Mahendra singh dhoni

Full name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

D.O.B: 7th July, 1981

Place of Birth: Ranchi, Bihar

Nickname: Mahi

Father: Pan Singh ( junior management positions in Mecon )

Mother: Devaki Dev

Sister: Jayanti Gupta

Brother: Narendra.

Fan of: Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan , Lata Mangeshkar.

Studied at : DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali

Cricketing information

Batting style: Right hand batsman

Bowling style: Right arm medium

Field position: Wicketkeeper

Clubs played: Jharkhand

Dhoni initially excelled in badminton and football and was selected at district and club level in these sports. Dhoni was a goalkeeper for his football team and was sent to play cricket for a local cricket club by his football coach. Though he had not played cricket, Dhoni impressed with his wicket-keeping skills and became the regular wicketkeeper at the Commando cricket club (1995 - 1998). Based on his performance at club cricket, he was picked for the 1997/98 season Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-16 Championship and he performed well. Dhoni's focused on cricket after his 10th standard.

Dhoni's aggressive batting style, success on the field, personality, and long hair have made him one of the most marketable cricketers in India.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an Indian cricketer and the current captain of the Indian Twenty20 and ODI team . Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 World Twenty20.

* Dhoni scored 148 against Pakistan in his fifth ODI match in 2005 - then the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper.

* Dhoni made his Ranji Trophy debut for Bihar in the 1999-2000 season as an eighteen year old.

* On the 31st of October, Dhoni broke the record of highest runs scored by a wicket keeper by securing 183 runs against Srilanka which was played at Jaipur. Adam Gilchrist was the former record holder with 172 runs.

* Dhoni was voted as MTV Youth Icon 2006 and joins cricketers Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in winning the awar.

His hobbies and interests include:

*Hearing music, ghazals and songs by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar

*Loves to ride bikes

*Enjoys playing computer games and badminton

Not interested in:

*English songs

*Working out at gyms
sachin tendulkar biography

Robert Browning

Robert Browning was born in Camberwell,[1] a suburb of London, England, on May 7, 1812, the first son of Robert and Sarah Anna Wiedemann Browning. His father was a man of both fine intellect and character, who worked as a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England. Robert's father amassed a library of around 6,000 books, many of them obscure and arcane. Thus, Robert was raised in a household of significant literary resources. His mother, with whom he was ardently bonded, was a devout Nonconformist. He had a younger sister, also gifted, who became the companion in her brother's later years. As a family unit they lived simply, and his father encouraged Robert's interest in literature and the Arts.

In childhood, he was distinguished by love of poetry and natural history. By twelve, he had written a book of poetry, which he destroyed when no publisher could be found. After being at one or two private schools, and showing an insuperable dislike of school life, he was educated by a tutor.

Browning was a rapid learner and by the age of fourteen was fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Latin as well as his native English. He became a great admirer of the Romantic poets, especially Shelley. Following the precedent of Shelley, Browning became an atheist and practised vegetarianism, both of which he later shed. At age sixteen, he attended University College, London, but left after his first year. His mother’s staunch evangelical faith circumscribed the pursuit of his reading at either Oxford or Cambridge, then both only available to members of the Church of England. Through his mother he inherited musical talent and he composed arrangements of various songs.

[edit] Middle life
In 1845, Browning met Elizabeth Barrett, who lived in her father's house in Wimpole Street. Gradually a significant romance developed between them, leading to their secret marriage in 1846. (The marriage was initially secret because Elizabeth's father disapproved of marriage for any of his children.) From the time of their marriage, the Brownings lived in Italy, first in Pisa, and then, within a year, finding an apartment in Florence which they called Casa Guidi (now a museum to their memory). Their only child, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, nicknamed "Penini" or "Pen", was born in 1849. In these years Browning was fascinated by and learnt hugely from the art and atmosphere of Italy. He would, in later life, say that 'Italy was my university'. Browning's poetry was known to the cognescenti from fairly early on in his life, but he remained relatively obscure as a poet till his middle age. (In the middle of the century, Tennyson was much better known.) In Florence he worked on the poems that eventually comprised his two-volume Men and Women, for which he is now well known; in 1855, however, when these were published, they made little impact. It was only after his wife's death, in 1861, when he returned to England and became part of the London literary scene, that his reputation started to take off. In 1868, after five years work, he completed and published the long blank-verse poem The Ring and the Book, and finally achieved really significant recognition. Based on a convoluted murder-case from 1690s Rome, the poem is composed of twelve volumes, essentially comprising ten lengthy dramatic poems narrated by the various characters in the story showing their individual take on events as they transpire, bookended by an introduction and conclusion by Browning himself. Extraordinarily long even by Browning's own standards (over twenty thousand lines), The Ring and the Book was the poet's most ambitious project and has been hailed as a tour de force of dramatic poetry. Published separately in four volumes from November 1868 through to February 1869, the poem was a huge success both commercially and critically, and finally brought Browning the renown he had sought and deserved for nearly thirty years of work.

1882 Caricature from PunchIn the remaining twenty-one years of his life, as well as travelling extensively and frequenting London literary society again, Browning managed to publish no less than fifteen new volumes. None of these later works gained the popularity of The Ring and the Book, and they are largely unread today. However, Browning's later work has been undergoing a major critical re-evaluation in recent years, and much of it remains of interest for its poetic quality and psychological insight. After a series of long poems published in the early 1870s, of which Fifine at the Fair and Red Cotton Night-Cap Country were the best-received, Browning again turned to shorter poems. The volume Pacchiarotto, and How He Worked in Distemper included a spiteful attack against Browning's critics, especially the later Poet Laureate Alfred Austin.

According to some reports Browning became romantically involved with Lady Ashburton in the 1870s, but did not re-marry. In 1878, he returned to Italy for the first time in the seventeen years since Elizabeth's death, and returned there on several occasions.

The Browning Society was formed for the appreciation of his works in 1881.

In 1887, Browning produced the major work of his later years, Parleyings with Certain People of Importance In Their Day. It finally presented the poet speaking in his own voice, engaging in a series of dialogues with long-forgotten figures of literary, artistic, and philosophic history. Once more, the Victorian public was baffled by this, and Browning returned to the short, concise lyric for his last volume, Asolando (1889).

He died at his son's home Ca' Rezzonico in Venice on 12 December 1889, the same day Asolando was published, and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey; his grave now lies immediately adjacent to that of Alfred Tennyson.

[edit] Browning's poetic style
Browning’s fame today rests mainly on his dramatic monologues, in which the words not only convey setting and action but also reveal the speaker’s character. Unlike a soliloquy, the meaning in a Browning dramatic monologue is not what the speaker directly reveals but what he inadvertently "gives away" about himself in the process of rationalizing past actions, or "special-pleading" his case to a silent auditor in the poem. Rather than thinking out loud, the character composes a self-defense which the reader, as "juror," is challenged to see through. Browning chooses some of the most debased, extreme and even criminally psychotic characters, no doubt for the challenge of building a sympathetic case for a character who doesn't deserve one and to cause the reader to squirm at the temptation to acquit a character who may be a homicidal psychopath. One of his more sensational monologues is "Porphyria’s Lover." The opening lines provide a sinister setting for the macabre events that follow. It is plain that the speaker is insane, as he strangles his lover with her own hair to try and preserve for ever the moment of perfect love she has shown him.

Yet it is by carefully reading the far more sophisticated and cultivated rhetoric of the aristocratic and civilized Duke of "My Last Duchess," perhaps the most frequently cited example of the poet's dramatic monologue form, that the attentive reader discovers the most horrific example of a mind totally mad despite its eloquence in expressing itself. The duchess, we learn, was murdered not because of infidelity, not because of a lack of gratitude for her position, and not, finally, because of the simple pleasures she took in common everyday occurrences. She's reduced to an objet d'art in the Duke's collection of paintings and statues because the Duke equates his instructing her to behave like a duchess with "stooping," an action of which his megalomaniacal pride is incapable. In other monologues, such as "Fra Lippo Lippi," Browning takes an ostensibly unsavory or immoral character and challenges us to discover the goodness, or life-affirming qualities, that often put the speaker's contemporaneous judges to shame. In "The Ring and the Book" Browning writes a modern epic poem in which he justifies the ways of God to humanity through twelve extended blank verse monologues spoken by the principals in a trial about a murder case remarkably like that of the 20th-century-ending O. J. Simpson trial in America. These monologues greatly influenced many later poets, including T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, the latter singling out in his Cantos Browning's convoluted psychological poem about a frustrated 13-century troubador, Sordello, as the poem he must work to distance himself from.

Ironically, Browning’s style, which seemed modern and experimental to Victorian readers, owes much to his love of the seventeenth century poems of John Donne with their abrupt openings, colloquial phrasing and irregular rhythms. But he remains too much the prophet-poet and descendant of Percy Shelley to settle for the conceits, puns, and verbal play of the Metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century. His is a modern sensibility, all too aware of the arguments against the vulnerable position of one of his simple characters, who recites: "God's in His Heaven; All's right with the world." Browning essentially endorses such a position because he sees an immanent deity that, far from remaining in a transcendent heaven, is indivisible from temporal process, assuring that in the fullness of theological time there is ample cause for celebrating life. Browning's is assuredly at once the most incarnate and dynamic of deities, in Christianity and perhaps in any of the world's great religions.

[edit] Trivia
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The article could be improved by integrating relevant items and removing inappropriate ones.

The last two lines of the famous "Song" from Pippa Passes—"God's in his heaven, All's right with the world!"—are parodied in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World with the hypnopaedic slogan: - "Ford's in his flivver, all's right with the world!" Browning's lines are also used in the Japanese animations Neon Genesis Evangelion, RahXephon, Black Lagoon, and Darker than Black. In another Japanese animation, R.O.D. the T.V., the final line is a take off stating "The Paper's in her heaven, All's right in the world."

Robert Browning was the first person to ever have his voice heard after his death. On a recording[1] made by Thomas Edison in 1889, Browning reads "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix" (including apologizing when he forgets the words). It was first played in Venice in 1890.

John Lennon's song "Grow old with me," which was inspired by Robert's poem Rabbi ben Ezra, appears on his album Milk and Honey.

Stephen King's Dark Tower series was inspired by Browning's poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

In the Get Carter remake, at the opening of the film, the quote "That's all we can expect of man, this side of the grave; his good is ... knowing he is bad" is shown on the screen.

Anthony Powell used Browning's work for the titles of two of his novels; What's Become of Waring 1939 inspired by "Waring" from Dramatic Romances and Lyrics and "The Soldier's Art" part of the "A Dance to the Music Of Time" sequence, named for a line from Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

[edit] Complete list of works
Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession (1833)
Paracelsus (1835)
Strafford (play) (1837)
Sordello (1840)
Bells and Pomegranates No. I: Pippa Passes (play) (1841)
Bells and Pomegranates No. II: King Victor and King Charles (play) (1842)
Bells and Pomegranates No. III: Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
"Porphyria's Lover"
"Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister"
"My Last Duchess"
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
"Johannes Agricola in Meditation"
Bells and Pomegranates No. IV: The Return of the Druses (play) (1843)
Bells and Pomegranates No. V: A Blot in the 'Scutcheon (play) (1843)
Bells and Pomegranates No. VI: Colombe's Birthday (play) (1844)
Bells and Pomegranates No. VII: Dramatic Romances and Lyrics (1845)
"The Laboratory"
"How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix"
"The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church"
Bells and Pomegranates No. VIII: Luria and A Soul's Tragedy (plays) (1846)
Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day (1850)
Men and Women (1855)
"Love Among the Ruins"
"A Toccata of Galuppi's"
"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
"Fra Lippo Lippi"
"Andrea Del Sarto"
"A Grammarian's Funeral"
"An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician"
Dramatis Personae (1864)
"Caliban upon Setebos"
"Rabbi Ben Ezra"
The Ring and the Book (1868-9)
Balaustion's Adventure (1871)
Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society (1871)
Fifine at the Fair (1872)
Red Cotton Night-Cap Country, or, Turf and Towers (1873)
Aristophanes' Apology (1875)
The Inn Album (1875)
Pacchiarotto, and How He Worked in Distemper (1876)
The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1877)
La Saisiaz and The Two Poets of Croisic (1878)
Dramatic Idylls (1879)
Dramatic Idylls: Second Series (1880)
Jocoseria (1883)
Ferishtah's Fancies (1884)
Parleyings with Certain People of Importance In Their Day (1887)
Asolando (1889)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Sarah Barrett Moulton: “Pinkie” by Thomas Lawrence. Oil on canvas, 57½" x 39¼" (146 x 100 cm).Elizabeth spent her youth at Hope End near Great Malvern, England. The Barrett family had amassed a considerable fortune from the Jamaican sugar plantations inherited by her father, Edward Moulton Barrett, who was born there. The Barretts had been associated with Jamaica for generations. As a boy he emigrated to England with his brother and sister (she is the subject of the painting "Pinkie" in the Huntington Museum). He and his wife, Mary Graham-Clarke, were parents of twelve children (Elizabeth was the eldest). Elizabeth was educated at home and attended lessons with her brother's tutor and was thus well-educated for a girl of that time.

In her early teens, Elizabeth contracted a lung complaint, possibly tuberculosis, although the exact nature of her illness has been the subject of speculation. She was subsequently regarded as an invalid by her family. The first poem we have a record of is from the age of six or eight (the manuscript is in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library; the date is in question because the 2 in the date 1812 is written over something else that is scratched out). A long Homeric poem titled "The Battle of Marathon" was published when she was fourteen, her father underwriting its cost. In 1826 she published her first collection of poems, "An Essay on Mind and Other Poems." Its publication drew the attention of a blind scholar of the Greek language, Hugh Stuart Boyd, and another Greek scholar, Uvedale Price, with both of whom she maintained a scholarly correspondence. At Boyd's suggestion, she translated Aeschylus's "Prometheus Bound" (published in 1833; retranslated in 1850).

The abolition of slavery, a cause which she supported (see her work The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point (1849)), considerably reduced Mr. Barrett's means. He sold his estate and moved with his family first to Sidmouth and afterwards to London. After the move to London, she continued to write, contributing to various periodicals "The Romaunt of Margaret", "The Romaunt of the Page", "The Poet's Vow", and other pieces, and corresponded with literary figures of the time, including Mary Russell Mitford. In 1838 appeared The Seraphim and Other Poems.

The death of her brother, Edward, who drowned in a sailing accident at Torquay in 1840, had a serious effect on her already fragile health; and for several years she rarely left her bedroom. Eventually, however, she regained strength, and meanwhile her fame was growing. The publication in 1843 of "The Cry of the Children" gave it a great impulse, and about the same time she contributed some critical papers in prose to Richard Henry Horne's A New Spirit of the Age. In 1844 she published two volumes of Poems, which included "A Drama of Exile", "Vision of Poets", and "Lady Geraldine's Courtship".

In 1845 she met her future husband, Robert Browning, who had written to her after the publication of her Poems. Their courtship and marriage, owing to her delicate health and the extraordinary objections made by Mr. Barrett to the marriage of any of his children, were carried out secretly. After a private marriage at St Marylebone Parish Church, she accompanied her husband to the Italian Peninsula, which became her home almost continuously until her death.

The union proved a happy one. In her new circumstances Elizabeth's strength greatly increased, and she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, called "Pen," at the age of 43. The Brownings settled in Florence, and there she wrote Casa Guidi Windows (1851) under the inspiration of the Tuscan struggle for liberty, with which she and her husband were in sympathy. In Florence she became close friend of British-born poets Isabella Blagden and Theodosia Trollope Garrow.

The verse-novel Aurora Leigh, her most ambitious, and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. It is the story of a woman writer making her way in life, balancing work and love.

Among Browning's best known lyrics is Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) - the 'Portuguese' being her husband's petname for dark-haired Elizabeth. The title also refers to the series of sonnets of the 16th-century Portuguese poet Luis de Camões; in all these poems she used rhyme schemes typical of the Portuguese sonnets. In 1860 she issued a small volume of political poems titled Poems before Congress. Her health underwent a change for the worse; she gradually lost strength, and died on June 29, 1861. She is buried in the English Cemetery, Florence.

Mrs. Browning was a woman of singular nobility and charm. Mary Russell Mitford described her as a young woman: "A slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on each side of a most expressive face; large, tender eyes, richly fringed by dark eyelashes, and a smile like a sunbeam." Anne Thackeray Ritchie described her as: "Very small and brown" with big, exotic eyes and an overgenerous mouth.

[edit] Literary significance
Barrett Browning is generally considered one of the great English poets. Her works address a wide range of issues and ideas; she was learned and thoughtful, influencing many of her contemporaries, including Robert Browning. Her own sufferings, combined with her moral and intellectual strength, made her the champion of the suffering and oppressed. Her gift was essentially lyrical, though much of her work was not so in form. Her weak points are the lack of compression, an occasional somewhat obtrusive mannerism, and experimentation both in metre and rhyme.

Her most famous work is Sonnets from the Portuguese, a collection of love sonnets. By far the most famous poem from this collection, with one of the most famous opening lines in the English language, is number 43:

Elizabeth Barrett BrowningHow do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
But while her Petrarchan Sonnets from the Portuguese are exquisite, she was also a prophetic, indeed epic, poet, writing Casa Guidi Windows in support of Italy's Risorgimento, a reflection of Byron's advocacy of Greece's liberation from Turkey. Her verse-novel, Aurora Leigh, in nine books is set in Florence, England and Paris, using in it her knowledge from childhood of the Bible in Hebrew, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Apuleius, Dante, Langland, Madame de Stael, and George Sand.

The government of Italy and the Commune of Florence celebrated her poetry with commemorative plaques on Casa Guidi, where the Brownings had lived during their 15 year marriage. Lord Leighton designed her tomb in the English Cemetery, its sculpting in Carrara marble being carried out, not faithfully, by Francesco Giovannozzo. In 2006 the Comune of Florence laid a laurel wreath on this tomb to mark 200 years since her birth.

[edit] In Popular Culture
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's father is mentioned in Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie as "Mr. Barrett of Wimpole Street".

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was mentioned in an episode of Life with Derek when Casey and Kendra were working on a poetry project together.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was also the name of Diane's cat who passed away in an episode of Cheers

[edit] See also
Avery, Simon, and Rebecca Stott. "Elizabeth Barrett Browning." (Longmans, 2005) (Critical study of the poet's life and works.)

Barrett, R.A. "The Barretts of Jamaica: The Family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning." (Wedgestone, 2000). (Account of the lives of the descendants of Hercie Barrett, from 1655; with extensive genealogy.)

Donaldson, Sandra. "Critical Essays on Elizabeth Barrett Browning." (G.K. Hall, 1999)

_____. "Elizabeth Barrett Browning: An Annotated Bibliography of the Commentary and Criticism from 1826 to 1990." (G.K. Hall, 1993).

Karlin, Daniel. The courtship of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. (Oxford, 1985) (Critical biography focused on the courtship correspondence.)

Kelley, Philip et al. (Eds.) The Brownings' correspondence. 15 vols. to date. (Wedgestone, 1984-) (Complete letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, so far to 1849.)

Garrett, Martin (Ed.) Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning: Interviews and Recollections (Basingstoke and London, 2000). (Accounts of both poets by themselves and others.)

Woolf, Virginia. Flush: A Biography (Biographical novella written from the perspective of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog, principally of curiosity value.)

Rupert Brooke

Rupert Chawner Brooke (August 3, 1887 – April 23, 1915) was an English poet known for his idealistic War Sonnets written during the First World War (especially The Soldier), as well as for his poetry written outside of war, especially The Old Vicarage, Grantchester and The Great Lover. He was also known for his boyish good looks, which prompted the Irish poet William Butler Yeats to describe him as "the handsomest young man in England".

Brooke was born at 5 Hillmorton Road in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, the son of a William Parker Brooke, a Rugby schoolmaster and Ruth Mary Brooke née Cotterill. He attended Hillbrow Prep School before being educated at Rugby School. While travelling in Europe, he prepared a thesis entitled "John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama", which won him a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, where he became a member of the Cambridge Apostles, helped found the Marlowe Society drama club and acted in plays including the Cambridge Greek Play. Brooke made friends among the Bloomsbury group of writers, some of whom admired his talent, while others were more impressed by his good looks. Brooke belonged to another literary group known as the Georgian Poets, and was the most important of the Dymock poets, associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock, where he spent some time before the war. He also lived in the Old Vicarage, Grantchester (a house now occupied by Jeffrey Archer and his wife Mary Archer).

Brooke suffered from a severe emotional crisis in 1913, some say caused by sexual confusion and jealousy, resulting in the breakdown of his long relationship with Ka Cox. Intrigue by both Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey is said[citation needed] to have played a part in Brooke's nervous collapse and subsequent rehabilitation trips to Germany.

As part of his recuperation Brooke toured the United States and Canada to write travel diaries for the Westminster Gazette and visited several islands in the South Seas. It was later revealed that he may have fathered a daughter with a Tahitian woman (Taatamata) with whom he seems to have enjoyed his most complete emotional relationship[citation needed]. He was also romantically involved with the actress Cathleen Nesbitt. Brooke was once engaged to Noel Olivier, whom he met while she was a 15-year-old at the progressive Bedales School.

His accomplished poetry gained many enthusiasts and followers and he was taken up by Edward Marsh, who brought him to the attention of Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty. He was commissioned into the Navy shortly after his 27th birthday and took part in the Royal Naval Division's Antwerp expedition in October 1914. He sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 28 February 1915 but developed septic pneumonia from an infected mosquito bite. He died at 4.20 pm on 23 April 1915 off the island of Lemnos in the Aegean on his way to a battle at Gallipoli. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, he was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on the island of Skyros, Greece. His grave remains there today.

As a side-note, Rupert Brooke's brother, 2nd Lt. William Alfred Cotterill Brooke was a member of the 8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) and was killed in action near Le Rutoire Farm on the historic Loos battlefield on 14 June 1915, aged 24. He is buried in Fosse 7 Military Cemetery (Quality Street), Mazingarbe, Pas de Calais, France. He had only joined the battalion on 25 May


Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë (formerly "Patrick Brunty"), an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. In April 1820 the family moved a few miles to Haworth, where Patrick had been appointed Perpetual Curate. Maria Branwell Brontë died of cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of her sister Elizabeth Branwell. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). Its poor conditions, Charlotte maintained, permanently affected her health and physical development and hastened the deaths of her two elder sisters, Maria (born 1814) and Elizabeth (born 1815), who died of tuberculosis in 1825 soon after they were removed from the school.

At home in Haworth Parsonage, Charlotte and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne — began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of their imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote stories about their country — Angria — and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about theirs — Gondal. The sagas were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in part manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest in childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood.

Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head school in Mirfield from 1831 to 1832, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period (1833) she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf under the name of Wellesley. Charlotte returned as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839 she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In 1842 she and Emily travelled to Brussels to enroll in a pensionnat run by Constantin Heger (1809–1896) and his wife Claire Zoé Parent Heger (1804–1890). In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the pensionnat was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after the death of their mother to look after the children, died of internal obstruction in October 1842. Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the pensionnat. Her second stay at the pensionnat was not a happy one; she became lonely, homesick, and deeply attached to Constantin Heger. She finally returned to Haworth in January 1844 and later used her time at the pensionnat as the inspiration for some of The Professor and Villette.

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne published a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Although the book failed to attract interest (only two copies were sold), the sisters decided to continue writing for publication and began work on their first novels. Charlotte continued to use the name 'Currer Bell' when she published her first two novels. Of this, Brontë later wrote:

"Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because--without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called 'feminine'--we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise." [1]

Cover page of the first edition of Jane EyreHer novels were deemed coarse by the critics. Much speculation took place as to who Currer Bell really was, and whether Bell was a man or a woman.

Charlotte's brother, Branwell, the only son of the family, died of chronic bronchitis and marasmus exacerbated by heavy drinking in September 1848, although Charlotte believed his death was due to tuberculosis. Emily and Anne both died of pulmonary tuberculosis in December 1848 and May 1849, respectively.

Photograph of Charlotte Brontë, 1854Charlotte and her father were now left alone. In view of the enormous success of Jane Eyre, she was persuaded by her publisher to visit London occasionally, where she revealed her true identity and began to move in a more exalted social circle, becoming friends with Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Makepeace Thackeray and G. H. Lewes. However, she never left Haworth for more than a few weeks at a time as she did not want to leave her aging father's side.

In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate, and became pregnant very soon thereafter. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, her earliest biographer, she was attacked by "sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness."[1] Charlotte and her unborn child died March 31, 1855. Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness. There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Brontë household's oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England.

The posthumous biography of Charlotte Brontë by fellow novelist Gaskell is considered the standard source on her life.[citation needed] However, though quite frank in places, Gaskell suppressed details of Charlotte's love for Heger, a married man, as being too much of an affront to contemporary morals and as a possible source of distress to Charlotte's still-living friends, father and husband (Lane 1953 178-183).

[edit] Novels
Jane Eyre, published 1847
Shirley, published 1849
Villette, published 1853
The Professor, written before Jane Eyre and rejected by many publishing houses, was published posthumously in 1857

[edit] Poetry
Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846)
Selected Poems of The Brontës, Everyman Poetry, (1997)

[edit] References
This article incorporates public domain text from: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J.M. Dent & sons; New York, E.P. Dutton.
Margaret Lane (1953) The Bronte Story: a reconsideration of Mrs Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Bronte.
^ "BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF ELLIS AND ACTON BELL", from the preface to the 1910 edition of Wuthering Heights.

[edit] Further reading
The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, 3 volumes edited by Margaret Smith
The Life of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell
Charlotte Brontë, Winifred Gérin
Charlotte Brontë: a passionate life, Lyndal Gordon
The Literary Protégées of the Lake Poets, Dennis Low (Chapter 1 contains a revisionist contextualization of Robert Southey's infamous letter to Charlotte Brontë)
Charlotte Brontë: Unquiet Soul, Margot Peters
In the Footsteps of the Brontës, Ellis Chadwick
Charlotte Brontë, Rebecca Fraser
The Brontës, Juliet Barker
Charlotte Brontë and her Dearest Nell, Barbara Whitehead
The Brontë Myth, Lucasta Miller
A Life in Letters, selected by Juliet Barker
Charlotte Brontë and her Family, Rebecca Fraser
The Oxford Reader's Companion to the Brontës, Christine Alexander & Margaret Smith
A Brontë Family Chronology, Edward Chitham

Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë (IPA: [ˈbɹɒntɪ]) (January 17, 1820 – May 28, 1849) was a British novelist and poet, the youngest of the Brontë literary family. She used the pen name Acton Bell.

She was born in the village of Thornton, near Bradford, Yorkshire, England, the last of six children. After the family moved to Haworth in 1821 where her father, Patrick Brontë, was appointed perpetual curate, Anne's mother, Maria Branwell Brontë, died of cancer. In 1825, her two eldest siblings, Maria and Elizabeth died of tuberculosis contracted at the Clergy Daughters' boarding school at Cowan Bridge, Lancashire. Much has been written about the influence of these deaths on Brontë and her remaining siblings as well as its possible influence on their writings.

Anne was educated at Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head, Mirfield. Between 1839 and 1845 she worked as a governess while writing in her spare time, which she had begun to do in early childhood with her two surviving sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Their first publication, a volume of poetry, was released under a pseudonym in 1846, a year after she began her first novel, Agnes Grey. It was published within a month of Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre and was bound in three volumes with her sister Emily's novel Wuthering Heights. Her second and last novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was published in 1848, shortly before the deaths of her brother Branwell and her sister Emily in September and December of 1848 respectively.

Anne died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the seaside resort of Scarborough, England, where she had gone to convalesce after a prolonged illness. A blue plaque on the wall of the town's Grand Hotel marks her place of death. She was buried in the town's Saint Mary's Churchyard

Published works
Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, published 1846
Agnes Grey, published 1847
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published 1848

John Betjeman

Sir John Betjeman CBE (28 August 1906 – 19 May 1984) was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack". He was born to a middle-class family in Edwardian Hampstead. Although he claimed he failed his degree at Oxford University, his early ability in writing poetry and interest in architecture supported him throughout his life. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as British Poet Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television.

[edit] Early life and education
Betjeman was born John Betjemann, which was changed to the less Germanic "Betjeman" during the First World War. He started life at Parliament Hill Mansions on the bottom edge of Hampstead Heath in north London. His parents Mabel (née Dawson) and Ernest Betjemann had a family firm, which manufactured the kind of ornamental household furniture and gadgets so loved by Victorians. His father's forebears had come from Bremen, Germany,[1] more than a century earlier, setting up their home and business in Islington, London. In 1909, the Betjemanns left Parliament Hill Mansions, moving half a mile north to more opulent Highgate, where, from West Hill, in the reflected glory of the Burdett-Coutts estate, they could look down on those less fortunate:

Here from my eyrie, as the sun went down,
I heard the old North London puff and shunt,
Glad that I did not live in Gospel Oak.[2]

Betjeman's early schooling was at the local Byron House and Highgate School, where he was taught by the poet T. S. Eliot, after which he boarded at the Dragon School preparatory school in North Oxford and Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire. While at school, reading the works of Arthur Machen won him over to an allegiance to High Church Anglicanism, a conversion of vital importance personally and for his later writing and interest in art and architecture. He was also influenced by the ghost stories of M. R. James and attributed his interest in old churches, etc. to these tales in his introduction to a book about M. R. James by Peter Haining He was a contemporary of both Louis MacNeice and Graham Shepard.

Betjeman entered the University of Oxford with considerable difficulty, having failed the mathematics portion of the university's matriculation exam, Responsions. He was, however, admitted as a commoner (i.e., a non-scholarship student) at Magdalen College and entered the newly-created School of English Language and Literature. At Oxford Betjeman made little use of the academic opportunities. His tutor, a young C.S. Lewis, regarded him as an "idle prig" and Betjeman in return considered Lewis unfriendly, demanding, and uninspired as a teacher. Betjeman disliked the coursework's emphasis on linguistics and he dedicated most of his time to cultivating an active social life, to his interest in English ecclesiastical architecture, and to private literary pursuits. He had a poem published in Isis, the university magazine, and was editor of the Cherwell student newspaper during 1927. His first book of poems was privately printed with the help of fellow-student Edward James. He famously brought his teddy bear Archibald Ormsby-Gore up to Magdalen with him, the memory of which later inspired his Oxford contemporary Evelyn Waugh to include Sebastian Flyte's teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited. Much of this period of his life is recorded in his blank verse autobiography, Summoned by Bells which was published in 1960 and made into a television film in 1976.

It is a common misapprehension, cultivated by Betjeman himself, that he did not complete his degree because he failed to pass the compulsory holy scripture examination, known as Divinity, or, colloquially, as "Divvers." The facts of the matter are, however, more complicated. In Hilary Term 1928, Betjeman failed Divinity for the second time. He was rusticated (i.e., temporarily sent down) for Trinity Term to prepare for a retake of the exam and was permitted to return in October. Meanwhile, he wrote to G.C. Lee, secretary of the Tutorial Board at Magdalen, stating his position and asking to be entered for the Pass School (a set of examinations taken on rare occasions by undergraduates who are deemed unlikely to achieve an honours degree). It is thus also a myth that Lewis said "You'd have only got a third" (i.e., a third-class honours degree); rather, Lewis had informed the tutorial board that he thought Betjeman would not achieve an honours degree of any class.

Permission to sit the Pass School was granted, which was the occasion of Betjeman's famous decision to offer a paper in Welsh. The story told by Osbert Lancaster that a tutor was engaged twice a week by train (first class) from Aberystwyth is probably also apocryphal, since Jesus College had a number of Welsh tutors who would have taught him. Betjeman was finally sent down, permanently this time, at the end of Michaelmas Term 1928.[3] It has recently been clarified that Betjeman did pass his Divinity examination on his third try but was sent down after failing the Pass School, having achieved a satisfactory result in only one of the three required papers (on Shakespeare and other English authors).[4]

Betjeman's academic failure at Oxford rankled him for the rest of his life and he was never reconciled with C. S. Lewis, towards whom he continued to nurse a bitter detestation. This situation was perhaps complicated by his enduring love of Oxford, from which he accepted an honorary doctorate of letters in 1974.

[edit] After university
Betjeman left Oxford without a degree, but he had made the acquaintance of people who would influence his work, including Louis MacNeice, W. H. Auden, Maurice Bowra, Osbert Lancaster, George Alfred Kolkhorst, Tom Driberg and the Sitwells.

After university Betjeman worked briefly as a private secretary, school teacher and film critic for the Evening Standard. After some freelance pieces for the Architectural Review he was employed on its full-time staff as an assistant editor between 1930 and 1935. Up to this point Betjeman had been an admirer of Victorian decoration; he changed his views, or bit his tongue, while writing for The Review — the editor was a vigorous proponent of Modernism. Mowl (2000) says, "His years at the Architectural Review were to be his true university." At this time, while his prose style matured, he joined the MARS Group, an organisation of young modernist architects and architectural critics in Britain.

On 29 July 1933 Betjeman married the Hon. Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of Field Marshal Lord Chetwode. The couple lived in Oxfordshire and had a son, Paul, in 1937 and a daughter, Paula (better known as Candida, now Candida Lycett Green), in 1942.

The Shell Guides, a series of guides to the counties of Britain guides, came from an idea developed by Betjeman and Jack Beddington, a friend who was publicity manager with Shell-Mex Ltd. The guides were aimed at Britain's growing number of motorists who drove out to churches and historical sites at weekends. They were published by the Architectural Press and financed by Shell. By the start of World War II 13 had been published, of which Cornwall (1934) and Devon (1936) had been written by Betjeman. A third, Shropshire, was written with and designed by his good friend John Piper in 1951.

In 1939, Betjeman was rejected for active service in World War II but found war work with the films division of the Ministry of Information. In 1941 he became British press attaché in Dublin, Ireland, which was a neutral country. He may have been involved with intelligence gathering and is reported to have been selected for assassination by the IRA until they decided that a published poet was unlikely to be involved in such work. Betjeman wrote a number of poems based on his experiences in Ireland.

[edit] After the Second World War

Betjeman's house at Cloth Fair in the CityPenelope Betjeman became a Roman Catholic in 1948, and the couple drifted apart. In 1951, he met Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, with whom he developed an immediate and lifelong friendship.

By 1948 Betjeman had published more than a dozen books. Five of these were verse collections, including one in the USA; although not admired by some literary critics, his poetry was popular, and sales of his Collected Poems in 1958 reached 100,000.

He continued writing guidebooks and works on architecture during the 1960s and 1970s and started broadcasting. His work was not limited to these activities; he was a founder member of The Victorian Society in 1958 and put great effort into the protection of old buildings of architectural merit which were in danger of demolition. Betjeman was also closely associated with the culture and spirit of Metro-land, the name by which the outer reaches of the Metropolitan Railway were known before the war.

In 1973 he made a widely acclaimed television documentary for the BBC called Metro-land, which was directed by Edward Mirzoeff. In the centenary of his birth in 2006, his daughter led two celebratory railway trips: one from London to Bristol, the other, through Metro-land, to Quainton Road.

He fought a spirited, but ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to save the Euston Arch, although he was victorious in the battle to preserve the iconic Gothic hotel at St Pancras Station.

In his public image Betjeman never took himself too seriously. His poems are often humorous and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image.

His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace. Auden said in his introduction to Slick But Not Streamlined "... so at home with the provincial gaslit towns, the seaside lodgings, the bicycle, the harmonium." His poetry is similarly redolent of time and place, continually seeking out intimations of the eternal in the manifestly ordinary. There are constant evocations of the physical chaff and clutter that accumulates in everyday life, the miscellanea of an England now gone but not beyond the reach of living memory. There is Ovaltine and the Sturmey-Archer bicycle gear, and ...

Oh! Fuller's angel-cake, Robertson's marmalade,
Liberty lampshades, come shine on us all.

John Betjeman's graveand

I have a Slimline brief-case and I use the firm's Cortina.
In every roadside hostelry from here to Burgess Hill [5]
It has been astutely observed that Betjeman's poetry provides the reader with a skeleton key to a long lost past which he will instantly recognise even if he were never there. It is this talent for evoking the familiar and secure, however homely, that makes a reader feel similarly disposed toward Betjeman himself. He is the font of wry, well-painted, avuncular reminiscence.

He was a practicing Anglican, and his religious beliefs come through in some of his poems, albeit sometimes in a rather light-hearted way. He combined piety with a nagging uncertainty about the truth of Christianity. Unlike Thomas Hardy, who disbelieved in the truth of the Christmas story, while hoping it might be so, Betjeman affirms his belief even while fearing it might be false. Even in Christmas, one of his most openly religious poems, the last three stanzas that proclaim the wonder of Christ's birth do so in the form of a question "And is it true...?" that is answered in the conditional tense, "For if it is..."

Perhaps his views on Christianity were best expressed in his poem "The Conversion of St. Paul", a response to a radio broadcast by humanist Margaret Knight:

But most of us turn slow to see
The figure hanging on a tree
And stumble on and blindly grope
Upheld by intermittend hope,
God grant before we die we all
May see the light as did St. Paul.
Betjeman was, however, deeply insecure, and this imbued his writings. It was said that "Depression was for him what daffodils were for Wordsworth" (BBC programme on the occasion of the centenary of his birth: 28 August 2006).

He became Poet Laureate in 1972, and this combined with his popularity as a television performer ensured that his poetry eventually reached an audience enormous by poetic standards. Like Tennyson, he appeals to a very wide public and manages to voice the thoughts and aspirations of many ordinary people while retaining the respect of many of his fellow poets. This is partly because of the apparently simple traditional metrical structures and rhymes he uses (not nearly as simple as they might appear).

In 1975 he proposed that the Fine Rooms of Somerset House should house the Turner Bequest, so helping to scupper the plan of the Minister for the Arts that they should house the Theatre Museum.

Sir John was very fond of the ghost stories of M.R. James and supplied an introduction to Peter Haining's book M.R. James - Book of the Supernatural.

For the last decade of his life Betjeman suffered increasingly from Parkinson's Disease. He died at his home in Trebetherick, Cornwall on 19 May 1984, aged 77, and is buried half a mile away in the churchyard at St Enodoc Church[6]. His grave can be seen on the right, immediately after passing through the entrance gate into the churchyard.

A number of memorials have been created to Betjeman's memory, including a window designed by John Piper at All Saints' Church, Farnborough in Berkshire, where Betjeman lived at the adjoining Rectory. There is also the Betjeman Millennium Park at nearby Wantage in Oxfordshire (formerly in Berkshire), where he had lived from 1951 to 1972 and where he set his book, Archie and the Strict Baptists.

[edit] Honours
1960 Queen's Medal for Poetry
1960 CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
1968 Companion of Literature, the Royal Society of Literature
1969 Knight Bachelor
1972 Poet Laureate
1973 Honorary Member, the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

[edit] Betjeman and architecture
Betjeman has often been portrayed as a compulsive protester who idolised the past, who had a special fondness for Victorian buildings even when they were third-rate and leapt into action whenever any kind of ancient relic was threatened with destruction. He was alleged to be a snob, a romantic, out of touch with the realities of contemporary life and steeped in nostalgia.

This is something of a caricature though it has elements of truth. He responded to architecture as the visible manifestation of society's spiritual life as well as its political and economic structure. He attacked speculators and bureaucrats for what he saw as their rapacity and lack of imagination.

The preface of his collection of architectural essays, First and Last Loves says:

We accept the collapse of the fabrics of our old churches, the thieving of lead and objects from them, the commandeering and butchery of our scenery by the services, the despoiling of landscaped parks and the abandonment to a fate worse than the workhouse of our country houses, because we are convinced we must save money.

[edit] Work
Despite being a prolific poet, Betjeman remains best known for just a single poem, Slough, written in 1937 about the community outside London which typified the transformation of the rural landscape wrought by industrialisation. It opens "Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough / It isn't fit for humans now."

[edit] Printed
Most of the work below has been published more than once. In most cases the details given are those of first publication.

[edit] Verse
Betjeman, John (1931). Mount Zion, or in touch with the infinite. London: James Press. (With illustrations).
Betjeman, John (1937). Continual Dew, a little book of bourgeois verse. London: John Murray. (With illustrations).
Epsilon [Betjeman, John] (1938). Sir John Piers. Mullingar: Westmeath Examiner.
Betjeman, John (1940). Old Lights for New Chancels, verses topographical and amatory. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1945). New Bats in Old Belfries. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1947). Slick but not Streamlined. Garden City N.Y.:Doubleday & Co. (With an introduction by W. H. Auden).
Betjeman, John (1950). Selected Poems: chosen with a preface by John Hanbury Angus Sparrow. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1954). A Few Late Chrysanthemums. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1954). Poems in the Porch. London: SPCK. (Illustrated by John Piper).
Betjeman, John (1958). John Betjeman’s Collected Poems. London: John Murray. (Compiled and with an introduction by the Earl of Birkenhead)
Betjeman, John (1959). Altar and Pew, Church of England verses. London: Edward G. Hulton.
Betjeman, John (1960). Summoned by Bells. London: John Murray. (With drawings by Michael Tree).
Betjeman, John (1962). A Ring of Bells. London: John Murray. (Illustrated by Edward Ardizzone).
Betjeman, John (1966). High and low. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1971). A Wembley Lad and The Crem. London: Poem-of-the-month Club.
Maugham, Robin (1977). The barrier : a novel containing five sonnets by John Betjeman written in the style of the period. London: WH Allen.
Betjeman, John (1974). A nip in the air. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1976). Betjeman in Miniature: selected poems of Sir John Betjeman. Paisley: Gleniffer Press.
Betjeman, John (1978). The best of Betjeman: selected by John Guest. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1981). Church poems. London: John Murray. (Illustrated by John Piper).
Betjeman, John (1982). Uncollected poems: with a foreword by Bevis Hillier. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (2005). Faith and Doubt of John Betjeman: An Anthology of Betjeman's Religious Verse London: Continuum. (Edited by Kevin J. Gardner).
Betjeman, John (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes: An Anthology of Betjeman's prose and verse. Edited and introduced by Stephen Games. London: John Murray.

[edit] Prose
Betjeman, John (1933). Ghastly good taste, or the depressing story of the rise and fall of British architecture. London: Chapman & Hall.
Betjeman, John (1934). Cornwall Illustrated, in a Series of Views. London: Architectural Press. (A Shell Guide).
Betjeman, John (1936). Devon - Compiled with many illustrations.. London: Architectural Press. (A Shell Guide).
Betjeman, John (1938). An Oxford University Chest, comprising a description of the present state of the town and University of Oxford. London: John Miles. (Illustrated in line and halftone by L. Moholy-Nagy, Osbert Lancaster, Edward Bradley and others).
Betjeman, John (1939). Antiquarian Prejudice. London: Hogarth Press (Hogarth Sixpenny Pamphlet #3).
Betjeman, John (1942). Vintage London. London: William Collins.
Betjeman, John (1943). English Cities and Small Towns. London: William Collins. (One of series: The British People in Pictures).
Betjeman, John (1944). English Scottish and Welsh landscape 1700-1860. London: Frederick Muller Ltd.
Betjeman, John (1944). John Piper. London: Penguin Books. (One of series: The Penguin Modern Painters).
Betjeman, John; Lewis, CS; et al (1946). Five sermons by laymen. Northampton: St Matthew's Church.
Betjeman, John (1947). ed Watergate Children’s Classics. London: Watergate Classics.
Betjeman, John; Piper, John (Eds.) (1948). Murray’s Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John; Piper, John (Eds.) (1949). Murray’s Berkshire Architectural Guide. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1950). Studies in the History of Swindon. Swindon. (with many others).
Betjeman, John; Piper, John (1951). Shropshire - with maps and illustrations. London: Faber & Faber. (Shell Guide).
Betjeman, John (1952). First and Last Loves, essays on towns and architecture. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1953); et al. Gala day London, photographs by Izis Bidermanas. Harvill Press.
Betjeman, John (1956). The English Town in the Last Hundred Years, The Rede Lecture. Cambridge: CUP.
Betjeman, John (1958). Collins Guide to English Parish Churches, including the Isle of Man. London: Collins.
Betjeman, John (1960). First and Last Loves. London: Arrow Books. (With drawings by John Piper).
Betjeman, John (ca 1962). Clifton College buildings. Bristol. (Reprinted from Centenary essays on Clifton College).
Betjeman, John (1964). Cornwall, A Shell Guide . Faber and Faber. (A Shell Guide).
Betjeman, John; Clarke, Basil (1964). English Churches. London: Vista Books.
Betjeman, John (1965). The City of London Churches. London: Pitkin Pictorials. (One of Pitkin Pride of Britain series).
Betjeman, John (1968). Collins pocket guide to English parish churches. London: Collins.
Betjeman, John (1969). Victorian and Edwardian London from old photographs. London: Batsford.
Perry George; et al (1970). The book of the Great Western, with introduction by J. Betjeman . London: Sunday Times Magazine.
Betjeman, John (1972). A pictorial history of English architecture. London: John Murray.
Betjeman, John (1972). London's historic railway stations. London: John Murray. (Photographs by John Gay).
Betjeman, John (1974). A plea for Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street. London: Church Literature Association. (With four drawings by Gavin Stamp).
Betjeman, John; Rowse, AL (1976). Victorian and Edwardian Cornwall from old photographs. London: Batsford.
Betjeman, John (1977). Archie and the Strict Baptists. London: John Murray. (Children's stories: illustrated by Phillida Gili).
Betjeman, John (1977). Metro-land. London: Warren Editions. (Limited edition: with lithographs by Glynn Boyd Harte).
Betjeman, John (1984). Betjeman's Cornwall. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4106-9*
Betjeman, John (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes: An Anthology of Betjeman's prose and verse. Edited and introduced by Stephen Games. London: John Murray.

[edit] Recordings
Betjeman, John and Parker, Jim. Banana Blush: John Betjeman reads 12 of his poems with musical accompaniment provided by Jim Parker (composer)

[edit] Radio/Prose
Betjeman, John (2006). Trains and Buttered Toast: Selected BBC Radio Talks, 1932-55. London: John Murray. (Edited and introduced by Stephen Games.)
Betjeman, John (2007). Sweet Songs of Zion. London: Hodder & Stoughton. (Edited and introduced by Stephen Games.)

[edit] Television
His television programmes included:

John Betjeman In The West Country, made for the defunct ITV company TWW in 1962. This series was long thought lost, but was rediscovered in the 1990s and shown on Channel 4 under the titles The Lost Betjemans and Betjeman Revisited
John Betjeman Goes By Train, a co-production between BBC East Anglia and British Transport Films, made in 1962
One Man's County, BBC programme from 1964, about Cornwall
Something About Diss, made for BBC East Anglia in 1964
Two episodes in the Bird's Eye View series, An Englishman's Home and Beside The Seaside, made for the BBC in 1969
Betjeman In Australia, a co-production between the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, made in 1971
Thank God It's Sunday, made for the BBC in 1972
Metro-land, a poetic and humorous journey on the Metropolitan Line from Baker Street to rural Buckinghamshire, made for the BBC in 1973
A Passion For Churches, made for the BBC in 1974
Summoned By Bells, a television version of his verse autobiography, made for the BBC in 1976
Vicar Of This Parish, a documentary about Francis Kilvert and his love of Herefordshire and the Welsh Marches, made for the BBC in 1976
Queen's Realm, a compilation programme made for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, most of it compiled from 1968/69 Bird's Eye View footage
Time With Betjeman, his final and retrospective series (1983), which included extracts from much of his television work, conversations with his producer Jonathan Stedall and many friends and colleagues, and included a memorable final interview filmed outside his home in Cornwall.
Betjeman and Me, series aired by BBC Two in August 2006, a retrospective of Betjeman's life, loves and poetry and how his work affected celebrities such as the TV chef Rick Stein, actor Griff Rhys-Jones and architectural historian, conservationist and broadcaster Dan Cruickshank.

[edit] Bibliography
A bibliography of works by John Betjeman appears above.

Matthew, H.C.G. and Harrison, B. (eds), (2004). Oxford dictionary of national biography (vol. 5). Oxford: OUP.
Brooke, Jocelyn (1962). Ronald Firbank and John Betjeman. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
Games, Stephen (2006). Trains and Buttered Toast, Introduction. London: John Murray.
Games, Stephen (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes, Introduction. London: John Murray.
Games, Stephen (2007). Sweet Songs of Zion, Introduction. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Gardner, Kevin J. (2005). "John Betjeman." The Oxford encyclopedia of British literature. New York: Oxford University Press.
Green, Chris (2006). John Betjeman and the Railways. Transport for London
Hillier, Bevis (1984). John Betjeman: a life in pictures. London: John Murray.
Hillier, Bevis (1988). Young Betjeman. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4531-5.
Hillier, Bevis (2002). John Betjeman: new fame, new love. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5002-5.
Hillier, Bevis (2004). Betjeman: the bonus of laughter. London : John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6495-6.
Hillier, Bevis (2006). Betjeman: the biography. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6443-3
Lycett Green, Candida (Ed.) (Aug 2006). Letters: John Betjeman, Vol.1, 1926 to 1951. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-77595-X
Lycett Green, Candida (Ed.) (Aug 2006). Letters: John Betjeman, Vol.2, 1951 to 1984. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-77596-8
Lycett Green, Candida, Betjeman's stations in The Oldie, September 2006
Mirzoeff, Edward (2006). Viewing notes for Metro-land (DVD) (24pp)
Mowl, Timothy (2000). Stylistic Cold Wars, Betjeman versus Pevsner. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5909-X
Schroeder, Reinhard (1972). Die Lyrik John Betjemans. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. (Thesis).
Sieveking, Lancelot de Giberne (1963). John Betjeman and Dorset. Dorchester: Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.
Stanford, Derek (1961). John Betjeman, a study. London: Neville Spearman.
Taylor-Martin, Patrick (1983). John Betjeman, his life and work. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-1539-0
Wilson, A. N. (2006). Betjeman. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-179702-0

[edit] References
^ Mowl, Timothy (2000). Stylistic Cold Wars, Betjeman versus Pevsner, p 13.
^ Betjeman, John (1960). Summoned by Bells, p 5.
^ B. Hillier, Young Betjeman, pp. 181–194.
^ Priestman, Judith, "The dilettante and the dons", Oxford Today, Trinity term, 2006.
^ from Executive in A Nip in the Air (1974).
^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, OUP, 2004

Robert Bolt

He was born in Sale, Manchester, England. It was at Manchester Grammar School where his obsession for Sir Thomas More developed. He attended Manchester University, and after war service Exeter University. For many years he taught English and history at Millfield School and only became a full time writer at the age of 33 when his play The Flowering Cherry was staged in London in 1958, with Celia Johnson and Ralph Richardson.

Although he was best known for his original play A Man for All Seasons - a depiction of Sir Thomas More's clash with King Henry VIII over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon - which won awards on the stage and in its film version, most of his writing was screenplays for films or television.

Bolt was known for dramatic works that placed their protagonists in tension with the prevailing society. He won great renown for A Man for All Seasons, his first iteration of this theme, but he developed it in his existential script for Lawrence of Arabia (1962). In Lawrence, he succeeded where several before him had failed, at turning T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom into a cogent screenplay by turning the entire book on its head and making it a search for the identity of its author. Lawrence, by Bolt, is presented as a misfit both in English and Arab society.

It was at this time that Bolt himself fell foul of the law and was arrested and imprisoned for protesting nuclear proliferation. He refused to be "bound over" (i.e, to sign a declaration that he would not engage in such activities again) and was sentenced to one month in prison because of this. The producer of the Lawrence film, Sam Spiegel, persuaded Bolt to sign after he had served only two weeks. Bolt later regretted his actions, and did not speak to Spiegel again after the film was completed. Later, with Doctor Zhivago, he invested Pasternak's sprawling novel with some sense of narrative and the characteristic Bolt dialogue - human, short and telling. The Bounty was Bolt's first project after his stroke, which affected not only his movement, but his speech. In it, Fletcher Christian takes the "Lawrence" role of a man in tension with his society who in the process loses touch with his own identity. The Mission was Bolt's final film project, and once again represented his thematic preoccupations, this time with 18th century Jesuits in South America. Bolt's final produced script was Political Animal, later made into the TV movie Without Warning: The James Brady Story (1991), about the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan and the struggles of his press secretary, James Brady, to recover from a near-fatal gunshot injury he received in the process. Bolt was initially reluctant to make the film, but after meeting with Brady he felt he could relate to Brady's struggles with a cerebral injury; thus, a lot of his own experiences recovering from his stroke found their way into the script. Bolt remains one of the world's most astute writers of cinematic dialogue, one of its best interpreters of history and one of its great dramatists.

Robert Bolt was twice married to the actress Sarah Miles. He suffered a heart attack and a stroke which left him paralysed in 1979. He died aged 70, in Petersfield, Hampshire, England following a long illness.

[edit] Partial List of Plays
Bolt wrote several plays for BBC Radio in the '50s, as well as several unproduced plays, so this list is incomplete. Many of his early radio plays were for children, and only a few (see below) were adapted for the stage.

The Last of the Wine (1956) - one of Bolt's radio plays which Bolt tried to adapt to the stage, but apparently was unsuccessful due to negative reactions on it. The play has never been published or performed since.
The Critic and the Heart (1957) - Bolt's first professionally produced work, it involves Winifred Blazer, a middle-aged spinster who struggles with events that transpire to ruin her reputation. It was a very modest success; Bolt was never satisfied with it, and greatly re-wrote it, retitled Brother and Sister, in a version produced in 1967.
The Flowering Cherry (1958) - concerns an aging man who loses touch with reality and gradually isolates those around him. Ran on the West End starring Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson (succeeded by Wendy Hiller) to success but mixed reviews - many critics felt it too closely resembled Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - and had a brief but unsuccessful run on Broadway.
The Tiger and the Horse (1960) - this play is the first of Bolt's to develop his themes of individualism, society, authority, and politics. It concerns an aging college professor, John Dean, who is running for Vice-Chancellor of a prestigious university, but finds his election undermined by his daughter's love affair, a political petition, and his wife's deteriorating mental state. The play starred Michael and Vanessa Redgrave, among others. It was also the first play directed by Bolt's frequent collaborator, celebrated actor-director Noel Willman.
A Man for All Seasons (1960) - as mentioned above, involves Sir Thomas More's conflict with Henry VIII over his break with the Catholic Church. Adapted from a radio play Bolt had written in 1954, it is generally regarded as Bolt's finest work - and certainly his most successful. The play develops in full his themes of individuality versus society and authority as corrupt. The strain of Brechtianism which would pervade many of his later works is first present here, in the character of the 'Common Man', who both narrates and takes part in the action as various minor characters. The original run starred Paul Scofield as Thomas More, as well as Keith Baxter as Henry VIII, George Rose as the Common Man, Leo McKern as the Common Man in the West End production and Thomas Cromwell in the Broadway show (a role originated in London by Andrew Keir and later taken over by Thomas Gomez), and Albert Dekker as the Duke of Norfolk. It was a huge critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic, has had several revivals, and was made into an equally acclaimed film in 1966.
Gentle Jack (1963) - a somewhat unusual work by Bolt, a comedy involving Man's involvement with Nature. A banker, Jacko, is sent to the countryside on vacation, and becomes influenced by a Nature spirit who convinces him to abandon his mundane, materialistic life and live in a state of nature, indulging in base pleasures such as murder, sex, and general mischief. Jack, however, is torn between his desire to inhabit both the "Natural" and "Logical" Worlds. It was one of Bolt's few unsuccessful plays; Bolt, who considered the play his best work for the stage, regretted this, feeling that perhaps he had not articulated his points well enough. The play starred Kenneth Williams, Michael Bryant, Sian Phillips, and Edith Evans in its original run.
The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew (1964) - a children's play, involving a heroic knight sent to slay a vicious dragon on a far-away island, leading him to face off with the crooked Baron Bolligrew, who controls the island, and an evil wizard he recruits to help him. Surprisingly, despite being written for children, the work contains many of Bolt's favorite themes in detail. Among the original cast were Bolt perennial Leo McKern as the title character and a very young Malcolm McDowell in a small part. Like A Man for All Seasons, the play had been written for the BBC, and in 1995 was re-written into a children's book. The play was extremely popular, and throughout the 1960s and '70s it had a yearly revival at Christmas in Britain.
Vivat! Vivat Regina! (1971) - Bolt's most successful show after A Man for All Seasons, a historical account of the reigns of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I of England, comparing and contrasting the personalities and reigns of the two female rulers. Highly successful, it ran for several months on Broadway, winning several Tony nominations. The original cast included Eileen Atkins as Elizabeth and Bolt's wife Sarah Miles as Mary.
State of Revolution (1977) - An in-depth political depiction of the Russian Revolution of 1917, focusing on Lenin as "a great man possessed by a terrible idea", and the struggles of Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin to gain power under him. It is told from the point-of-view of Anatole Lunacharsky, Minister of Education under Lenin. The original cast included Michael Bryant as Lenin, Terence Rigby as Stalin, Brian Blessed as Maxim Gorky, and Michael Kitchen as Trotsky. Though meticulously researched, the play received mixed reviews and had a short run before being shelved. Bolt himself felt that he hadn't gotten the play quite right.
State of Revolution was Bolt's final produced play, though he wrote several others that were never published or produced. He spent much of the mid-to-late '70s working on a play about portrait artist Augustus John (famous for a series of portraits of T.E. Lawrence), but his work on The Bounty and later his stroke forced him to abandon it.

[edit] Screenplays
Despite his prolific stage output, Bolt is probably better remembered for his work on film and television screenplays. Bolt's work for director David Lean garnered him particular acclaim and recognition, and Bolt tried his hand at directing with the unsuccessful Lady Caroline Lamb (1972). While many criticized Bolt for focusing more on the personal aspects of his protagonists than the broader political context (particularly with Lawrence and Man), most critics and audiences alike praised his screenplays. Bolt won two Oscars, two BAFTA Awards, and won or was nominated for several others.

Lawrence of Arabia (with Michael Wilson) (1962) - despite disputes between Wilson and Bolt over who contributed what to the script, Bolt provided most of the film's dialogue and the interpretation of the characters while Wilson provided the story and outline. Wilson was uncredited, and Bolt alone was nominated for, but did not win, an Academy Award. Bolt and Lean refused to recognize Wilson's contribution to the film, and Wilson was not credited until 1995.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Bolt won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay
A Man for All Seasons (1966) - Bolt won the Oscar again, adapting his own play to the screen (with some help from Constance Willis).
The Red Tent (1969) (uncredited additional dialogue)
Ryan's Daughter (1970)
Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) (also directed)
The Bounty (1984)
The Mission (1986)
A Man for All Seasons (1988)
Without Warning: The James Brady Story (1991) (TV)
Contemporary screenwriter William Monahan, who wrote the screenplays for Kingdom of Heaven and The Departed, credits Bolt's script for Lawrence as his primary inspiration for becoming a writer and recognized Bolt's influence during his Oscar acceptance speech in 2007.

Actor Charlton Heston, who starred in several versions of A Man for All Seasons, once referred to that play as the greatest English-language play of the 20th Century, and felt similarly strongly in regards to Bolt's writing abilities

Enid Blyton

Enid Mary Blyton (August 11, 1897–November 28, 1968) was a popular English children's writer. She was one of the most successful juvenile storytellers of the twentieth century.

She is noted for numerous series of books based on recurring characters and designed for different age groups. Her books have enjoyed popular success in many parts of the world, and have sold over 400 million copies. By one measure, Blyton is the sixth most popular author worldwide: over 3400 translations of her books are available in 2007 according to UNESCO's Index Translationum;[1] she is behind Lenin and almost equal to Shakespeare.

One of her most widely known characters is Noddy, intended for beginning readers. However, her main forte are the young readers' novels, where children ride out their own adventures with minimal adult help. In this genre, particularly popular series include the Famous Five (consisting of 21 novels, 1942–1963, based on four children and their dog), the Five Find-Outers and Dog, (15 novels, 1943-1961, where five children regularly outwit the local police) as well as the Secret Seven (15 novels, 1949–1963, a society of seven children who solve various mysteries).

Her work involves children's adventure stories, and fantasy, sometimes involving magic. Her books were and still are enormously popular in Britain, Malta, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Australia, and as translations, in former Yugoslavia, Japan, and across most of the globe. Her work has been translated into nearly 90 languages.

Personal life

Five Go to Mystery Moor (1954)Blyton was born on 11 August 1897 at 354 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London, the eldest child of Thomas Carey Blyton (1870–1920), a salesman of cutlery, and his wife, Theresa Mary, née Harrison (1874–1950). There were two younger brothers, Hanly (b. 1899), and Carey (b. 1902), who were born after the family had moved to the nearby suburb of Beckenham. From 1907 to 1915, Blyton was educated at St. Christopher's School in Beckenham, where she excelled at her endeavours, leaving as head girl. She enjoyed physical activities along with the academic work, but not maths.

Blyton was a talented pianist, but gave up her musical studies when she trained as a teacher. She taught for five years at Bickley, Surbiton and Chessington, writing in her spare time. Her first book, Child Whispers, a collection of poems, was published in 1922.

On 28 August 1924 Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock DSO (1888–1971), editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George Newnes, which published two of her books that year. The couple moved to Buckinghamshire. Eventually they moved to a house in Beaconsfield, the house was named Green Hedges by Blyton's readers following a competition in 'Sunny Stories'. They had two children: Gillian Mary Baverstock (15 July 1931–24 June 2007) and Imogen Mary Smallwood (27 October 1935–).

In the mid-1930s Blyton had an experience of a spiritual crisis, but she decided against converting to Roman Catholicism from the Church of England because she had felt it was "too constricting." Although she rarely attended church services, she saw that her two daughters were baptised into the Anglican faith and went to the local Sunday School.

By 1939 her marriage to Pollock was in difficulties, and in 1941 she met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters (1892–1967), a London surgeon, with whom she began a friendship which quickly developed into something deeper. After each had divorced, they married at the City of Westminster register office on 20 October 1943, and she subsequently changed the surname of her two daughters to Darrell Waters. Pollock remarried and had little contact with his daughters thereafter. Blyton's second marriage was very happy and, as far as her public was concerned, she moved smoothly into her role as a devoted doctor's wife, living with him and her two daughters at Green Hedges.

Blyton's husband died in 1967. During the following months, she became increasingly ill. Afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, Blyton was moved into a nursing home three months before her death; she died at the Greenways Nursing Home, 11 Fellows Road, Hampstead, London, on 28 November 1968, and was cremated at Golders Green.

Blyton's literary output was of an estimated 800 books over roughly 40 years. Chorion Limited of London now owns and handles the intellectual properties and character brands of Blyton's Noddy and the Famous Five.

[edit] Most popular works
Main articles: List of books by Enid Blyton and Enid Blyton's single novels

The Adventure series
The Barney Mystery series
The Circus series
The Famous Five series
The Magic Faraway Tree series
The Malory Towers series
The Mary Mouse series
The Mystery series (also known as the Five Find-Outers)
The Naughtiest Girl series
The Noddy books
The Amelia Jane short stories
The Secret Seven series
The St. Clare's series
The Wishing-Chair series
The Willow Farm Series

[edit] Other works

Blyton wrote hundreds of other books for young and older children: novels, story collections and some non-fiction. She also filled a large number of magazine pages, particularly the long-running Sunny Stories which were immensely popular among younger children.

An estimate puts her total book publication at around 800 titles, not including decades of magazine writing. It is said that at one point in her career she regularly produced 10,000 words a day.

Such prolific output led many to believe that some of her work was ghost-written. Yet, no ghost writers have come forward. She used a pseudonym Mary Pollock for a few titles (middle name plus first married name). The last volumes in her most famous series were published in 1963. Many books still appeared after that, but were mainly story books made up from re-cycled work.

Blyton also wrote numerous books on nature and Biblical themes. Her story The Land of Far-Beyond is a Christian parable along the lines of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, with modern children as the central characters. She also produced retellings of Old Testament and New Testament stories.

Enid Blyton was a prolific author of short stories. These were first published, for the most part, in Sunny Stories, an Enid Blyton magazine, or other children's papers.

[edit] Subject matter
Blyton's books often referenced the fantasies of pre-pubescent children. Children are free to play and explore without adult interference, more clearly than in most authors before or since. Adult characters are usually either authority figures (such as policemen, teachers, or parents) or adversaries to be conquered by the children. Children are self-sufficient, spending days away from home. This theme is taken to its extreme in two books: Five Run Away Together and The Secret Island: a group of children run away from unpleasant guardians to live on an island together, making a home and fending for themselves until their parents return.

Blyton's books are generally split into three types. One involves ordinary children in extraordinary situations; having adventures, solving crimes, or otherwise finding themselves in unusual circumstances. Examples include the Famous Five and Secret Seven, and the Adventure series.

The second and more conventional type is the boarding school story; the plots of these have more emphasis on the day-to-day life at school. This is the world of the midnight feast, the practical joke, and the social interaction of the various types of character. Examples of this type are the Malory Towers stories, the St Clare's series, and the Naughtiest Girl books.

The third type is the fantastical. Children are typically transported into a magical world in which they meet fairies, goblins, elves, or other fantasy creatures. Examples of this type are the Wishing-Chair books and the Magic Faraway Tree. Alternatively in many of her short stories, toys are shown to come alive when humans are not around.

[edit] Controversies

[edit] "Blyton bans": truth and myths
It was frequently reported (in the 1950s and also from the 1980s onwards) that various children's libraries removed some of Blyton's works from the shelves. The history of such "Blyton bans" is confused. Some librarians certainly at times felt that Blyton's restricted use of language, a conscious product of her teaching background, militated against appreciation of more literary qualities. There was some precedent, in the treatment of L. Frank Baum's Oz books (and the many sequels, by others) by librarians in the U.S. in the 1930s.

A careful account of anti-Blyton attacks is given in Chapter 4 of Robert Druce's This Day Our Daily Fictions. The British Journal of Education in 1955 carried a piece by Janice Dohn, an American children's librarian, considering Blyton's writing together with authors of formula fiction, and making negative comments about Blyton's devices and tone. A 1958 article in Encounter by Colin Welch, directed against the Noddy character, was reprinted in a New Zealand librarians' periodical. This gave rise to the first rumour of a New Zealand "library ban" on Blyton's books, a recurrent press canard. Policy on buying and stocking Blyton's books by British public libraries drew attention in newspaper reports from the early 1960s to the end of the 1970s, as local decisions were made by a London borough, Birmingham, Nottingham and other central libraries.

There is no evidence that her books' popularity ever suffered. She was defended by populist journalists, and others.

[edit] Dated attitudes and altered reprints

Cover of The Three Golliwogs, in which the golliwogs are the heroes.The books are very much of their time, particularly the 1950s titles. They present Britain's class system — that is to say, "rough" versus "well-behaved".[2] Many of Blyton's children's books similarly popularized negative stereotypes regarding gender, race, and class.

Modern reprints of some books have had changes made, such as the replacement of golliwogs with teddy bears or goblins. This response from the publishers to contemporary attitudes on racial stereotypes has itself drawn criticism from those adults who view it as tampering with an important piece of the history of children's literature. The Druce book brings up the case of a story, The Little Black Doll, (the doll wanted to be pink) and which was turned on its head in a reprint (apparently not considered racist). Also removed in deference to modern ethical attitudes are many casual references to slaves and to corporal punishment.

[edit] Statistics
Blyton's books have sold more than 400 million copies[1]
Her books still continue to sell more than 8 to 10 million copies worldwide
Enid could write an average of 10,000 words a day!
More than a million Famous Five books are sold worldwide each year
Her books have been translated into more than 90 different languages
The Magic Faraway Tree was voted no. 66 in the BBC's Big Read.

[edit] Trivia
Trivia sections are discouraged under Wikipedia guidelines.
The article could be improved by integrating relevant items and removing inappropriate ones.

In a survey of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 conducted by Cartoon Network in England in 2004, The Famous Five was named as the top children's book. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, came second, ahead of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings tied with a second Blyton title — The Secret Seven in fourth place.
An oblique critique of a Blyton work is found in Jasper Fforde's novel The Well of Lost Plots (2003). The heroine, Thursday Next, should change the ending of Shadow the Sheepdog by entering the novel's world. Thursday is surprised at the one-dimensionality of the characters. They have limited vocabulary, intelligence and emotional scope, and are confined to designated paths. Even stranger is that the characters attack Thursday simply because they are hungry for feeling and emotion. She finally escapes after showing the characters how to feel guilt, enmity, hate, anger and so on, missing from Blyton's world according to Fforde.
On Flanders and Swann's album At the Drop of Another Hat, Michael Flanders introduces his partner, Donald Swann, in part, as "the Enid Blyton of English light music".
Pop group The Enid took their name from her.
Many of the hardcover editions of her books bore a facsimile of her signature.
Her nephew was the Doctor Who composer Carey Blyton.
Some of the stories were said to have been inspired by the Cottingley Fairies incidents.
The name of an important female character in her Malory Towers series (Darrell Rivers) was inspired by the name of her second husband, Kenneth Darrel Waters.
Blyton claimed that she made a donation to charity for each letter that did not receive a reply.
Letters from Bobs, one of Blyton's early works, sold more than 10,000 copies in just one week.
The Famous Five were parodied by The Comic Strip Presents in Five Go Mad In Dorset and Five Go Mad On Mescalin.

[edit] See also
Enid Blyton Society
Enid Blyton's illustrators
Gillian Baverstock

[edit] Notes
^ Index Translationum Statistics. Index Translationum. UNESCO. Retrieved on 2007-07-12. This index contains all the titles in all the translated languages. The top five are: Walt Disney books, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Lenin, Shakespeare, and the next five: Enid Blyton, Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Hans Christian Andersen, and Stephen King.
^ Druce p. 222: The system of middle-class values (and of automatic value-judgements entailed by such a system) which Blyton presents is simple enough. p.225: In Blyton, an indifference to dirt, grease, foul smells and untidiness is a defining characteristic of the working class.

Arnold Bennett

Bennett was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Hanley is one of a conurbation of six towns which joined together at the beginning of the twentieth century as Stoke-on-Trent. Enoch Bennett, his father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the family were able to move to a larger house between Hanley and Burslem [1]. The younger Bennett was educated locally in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Arnold was employed by his father, his duties included rent collecting. He was unhappy working for his father as he was rather mean. In his spare time he found time to do a little journalism. At age the age of twenty-one he left his father's practice and went to London as a solicitor's clerk. He won a literary competition in Tit Bits magazine in 1889 and was encouraged to take up journalism full time. In 1894 he became assistant editor of the periodical Woman. He noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial which was bought by the syndicate for 75 pounds. He then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel. Just over four years later his first novel A Man from the North was published to critical acclaim and he became editor to the magazine.

From 1900 he devoted himself full time to writing, giving up the editorship and writing much serious criticism, and also theatre journalism, one of his special interests. He moved to Trinity Hall Farm, Hockliffe, Bedfordshire on Watling Street which was the inspiration for his novel Teresa of Watling Street which came out in 1904. His father Enoch Bennett died there in 1902, and he is buried in Chalgrove churchyard. In 1902 Anna of the Five Towns, the first of a succession of stories which detailed life in the Potteries, appeared.

In 1903 he moved to Paris, where other great artists from around the world had converged on Montmartre and Montparnasse. Bennett spent the next eight years writing novels and plays. In 1908 The Old Wives' Tale was published, and was an immediate success throughout the English-speaking world. After a visit to America in 1911 where he had been publicised and acclaimed as no other visiting writer since Dickens, he returned to England where the Old Wives' Tale was reappraised and hailed as a masterpiece. During the First World War, he became Director of Propaganda at the War Ministry. He refused a knighthood in 1918. He won the 1923 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Riceyman Steps and in 1926 at the suggestion of Lord Beaverbrook, he began writing an influential weekly article on books for the Evening Standard newspaper.

Osbert Sitwell[1], in a letter to James Agate[2], notes that Bennett was not, despite current views, "the typical businessman, with his mean and narrow outlook". Sitwell cited a letter from Bennett to a friend of Agate, who remains anonymous in Ego 5:

I find I am richer this year than last; so I enclose a cheque for 500 pounds for you to distribute among young writers and artists and musicians who may need the money. You will know, better than I do, who they are. But I must make one condition, that you do not reveal that the money has come from me, or tell anyone about it.

He separated from his French wife in 1922 but fell in love with the actress Dorothy Cheston, with whom he remained until his death from typhoid in 1931. His ashes are buried in Burslem cemetery. Their daughter Virginia Eldin lived in France and was president of the Arnold Bennett Society.

[edit] Work
His most famous works are the Clayhanger trilogy and The Old Wives' Tale. These books draw on his experience of life in the Potteries, as did most of his best work. In his novels the Potteries are referred to as "the Five Towns"; Bennett felt that the name was more euphonious than "the Six Towns" so Fenton was omitted. The real towns and their Bennett counterparts are:

The Six Towns of Stoke-on-Trent Bennett's Five Towns
Tunstall Turnhill
Burslem Bursley
Hanley Hanbridge
Stoke Knype
Fenton The 'forgotten town'
Longton Longshaw

Bennett believed that ordinary people had the potential to be the subject of interesting books. In this respect, an influence which Bennett himself acknowledged was the French writer Maupassant whose "Une Vie" inspired "The Old Wives'Tale".

As well as novels, Bennett produced plenty of fine non-fiction work. One of his most popular non-fiction works, which is still read to this day, is the self-help book "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day". Extracts from his published diaries are often quoted in the British press. Bennett also wrote for the stage and the screen.

His novel Buried Alive was made into the 1912 movie The Great Adventure and the 1968 musical Darling of the Day. Over the years, several of his other books have been made into films (for example The Card starring Alec Guinness) and television mini-series (such as "Anna of the Five Towns" and "Clayhanger").

[edit] Criticism
Critically, Bennett has not always had an easy ride. His output was prodigious and, by his own admission, based on maximising his income rather than from creative necessity.

As Bennett put it:

"Am I to sit still and see other fellows pocketing two guineas apiece for stories which I can do better myself? Not me. If anyone imagines my sole aim is art for art’s sake, they are cruelly deceived."

Contemporary critics (Virginia Woolf in particular) perceived weaknesses in his work, which they partly attributed to this factor. This may have been unfair - did critics search for weakness on the assumption that writing for financial gain must give rise to it? Did they attribute a genuine weakness in Bennett's work to an unrelated factor? Or were they making an unbiased and valid point? It must also be recognised that Bennett represented the "old guard" in literary terms. His style was traditional rather than modern, which made him an obvious target for those challenging literary conventions.[3] [4] Max Beerbohm criticized him as a social climber who'd forgotten his roots. He drew a mature and well fed Bennett expounding "All to plan, you see" to a younger tougher version of himself, who replies: "Yes- but MY plan".

His reputation, for much of the 20th Century, was tainted by this perception, and it was not until the 1990s that a more positive view of his work became widely accepted.

[edit] Works

A Man from the North - 1898
The Grand Babylon Hotel - 1902
Anna of the Five Towns - 1902
The Gates of Wrath - 1903
A Great Man - 1904
Teresa of Watling Street - 1904
Sacred and Profane Love - 1905 (Originally published as The Book of Carlotta)
Tales of the Five Towns - 1905 (short story collection)
Whom God Hath joined - 1906
Hugo - 1906
The Grim Smile of the Five Towns - (short stories 1907)
The Ghost--a Modern Fantasy - 1907
Buried Alive - 1908
The Old Wives' Tale - 1908
The Card - 1910
Clayhanger - 1910
Helen with a High Hand - 1910 (Serial title: The Miser's Niece)
Hilda Lessways - 1911
Milestones - play written with E.Knoblock
The Matador of the Five Towns - (short stories 1912)
The Regent - 1913 (US Title: The Old Adam)
These Twain - 1916
The Pretty Lady - 1918
The Roll-Call - 1918
Mr Prohack - 1922
Riceyman Steps - 1923
The Clayhanger Family - 1925, the complete trilogy consisting of Clayhanger, Hilda Lessways, and These Twain
Lord Raingo - 1926
The Strange Vanguard - 1928
Imperial Palace - 1930
Venus Rising from the Sea - 1931

Journalism For Women - 1898
Fame and Fiction - 1901
How to Become an Author - 1903
The Reasonable Life - 1907
Literary Taste: How To Form It - 1909
How to Live on 24 Hours a Day - 1910
Mental Efficiency - 1911
Those United States - 1912 (Also published as Your United States)
Self and Self-Management - 1918
The Human Machine - 1925
How to Live - 1925, consisting of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, The Human Machine, Mental Efficiency, and Self and Self-Management
The Savour of Life - 1928

For further guidance consult Studies in the sources of Arnold Bennett's novels by Louis Tillier (Didier, Paris 1949), and Arnold Bennett and Stoke-on-Trent by E. J. D. Warrilow (Etruscan Publications, 1966).

[edit] Quote
"In front, on a little hill in the vast valley, was spread out the Indian-red architecture of Bursley - tall chimneys and rounded ovens, schools, the new scarlet market, the high spire of the evangelical church... ...the crimson chapels, and rows of little red houses with amber chimney pots, and the gold angel of the Town Hall topping the whole. The sedate reddish browns and reds of the composition all netted in flowing scarves of smoke, harmonised exquisitely with the chill blues of the chequered sky. Beauty was achieved, and none saw it".

—Clayhanger (1910)

[edit] Notes
^ Sitwell, Osbert, Noble Essences: Or Courteous Revelations, Being a Book Of Characters and the Fifth and Last Volume, New York, MacMillan and Co., 1950.
^ Ego 5. Again More of the Autobiography of James Agate., London, George G. Harrap and Co. Ltd (page 166), 1942.
^ Seminar - "Mr Bennett and Mrs. Brown"
^ Essay on the debate between Woolf and Bennett including comments on poor modern reputation of Bennett
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