade at once and now are barely decipherable. Rossetti recruited two sisters, Bessie and Jane Burden, as models for the Oxford Union murals, and Jane became Morris's wife in 1859. A new direction Around 1860, Rossetti returned to oil painting, abandoning the dense medieval compositions of the 1850s in favour of powerful close-up images of women in flat pictorial spaces characterised by dense colour. These paintings were to be a major influence on the development of the European Symbolist movement. In these works, Rossetti's depiction of women became almost obsessively stylised. He tended to portray his new lover Fanny Cornforth as the epitome of physical eroticism, whilst Jane Burden, the wife of his business partner William Morris, was glamorised as an ethereal goddess. "As in Rossetti's previous reforms, the new kind of subject appeared in the context of a wholesale reconfiguration of the practice of painting, from the most basic level of materials and techniques up to the most abstract or conceptual level of the meanings and ideas that can be embodied in visual form." These new works were based not on medievalism, but on the Italian High Renaissance artists of Venice, Titian and Veronese. In 1861, Rossetti became a founding partner in the decorative arts firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. with Morris, Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, Philip Webb, Charles Faulkner and Peter Paul Marshall. Rossetti contributed designs for stained glass and other decorative objects. Rossetti's wife Elizabeth Siddal died of an overdose of laudanum in 1862, shortly after giving birth to a stillborn child. Rossetti became increasingly depressed, and upon the death of his beloved Lizzie, buried the bulk of his unpublished poems with her at Highgate Cemetery, though he would later have them dug back up. He idealised her image as Dante's Beatrice in a number of paintings, such as Beata Beatrix. Cheyne Walk years After the death of his wife in 1862, Rossetti leased Tudor House at number 16 Cheyne Walk, in Chelsea where he lived for the next twenty years surrounded by extravagant furnishings and a parade of exotic birds and animals. Rossetti was fascinated with wombats, frequently asking friends to meet him at the "Wombat's Lair" at the London Zoo in Regent's Park, and spending hours there himself. Finally, in September 1869, he was to acquire the first of two pet wombats. This short-lived wombat, named "Top", was often brought to the dinner table and allowed to sleep in the large centrepiece during meals. This fascination with exotic animals continued throughout Rossetti's life, finally culminating in the purchase of a llama and a Toucan which Rossetti would dress in a cowboy hat and persuade to ride the llama round the dining table for his amusement. Rossetti maintained Fanny Cornforth (described delicately by William Allington as Rossetti's "housekeeper") in her own establishment nearby in Chelsea, and painted many voluptuous images of her between 1863 and 1865. In 1865 he discovered auburn-haired Alexa Wilding, a dressmaker and would-be actress who was engaged to model for him on a full-time basis and sat for The Blessed Damozel and other paintings of the period. In fact she sat for more of his finished works than any other of his models, but comparatively little is known about her due to the lack of any similar romantic connection with Rossetti. He first spotted her one evening in the Strand in 1865 and was immediately struck by her beauty. She agreed to sit for him the following day, but failed to arrive as planned. He spotted her again weeks later, jumped from the cab he was in and persuaded her to be led straight back to his studio. He paid her a weekly fee to sit for him exclusively, afraid that other artists might also employ her. The two shared a lasting bond; after Rossetti's death Wilding was said to have travelled regularly to place a wreath on his grave. Jane Morris, whom Rossetti had found as a model for the Oxford Union murals he painted with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones in 1857, also sat for him during these years, and she soon "consumed and obsessed him in paint, poetry, and life". In 1869, Morris and Rossetti rented a country house, Kelmscott Manor at Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, as a summer home, but it soon became a retreat for Rossetti and Jane Morris to have a long-lasting and complicated liaison. The two spent summers there, with the Morris children, while Morris himself travelled to Iceland in 1871 and 1873. During these years, Rossetti was prevailed upon by friends, in particular Charles Augustus Howell, to exhume his poems from his wife's grave. This he did, collating and publishing them in 1870 in the volume Poems by D. G. Rossetti. They created a controversy when they were attacked as the epitome of the "fleshly school of poetry". The eroticism and sensuality of the poems caused offence. One poem, "Nuptial Sleep", described a couple falling asleep after sex. This was part of Rossetti's sonnet sequence The House of Life, a complex series of poems tracing the physical and spiritual development of an intimate relationship. Rossetti described the sonnet form as a "moment's monument", implying that it sought to contain the feelings of a fleeting moment, and to reflect upon their meaning. The House of Life was a series of interacting monuments to these moments – an elaborate whole made from a mosaic of intensely described fragments. This was Rossetti's most substantial literary achievement. In 1881, Rossetti published a second volume of poems, Ballads and Sonnets, which included the remaining sonnets from The House of Life sequence. Decline and death The savage reaction of critics to Rossetti's first collection of poetry contributed to a mental breakdown in June 1872, and although he joined Jane at Kelmscott that September, he "spent his days in a haze of chloral and whisky". The next summer he was much improved, and both Alexa Wilding and Jane Morris sat to him at Kelmscott, where he created a soulful series of dream-like portraits. In 1874, Morris reorganised his decorative arts firm, cutting Rossetti out of the business, and the polite fiction that both men were in residence with Jane at Kelmscott could not be maintained. Rossetti abruptly left Kelmscott in July 1874 and never returned. Toward the end of his life, he sank into a morbid state, darkened by his drug addiction to chloral hydrate and increasing mental instability. He spent his last years as a recluse at Cheyne Walk. On Easter Sunday, 1882, he died at the country house of a friend, where he had gone in yet another vain attempt to recover his health, which had been destroyed by chloral as his wife's had been destroyed by laudanum. He died of 'Brights Disease', a disease of the kidneys of which he had been suffering for some time. He is buried at Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, England. His grave is visited regularly by admirers of his life's work and achievements and this can be seen by fresh flowers placed there regularly. Collections and critical assessment Tate Britain, Birmingham, Manchester and Salford Museum and Art Galleries all contain large collections of Rossetti's work; the latter was bequeathed a number of works following the death of L.S. Lowry in 1976. Lowry was president of the Newcastle-based 'Rossetti Society', which was founded in 1966. Lowry's private collection of works was chiefly built around Rossetti's paintings and sketches of Lizzie Siddal and Jane Morris, and notable pieces included Pandora, Proserpine and a drawing of Annie Miller. In an interview with Mervyn Levy, Lowry explained his fascination with the Rossetti women in relation to his own work: "I don't like his women at all, but they fascinate me, like a snake. That's why I always buy Rossetti whenever I can. His women are really rather horrible. It's like a friend of mine who says he hates my work, although it fascinates him." The friend Lowry referred to was businessman Monty Bloom, to whom he also explained his obsession with Rossetti's portraits: "They are not real women [...] They are dreams [...] He used them for something in his mind caused by the death of his wife. I may be quite wrong there, but significantly they all came after the death of his wife." The popularity, frequent reproduction, and general availability of Rossetti's later paintings of women have led to this association with "a morbid and langourous sensuality". His small-scale early works and drawings are less well known, but it is in these that his originality, technical inventiveness, and significance in the movement away from Academic tradition can best be seen. As Roger Fry wrote in 1916, "Rossetti more than any other artist since Blake may be hailed as a forerunner of the new ideas" in English Art. Media Rossetti was played by Oliver Reed in Ken Russell's film Dante's Inferno (1967). The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as a whole have been the subjects of two BBC period dramas. The first, The Love School, was shown in 1975, starring Ben Kingsley as Rossetti. The second was Desperate Romantics, in which Rossetti is played by Aidan Turner. It was first broadcast on BBC 2 Tuesday, 21 July 2009. References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English writer, philosopher, Christian apologist, and literary and art critic. He has been referred to as the "prince of paradox". Of his writing style, Time observed: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out." Chesterton created the fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and wrote on apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from high church Anglicanism. Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, John Henry Newman and John Ruskin.
Alan Alexander “A. A.” Milne (/ˈmɪln/; 18 January 1882– 31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne served in both World Wars, joining the British Army in World War I, and was a captain of the British Home Guard in World War II. Biography Alan Alexander Milne was born in Kilburn, London to parents John Vince Milne, who was Scottish, and Sarah Marie Milne (née Heginbotham) and grew up at Henley House School, 6/7 Mortimer Road (now Crescent), Kilburn, a small public school run by his father. One of his teachers was H. G. Wells, who taught there in 1889–90. Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied on a mathematics scholarship, graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1903. While there, he edited and wrote for Granta, a student magazine. He collaborated with his brother Kenneth and their articles appeared over the initials AKM. Milne’s work came to the attention of the leading British humour magazine Punch, where Milne was to become a contributor and later an assistant editor. Milne played for the amateur English cricket team the Allahakbarries alongside authors J. M. Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Milne joined the British Army in World War I and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. He was commissioned into the 4th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 17 February 1915 as a second lieutenant (on probation). His commission was confirmed on 20 December 1915. On 7 July 1916, he was injured while serving in the Battle of the Somme and invalided back to England. Having recuperated, he was recruited into Military Intelligence to write propaganda articles for MI 7b between 1916 and 1918. He was discharged on 14 February 1919, and settled in Mallord Street, Chelsea. He relinquished his commission on 19 February 1920, retaining the rank of lieutenant. After the war, he wrote a denunciation of war titled Peace with Honour (1934), which he retracted somewhat with 1940's War with Honour. During World War II, Milne was one of the most prominent critics of fellow English writer P. G. Wodehouse, who was captured at his country home in France by the Nazis and imprisoned for a year. Wodehouse made radio broadcasts about his internment, which were broadcast from Berlin. Although the light-hearted broadcasts made fun of the Germans, Milne accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country’s enemy. Wodehouse got some revenge on his former friend (e.g., in The Mating Season) by creating fatuous parodies of the Christopher Robin poems in some of his later stories, and claiming that Milne “was probably jealous of all other writers.... But I loved his stuff.” Milne married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1913 and their son Christopher Robin Milne was born in 1920. In 1925, A. A. Milne bought a country home, Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield, East Sussex. During World War II, A. A. Milne was Captain of the British Home Guard in Hartfield & Forest Row, insisting on being plain “Mr. Milne” to the members of his platoon. He retired to the farm after a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 left him an invalid, and by August 1953 “he seemed very old and disenchanted”. Milne died in January 1956, aged 74. Literary career 1903 to 1925 After graduating from Cambridge in 1903, A. A. Milne contributed humorous verse and whimsical essays to Punch, joining the staff in 1906 and becoming an assistant editor. During this period he published 18 plays and 3 novels, including the murder mystery The Red House Mystery (1922). His son was born in August 1920 and in 1924 Milne produced a collection of children’s poems When We Were Very Young, which were illustrated by Punch staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard. A collection of short stories for children Gallery of Children, and other stories that became part of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, were first published in 1925. Milne was an early screenwriter for the nascent British film industry, writing four stories filmed in 1920 for the company Minerva Films (founded in 1920 by the actor Leslie Howard and his friend and story editor Adrian Brunel). These were The Bump, starring Aubrey Smith; Twice Two; Five Pound Reward; and Bookworms. Some of these films survive in the archives of the British Film Institute. Milne had met Howard when the actor starred in Milne’s play Mr Pim Passes By in London. Looking back on this period (in 1926), Milne observed that when he told his agent that he was going to write a detective story, he was told that what the country wanted from a “Punch humorist” was a humorous story; when two years later he said he was writing nursery rhymes, his agent and publisher were convinced he should write another detective story; and after another two years, he was being told that writing a detective story would be in the worst of taste given the demand for children’s books. He concluded that “the only excuse which I have yet discovered for writing anything is that I want to write it; and I should be as proud to be delivered of a Telephone Directory con amore as I should be ashamed to create a Blank Verse Tragedy at the bidding of others.” 1926 to 1928 Milne is most famous for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin after his son, Christopher Robin Milne, and various characters inspired by his son’s stuffed animals, most notably the bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed bear, originally named “Edward”, was renamed “Winnie-the-Pooh” after a Canadian black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg), which was used as a military mascot in World War I, and left to London Zoo during the war. “The pooh” comes from a swan called “Pooh”. E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son’s teddy, Growler ("a magnificent bear"), as the model. The rest of Christopher Robin Milne’s toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, were incorporated into A. A. Milne’s stories, and two more characters– Rabbit and Owl– were created by Milne’s imagination. Christopher Robin Milne’s own toys are now under glass in New York where 750,000 people visit them every year. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood of the Pooh stories derives from Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, South East England, where the Pooh stories were set. Milne lived on the northern edge of the forest at Cotchford Farm, 51.090°N 0.107°E / 51.090; 0.107, and took his son walking there. E. H. Shepard drew on the landscapes of Ashdown Forest as inspiration for many of the illustrations he provided for the Pooh books. The adult Christopher Robin commented: “Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical”. Popular tourist locations at Ashdown Forest include: Galleon’s Lap, The Enchanted Place, the Heffalump Trap and Lone Pine, Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place, and the wooden Pooh Bridge where Pooh and Piglet invented Poohsticks. Not yet known as Pooh, he made his first appearance in a poem, “Teddy Bear”, published in Punch magazine in February 1924. Pooh first appeared in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve, 1925, in a story called “The Wrong Sort Of Bees”. Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. A second collection of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, was published in 1927. All three books were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Milne also published four plays in this period. He also “gallantly stepped forward” to contribute a quarter of the costs of dramatising P. G. Wodehouse’s A Damsel in Distress. The World of Pooh won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. 1929 onwards The success of his children’s books was to become a source of considerable annoyance to Milne, whose self-avowed aim was to write whatever he pleased and who had, until then, found a ready audience for each change of direction: he had freed pre-war Punch from its ponderous facetiousness; he had made a considerable reputation as a playwright (like his idol J. M. Barrie) on both sides of the Atlantic; he had produced a witty piece of detective writing in The Red House Mystery (although this was severely criticised by Raymond Chandler for the implausibility of its plot). But once Milne had, in his own words, "said goodbye to all that in 70,000 words" (the approximate length of his four principal children’s books), he had no intention of producing any reworkings lacking in originality, given that one of the sources of inspiration, his son, was growing older. In his literary home, Punch, where the When We Were Very Young verses had first appeared, Methuen continued to publish whatever Milne wrote, including the long poem “The Norman Church” and an assembly of articles entitled Year In, Year Out (which Milne likened to a benefit night for the author). In 1930, Milne adapted Kenneth Grahame’s novel The Wind in the Willows for the stage as Toad of Toad Hall. The title was an implicit admission that such chapters as Chapter 7, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, could not survive translation to the theatre. A special introduction written by Milne is included in some editions of Grahame’s novel. Legacy and commemoration The rights to A. A. Milne’s Pooh books were left to four beneficiaries: his family, the Royal Literary Fund, Westminster School and the Garrick Club. After Milne’s death in 1956, one week and six days after his 74th birthday, his widow sold her rights to the Pooh characters to Stephen Slesinger, whose widow sold the rights after Slesinger’s death to the Walt Disney Company, which has made many Pooh cartoon movies, a Disney Channel television show, as well as Pooh-related merchandise. In 2001, the other beneficiaries sold their interest in the estate to the Disney Corporation for $350m. Previously Disney had been paying twice-yearly royalties to these beneficiaries. The estate of E. H. Shepard also received a sum in the deal. The copyright on Pooh expires in 2026. In 2008, a collection of original illustrations featuring Winnie-the-Pooh and his animal friends sold for more than £1.2 million at auction in Sotheby’s, London. Forbes magazine ranked Winnie the Pooh the most valuable fictional character in 2002; Winnie the Pooh merchandising products alone had annual sales of more than $5.9 billion. In 2005, Winnie the Pooh generated $6 billion, a figure surpassed by only Mickey Mouse. A memorial plaque in Ashdown Forest, unveiled by Christopher Robin in 1979, commemorates the work of A. A. Milne and Shepard in creating the world of Pooh. Milne once wrote of Ashdown Forest: “In that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing”. In 2003, Winnie the Pooh was listed at number 7 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. In 2006, Winnie the Pooh received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, marking the 80th birthday of Milne’s creation. That same year a UK poll saw Winnie the Pooh voted onto the list of icons of England. Several of Milne’s children’s poems were set to music by the composer Harold Fraser-Simson. His poems have been parodied many times, including with the books When We Were Rather Older and Now We Are Sixty. The 1963 film The King’s Breakfast was based on Milne’s poem of the same name. Religious views Milne did not speak out much on the subject of religion, although he used religious terms to explain his decision, while remaining a pacifist, to join the British Home Guard: “In fighting Hitler”, he wrote, “we are truly fighting the Devil, the Anti-Christ... Hitler was a crusader against God.” His best known comment on the subject was recalled on his death: The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief—call it what you will—than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counter-attractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course. He also wrote the poem “Explained”: Works Novels * Lovers in London (1905. Some consider this more of a short story collection; Milne did not like it and considered The Day’s Play as his first book.) * Once on a Time (1917) * Mr. Pim (1921) (A novelisation of his play Mr. Pim Passes By (1919)) * The Red House Mystery (1922) * Two People (1931) (Inside jacket claims this is Milne’s first attempt at a novel.) * Four Days’ Wonder (1933) * Chloe Marr (1946) Non-fiction * Peace With Honour (1934) * It’s Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer (1939) * War With Honour (1940) * War Aims Unlimited (1941) * Year In, Year Out (1952) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) Punch articles * The Day’s Play (1910) * Once A Week (1914) * The Holiday Round (1912) * The Sunny Side (1921) * Those Were the Days (1929) [The four volumes above, compiled] Newspaper articles and book introductions * The Chronicles of Clovis by “Saki” (1911) [Introduction to] * Not That It Matters (1920) * By Way of Introduction (1929) Story collections for children * A Gallery of Children (1925) * Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) (illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard) * The House at Pooh Corner (1928) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) * Short Stories Poetry collections for children * When We Were Very Young (1924) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) * Now We Are Six (1927) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) Story collections * The Secret and other stories (1929) * The Birthday Party (1948) * A Table Near the Band (1950) Poetry * For the Luncheon Interval [poems from Punch] * When We Were Very Young (1924) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) * Now We Are Six (1927) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard) * Behind the Lines (1940) * The Norman Church (1948) * “The Knight Whose Armor Didn’t Squeak” Screenplays and plays * Wurzel-Flummery (1917) * Belinda (1918) * The Boy Comes Home (1918) * Make-Believe (1918) (children’s play) * The Camberley Triangle (1919) * Mr. Pim Passes By (1919) * The Red Feathers (1920) * The Bump (1920, Minerva Films), starring Aubrey Smith * Twice Two (1920, Minerva Films) * Five Pound Reward (1920, Minerva Films) * Bookworms (1920, Minerva Films) * The Great Broxopp (1921) * The Dover Road (1921) * The Lucky One (1922) * The Truth About Blayds (1922) * The Artist: A Duologue (1923) * Give Me Yesterday (1923) (a.k.a. Success in the UK) * Ariadne (1924) * The Man in the Bowler Hat: A Terribly Exciting Affair (1924) * To Have the Honour (1924) * Portrait of a Gentleman in Slippers (1926) * Success (1926) * Miss Marlow at Play (1927) * The Fourth Wall or The Perfect Alibi (1928) (later adapted for the film Birds of Prey (1930), directed by Basil Dean) * The Ivory Door (1929) * Toad of Toad Hall (1929) (adaptation of The Wind in the Willows) * Michael and Mary (1930) * Other People’s Lives (1933) (a.k.a. They Don’t Mean Any Harm) * Miss Elizabeth Bennet (1936) [based on Pride and Prejudice] * Sarah Simple (1937) * Gentleman Unknown (1938) * The General Takes Off His Helmet (1939) in The Queen’s Book of the Red Cross * The Ugly Duckling (1941) * Before the Flood (1951). References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Milne
Edmund Spenser (c. 1552 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and is considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year 1552, though there is some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors' School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he became a friend of Gabriel Harvey and later consulted him, despite their differing views on poetry. In 1578 he became for a short time secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester. In 1579 he published The Shepheardes Calender and around the same time married his first wife, Machabyas Childe. In July 1580 Spenser went to Ireland in service of the newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. When Grey was recalled to England, he stayed on in Ireland, having acquired other official posts and lands in the Munster Plantation. At some time between 1587 and 1589 he acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork. Among his acquaintances in the area was Walter Raleigh, a fellow colonist. He later bought a second holding to the south, at Rennie, on a rock overlooking the river Blackwater in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. A short distance away grew a tree, locally known as "Spenser's Oak" until it was destroyed in a lightning strike in the 1960s. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree. In 1590 Spenser brought out the first three books of his most famous work, The Faerie Queene, having travelled to London to publish and promote the work, with the likely assistance of Raleigh. He was successful enough to obtain a life pension of £50 a year from the Queen. He probably hoped to secure a place at court through his poetry, but his next significant publication boldly antagonised the queen's principal secretary, Lord Burghley, through its inclusion of the satirical Mother Hubberd's Tale. He returned to Ireland. By 1594 Spenser's first wife had died, and in that year he married Elizabeth Boyle, to whom he addressed the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The marriage itself was celebrated in Epithalamion. In 1596 Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet titled, A View of the Present State of Ireland. This piece, in the form of a dialogue, circulated in manuscript, remaining unpublished until the mid-seventeenth century. It is probable that it was kept out of print during the author's lifetime because of its inflammatory content. The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally 'pacified' by the English until its indigenous language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence. Later on, during the Nine Years War in 1598, Spenser was driven from his home by the native Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill. His castle at Kilcolman was burned, and Ben Jonson (who may have had private information) asserted that one of his infant children died in the blaze. In the year after being driven from his home, Spenser travelled to London, where he died aged forty-six. His coffin was carried to his grave in Westminster Abbey by other poets, who threw many pens and pieces of poetry into his grave with many tears. His second wife survived him and remarried twice. Rhyme and reason Thomas Fuller included in his Worthies of England a story that The Queen told her treasurer, William Cecil, to pay Spenser one hundred pounds for his poetry. The treasurer, however, objected that the sum was too much. She said, "Then give him what is reason". After a long while without receiving his payment, Spenser gave the Queen this quatrain on one of her progresses: I was promis'd on a time, To have a reason for my rhyme: From that time unto this season, I receiv'd nor rhyme nor reason. She immediately ordered the treasurer pay Spenser the original £100. This story seems to have attached itself to Spenser from Thomas Churchyard, who apparently had difficulty in getting payment of his pension (the only other one Elizabeth awarded to a poet). Spenser seems to have had no difficulty in receiving payment when it was due, the pension being collected for him by his publisher, Ponsonby. The Faerie Queene Spenser's masterpiece is the epic poem The Faerie Queene. The first three books of The Faerie Queene were published in 1590, and a second set of three books were published in 1596. Spenser originally indicated that he intended the poem to consist of twelve books, so the version of the poem we have today is incomplete. Despite this, it remains one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim behind The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.” Shorter poems Spenser published numerous relatively short poems in the last decade of the sixteenth century, almost all of which consider love or sorrow. In 1591 he published Complaints, a collection of poems that express complaints in mournful or mocking tones. Four years later, in 1595, Spenser published Amoretti and Epithalamion. This volume contains eighty-nine sonnets commemorating his courtship of Elizabeth Boyle. In “Amoretti,” Spenser uses subtle humour and parody while praising his beloved, reworking Petrarchism in his treatment of longing for a woman. “Epithalamion,” similar to “Amoretti,” deals in part with the unease in the development of a romantic and sexual relationship. It was written for his wedding to his young bride, Elizabeth Boyle. The poem consists of 365 long lines, corresponding to the days of the year; 68 short lines, claimed to represent the sum of the 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of the annual cycle; and 24 stanzas, corresponding to the diurnal and sidereal hours. Some have speculated that the attention to disquiet in general reflects Spenser’s personal anxieties at the time, as he was unable to complete his most significant work, The Faerie Queene. In the following year Spenser released "Prothalamion," a wedding song written for the daughters of a duke, allegedly in hopes to gain favor in the court. The Spenserian stanza and sonnet Spenser used a distinctive verse form, called the Spenserian stanza, in several works, including The Faerie Queene. The stanza's main meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter (having six feet or stresses, known as an Alexandrine), and the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. He also used his own rhyme scheme for the sonnet. Influences and influenced Though Spenser was well read in classical literature, scholars have noted that his poetry does not rehash tradition, but rather is distinctly his. This individuality may have resulted, to some extent, from a lack of comprehension of the classics. Spenser strove to emulate such ancient Roman poets as Virgil and Ovid, whom he studied during his schooling, but many of his best-known works are notably divergent from those of his predecessors. The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, reminiscent of earlier works such as The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer and Il Canzoniere of Francesco Petrarca, whom Spenser greatly admired. Spenser was called a Poets' Poet and was admired by William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, among others. Walter Raleigh wrote a dedicatory sonnet to The Faerie Queene in 1590, in which he claims to admire and value Spenser’s work more so than any other in the English language. In the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope compared Spenser to “a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all." A View of the Present State of Ireland n his work A View of the present State of Ireland, Spenser devises his ideas to the issues of the nation of Ireland. These views are suspected to not be his own but based on the work of his predecessor, Lord Arthur Grey de Wilton who was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1580 (Henley 19, 168-69). Lord Grey was a major figure in Ireland at the time and Spenser was influenced greatly by his ideals and his work in the country, as well as that of his fellow countrymen also living in Ireland at the time (Henley 169). The goal of this piece was to show that Ireland was in great need of reform. Spenser believed that “Ireland is a diseased portion of the State, it must first be cured and reformed, before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound laws and blessings of the nation” (Henley 178). In A View of the present State of Ireland, Spenser categorizes the “evils” of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion (Spenser). These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people. One example given in the work is the native law system called “Brehon Law” which trumps the established law given by the English monarchy (Spenser). This system has its own court and way of dealing with infractions. It has been passed down through the generations and Spenser views this system as a native backward custom which must be destroyed. Spenser also recommended scorched earth tactics, such as he had seen used in the Desmond Rebellions, to create famine. Although it has been highly regarded as a polemical piece of prose and valued as a historical source on 16th century Ireland, the View is seen today as genocidal in intent. Spenser did express some praise for the Gaelic poetic tradition, but also used much tendentious and bogus analysis to demonstrate that the Irish were descended from barbarian Scythian stock. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Spenser
John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth (republic) of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica, (written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship) is among history's most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press. William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author", and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language"; though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which...with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind". Though Johnson (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described his politics as those of an "acrimonious and surly republican". Because of his republicanism, Milton has been the subject of centuries of British partisanship (a "nonconformist" biography by John Toland, a hostile account by Anthony à Wood etc). The phases of Milton's life parallel the major historical and political divisions in Stuart Britain. Under the increasingly personal rule of Charles I and its breakdown in constitutional confusion and war, Milton studied, travelled, wrote poetry mostly for private circulation, and launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist. Under the Commonwealth of England, from being thought dangerously radical and even heretical, the shift in accepted attitudes in government placed him in public office, and he even acted as an official spokesman in certain of his publications. The Restoration of 1660 deprived Milton, now completely blind, of his public platform, but this period saw him complete most of his major works of poetry. Milton had a great impact on the Romantic movement in England, as shown in fellow poet William Wordsworth's sonnet London, 1802. Wordsworth calls upon him to rise from the dead and aid in returning England to its former glory. Milton's views developed from his very extensive reading, as well as travel and experience, from his student days of the 1620s to the English Revolution. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet unrepentant for his political choices, and of Europe-wide fame. Early life John Milton was born on Bread Street, London, on 9 December 1608, as the son of the composer John Milton and his wife Sarah Jeffrey. The senior John Milton (1562–1647) moved to London around 1583 after being disinherited by his devout Catholic father, Richard Milton, for embracing Protestantism. In London, the senior John Milton married Sarah Jeffrey (1572–1637), the poet's mother, and found lasting financial success as a scrivener. He lived in, and worked from, a house on Bread Street, where the Mermaid Tavern was located in Cheapside. The elder Milton was noted for his skill as a musical composer, and this talent left Milton with a lifetime appreciation for music and friendship with musicians such as Henry Lawes. Milton's father's prosperity provided his eldest son with a private tutor, Thomas Young, and then a place at St Paul's School in London. There he began the study of Latin and Greek, and the classical languages left an imprint on his poetry in English (he wrote also in Italian and Latin). His first datable compositions are two psalms done at age 15 at Long Bennington. One contemporary source is the Brief Lives of John Aubrey, an uneven compilation including first-hand reports. In the work, Aubrey quotes Christopher, Milton's younger brother: "When he was young, he studied very hard and sat up very late, commonly till twelve or one o'clock at night". Milton matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1625 and graduated with a B.A. in 1629, ranking fourth of 24 honours graduates that year in the University of Cambridge. Preparing to become an Anglican priest, he stayed on to obtain his Master of Arts degree on 3 July 1632. Milton was probably rusticated for quarrelling in his first year with his tutor, William Chappell. He was certainly at home in the Lent Term 1626; there he wrote his Elegia Prima, a first Latin elegy, to Charles Diodati, a friend from St Paul's. Based on remarks of John Aubrey, Chappell "whipt" Milton. This story is now disputed. Certainly Milton disliked Chappell. Christopher Hill cautiously notes that Milton was "apparently" rusticated, and that the differences between Chappell and Milton may have been either religious or personal, as far as we can know. Another factor, possibly, was the plague, by which Cambridge was badly affected in 1625. Later in 1626 Milton's tutor was Nathaniel Tovey. At Cambridge Milton was on good terms with Edward King, for whom he later wrote Lycidas. He also befriended Anglo-American dissident and theologian, Roger Williams. Milton tutored Williams in Hebrew in exchange for lessons in Dutch. Otherwise at Cambridge he developed a reputation for poetic skill and general erudition, but experienced alienation from his peers and university life as a whole. Watching his fellow students attempting comedy upon the college stage, he later observed 'they thought themselves gallant men, and I thought them fools'. Milton, due to his hair, which he wore long, and his general delicacy of manner, was known as the "Lady of Christ's". Milton was disdainful of the university curriculum, which consisted of stilted formal debates on abstruse topics, conducted in Latin. His own corpus is not devoid of humour, notably his sixth prolusion and his epitaphs on the death of Thomas Hobson. While at Cambridge he wrote a number of his well-known shorter English poems, among them On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, his Epitaph on the admirable Dramatick Poet, W. Shakespeare, his first poem to appear in print, L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. Study, poetry, and travel Upon receiving his M.A. in 1632, Milton retired to Hammersmith, his father's new home since the previous year. He also lived at Horton, Berkshire, from 1635 and undertook six years of self-directed private study. Christopher Hill points out that this was not retreat into a rural or pastoral idyll at all: Hammersmith was then a "suburban village" falling into the orbit of London, and even Horton was becoming deforested, and suffered from the plague. He read both ancient and modern works of theology, philosophy, history, politics, literature and science, in preparation for a prospective poetical career. Milton's intellectual development can be charted via entries in his commonplace book (like a scrapbook), now in the British Library. As a result of such intensive study, Milton is considered to be among the most learned of all English poets; in addition to his years of private study, Milton had command of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and Italian from his school and undergraduate days; he also added Old English to his linguistic repertoire in the 1650s while researching his History of Britain, and probably acquired proficiency in Dutch soon after. Milton continued to write poetry during this period of study: his Arcades and Comus were both commissioned for masques composed for noble patrons, connections of the Egerton family, and performed in 1632 and 1634 respectively. Comus argues for the virtuousness of temperance and chastity. He contributed his pastoral elegy Lycidas to a memorial collection for one of his Cambridge classmates. Drafts of these poems are preserved in Milton’s poetry notebook, known as the Trinity Manuscript because it is now kept at Trinity College, Cambridge. In May 1638, Milton embarked upon a tour of France and Italy that lasted up to July or August 1639. His travels supplemented his study with new and direct experience of artistic and religious traditions, especially Roman Catholicism. He met famous theorists and intellectuals of the time, and was able to display his poetic skills. For specific details of what happened within Milton's "grand tour", there appears to be just one primary source: Milton's own Defensio Secunda. Although there are other records, including some letters and some references in his other prose tracts, the bulk of the information about the tour comes from a work that, according to Barbara Lewalski, "was not intended as autobiography but as rhetoric, designed to emphasise his sterling reputation with the learned of Europe." He first went to Calais, and then on to Paris, riding horseback, with a letter from diplomat Henry Wotton to ambassador John Scudamore. Through Scudamore, Milton met Hugo Grotius, a Dutch law philosopher, playwright and poet. Milton left France soon after this meeting. He travelled south, from Nice to Genoa, and then to Livorno and Pisa. He reached Florence in July 1638. While there, Milton enjoyed many of the sites and structures of the city. His candour of manner and erudite neo-Latin poetry earned him friends in Florentine intellectual circles, and he met the astronomer Galileo, who was under virtual house arrest at Arcetri, as well as others. Milton probably visited the Florentine Academy and the Academia della Crusca along with smaller academies in the area including the Apatisti and the Svogliati. He left Florence in September to continue to Rome. With the connections from Florence, Milton was able to have easy access to Rome's intellectual society. His poetic abilities impressed those like Giovanni Salzilli, who praised Milton within an epigram. In late October, Milton, despite his dislike for the Society of Jesus, attended a dinner given by the English College, Rome, meeting English Catholics who were also guests, theologian Henry Holden and the poet Patrick Cary. He also attended musical events, including oratorios, operas and melodramas. Milton left for Naples toward the end of November, where he stayed only for a month because of the Spanish control. During that time he was introduced to Giovanni Battista Manso, patron to both Torquato Tasso and to Giovanni Battista Marino. Originally Milton wanted to leave Naples in order to travel to Sicily, and then on to Greece, but he returned to England during the summer of 1639 because of what he claimed, in Defensio Secunda, were "sad tidings of civil war in England." Matters became more complicated when Milton received word that Diodati, his childhood friend, had died. Milton in fact stayed another seven months on the continent, and spent time at Geneva with Diodati's uncle after he returned to Rome. In Defensio Secunda, Milton proclaimed he was warned against a return to Rome because of his frankness about religion, but he stayed in the city for two months and was able to experience Carnival and meet Lukas Holste, a Vatican librarian, who guided Milton through its collection. He was introduced to Cardinal Francesco Barberini who invited Milton to an opera hosted by the Cardinal. Around March Milton travelled once again to Florence, staying there for two months, attending further meetings of the academies, and spent time with friends. After leaving Florence he travelled through Lucca, Bologna, and Ferrara before coming to Venice. In Venice Milton was exposed to a model of Republicanism, later important in his political writings, but he soon found another model when he travelled to Geneva. From Switzerland, Milton travelled to Paris and then to Calais before finally arriving back in England in either July or August 1639. Civil war, prose tracts, and marriage On returning to England, where the Bishops' Wars presaged further armed conflict, Milton began to write prose tracts against episcopacy, in the service of the Puritan and Parliamentary cause. Milton's first foray into polemics was Of Reformation touching Church Discipline in England (1641), followed by Of Prelatical Episcopacy, the two defences of Smectymnuus (a group of presbyterian divines named from their initials: the "TY" belonged to Milton's old tutor Thomas Young), and The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelaty. With frequent passages of real eloquence lighting up the rough controversial style of the period, and deploying a wide knowledge of church history, he vigorously attacked the High-church party of the Church of England and their leader, William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. Though supported by his father’s investments, at this time Milton became a private schoolmaster, educating his nephews and other children of the well-to-do. This experience, and discussions with educational reformer Samuel Hartlib, led him to write in 1644 his short tract, Of Education, urging a reform of the national universities. In June 1643 Milton paid a visit to the manor house at Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, and returned with a 16-year-old bride, Mary Powell. A month later, finding life difficult with the severe 35-year-old schoolmaster and pamphleteer, Mary returned to her family. Because of the outbreak of the Civil War, she did not return until 1645; in the meantime her desertion prompted Milton, over the next three years, to publish a series of pamphlets arguing for the legality and morality of divorce. (Anna Beer, one of Milton's most recent biographers, points to a lack of evidence and the dangers of cynicism in urging that it was not necessarily the case that the private life so animated the public polemicising.) In 1643 Milton had a brush with the authorities over these writings, in parallel with Hezekiah Woodward, who had more trouble. It was the hostile response accorded the divorce tracts that spurred Milton to write Areopagitica, his celebrated attack on pre-printing censorship. Secretary for Foreign Tongues With the parliamentary victory in the Civil War, Milton used his pen in defence of the republican principles represented by the Commonwealth. The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) defended popular government and implicitly sanctioned the regicide; Milton’s political reputation got him appointed Secretary for Foreign Tongues by the Council of State in March 1649. Though Milton's main job description was to compose the English Republic's foreign correspondence in Latin, he also was called upon to produce propaganda for the regime and to serve as a censor. In October 1649 he published Eikonoklastes, an explicit defence of the regicide, in response to the Eikon Basilike, a phenomenal best-seller popularly attributed to Charles I that portrayed the King as an innocent Christian martyr. A month after Milton had tried to break this powerful image of Charles I (the literal translation of Eikonoklastes is 'the image breaker'), the exiled Charles II and his party published a defence of monarchy, Defensio Regia Pro Carolo Primo, written by the leading humanist Claudius Salmasius. By January of the following year, Milton was ordered to write a defence of the English people by the Council of State. Given the European audience and the English Republic's desire to establish diplomatic and cultural legitimacy, Milton worked more slowly than usual, as he drew on the learning marshalled by his years of study to compose a riposte. On 24 February 1652 Milton published his Latin defence of the English People, Defensio Pro Populo Anglicano, also known as the First Defence. Milton's pure Latin prose and evident learning, exemplified in the First Defence, quickly made him a European reputation, and the work ran to numerous editions. In 1654, in response to an anonymous Royalist tract "Regii sanguinis clamor", a work that made many personal attacks on Milton, he completed a second defence of the English nation, Defensio secunda, which praised Oliver Cromwell, now Lord Protector, while exhorting him to remain true to the principles of the Revolution. Alexander Morus, to whom Milton wrongly attributed the Clamor (in fact by Peter du Moulin), published an attack on Milton, in response to which Milton published the autobiographical Defensio pro se in 1655. In addition to these literary defences of the Commonwealth and his character, Milton continued to translate official correspondence into Latin. By 1654 Milton become totally blind, probably due to the onset of glaucoma. This forced him to dictate his verse and prose to amanuenses (helpers), one of whom was the poet Andrew Marvell. One of his best-known sonnets, On His Blindness, is presumed to date from this period. Family Milton and Mary Powell (1625–1652) had four children: * Anne (born 7 July 1646) * Mary (born 25 October 1648) * John (16 March 1651 – June 1652) * Deborah (2 May 1652 – ?) His first wife, Mary Powell, died on 5 May 1652 from complications following Deborah's birth. Milton's daughters survived to adulthood, but he had always a strained relationship with them. On 12 November 1656, Milton was married again, to Katherine Woodcock. She died on 3 February 1658, less than four months after giving birth to a daughter, Katherine, who also died. Milton married for a third time on 24 February 1662, to Elizabeth Mynshull (1638–1728), the niece of Thomas Mynshull, a wealthy apothecary and philanthropist in Manchester. Despite a 31-year age gap, the marriage seemed happy, according to John Aubrey, and was to last more than 11 years until Milton's death. (A plaque on the wall of Mynshull's House in Manchester describes Elizabeth as Milton's "3rd and Best wife".) Two nephews, John Phillips and Edward Phillips, were well known as writers. They were sons of Milton's sister Anne. John acted as a secretary, and Edward was Milton's first biographer. The Restoration Though Cromwell’s death in 1658 caused the English Republic to collapse into feuding military and political factions, Milton stubbornly clung to the beliefs that had originally inspired him to write for the Commonwealth. In 1659 he published A Treatise of Civil Power, attacking the concept of a state-dominated church (the position known as Erastianism), as well as Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove hirelings, denouncing corrupt practises in church governance. As the Republic disintegrated, Milton wrote several proposals to retain a non-monarchical government against the wishes of parliament, soldiers and the people * A Letter to a Friend, Concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth, written in October 1659, was a response to General Lambert's recent dissolution of the Rump Parliament * Proposals of certain expedients for the preventing of a civil war now feared, written in November 1659 * The Ready and Easy Way to Establishing a Free Commonwealth, in two editions, responded to General Monck's march towards London to restore the Long Parliament (which led to the restoration of the monarchy). The work is an impassioned, bitter, and futile jeremiad damning the English people for backsliding from the cause of liberty and advocating the establishment of an authoritarian rule by an oligarchy set up by unelected parliament. Upon the Restoration in May 1660, Milton went into hiding for his life, while a warrant was issued for his arrest and his writings burnt. He re-emerged after a general pardon was issued, but was nevertheless arrested and briefly imprisoned before influential friends, such as Marvell, now an MP, intervened. On 24 February 1663 Milton remarried, for a third and final time, a Wistaston, Cheshire-born woman Elizabeth (Betty) Minshull, then aged 24, and spent the remaining decade of his life living quietly in London, only retiring to a cottage – Milton's Cottage – in Chalfont St. Giles, his only extant home, during the Great Plague of London. During this period Milton published several minor prose works, such as a grammar textbook, Art of Logic, and a History of Britain. His only explicitly political tracts were the 1672 Of True Religion, arguing for toleration (except for Catholics), and a translation of a Polish tract advocating an elective monarchy. Both these works were referred to in the Exclusion debate – the attempt to exclude the heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the throne of England because he was Roman Catholic – that would preoccupy politics in the 1670s and '80s and precipitate the formation of the Whig party and the Glorious Revolution. Milton died of kidney failure on 8 November 1674 and was buried in the church of St Giles Cripplegate; according to an early biographer, his funeral was attended by “his learned and great Friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the Vulgar.” Published poetry Milton's poetry was slow to see the light of day, at least under his name. His first published poem was On Shakespear (1630), anonymously included in the Second Folio edition of Shakespeare. In the midst of the excitement attending the possibility of establishing a new English government, Milton collected his work in 1645 Poems. The anonymous edition of Comus was published in 1637, and the publication of Lycidas in 1638 in Justa Edouardo King Naufrago was signed J. M. Otherwise the 1645 collection was the only poetry of his to see print, until Paradise Lost appeared in 1667. Paradise Lost Milton’s magnum opus, the blank-verse epic poem Paradise Lost, was composed by the blind and impoverished Milton from 1658 to 1664 (first edition) with small but significant revisions published in 1674 (second edition). As a blind poet, Milton dictated his verse to a series of aides in his employ. It reflects his personal despair at the failure of the Revolution, yet affirms an ultimate optimism in human potential. Milton encoded many references to his unyielding support for the "Good Old Cause”. On 27 April 1667, Milton sold the publication rights to Paradise Lost to publisher Samuel Simmons for £5, equivalent to approximately £7,400 income in 2008, with a further £5 to be paid if and when each print run of between 1,300 and 1,500 copies sold out. The first run, a quarto edition priced at three shillings per copy, was published in August 1667 and sold out in eighteen months. Milton followed up Paradise Lost with its sequel, Paradise Regained, published alongside the tragedy Samson Agonistes, in 1671. Both these works also resonate with Milton’s post-Restoration political situation. Just before his death in 1674, Milton supervised a second edition of Paradise Lost, accompanied by an explanation of "why the poem rhymes not" and prefatory verses by Marvell. Milton republished his 1645 Poems in 1673, as well a collection of his letters and the Latin prolusions from his Cambridge days. A 1668 edition of Paradise Lost, reported to have been Milton's personal copy, is now housed in the archives of the University of Western Ontario. Views An unfinished religious manifesto, De doctrina christiana, probably written by Milton, lays out many of his heterodox theological views, and was not discovered and published until 1823. Milton's key beliefs were idiosyncratic, not those of an identifiable group or faction, and often they go well beyond the orthodoxy of the time. Their tone, however, stemmed from the Puritan emphasis on the centrality and inviolability of conscience. He was his own man, but it is Areopagitica, where he was anticipated by Henry Robinson and others, that has lasted best of his prose works. Philosophy By the late 1650s, Milton was a proponent of monism or animist materialism, the notion that a single material substance which is "animate, self-active, and free" composes everything in the universe: from stones and trees and bodies to minds, souls, angels, and God. Milton devised this position to avoid the mind-body dualism of Plato and Descartes as well as the mechanistic determinism of Hobbes. Milton's monism is most notably reflected in Paradise Lost when he has angels eat (5.433–39) and engage in sexual intercourse (8.622–29) and the De Doctrina, where he denies the dual natures of man and argues for a theory of Creation ex Deo. Political thought In his political writing, Milton addressed particular themes at different periods. The years 1641–42 were dedicated to church politics and the struggle against episcopacy. After his divorce writings, Areopagitica, and a gap, he wrote in 1649–54 in the aftermath of the execution of Charles I, and in polemic justification of the regicide and the existing Parliamentarian regime. Then in 1659–60 he foresaw the Restoration, and wrote to head it off. Milton's own beliefs were in some cases both unpopular and dangerous, and this was true particularly to his commitment to republicanism. In coming centuries, Milton would be claimed as an early apostle of liberalism. According to James Tully: ... with Locke as with Milton, republican and contraction conceptions of political freedom join hands in common opposition to the disengaged and passive subjection offered by absolutists such as Hobbes and Robert Filmer. A friend and ally in the pamphlet wars was Marchamont Nedham. Austin Woolrych considers that although they were quite close, there is "little real affinity, beyond a broad republicanism", between their approaches. Blair Worden remarks that both Milton and Nedham, with others such as Andrew Marvell and James Harrington, would have taken the problem with the Rump Parliament to be not the republic, but the fact that it was not a proper republic. Woolrych speaks of "the gulf between Milton's vision of the Commonwealth's future and the reality". In the early version of his History of Britain, begun in 1649, Milton was already writing off the members of the Long Parliament as incorrigible. He praised Oliver Cromwell as the Protectorate was set up; though subsequently he had major reservations. When Cromwell seemed to be backsliding as a revolutionary, after a couple of years in power, Milton moved closer to the position of Sir Henry Vane, to whom he wrote a sonnet in 1652. The group of disaffected republicans included, besides Vane, John Bradshaw, John Hutchinson, Edmund Ludlow, Henry Marten, Robert Overton, Edward Sexby and John Streater; but not Marvell, who remained with Cromwell's party. Milton had already commended Overton, along with Edmund Whalley and Bulstrode Whitelocke, in Defensio Secunda. Nigel Smith writes that ... John Streater, and the form of republicanism he stood for, was a fulfilment of Milton's most optimistic ideas of free speech and of public heroism [...] As Richard Cromwell fell from power, he envisaged a step towards a freer republic or “free commonwealth”, writing in the hope of this outcome in early 1660. Milton had argued for an awkward position, in the Ready and Easy Way, because he wanted to invoke the Good Old Cause and gain the support of the republicans, but without offering a democratic solution of any kind. His proposal, backed by reference (amongst other reasons) to the oligarchical Dutch and Venetian constitutions, was for a council with perpetual membership. This attitude cut right across the grain of popular opinion of the time, which swung decisively behind the restoration of the Stuart monarchy that took place later in the year. Milton, an associate of and advocate on behalf of the regicides, was silenced on political matters as Charles II returned. Theology Like many Renaissance artists before him, Milton attempted to integrate Christian theology with classical modes. In his early poems, the poet narrator expresses a tension between vice and virtue, the latter invariably related to Protestantism. In Comus Milton may make ironic use of the Caroline court masque by elevating notions of purity and virtue over the conventions of court revelry and superstition. In his later poems, Milton's theological concerns become more explicit. In 1648 he wrote a hymn How lovely are thy dwelling fair, a paraphrase of Psalm 84, that explains his view on God. Milton embraced many heterodox Christian theological views. He rejected the Trinity, in the belief that the Son was subordinate to the Father, a position known as Arianism; and his sympathy or curiosity was probably engaged by Socinianism: in August 1650 he licensed for publication by William Dugard the Racovian Catechism, based on a non-trinitarian creed. A source has interpreted him as broadly Protestant, if not always easy to locate in a more precise religious category. In his 1641 treatise, Of Reformation, Milton expressed his dislike for Catholicism and episcopacy, presenting Rome as a modern Babylon, and bishops as Egyptian taskmasters. These analogies conform to Milton's puritanical preference for Old Testament imagery. He knew at least four commentaries on Genesis: those of John Calvin, Paulus Fagius, David Pareus and Andreus Rivetus. Through the Interregnum, Milton often presents England, rescued from the trappings of a worldly monarchy, as an elect nation akin to the Old Testament Israel, and shows its leader, Oliver Cromwell, as a latter-day Moses. These views were bound up in Protestant views of the Millennium, which some sects, such as the Fifth Monarchists predicted would arrive in England. Milton, however, would later criticise the "worldly" millenarian views of these and others, and expressed orthodox ideas on the prophecy of the Four Empires. The Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 began a new phase in Milton's work. In Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes Milton mourns the end of the godly Commonwealth. The Garden of Eden may allegorically reflect Milton's view of England's recent Fall from Grace, while Samson's blindness and captivity – mirroring Milton's own lost sight – may be a metaphor for England's blind acceptance of Charles II as king. Illustrated by Paradise Lost is mortalism, the belief that the soul lies dormant after the body dies. Despite the Restoration of the monarchy Milton did not lose his personal faith; Samson shows how the loss of national salvation did not necessarily preclude the salvation of the individual, while Paradise Regained expresses Milton's continuing belief in the promise of Christian salvation through Jesus Christ. Though he may have maintained his personal faith in spite of the defeats suffered by his cause, the Dictionary of National Biography recounts how he had been alienated from the Church of England by Archbishop William Laud, and then moved similarly from the Dissenters by their denunciation of religious tolerance in England. Milton had come to stand apart from all sects, though apparently finding the Quakers most congenial. He never went to any religious services in his later years. When a servant brought back accounts of sermons from nonconformist meetings, Milton became so sarcastic that the man at last gave up his place. Religious toleration Milton called in the Aeropagitica for "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties" (applied, however, only to the conflicting Protestant sects, and not to atheists, Jews, Muslims or Catholics). "Milton argued for disestablishment as the only effective way of achieving broad toleration. Rather than force a man's conscience, government should recognise the persuasive force of the gospel." Divorce His thinking on divorce caused him considerable trouble with the authorities. An orthodox Presbyterian view of the time was that Milton's views on divorce constituted a one-man heresy: The fervently Presbyterian Edwards had included Milton’s divorce tracts in his list in Gangraena of heretical publications that threatened the religious and moral fabric of the nation; Milton responded by mocking him as “shallow Edwards” in the satirical sonnet “On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament,” usually dated to the latter half of 1646. Even here, though, his originality is qualified: Thomas Gataker had already identified "mutual solace" as a principal goal in marriage. Milton abandoned his campaign to legitimise divorce after 1645, but he expressed support for polygamy in the De doctrina christiana, the theological treatise that provides the clearest evidence for his views. History History was particularly important for the political class of the period, and Lewalski considers that Milton "more than most illustrates" a remark of Thomas Hobbes on the weight placed at the time on the classical Latin historical writers Tacitus, Livy, Sallust and Cicero, and their republican attitudes. Milton himself wrote that "Worthy deeds are not often destitute of worthy relaters", in Book II of his History of Britain. A sense of history mattered greatly to him: The course of human history, the immediate impact of the civil disorders, and his own traumatic personal life, are all regarded by Milton as typical of the predicament he describes as "the misery that has bin since Adam". Legacy and influence Once Paradise Lost was published, Milton's stature as epic poet was immediately recognised. He cast a formidable shadow over English poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was often judged equal or superior to all other English poets, including Shakespeare. Very early on, though, he was championed by Whigs, and decried by Tories: with the regicide Edmund Ludlow he was claimed as an early Whig, while the High Tory Anglican minister Luke Milbourne lumped Milton in with other "Agents of Darkness" such as John Knox, George Buchanan, Richard Baxter, Algernon Sidney and John Locke. Early reception of the poetry John Dryden, an early enthusiast, in 1677 began the trend of describing Milton as the poet of the sublime. Dryden's The State of Innocence and the Fall of Man: an Opera (1677) is evidence of an immediate cultural influence. In 1695, Patrick Hume became the first editor of Paradise Lost, providing an extensive apparatus of annotation and commentary, particularly chasing down allusions. In 1732 the classical scholar Richard Bentley offered a corrected version of Paradise Lost. Bentley was considered presumptuous, and was attacked in the following year by Zachary Pearce. Christopher Ricks judges that, as critic, Bentley was both acute and wrong-headed, and "incorrigibly eccentric"; William Empson also finds Pearce to be more sympathetic to Bentley's underlying line of thought than is warranted. There was an early, partial translation of Paradise Lost into German by Theodore Haak, and based on that a standard verse translation by Ernest Gottlieb von Berge. A subsequent prose translation by Johann Jakob Bodmer was very popular; it influenced Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. The German-language Milton tradition returned to England in the person of the artist Henry Fuseli. Many enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century revered and commented on Milton's poetry and non-poetical works. In addition to John Dryden, among them were Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, Thomas Newton, and Samuel Johnson. For example in The SpectatorJoseph Addison wrote extensive notes, annotations, and interpretations of certain passages of Paradise Lost. Jonathan Richardson, senior, and Jonathan Richardson, the younger, co-wrote a book of criticism. In 1749, Thomas Newton published an extensive edition of Milton's poetical works with annotations provided by himself, Dryden, Pope, Addison, the Richardsons (father and son) and others. Newton's edition of Milton was a culmination of the honour bestowed upon Milton by early Enlightenment thinkers; it may also have been prompted by Richard Bentley's infamous edition, described above. Samuel Johnson wrote numerous essays on Paradise Lost, and Milton was included in his Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779–1781). Blake William Blake considered Milton the major English poet. Blake placed Edmund Spenser as Milton's precursor, and saw himself as Milton's poetical son. In his Milton a Poem, Blake uses Milton as a character. Romantic theory Edmund Burke was a theorist of the sublime, and he regarded Milton's description of Hell as exemplary of sublimity as aesthetic concept. For Burke it was to set alongside mountain-tops, a storm at sea, and infinity. In The Beautiful and the Sublime he wrote "No person seems better to have understood the secret of heightening, or of setting terrible things, if I may use the expression, in their strongest light, by the force of a judicious obscurity than Milton." The Romantic poets valued his exploration of blank verse, but for the most part rejected his religiosity. William Wordsworth began his sonnet "London, 1802" with "Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour" and modelled The Prelude, his own blank verse epic, on Paradise Lost. John Keats found the yoke of Milton's style uncongenial; he exclaimed that "Miltonic verse cannot be written but in an artful or rather artist's humour." Keats felt that Paradise Lost was a "beautiful and grand curiosity"; but his own unfinished attempt at epic poetry, Hyperion, was unsatisfactory to the author because, amongst other things, it had too many "Miltonic inversions". In The Madwoman in the Attic, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar note that Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein is, in the view of many critics, "one of the key 'Romantic' readings of Paradise Lost." Later legacy The Victorian age witnessed a continuation of Milton's influence, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy being particularly inspired by Milton's poetry and biography. By contrast, the early 20th century, with the efforts of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, witnessed a reduction in Milton's critical stature. Harold Bloom, in The Anxiety of Influence, could still write that "Milton is the central problem in any theory and history of poetic influence in English [...]". Milton's Areopagitica is still cited as relevant to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. A quotation from Areopagitica – "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life" – is displayed in many public libraries, including the New York Public Library. The title of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is derived from a quotation, "His dark materials to create more worlds", line 915 of Book II in Paradise Lost. Pullman was concerned to produce a version of Milton's poem accessible to teenagers, and has spoken of Milton as "our greatest public poet". T. S. Eliot believed that "of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions... making unlawful entry". Literary legacy Milton's use of blank verse, in addition to his stylistic innovations (such as grandiloquence of voice and vision, peculiar diction and phraseology) influenced later poets. At the time poetic blank verse was considered distinct from its use in verse drama, and Paradise Lost was taken as a unique examplar. Said Isaac Watts in 1734, "Mr. Milton is esteemed the parent and author of blank verse among us". "Miltonic verse" might be synonymous for a century with blank verse as poetry, a new poetic terrain independent from both the drama and the heroic couplet. Lack of rhyme was sometimes taken as Milton's defining innovation. He himself considered the rhymeless quality of Paradise Lost to be an extension of his own personal liberty: This neglect then of Rhime ... is to be esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing. This pursuit of freedom was largely a reaction against conservative values entrenched within the rigid heroic couplet. Within a dominant culture that stressed elegance and finish, he granted primacy to freedom, breadth and imaginative suggestiveness, eventually developed into the romantic vision of sublime terror. Reaction to Milton’s poetic worldview included, grudgingly, acknowledgement that of poet’s resemblance to classical writers (Greek and Roman poetry being unrhymed. Blank verse came to be a recognised medium for religious works and for translations of the classics. Unrhymed lyrics like Collins' Ode to Evening (in the meter of Milton's translation of Horace's Ode to Pyrrha) were not uncommon after 1740. A second aspect of Milton's blank verse was the use of unconventional rhythm: His blank-verse paragraph, and his audacious and victorious attempt to combine blank and rhymed verse with paragraphic effect in Lycidas, lay down indestructible models and patterns of English verse-rhythm, as distinguished from the narrower and more strait-laced forms of English metre. Before Milton, "the sense of regular rhythm ... had been knocked into the English head so securely that it was part of their nature". The "Heroick measure", according to Samuel Johnson, "is pure ... when the accent rests upon every second syllable through the whole line The repetition of this sound or percussion at equal times, is the most complete harmony of which a single verse is capable", Caesural pauses, most agreed, were best placed at the middle and the end of the line. In order to support this symmetry, lines were most often octo- or deca-syllabic, with no enjambed endings. To this schema Milton introduced modifications, which included hypermetrical syllables (trisyllabic feet), inversion or slighting of stresses, and the shifting of pauses to all parts of the line. Milton deemed these features to be reflective of "the transcendental union of order and freedom". Admirers remained hesitant to adopt such departures from traditional metrical schemes: "The English ... had been writing separate lines for so long that they could not rid themselves of the habit”. Isaac Watts preferred his lines distinct from each other, as did Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Pemberton, and Scott of Amwell, whose general opinion it was that Milton's frequent omission of the initial unaccented foot was "displeasing to a nice ear". It was not until the late 18th century that poets (beginning with Gray) began to appreciate "the composition of Milton's harmony ... how he loved to vary his pauses, his measures, and his feet, which gives that enchanting air of freedom and wilderness to his versification". While neo-classical diction was as restrictive as its prosody, and narrow imagery paired with uniformity of sentence structure resulted in a small set of 800 nouns circumscribing the vocabulary of 90% of heroic couplets ever written up to the eighteenth century, and tradition required that the same adjectives attach to the same nouns, followed by the same verbs, Milton's pursuit of liberty extended into his vocabulary as well. It included many Latinate neologisms, as well as obsolete words already dropped from popular usage so completely that their meanings were no longer understood. In 1740 Francis Peck identified some examples of Milton's "old" words (now popular). The “Miltonian dialect” as it was called, was emulated by later poets; Pope used the diction of Paradise Lost in his Homer translation, while the lyric poetry of Gray and Collins was frequently criticised for their use of “obsolete words out of Spenser and Milton”. The language of Thomson’s finest poems (e.g. The Seasons, Castle of Indolence) was self-consciously modelled after the Miltonian dialect, with the same tone and sensibilities as Paradise Lost. Following to Milton, English poetry from Pope to John Keats exhibited a steadily increasing attention to the connotative, the imaginative and poetic, value of words. Miltonic effects The varied manifestations of personal liberty in Milton's works (e.g. abandonment of rhyme, irregular rhythms, peculiar diction) converge to create specific Miltonian effects that live on to this day. Raymond Dexter identifies nine outstanding characteristics specific to Paradise Lost that survived into later poetic movements: 1. Dignity, reserve and stateliness Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, Sing, Heavenly Muse (i. 1–6) 2. Sonorous, orotund voice O thou that, with surpassing glory crown'd Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god Of this new World. (iv. 32-4) 3. Inversion of the natural order of words and phrases Ten paces huge He back recoil’d. (vi. 193-4) "temperate vapours bland"(v. 5) "heavenly form Angelic"(ix. 457-8) "unvoyageable gulf obscure"(x. 366) 4. The omission of words not necessary to the sense And where their weakness, how attempted best, By force or subtlety. (ii. 357-8) 5. Parenthesis and opposition Their song was partial, but the harmony (What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet (For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) Others apart sat on a hill retired (ii. 552-7) 6. The use of one part of speech for another "with gems . . . rich emblazed", "grinned horrible", (adjective used as adverb) "Heaven's azure" or "the vast of Heaven". (adjective used as noun) "without disturb they took alarm"; "the place of her retire." (verbs used as nouns ) May serve to better us and worse our foes (adjective used as verb) Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill (verb, adjective employed in participal sense) "fuell'd entrails," "his con-sorted Eve," "roses bushing round." (substantive used as verb). 7. Vocabulary Archaic words from Chaucer, Spenser and Shakespeare: "erst," "grunsel," "welkin," "frore," "lore," "grisly," "ken" etc. Unusual Words from Greek or Latin: "dulcet," "panoplie," "sapience," "nocent," "congratulant” etc. Words employed in senses obsolete to the eighteenth century: "the secret top Of Oreb," "a singèd bottom all in-volved With stench," "tempt an abyss,” "his uncouth way" 8. The introduction into a comparatively short passage of proper names in number, not necessary to the sense, but adding richness, color, and imaginative suggestiveness And what resounds In fable or romance of Uther's son, Begirt with British and Armoric knights; And all who since, baptised or infidel, jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond; Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore When Charlemain with all his peerage fell By Fontarabbia. (i. 579-87) 9. Unusual compound epithets "Sail-broad vans," "high-climbing hill," "arch-chemic sun," "half-rounding guards," "night-warbling bird," "love-labour'd song" Poetic and dramatic works 1631: L'Allegro 1631: Il Penseroso 1634: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634 commonly known as Comus (a masque) 1638: Lycidas 1645: Poems of Mr John Milton, Both English and Latin 1655: On the Late Massacre in Piedmont 1667: Paradise Lost 1671: Paradise Regained 1671: Samson Agonistes 1673: Poems, &c, Upon Several Occasions Political, philosophical and religious prose Of Reformation (1641) Of Prelatical Episcopacy (1641) Animadversions (1641) The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelaty (1642) Apology for Smectymnuus (1642) Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643) Judgement of Martin Bucer Concerning Divorce (1644) Of Education (1644) Areopagitica (1644) Tetrachordon (1645) Colasterion (1645) The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) Eikonoklastes (1649) Defensio pro Populo Anglicano [First Defence] (1651) Defensio Secunda [Second Defence] (1654) A treatise of Civil Power (1659) The Likeliest Means to Remove Hirelings from the Church (1659) The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660) Brief Notes Upon a Late Sermon (1660) Accedence Commenced Grammar (1669) History of Britain (1670) Artis logicae plenior institutio [Art of Logic] (1672) Of True Religion (1673) Epistolae Familiaries (1674) Prolusiones (1674) A brief History of Moscovia, and other less known Countries lying Eastward of Russia as far as Cathay, gathered from the writings of several Eye-witnesses (1682) De Doctrina Christiana (1823) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Milton
Robert Herrick (baptized 24 August 1591 – buried 15 October 1674) was a 17th-century English poet. Born in Cheapside, London, he was the seventh child and fourth son of Julia Stone and Nicholas Herrick, a prosperous goldsmith. His father died in a fall from a fourth-floor window in November 1592, when Robert was a year old (whether this was suicide remains unclear). The tradition that Herrick received his education at Westminster is groundless. It is more likely that (like his uncle's children) he attended The Merchant Taylors' School. In 1607 he became apprenticed to his uncle, Sir William Herrick, who was a goldsmith and jeweler to the king. The apprenticeship ended after only six years when Herrick, at age twenty-two, matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1617. Robert Herrick became a member of the Sons of Ben, a group centered upon an admiration for the works of Ben Jonson. Herrick wrote at least five poems to Jonson. Herrick took holy orders in 1623, and in 1629 he became vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire. In 1647, in the wake of the English Civil War, Herrick was ejected from his vicarage for refusing the Solemn League and Covenant. He then returned to London, living in Westminster and depending on the charity of his friends and family. He spent some time preparing his lyric poems for publication, and had them printed in 1648 under the title Hesperides; or the Works both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, with a dedication to the Prince of Wales. When King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, Herrick petitioned for his own restoration to his living. Perhaps King Charles felt kindly towards this genial man, who had written verses celebrating the births of both Charles II and his brother James before the Civil War. Herrick became the vicar of Dean Prior again in the summer of 1662 and lived there until his death in October 1674, at the ripe age of 83. His date of death is not known, but he was buried on 15 October. Herrick was a bachelor all his life, and many of the women he names in his poems are thought to be fictional. Poetic style and stature Herrick wrote over 2,500 poems, about half of which appear in his major work, Hesperides. Hesperides also includes the much shorter Noble Numbers, his first book, of spiritual works, first published in 1647. He is well-known for his style and, in his earlier works, frequent references to lovemaking and the female body. His later poetry was more of a spiritual and philosophical nature. Among his most famous short poetical sayings are the unique monometers, such as "Thus I / Pass by / And die,/ As one / Unknown / And gone." Herrick sets out his subject-matter in the poem he printed at the beginning of his collection, The Argument of his Book. He dealt with English country life and its seasons, village customs, complimentary poems to various ladies and his friends, themes taken from classical writings and a solid bedrock of Christian faith, not intellectualized but underpinning the rest. Herrick never married, and none of his love-poems seem to connect directly with any one beloved woman. He loved the richness of sensuality and the variety of life, and this is shown vividly in such poems as Cherry-ripe, Delight in Disorder and Upon Julia’s Clothes. The over-riding message of Herrick’s work is that life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use the short time we have to make the most of it. This message can be seen clearly in To the Virgins, to make much of Time, To Daffodils, To Blossoms and Corinna going a-Maying, where the warmth and exuberance of what seems to have been a kindly and jovial personality comes over strongly. The opening stanza in one of his more famous poems, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", is as follows: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying. This poem is an example of the carpe diem genre; the popularity of Herrick's poems of this kind helped revive the genre. His poems were not widely popular at the time they were published. His style was strongly influenced by Ben Jonson, by the classical Roman writers, and by the poems of the late Elizabethan era. This must have seemed quite old-fashioned to an audience whose tastes were tuned to the complexities of the metaphysical poets such as John Donne and Andrew Marvell. His works were rediscovered in the early nineteenth century, and have been regularly printed ever since. The Victorian poet Swinburne described Herrick as the greatest song writer...ever born of English race. It is certainly true that despite his use of classical allusions and names, his poems are easier for modern readers to understand than those of many of his contemporaries. Robert Herrick is a major character in Rose Macaulay's 1932 historical novel, They Were Defeated. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Herrick_(poet)
Isaac Watts (17 July 1674– 25 November 1748) was an English Christian minister, hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymn writer, his work was part of evangelization. He was recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody”, credited with some 750 hymns. Many of his hymns remain in use today and have been translated into numerous languages. Life Born in Southampton, England, in 1674, Watts was brought up in the home of a committed religious Nonconformist; his father, also Isaac Watts, had been incarcerated twice for his views. At King Edward VI School, Watts had a classical education, learning Latin, Greek and Hebrew. From an early age, Watts displayed a propensity for rhyme. Once, he responded when asked why he had his eyes open during prayers: Receiving corporal punishment for this, he cried: Because he was a Nonconformist, Watts could not attend Oxford or Cambridge, which were each restricted to Anglicans, as were government positions at the time. He went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690. Much of the remainder of his life centred around that village, which is now part of Inner London. Following his education, Watts was called as pastor of a large independent chapel in London, where he helped train preachers, despite his poor health. Isaac Watts held religious opinions that were more non-denominational or ecumenical than was at that time common for a Nonconformist; he had a greater interest in promoting education and scholarship than preaching for any particular sect. Taking work as a private tutor, Watts lived with the Nonconformist Hartopp family at Fleetwood House, on Church Street in Stoke Newington. Through them he became acquainted with their immediate neighbours, Sir Thomas Abney and Lady Mary. Invited for a week to Hertfordshire, Watts eventually lived for a total of 36 years in the Abney household, most of the time at Abney House, their second residence. (Lady Mary had inherited the Manor of Stoke Newington in 1701 from her late brother, Thomas Gunston.) On the death of Sir Thomas Abney in 1722, the widow Lady Mary and her last unmarried daughter, Elizabeth, moved all her household to Abney Hall from Hertfordshire. She invited Watts to continue with their household. He lived at Abney Hall until his death in 1748. Watts particularly enjoyed the grounds at Abney Park, which Lady Mary planted with two elm walks leading down to an island heronry in the Hackney Brook. Watts often sought inspiration there for the many books and hymns he wrote. Watts died in Stoke Newington in 1748, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. He left an extensive legacy of hymns, treatises, educational works and essays. His work was influential amongst Nonconformist independents and religious revivalists of the 18th century, such as Philip Doddridge, who dedicated his best-known work to Watts. Watts and hymnody Sacred music scholar Stephen Marini (2003) describes the ways in which Watts contributed to English hymnody. Notably, Watts led by including new poetry for “original songs of Christian experience” to be used in worship. The older tradition was based on the poetry of the Bible, notably the Psalms. This had developed from the teachings of the 16th-century Reformation leader John Calvin, who initiated the practice of creating verse translations of the Psalms in the vernacular for congregational singing. Watts’ introduction of extra-Biblical poetry opened up a new era of Protestant hymnody as other poets followed in his path. Watts also introduced a new way of rendering the Psalms in verse for church services. The Psalms were originally written in Biblical Hebrew within Judaism. In early Christendom, they were affirmed in the Biblical canon as part of the Old Testament. Watts proposed that the metrical translations of the Psalms as sung by Protestant Christians should give them a specifically Christian perspective. While he granted that David [to whom authorship of many of the Psalms is traditionally ascribed] was unquestionably a chosen instrument of God, Watts claimed that his religious understanding could not have fully apprehended the truths later revealed through Jesus Christ. The Psalms should therefore be “renovated” as if David had been a Christian, or as Watts put it in the title of his 1719 metrical Psalter, they should be “imitated in the language of the New Testament.” Marini discerns two particular trends in Watts’ verses, which he calls “emotional subjectivity” and “doctrinal objectivity”. By the former he means that “Watts’ voice broke down the distance between poet and singer and invested the text with personal spirituality.” As an example of this, he cites “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. By “doctrinal objectivity,” Marini means that Watts verse achieved an “axiomatic quality” that “presented Christian doctrinal content with the explicit confidence that befits affirmations of faith.” As examples, Marini cites the hymns “Joy to the World” as well as “From All That Dwell Below the Skies”: Besides writing hymns, Isaac Watts was also a theologian and logician, writing books and essays on these subjects. Logic Watts wrote a text book on logic which was particularly popular; its full title was, Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences. This was first published in 1724, and it was printed in twenty editions. Watts wrote this work for beginners of logic, and arranged the book methodically. He divided the content of his elementary treatment of logic into four parts: perception, judgement, reasoning, and method, which he treated in this order. Each of these parts is divided into chapters, and some of these chapters are divided into sections. The content of the chapters and sections is subdivided by the following devices: divisions, distributions, notes, observations, directions, rules, illustrations, and remarks. Every contentum of the book comes under one or more of these headings, and this methodical arrangement serves to make the exposition clear. In Watts’ Logic, there are notable departures from other works of the time, and some notable innovations. The influence of British empiricism may be seen, especially that of contemporary philosopher and empiricist John Locke. Logic includes several references to Locke and his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in which he espoused his empiricist views. Watts was careful to distinguish between judgements and propositions, unlike some other logic authors. According to Watts, judgement is “to compare... ideas together, and to join them by affirmation, or disjoin then by negation, according as we find them to agree or disagree”. He continues, “when mere ideas are joined in the mind without words, it is rather called a judgement; but when clothed with words it is called a proposition”. Watts’ Logic follows the scholastic tradition and divides propositions into universal affirmative, universal negative, particular affirmative, and particular negative. In the third part, Watts discusses reasoning and argumentation, with particular emphasis on the theory of syllogism. This was considered a centrally important part of classical logic. According to Watts, and in keeping with logicians of his day, Watts defined logic as an art (see liberal arts), as opposed to a science. Throughout Logic, Watts revealed his high conception of logic by stressing the practical side of logic, rather than the speculative side. According to Watts, as a practical art, logic can be really useful in any inquiry, whether it is an inquiry in the arts, or inquiry in the sciences, or inquiry of an ethical kind. Watts’ emphasis on logic as a practical art distinguishes his book from others. By stressing a practical and non-formal part of logic, Watts gave rules and directions for any kind of inquiry, including the inquiries of science and the inquiries of philosophy. These rules of inquiry were given in addition to the formal content of classical logic common to text books on logic from that time. Watts’ conception of logic as being divided into its practical part and its speculative part marks a departure from the conception of logic of most other authors. His conception of logic is more akin to that of the later, nineteenth-century logician, C.S. Peirce. Isaac Watts’ Logic became the standard text on logic at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, being used at Oxford for well over 100 years. C.S. Peirce, the great nineteenth-century logician, wrote favorably of Watts’ Logic. When preparing his own text book, entitled A Critick of Arguments: How to Reason (also known as the Grand Logic), Peirce wrote, 'I shall suppose the reader to be acquainted with what is contained in Dr Watts’ Logick, a book... far superior to the treatises now used in colleges, being the production of a man distinguished for good sense.' Watts followed the Logic in 1741 by a supplement, The Improvement of the Mind. This also went through numerous editions and later inspired Michael Faraday. It was also widely used as a moral textbook in schools. Legacy, honours and memorials On his death, Isaac Watts’ papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which Nonconformists had established. King Edward VI School, which he attended, named one of its houses “Watts” in his honour. The Church of England and Lutheran Church remember Watts (and his ministerial service) annually in the Calendar of Saints on November 25, and the Episcopal Church on the following day. The earliest surviving built memorial to Isaac Watts is at Westminster Abbey; this was completed shortly after his death. His much-visited chest tomb at Bunhill Fields, dates from 1808, replacing the original that had been paid for and erected by Lady Mary Abney and the Hartopp family. A stone bust of Watts is installed at the Nonconformist Dr Williams’s Library, in central London. The earliest public statue, erected in 1845, stands at Abney Park, where Watts had lived for more than 30 years at the manor house, where he also died. The park was later devoted to uses as a cemetery and public arboretum. A later, rather similar statue was funded by public subscription and erected in a new Victorian public park named for Watts in Southampton, the city of his birth. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Congregational Dr Watts Memorial Hall was built in Southampton and named for him. After World War II, it was lost to redevelopment. The Isaac Watts Memorial United Reformed Church was built on the site and named for him. One of the earliest built memorials may also now be lost: a bust to Watts that was commissioned on his death for the London chapel with which he was associated. The chapel was demolished in the late 18th century; remaining parts of the memorial were rescued at the last minute by a wealthy landowner for installation in his chapel near Liverpool. It is unclear whether the bust survives. The stone statue in front of the Abney Park Chapel at Dr Watts’ Walk, Abney Park Cemetery, was erected in 1845 by public subscription. It was designed by the leading British sculptor, Edward Hodges Baily RA FRS. A scheme for a commemorative statue on this spot had first been promoted in the late 1830s by George Collison, who in 1840 published an engraving as the frontispiece of his book about cemetery design in Europe and America; and at Abney Park Cemetery in particular. This first cenotaph proposal was never commissioned, and Baily’s later design was adopted in 1845. In 1974, the City of Southampton (Watts’ home city) commemorated the 300 year anniversary of his birth by commissioning the biography Isaac Watts Remembered, written by David G. Fountain, who like Watts, was also a non-conformist minister from Southampton. Cultural or contemporary influences One of Watts’ best-known poems was an exhortation “Against Idleness and Mischief” in Divine Songs for Children. This was parodied by Lewis Carroll in the poem “How Doth the Little Crocodile”, included in his book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His parody is better known than the original Watts’ poem. In his novel, David Copperfield (1850), Charles Dickens has school master Dr. Strong quote from Watts’ “Against Idleness and Mischief”. The 1884 comic opera Princess Ida includes a punning reference to Watts in Act I. At Princess Ida’s women’s university, no males are allowed. Her father King Gama says that “She’ll scarcely suffer Dr. Watts’ 'hymns’”. Works Books * The Improvement of the Mind - first three chapters as text from Wikisource - 1815 Edition s:The Improvement of the MindThis book inspired Michael Faraday, to get his self-education by going to lectures * The Improvement of the Mind Vol 1 Vol 2 at The Internet Archive * The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth Made Easy ..., first edition, 1726; 1760 edition at Google Books * Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences * A Short View of the Whole Scripture History: With a Continuation of the Jewish Affairs From the Old Testament Till the Time of Christ; and an Account of the Chief Prophesies that Relate to Him * Watts is thought to be the author of the tract: An Essay on the Freedom of Will in God and Creatures (copy on The Internet Archive). * Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children (1715). Hymns Watts’ hymns include: * Joy to the world (based on Psalm 98, arranged in the 19th century by American Lowell Mason to an older melody of Handel) * Come ye that love the Lord (often sung with the chorus [and titled] “We’re marching to Zion”) * Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove * Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (based on Psalm 72) * O God, Our Help in Ages Past (based on Psalm 90) * When I survey the wondrous cross * Alas! and did my Saviour bleed * This is the day the Lord has made * ’Tis by Thy strength the mountains stand * I sing the mighty power of God (originally entitled “Praise for Creation and Providence” from Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children) * My shepherd will supply my need (based on Psalm 23) * Bless, O my soul! the living God (based on Psalm 103) * Many of Watts’ hymns are included in the Christadelphian hymnal, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal, the Baptist Hymnal, the Presbyterian Trinity Hymnal, and the Methodist Hymns and Psalms. Many of his texts are also used in the American hymnal, The Sacred Harp, using what is known as the shape note notation used for teaching non-musicians. Several of his hymns are used in the hymnals of the Church of Christ, Scientist and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Watts
Robert Laurence Binyon, CH (10 August 1869– 10 March 1943) was an English poet, dramatist and art scholar. His most famous work, For the Fallen, is well known for being used in Remembrance Sunday services. Pre-war life Laurence Binyon was born in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. His parents were Frederick Binyon, and Mary Dockray. Mary’s father, Robert Benson Dockray, was the main engineer of the London and Birmingham Railway. The family were Quakers. Binyon studied at St Paul’s School, London. Then he read Classics (Honour Moderations) at Trinity College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1891. Immediately after graduating in 1893, Binyon started working for the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum, writing catalogues for the museum and art monographs for himself. In 1895 his first book, Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century, was published. In that same year, Binyon moved into the Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, under Campbell Dodgson. In 1909, Binyon became its Assistant Keeper, and in 1913 he was made the Keeper of the new Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings. Around this time he played a crucial role in the formation of Modernism in London by introducing young Imagist poets such as Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and H.D. to East Asian visual art and literature. Many of Binyon’s books produced while at the Museum were influenced by his own sensibilities as a poet, although some are works of plain scholarship– such as his four-volume catalogue of all the Museum’s English drawings, and his seminal catalogue of Chinese and Japanese prints. In 1904 he married historian Cicely Margaret Powell, and the couple had three daughters. During those years, Binyon belonged to a circle of artists, as a regular patron of the Wiener Cafe of London. His fellow intellectuals there were Ezra Pound, Sir William Rothenstein, Walter Sickert, Charles Ricketts, Lucien Pissarro and Edmund Dulac. Binyon’s reputation before the war was such that, on the death of the Poet Laureate Alfred Austin in 1913, Binyon was among the names mentioned in the press as his likely successor (others named included Thomas Hardy, John Masefield and Rudyard Kipling; the post went to Robert Bridges). For the Fallen Moved by the opening of the Great War and the already high number of casualties of the British Expeditionary Force, in 1914 Laurence Binyon wrote his For the Fallen, with its Ode of Remembrance, as he was visiting the cliffs on the north Cornwall coast, either at Polzeath or at Portreath (at each of which places there is a plaque commemorating the event, though Binyon himself mentioned Polzeath in a 1939 interview. The confusion may be related to Porteath Farm being near Polzeath). The piece was published by The Times newspaper in September, when public feeling was affected by the recent Battle of Marne. Today Binyon’s most famous poem, For the Fallen, is often recited at Remembrance Sunday services in the UK; is an integral part of Anzac Day services in Australia and New Zealand and of the 11 November Remembrance Day services in Canada. The third and fourth verses of the poem (although often just the fourth) have thus been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation. They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England’s foam Three of Binyon’s poems, including “For the Fallen”, were set by Sir Edward Elgar in his last major orchestra/choral work, The Spirit of England. In 1915, despite being too old to enlist in the First World War, Laurence Binyon volunteered at a British hospital for French soldiers, Hôpital Temporaire d’Arc-en-Barrois, Haute-Marne, France, working briefly as a hospital orderly. He returned in the summer of 1916 and took care of soldiers taken in from the Verdun battlefield. He wrote about his experiences in For Dauntless France (1918) and his poems, “Fetching the Wounded” and “The Distant Guns”, were inspired by his hospital service in Arc-en-Barrois. Artists Rifles, a CD audiobook published in 2004, includes a reading of For the Fallen by Binyon himself. The recording itself is undated and appeared on a 78 rpm disc issued in Japan. Other Great War poets heard on the CD include Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves, David Jones and Edgell Rickword. Post-war life After the war, he returned to the British Museum and wrote numerous books on art; in particular on William Blake, Persian art, and Japanese art. His work on ancient Japanese and Chinese cultures offered strongly contextualised examples that inspired, among others, the poets Ezra Pound and W. B. Yeats. His work on Blake and his followers kept alive the then nearly-forgotten memory of the work of Samuel Palmer. Binyon’s duality of interests continued the traditional interest of British visionary Romanticism in the rich strangeness of Mediterranean and Oriental cultures. In 1931, his two volume Collected Poems appeared. In 1932, Binyon rose to be the Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department, yet in 1933 he retired from the British Museum. He went to live in the country at Westridge Green, near Streatley (where his daughters also came to live during the Second World War). He continued writing poetry. In 1933–1934, Binyon was appointed Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. He delivered a series of lectures on The Spirit of Man in Asian Art, which were published in 1935. Binyon continued his academic work: in May 1939 he gave the prestigious Romanes Lecture in Oxford on Art and Freedom, and in 1940 he was appointed the Byron Professor of English Literature at University of Athens. He worked there until forced to leave, narrowly escaping the German invasion of Greece in April 1941 . He was succeeded by Lord Dunsany, who held the chair in 1940-1941. Binyon had been friends with Ezra Pound since around 1909, and in the 1930s the two became especially close; Pound affectionately called him “BinBin”, and assisted Binyon with his translation of Dante. Another protégé was Arthur Waley, whom Binyon employed at the British Museum. Between 1933 and 1943, Binyon published his acclaimed translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy in an English version of terza rima, made with some editorial assistance by Ezra Pound. Its readership was dramatically increased when Paolo Milano selected it for the “The Portable Dante” in Viking’s Portable Library series. Binyon significantly revised his translation of all three parts for the project, and the volume went through three major editions and eight printings (while other volumes in the same series went out of print) before being replaced by the Mark Musa translation in 1981. At his death he was also working on a major three-part Arthurian trilogy, the first part of which was published after his death as The Madness of Merlin (1947). He died in Dunedin Nursing Home, Bath Road, Reading, on 10 March 1943 after an operation. A funeral service was held at Trinity College Chapel, Oxford, on 13 March 1943. There is a slate memorial in St. Mary’s Church, Aldworth, where Binyon’s ashes were scattered. On 11 November 1985, Binyon was among 16 Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner. The inscription on the stone quotes a fellow Great War poet, Wilfred Owen. It reads: “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.” Daughters His three daughters Helen, Margaret and Nicolete became artists. Helen Binyon (1904–1979) studied with Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, illustrating many books for the Oxford University Press, and was also a marionettist. She later taught puppetry and published Puppetry Today (1966) and Professional Puppetry in England (1973). Margaret Binyon wrote children’s books, which were illustrated by Helen. Nicolete, as Nicolete Gray, was a distinguished calligrapher and art scholar. Bibliography of key works Poems and verse * Lyric Poems (1894) * Porphyrion and other Poems (1898) * Odes (1901) * Death of Adam and Other Poems (1904) * London Visions (1908) * England and Other Poems (1909) * “For The Fallen”, The Times, 21 September 1914 * Winnowing Fan (1914) * The Anvil (1916) * The Cause (1917) * The New World: Poems (1918) * The Idols (1928) * Collected Poems Vol 1: London Visions, Narrative Poems, Translations. (1931) * Collected Poems Vol 2: Lyrical Poems. (1931) * The North Star and Other Poems (1941) * The Burning of the Leaves and Other Poems (1944) * The Madness of Merlin (1947) In 1915 Cyril Rootham set “For the Fallen” for chorus and orchestra, first performed in 1919 by the Cambridge University Musical Society conducted by the composer. Edward Elgar set to music three of Binyon’s poems ("The Fourth of August", “To Women”, and “For the Fallen”, published within the collection “The Winnowing Fan”) as The Spirit of England, Op. 80, for tenor or soprano solo, chorus and orchestra (1917). English arts and myth * Dutch Etchers of the Seventeenth Century (1895), Binyon’s first book on painting * John Crone and John Sell Cotman (1897) * William Blake: Being all his Woodcuts Photographically Reproduced in Facsimile (1902) * English Poetry in its relation to painting and the other arts (1918) * Drawings and Engravings of William Blake (1922) * Arthur: A Tragedy (1923) * The Followers of William Blake (1925) * The Engraved Designs of William Blake (1926) * Landscape in English Art and Poetry (1931) * English Watercolours (1933) * Gerard Hopkins and his influence (1939) * Art and freedom. (The Romanes lecture, delivered 25 May 1939). Oxford: The Clarendon press, (1939) Japanese and Persian arts * Painting in the Far East (1908) * Japanese Art (1909) * Flight of the Dragon (1911) * The Court Painters of the Grand Moguls (1921) * Japanese Colour Prints (1923) * The Poems of Nizami (1928) (Translation) * Persian Miniature Painting (1933) * The Spirit of Man in Asian Art (1936) Autobiography * For Dauntless France (1918) (War memoir) Biography * Botticelli (1913) * Akbar (1932) Stage plays * Brief Candles A verse-drama about the decision of Richard III to dispatch his two nephews * “Paris and Oenone”, 1906 * Godstow Nunnery: Play * Boadicea; A Play in eight Scenes * Attila: a Tragedy in Four Acts * Ayuli: a Play in three Acts and an Epilogue * Sophro the Wise: a Play for Children * (Most of the above were written for John Masefield’s theatre). * Charles Villiers Stanford wrote incidental music for Attila in 1907. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Binyon
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.
John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was an English poet, the son of a farm labourer, who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation of its disruption. His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets. His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self”. Early life Clare was born in Helpston, six miles to the north of the city of Peterborough. In his life time, the village was in the Soke of Peterborough in Northamptonshire and his memorial calls him "The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet". Helpston now lies in the Peterborough unitary authority of Cambridgeshire. He became an agricultural labourer while still a child; however, he attended school in Glinton church until he was twelve. In his early adult years, Clare became a pot-boy in the Blue Bell public house and fell in love with Mary Joyce; but her father, a prosperous farmer, forbade her to meet him. Subsequently he was a gardener at Burghley House. He enlisted in the militia, tried camp life with Gypsies, and worked in Pickworth as a lime burner in 1817. In the following year he was obliged to accept parish relief. Malnutrition stemming from childhood may be the main culprit behind his 5-foot stature and may have contributed to his poor physical health in later life. Early poems Clare had bought a copy of Thomson's Seasons and began to write poems and sonnets. In an attempt to hold off his parents' eviction from their home, Clare offered his poems to a local bookseller named Edward Drury. Drury sent Clare's poetry to his cousin John Taylor of the publishing firm of Taylor & Hessey, who had published the work of John Keats. Taylor published Clare's Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery in 1820. This book was highly praised, and in the next year his Village Minstrel and other Poems were published. Midlife He had married Martha ("Patty") Turner in 1820. An annuity of 15 guineas from the Marquess of Exeter, in whose service he had been, was supplemented by subscription, so that Clare became possessed of £45 annually, a sum far beyond what he had ever earned. Soon, however, his income became insufficient, and in 1823 he was nearly penniless. The Shepherd's Calendar (1827) met with little success, which was not increased by his hawking it himself. As he worked again in the fields his health temporarily improved; but he soon became seriously ill. Earl FitzWilliam presented him with a new cottage and a piece of ground, but Clare could not settle in his new home. Clare was constantly torn between the two worlds of literary London and his often illiterate neighbours; between the need to write poetry and the need for money to feed and clothe his children. His health began to suffer, and he had bouts of severe depression, which became worse after his sixth child was born in 1830 and as his poetry sold less well. In 1832, his friends and his London patrons clubbed together to move the family to a larger cottage with a smallholding in the village of Northborough, not far from Helpston. However, he felt only more alienated. His last work, the Rural Muse (1835), was noticed favourably by Christopher North and other reviewers, but this was not enough to support his wife and seven children. Clare's mental health began to worsen. As his alcohol consumption steadily increased along with his dissatisfaction with his own identity, Clare's behaviour became more erratic. A notable instance of this behaviour was demonstrated in his interruption of a performance of The Merchant of Venice, in which Clare verbally assaulted Shylock. He was becoming a burden to Patty and his family, and in July 1837, on the recommendation of his publishing friend, John Taylor, Clare went of his own volition (accompanied by a friend of Taylor's) to Dr Matthew Allen's private asylum High Beach near Loughton, in Epping Forest. Taylor had assured Clare that he would receive the best medical care. Later life and death During his first few asylum years in Essex (1837–1841), Clare re-wrote famous poems and sonnets by Lord Byron. His own version of Child Harold became a lament for past lost love, and Don Juan, A Poem became an acerbic, misogynistic, sexualised rant redolent of an aging Regency dandy. Clare also took credit for Shakespeare's plays, claiming to be the Renaissance genius himself. "I'm John Clare now," the poet claimed to a newspaper editor, "I was Byron and Shakespeare formerly." In 1841, Clare left the asylum in Essex, to walk home, believing that he was to meet his first love Mary Joyce; Clare was convinced that he was married with children to her and Martha as well. He did not believe her family when they told him she had died accidentally three years earlier in a house fire. He remained free, mostly at home in Northborough, for the five months following, but eventually Patty called the doctors in. Between Christmas and New Year in 1841, Clare was committed to the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum (now St Andrew's Hospital). Upon Clare's arrival at the asylum, the accompanying doctor, Fenwick Skrimshire, who had treated Clare since 1820, completed the admission papers. To the enquiry "Was the insanity preceded by any severe or long-continued mental emotion or exertion?", Dr Skrimshire entered: "After years of poetical prosing." He remained here for the rest of his life under the humane regime of Dr Thomas Octavius Prichard, encouraged and helped to write. Here he wrote possibly his most famous poem, I Am. He died on 20 May 1864, in his 71st year. His remains were returned to Helpston for burial in St Botolph’s churchyard. Today, children at the John Clare School, Helpston's primary, parade through the village and place their 'midsummer cushions' around Clare's gravestone (which has the inscriptions "To the Memory of John Clare The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" and "A Poet is Born not Made") on his birthday, in honour of their most famous resident. The thatched cottage where he was born was bought by the John Clare Education & Environment Trust in 2005 and is restoring the cottage to its 18th century state. Poetry In his time, Clare was commonly known as "the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet". Since his formal education was brief, Clare resisted the use of the increasingly standardised English grammar and orthography in his poetry and prose. Many of his poems would come to incorporate terms used locally in his Northamptonshire dialect, such as 'pooty' (snail), 'lady-cow' (ladybird), 'crizzle' (to crisp) and 'throstle' (song thrush). In his early life he struggled to find a place for his poetry in the changing literary fashions of the day. He also felt that he did not belong with other peasants. Clare once wrote "I live here among the ignorant like a lost man in fact like one whom the rest seemes careless of having anything to do with—they hardly dare talk in my company for fear I should mention them in my writings and I find more pleasure in wandering the fields than in musing among my silent neighbours who are insensible to everything but toiling and talking of it and that to no purpose.” It is common to see an absence of punctuation in many of Clare's original writings, although many publishers felt the need to remedy this practice in the majority of his work. Clare argued with his editors about how it should be presented to the public. Clare grew up during a period of massive changes in both town and countryside as the Industrial Revolution swept Europe. Many former agricultural workers, including children, moved away from the countryside to over-crowded cities, following factory work. The Agricultural Revolution saw pastures ploughed up, trees and hedges uprooted, the fens drained and the common land enclosed. This destruction of a centuries-old way of life distressed Clare deeply. His political and social views were predominantly conservative ("I am as far as my politics reaches 'King and Country'—no Innovations in Religion and Government say I."). He refused even to complain about the subordinate position to which English society relegated him, swearing that "with the old dish that was served to my forefathers I am content." His early work delights both in nature and the cycle of the rural year. Poems such as Winter Evening, Haymaking and Wood Pictures in Summer celebrate the beauty of the world and the certainties of rural life, where animals must be fed and crops harvested. Poems such as Little Trotty Wagtail show his sharp observation of wildlife, though The Badger shows his lack of sentiment about the place of animals in the countryside. At this time, he often used poetic forms such as the sonnet and the rhyming couplet. His later poetry tends to be more meditative and use forms similar to the folks songs and ballads of his youth. An example of this is Evening. His knowledge of the natural world went far beyond that of the major Romantic poets. However, poems such as I Am show a metaphysical depth on a par with his contemporary poets and many of his pre-asylum poems deal with intricate play on the nature of linguistics. His 'bird's nest poems', it can be argued, illustrate the self-awareness, and obsession with the creative process that captivated the romantics. Clare was the most influential poet, aside from Wordsworth to practice in an older style. Revival of interest in the twentieth century Clare was relatively forgotten during the later nineteenth century, but interest in his work was revived by Arthur Symons in 1908, Edmund Blunden in 1920 and John and Anne Tibble in their ground-breaking 1935 2-volume edition. Benjamin Britten set some of 'May' from A Shepherd's Calendar in his Spring Symphony of 1948, and included a setting of The Evening Primrose in his Five Flower Songs Copyright to much of his work has been claimed since 1965 by the editor of the Complete Poetry (OUP, 9 vols., 1984–2003), Professor Eric Robinson though these claims were contested. Recent publishers have refused to acknowledge the claim (especially in recent editions from Faber and Carcanet) and it seems the copyright is now defunct. The John Clare Trust purchased Clare Cottage in Helpston in 2005, preserving it for future generations. In May 2007 the Trust gained £1.m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and commissioned Jefferson Sheard Architects to create the new landscape design and Visitor Centre, including a cafe, shop and exhibition space. The Cottage has been restored using traditional building methods and opened to the public. The largest collection of original Clare manuscripts are housed at Peterborough Museum, where they are available to view by appointment. Since 1993, the John Clare Society of North America has organised an annual session of scholarly papers concerning John Clare at the annual Convention of the Modern Language Association of America. Poetry collections by Clare (chronological) * Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery. London, 1820. * The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems. London, 1821. * The Shepherd's Calendar with Village Stories and Other Poems. London, 1827 * The Rural Muse. London, 1835. * Sonnet. London 1841 * First Love * Snow Storm. * The Firetail. * The Badger – Time unknown References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Clare
William Cowper (26 November 1731– 25 April 1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him “the best modern poet”, whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak. He was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan.
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (17 August 1840– 10 September 1922) (sometimes spelled “Wilfred”) was an English poet and writer. He and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt travelled in the Middle East and were instrumental in preserving the Arabian horse bloodlines through their farm, the Crabbet Arabian Stud. He was best known for his poetry, which was published in a collected edition in 1914, but also wrote a number of political essays and polemics. Blunt is also known for his views against imperialism, viewed as relatively enlightened for his time. Early life Blunt was born at Petworth House in Sussex and served in the Diplomatic Service from 1858 to 1869. He was raised in the faith of his mother, a Catholic convert, and educated at Twyford School, Stonyhurst, and at St Mary’s College, Oscott. His most memorable line of poetry on the subject comes from Satan Absolved (1899), where the devil, answering a Kiplingesque remark by God, snaps back: ‘The white man’s burden, Lord, is the burden of his cash’ Here, Longford explains, 'Blunt stood Rudyard Kipling’s familiar concept on its head, arguing that the imperialists’ burden is not their moral responsibility for the colonised peoples, but their urge to make money out of them.' Personal life In 1869, Blunt married Lady Anne Noel, the daughter of the Earl of Lovelace and Ada Lovelace, and granddaughter of Lord Byron. Together the Blunts travelled through Spain, Algeria, Egypt, the Syrian Desert, and extensively in the Middle East and India. Based upon pure-blooded Arabian horses they obtained in Egypt and the Nejd, they co-founded Crabbet Arabian Stud, and later purchased a property near Cairo, named Sheykh Obeyd which housed their horse breeding operation in Egypt. In 1882, he championed the cause of Urabi Pasha, which led him to be banned from entering Egypt for four years. Blunt generally opposed British imperialism as a matter of philosophy, and his support for Irish causes led to his imprisonment in 1888. Wilfrid and Lady Anne’s only child to live to maturity was Judith Blunt-Lytton, 16th Baroness Wentworth, later known as Lady Wentworth. As an adult, she was married in Cairo but moved permanently to the Crabbet Park Estate in 1904. Wilfrid had a number of mistresses, among them a long term relationship with the courtesan Catherine “Skittles” Walters, and the Pre-Raphaelite beauty, Jane Morris. Eventually, he moved another mistress, Dorothy Carleton, into his home. This event triggered Lady Anne’s legal separation from him in 1906. At that time, Lady Anne signed a Deed of Partition drawn up by Wilfrid. Under its terms, unfavourable to Lady Anne, she kept the Crabbet Park property (where their daughter Judith lived) and half the horses, while Blunt took Caxtons Farm, also known as Newbuildings, and the rest of the stock. Always struggling with financial concerns and chemical dependency issues, Wilfrid sold off numerous horses to pay debts and constantly attempted to obtain additional assets. Lady Anne left the management of her properties to Judith, and spent many months of every year in Egypt at the Sheykh Obeyd estate, moving there permanently in 1915. Due primarily to the manoeuvering of Wilfrid in an attempt to disinherit Judith and obtain the entire Crabbet property for himself, Judith and her mother were estranged at the time of Lady Anne’s death in 1917. As a result, Lady Anne’s share of the Crabbet Stud passed to Judith’s daughters, under the oversight of an independent trustee. Blunt filed a lawsuit soon afterward. Ownership of the Arabian horses went back and forth between the estates of father and daughter in the following years. Blunt sold more horses to pay off debts and shot at least four in an attempt to spite his daughter, an action which required intervention of the trustee of the estate with a court injunction to prevent him from further “dissipating the assets” of the estate. The lawsuit was settled in favour of the granddaughters in 1920, and Judith bought their share from the trustee, combining it with her own assets and reuniting the stud. Father and daughter briefly reconciled shortly before Wilfrid Scawen Blunt’s death in 1922, but his promise to rewrite his will to restore Judith’s inheritance never materialised. Blunt was a friend of Winston Churchill, aiding him in his 1906 biography of his father, Randolph Churchill, whom Blunt had befriended years earlier in 1883 at a chess tournament. Work in Africa In the early 1880s, Britain was struggling with its Egyptian colony. Wilfrid Blunt was sent to notify Sir Edward Malet, the British agent, as to the Egyptian public opinion concerning the recent changes in government and development policies. In mid-December 1881, Blunt met with Ahmed ‘Urabi, known as Arabi or 'El Wahid’ (the Only One) due to his popularity with the Egyptians. Arabi was impressed with Blunt’s enthusiasm and appreciation of his culture. Their mutual respect created an environment in which Arabi could peacefully explain the reasoning behind a new patriotic movement, 'Egypt for the Egyptians’. Over the course of several days, Arabi explained the complicated background of the revolutionaries and their determination to rid themselves of the Turkish oligarchy. Wilfrid Blunt was vital in the relay of this information to the British empire although his anti-imperialist views were disregarded and England mounted further campaigns in the Sudan in 1885 and 1896–98. Egyptian Garden scandal In 1901, a pack of fox hounds was shipped over to Cairo to entertain the army officers, and subsequently a foxhunt took place in the desert near Cairo. The fox was chased into Blunt’s garden, and the hounds and hunt followed it. As well as a house and garden, the land contained the Blunt’s Sheykh Obeyd stud farm, housing a number of valuable Arabian horses. Blunt’s staff challenged the trespassers– who, though army officers, were not in uniform– and beat them when they refused to turn back. For this, the staff were accused of assault against army officers and imprisoned. Blunt made strenuous efforts to free his staff, much to the embarrassment of the British army officers and civil servants involved. Bibliography * Sonnets and Songs. By Proteus. John Murray, 1875 * Aubrey de Vere (ed.): Proteus and Amadeus: A Correspondence Kegan Paul, 1878 * The Love Sonnets of Proteus. Kegan Paul, 1881 * The Future of Islam Kegan Paul, Trench, London 1882 * Esther (1892) * Griselda Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1893 * The Quatrains of Youth (1898) * Satan Absolved: A Victorian Mystery. J. Lane, London 1899 * Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia (1903) * Atrocities of Justice under the English Rule in Egypt. T. F. Unwin, London 1907. * Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt Knopf, 1907 * India under Ripon; A Private Diary T. Fisher Unwin, London 1909. * Gordon at Khartoum. S. Swift, London 1911. * The Land War in Ireland. S. Swift, London 1912 * The Poetical Works. 2 Vols. . Macmillan, London 1914 * My Diaries. Secker, London 1919; 2 Vols. Knopf, New York 1921 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid_Scawen_Blunt