Noel Coward

Early life
Born in Teddington, Middlesex, England to a middle-class family, he was the second of a family of three sons (the eldest of whom died in 1898 at the age of six) of Arthur Sabin Coward (1856–1937), a clerk, and his wife, Violet Agnes (1863–1954), daughter of Henry Gordon Veitch, captain and surveyor in the Royal Navy. He began performing in the West End at an early age. He was a childhood friend of Hermione Gingold, whose mother warned her against him.

A student at the Italia Conti Academy stage school, Coward’s first professional engagement was on 27 January 1911, in the children’s play, The Goldfish. After this appearance, he was sought after for children’s roles by other professional theatres.

At the age of fourteen he was the lover of Philip Streatfeild, a society painter who took him in and introduced him to high society, in the form of Mrs. Astley Cooper. She gathered a salon of artists and invited him to live on her property at Hambleton, Rutland, not in the Hall but on the farm, due to his lower social class. Streatfeild died from tuberculosis in 1915.

He was featured in several productions with Sir Charles Hawtrey, a Victorian actor and comedian, whom Coward idolized and to whom he virtually apprenticed himself until he was twenty. It was from Hawtrey that Coward learned comic acting techniques and playwriting. He was drafted briefly into the British Army during World War I but was discharged due to ill health. Coward appeared in the D. W. Griffith film Hearts of the World (1918) in an uncredited role. He found his voice and began writing plays that he and his friends could star in while at the same time writing revues.

He starred in one of his first full-length plays, the inheritance comedy I'll Leave It To You, in 1920 at the age of twenty. The following year a one act satire The Better Half was completed, concerning a man's relationship with two women, and had a short run at the Little Theatre, London in 1922. The play was thought to be lost until a typescript was rediscovered in 2007 in the archive of the Lord Chamberlain's Office; plays for performance had to be licensed at this time in the UK and were subject to cuts or complete bans.

After enjoying some moderate success with the Shaw-esque The Young Idea in 1923, the controversy surrounding his play The Vortex (1924) — which contains many veiled references to both drug abuse and homosexuality — made him an overnight sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. Coward followed this success with three more major hits, Hay Fever, Fallen Angels (both 1925) and Easy Virtue (1926).

Much of Coward's best work came in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Enormous (and enormously popular) productions such as the full-length operetta Bitter Sweet (1929) and Cavalcade (1931), a huge extravaganza requiring a very large cast, gargantuan sets and an exceedingly complex hydraulic stage, were interspersed with finely-wrought comedies such as Private Lives (1930), in which Coward himself starred alongside his most famous stage partner Gertrude Lawrence, and the black comedy Design for Living (1932), written for Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Coward again partnered Lawrence in Tonight at 8:30 (1936), an ambitious cycle of ten different short plays which were randomly "shuffled" to make up a different playbill of three plays each night. One of these short plays, Still Life, was later expanded into the 1945 David Lean film Brief Encounter. He was also a prolific writer of popular songs, and a lucrative recording contract with HMV allowed him to release a number of recordings which have been extensively reissued on CD. Coward's most popular hits include the romantic, I'll See You Again and Dear Little Cafe, as well as the comic Mad Dogs and Englishmen, The Stately Homes of England and (Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage) Mrs Worthington

World War II
The outbreak of World War II in 1939 saw Coward working harder than ever. When the second World War started, Noel had only just left Paris. He took time off from writing to perform for the troops, but after was eager to return. Alongside his highly-publicised tours entertaining Allied troops, Coward was also engaged by the British Secret Service MI5 to conduct intelligence work. He was often frustrated by criticism he faced for his ostensibly glamorous lifestyle; criticised for apparently living the high life while his countrymen suffered - especially his trips to America to sway opinion formers there.He was unable, however, to defend himself by revealing details of his work for the Secret Service.

George VI, a personal friend, encouraged the government to award Coward a knighthood for his efforts in 1942. This was blocked by Winston Churchill, who disapproved of Coward's flamboyant lifestyle.Churchill however advised giving the official reason as being Coward's fine of ₤200 for currency offences (he had spent ₤11,000 on a trip to America).

Had the Germans invaded Britain, Noel Coward would have been arrested and liquidated as he was on The Black Book, along with other public figures such as H. G. Wells (Wells was targeted for his socialist views). While some feel that this may have been due to his homosexuality, recent documents have surfaced showing Coward to have been a covert operative in the Secret Service.

He also wrote and released some extraordinarily popular songs during the war (the most famous of which are London Pride and Don't Let's Be Beastly To The Germans). He complained to his frequent painting companion, Winston Churchill, that he felt he wasn't doing enough to support the war effort. Churchill suggested he make a movie based on the career of Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten. The result was a naval film drama, In Which We Serve, which Coward wrote, starred in, composed the music for and co-directed with David Lean. The film was immensely popular on both sides of the Atlantic and Coward was awarded an honorary Oscar.

The 1940s also saw Coward write some of his best plays. The social commentary of This Happy Breed and the intricate semi-autobiographical comedy-drama Present Laughter (both 1939) were later combined with the hugely successful black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941) to form a West End triple-bill in which Coward starred in all three simultaneous productions. Blithe Spirit went on to break box-office records for a West End comedy not beaten until the 1970s, and was made into a film directed by David Lean.

Later works
Coward's popularity as a playwright declined sharply in the 1950s, with plays such as Quadrille, Relative Values, Nude with Violin and South Sea Bubble all failing to find much favour with critics or audiences. Despite this, he still managed to maintain a high public profile, continuing to write (and occasionally star in) moderately successful West End plays and musicals, performing an acclaimed solo cabaret act in Las Vegas (recorded for posterity and still available on CD), and starring in films such as Bunny Lake is Missing, Around the World in 80 Days, Our Man in Havana, Boom!, and The Italian Job.

After starring in a number of American TV specials in the late 50s alongside Mary Martin, Coward left the UK for tax reasons. He first settled in Bermuda but later moved to Jamaica, where he remained for the rest of his life. His play Waiting in the Wings (1960), set in a rest home for retired actresses, marked a turning-point in his popularity, gaining plaudits from critics who likened it to the work of Anton Chekhov. The late 1960s saw a revival in his popularity, with several new productions of his 1920s plays and a number of revues celebrating his music; Coward himself dubbed this comeback "Dad's Renaissance".

Coward's final stage work was a trilogy of plays set in a hotel penthouse suite, with him taking the lead roles in all three, under the collective title of Suite in Three Keys (1966); the plays gained excellent reviews and did good box office business in the UK. Coward intended to star in Suite in Three Keys on Broadway but was unable to travel due to illness; the lead roles in the plays in New York were eventually taken by Hume Cronyn. Only two of the plays were performed, with the title changed to Noel Coward in Two Keys.

By now suffering from severe arthritis and bouts of memory loss (which affected his work on The Italian Job), Coward retired from the theatre. He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in March 1973 of heart failure at the age of 73. He was buried three days later in the brow of Firefly Hill, Jamaica, overlooking the north coast of the island. On 28 March 1984 a memorial stone was unveiled by the Queen Mother in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey

As well as over fifty published plays and many albums' worth of original songs, Coward also wrote comic revues, poetry, several volumes of short stories, a novel (Pomp and Circumstance, 1960), and three volumes of autobiography. Books of his song lyrics, diaries and letters have also been published.

He was also a spirited painter, and a volume containing reproductions of some of his artwork has also been published.

The Noël Coward Theatre on St Martin's Lane opened on 1 June 2006, after extensive refurbishment, for the London premiere of Avenue Q. The theatre itself first opened in 1903 as the New Theatre (undergoing a name change to the Albery Theatre in 1973). It was in 1920 at the New Theatre that Noel Coward made his West End début.

Private life
Being homosexual, Coward never married, but he maintained close personal friendships with many women. These included actress and author Esmé Wynne-Tyson, his first collaborator and constant correspondent; the designer and lifelong friend Gladys Calthrop; secretary and close confidante Lorn Loraine; his muse, the gifted musical actress Gertrude Lawrence; actress Joyce Carey; compatriot of his middle period, the light comedy actress Judy Campbell; and (in the words of Cole Lesley) 'his loyal and lifelong amitié amoureuse film star Marlene Dietrich.

He was also a valued friend of Vivien Leigh, Judy Garland, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. He was a close friend of Ivor Novello and Winston Churchill.

Coward's insights into the class system can be traced back to London life in World War I, when thousands of troops passed through the capital every day, and gay officers and other-ranks would meet together with civilians in dozens of highly-secret clubs.

He enjoyed a 19-year relationship with Prince George, Duke of Kent[4] and another lengthy one with the stage and film actor, Graham Payn, for almost thirty years until the end of Coward's life. Payn later co-edited (with Sheridan Morley) the collection of his diaries, published in 1982. He was also connected to composer Ned Rorem with details of their relationship published in Rorem's diaries.

Coward refused to acknowledge his homosexuality, wryly stating, "There is still a woman in Paddington Square who wants to marry me, and I don't want to disappoint her." Also, from his youth Coward had a distaste for penetrative sex and held the modern homosexual scene in disdain.[5]

He served as the president of The Actors' Orphanage, an orphanage supported by the theatrical industry. In that capacity he befriended the young Peter Collinson, who was in the care of the orphanage, eventually becoming Collinson's godfather and helping him get started in show business. When Collinson was a successful director he invited Coward to play a role in the film The Italian Job; Graham Payn also played a small role.

Coward was a neighbour of James Bond creator Ian Fleming in Jamaica, and his wife Anne, the former Lady Rothermere. Though he was very fond of both of them, the Flemings' marriage was not a happy one, and Noel eventually tired of their constant bickering, as recorded in his diaries. When the first film adaptation of a James Bond novel, Dr. No was being produced, Coward was approached for the role of the villain. He is said to have responded, "Doctor No? No. No. No."

When speaking to Peter O'Toole about his performance in Lawrence of Arabia, he said "If you'd been any prettier, it would have been 'Florence of Arabia'."

When someone pointed out a rising young actor at a party with the words "Keir Dullea" Coward's instant reply was "Gone tomorrow."

The Papers of Noel Coward are held at the University of Birmingham Special Collections.

On the BBC Midweek programme on 11 October 2006 Hunter Davies revealed that Coward had told him during an interview that he liked to attend and watch hospital operations in his spare time; apparently when Mr Davies started to push this line further Coward clammed up on the subject and wouldn't elaborate.

Parodies and popular culture
Trivia sections are discouraged under Wikipedia guidelines.
The article could be improved by integrating relevant items and removing inappropriate ones.

Parodies of and homages to Coward and his style include:

The character of Beverly Carlton in the 1939 Broadway play The Man Who Came to Dinner was based on Coward. He was portrayed by Reginald Gardiner in the 1942 film of the play.
In the sixth season of Frasier in an episode entitled "How to Bury a Millionaire", Niles Crane purchases a pen once owned by Noel Coward.
In the third season of Frasier, Frasier gives a Christmas gift to his father, that he says "Noel Coward would love it, but it's not you."
Charles and Fiona, (Dame Celia Molestrangler and Aging juvenile Binkie Huckaback) characters in Round the Horne.
In the 1982 film Better Late Than Never, David Niven played Nick Cartland, an ageing cabaret artiste, whose showpiece is I've Been To A Marvellous Party.
Jon Wynne-Tyson's play Marvellous Party, about a middle-age reunion in Las Vegas between Noel Coward and his collaborator Esmé Wynne-Tyson was broadcast by the BBC World Service in May 1994, starring Stanley Baxter as Coward and Dorothy Tutin as Esmé.
In 1998 Twentieth-Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward was released. The album contains versions of Coward's songs performed by Sting, Elton John, Pet Shop Boys, The Divine Comedy, Vic Reeves, Paul McCartney and others.
Coward appeared as a regular character in the fifth and sixth series of the BBC sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart.
Coward is the leading figure in Jeremy Kingston's comedy, Making Dickie Happy, also featuring Agatha Christie and Louis Mountbatten (the 'Dickie' of the title) as other characters, first staged at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in London in September 2004 [2]'
The name for the men's clothing line 'Godspeed the Well-Dressed Man' came from the closing of one of Coward's letters.
Monty Python parodied Noel Coward in the Penis Song segment of their 1983 movie, The Meaning of Life and then on their album Monty Python Sings as Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song).
The Doctor Who novel Mad Dogs and Englishmen features a version of Noel Coward who has allied himself with alien poodles and gained time travel technology.
The opening to the song "The Lady Is a Tramp" includes the line "Alas, I missed the Beaux Arts Ball, and what is twice as sad I was never at a party where they honored Noel Ca-ad (Coward)".
Coward's play "Private Lives" is parodied in the off-Broadway musical revue "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know" in a short scene entitled "Private Wives."
Marcy Kahan's Noel Coward quintet for BBC Radio 4 dramatises Coward as a detective in "Design For Murder" (2000), "A Bullet at Balmain's" (2003) and "Death at the Desert Inn" (2005) and as a spy in "Blithe Spy" (2002) and "Our Man In Jamaica" (2007). The cast of the quintet includes Malcolm Sinclair as Coward, Eleanor Bron as his secretary and Tam Williams as Cole Lesley.
'Two Old Queens' (2007). Perth Western Australia Staring Edgar Metcalf as the Queen Mother and John Michael Swinbank as Coward. A conversation between the two at the unveiling of the statue of Coward in Poets corner.

The Last Chapter (Ida Collaborates) (1917), one-act comedy, co-written with Esmé Wynne under their joint pen name Esnomel, fp 1917
Woman and Whisky (1918), one-act play, co-written with Esmé Wynne, fp 1918
The Rat Trap (1918), play in four acts, fp Everyman, Hampstead 1926, first revived Finborough, London 2006
I'll Leave It To You (1919), light comedy in three acts, fp 1920
The Young Idea (1921), comedy of youth in three acts, fp 1922
The Sirocco (1921), play in three acts, revised and fp 1927
The Better Half (1921), comedy in one act, fp 1922
The Queen Was in the Parlour (1922), play in three acts, fp 1926
Mild Oats (1922), play in one act, unproduced
Weatherwise (1923), comedy in two scenes, fp 1932
Fallen Angels (1923), comedy in three acts, fp 1925
The Vortex (1923), play in three acts, fp 1924
Hay Fever (1924), comedy, fp 1925
Easy Virtue (1924), play in three acts, fp 1925
Semi-Monde originally Ritz Bar (1926), play in three acts, fp Glasgow Citizens 1988
This Was a Man (1926), comedy in three acts, fp 1926
The Marquise (1926), comedy in three acts, fp 1927
Home Chat (1927), play in three acts, fp 1927
Private Lives (1929), intimate comedy in three acts, fp 1930
Post-Mortem (1932), play in eight scenes, fp King's Head, London, 1992
Cavalcade (1930, 1931), play in three parts, fp 1931
Design For Living (1932), comedy in three acts, fp 1933
Point Valaine (1934), play in three acts, fp 1934
Tonight at 8.30 (1935, 1936), three programmes of one-act plays, fp 1935:
We Were Dancing, The Astonished Heart, Red Peppers;
Hands Across the Sea, Fumed Oak, Shadow Play;
Ways and Means, Still Life, Family Album;
Star Chamber (one performance only, 1936)
Present Laughter (1939), play in three acts, fp 1942
This Happy Breed (1939), play in three acts, fp 1942
Blithe Spirit (1941), improbable farce in three acts, fp 1941
Peace In Our Time (1946), play in two acts, fp 1947
Long Island Sound (1947), comedy adapted from his short story What Mad Pursuit?, fp 1989 (Windsor gala performance)
South Sea Bubble, Island Fling in USA, (1949), comedy in three acts, fp 1951
Relative Values (1951), comedy in three acts, fp 1951
Quadrille (1951-2), romantic comedy in three acts, fp 1952
Nude With Violin (1954), comedy in three acts, fp 1956
Look After Lulu! (1958), three act farce adapted from Feydeau, fp 1959
Volcano (1957), play in two acts, Mill at Sonning staged reading only 1989
Waiting in the Wings (1959-60), play in three acts, fp 1960
Suite in Three Keys: A Song at Twilight; Shadows of the Evening; Come into the Garden, Maud (1965), a trilogy, fp 1966
Star Quality (1967), Coward's last play, comedy in three acts, fp Bath, 1985

Revues, musicals and operetta
London Calling (1922, 1923), revue in collaboration with Ronald Jeans, fp 1923
On With the Dance (1924, 1925) , revue, fp 1925
This Year of Grace (1927, 1928), revue, fp as Charles B Cochrane's 1928 Revue
Bitter Sweet (1928, 1929), operetta, fp 1929
Words and Music (1932), revue, fp 1932
Conversation Piece (1933), comedy with music, fp 1934
Operette (1937), musical play, fp 1938
Set to Music (1938), revue, fp 1938
Sigh No More (1945), revue, fp 1945
Pacific 1860 (1946), musical romance, fp 1946
Ace of Clubs (1949), musical play, fp 1950
After the Ball (1953), musical based on Lady Windermere's Fan, fp 1954
Sail Away (1959-61), musical comedy, fp 1961
The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963), musical comedy based on Terence Rattigan's The Sleeping Prince, fp 1963
Oh, Coward! revue fp 1972
Cowardy Custard revue fp 1972

Hearts of the World (1918, uncredited)
Across the Continent (1922, uncredited)
The Scoundrel (1935)
In Which We Serve (1942, also director/screenwriter)
Blithe Spirit (1945, as narrator)
The Astonished Heart (1949)
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
Our Man in Havana (1959)
Surprise Package (1960)
Paris - When It Sizzles (1964)
Present Laughter (1964, TV)
The Vortex (1964, TV)
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)
Androcles and the Lion (1967, TV)
Boom! (1968)
The Italian Job (1969)

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Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924) was a Polish-born novelist who spent most of his adult life in Britain.

He is regarded as one of the greatest English novelists, which is even more notable because he did not learn to speak English well until he was in his 20s (albeit always with a Polish accent).

Conrad is recognized as a master prose stylist. Some of his works have a strain of romanticism, but more importantly he is recognized as an important forerunner of Modernist literature.

Conrad's narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many writers, including Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, John Maxwell Coetzee as well as Jerzy Kosiński[citation needed] and inspired such films as Apocalypse Now (drawn from Conrad's Heart of Darkness).

Writing during the apogee of the British Empire, Conrad drew upon his experiences in the British Merchant Navy to create novels and short stories that reflected aspects of a world-wide empire while also plumbing the depths of the human soul.

Early life

Nowy Świat 47 (47 New World Street), Warsaw, Poland, where 3-year-old Conrad lived with his parents in 1861.Conrad was born in Berdyczów (Berdichev) into a highly-patriotic landowning Polish family bearing the Nałęcz coat-of-arms.

Conrad's father Apollo was a writer best known for patriotic tragedies, and a translator of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo from English and French. He encouraged his son to read widely in Polish and French.

In 1861 the elder Korzeniowski was arrested by Tsarist Russian authorities in Warsaw for helping organize what would become the January Uprising of 1863-64, and was exiled to Vologda, a city with a very harsh climate, approximately 300 miles north of Moscow. His wife, Ewelina Korzeniowska (née Bobrowska), and four-year-old son followed him into exile. Due to Ewelina's weak health, Apollo Korzeniowski was allowed in 1865 to move to Chernigov, Ukraine, where wıthin a few weeks Conrad's mother died of tuberculosis. Conrad's father died four years later in Kraków, leaving Conrad orphaned at the age of eleven.

In Kraków, young Conrad was placed in the care of his maternal uncle, Tadeusz Bobrowski — a more cautious figure than his parents. Bobrowski nevertheless allowed Conrad to travel to Marseille and begin a career as a seaman at the age of 16. This came after Conrad was rejected for Austro-Hungarian citizenship, leaving him liable for 25-year conscription into the Russian Army.

Conrad lived an adventurous life, becoming involved in gunrunning and political conspiracy, which he later fictionalized in his novel The Arrow of Gold, and apparently had a disastrous love affair, which plunged him into despair. His voyage down the coast of Venezuela would provide material for Nostromo. The first mate of Conrad's vessel became the model for Nostromo's hero.

In 1878, after a failed suicide attempt, Conrad took service on his first British ship bound for Constantinople, before its return to Lowestoft, his first landing in Britain. He did not become fluent in English until the age of 21, and in 1886 gained both his Master Mariner's certificate and British citizenship, officially changing his name to "Joseph Conrad." Conrad and his wife Jessie moved into a small semi-detached villa in Victoria Road, Stanford le Hope in 1896 and later to a medieval lath and plaster farmhouse named 'Ivy Walls' in Billet Lane. He later lived in London and near Canterbury, Kent.

Conrad was to serve a total of sixteen years in the merchant navy, with passages to the Far East, where his ship caught fire off Sumatra and he spent more than twelve hours in a lifeboat. The experience provided material for his short story, Youth. In 1883 he joined the Narcissus in Bombay, a voyage that inspired his 1897 novel The Nigger of the Narcissus. Sailing the southeast Asian archipelago would also furnish memories recast in Lord Jim and An Outcast of the Islands.

A childhood ambition to visit central Africa was realised in 1889, when Conrad contrived to reach the Congo Free State. He became captain of a Congo steamboat, and the atrocities he witnessed and his experiences there not only informed his most acclaimed and ambiguous work, Heart of Darkness, but served to crystalise his vision of human nature — and his beliefs about himself. These were in some measure affected by the emotional trauma and lifelong illness he contracted there. During his stay, he became acquainted with Roger Casement, whose 1904 Congo Report detailed the abuses suffered by the indigenous population.

The description of Conrad's protagonist Marlow's journey upriver closely follows Conrad's own, and he appears to have experienced a disturbing insight into the nature of evil. Conrad's experience of loneliness at sea, of corruption and of the pitilessness of nature converged to form a coherent, if bleak, vision of the world. Isolation, self-deception, and the remorseless working out of the consequences of character flaws are threads to be found running through much of his work. Conrad's own sense of loneliness throughout his exile's life would find memorable expression in the 1901 short story, "Amy Foster."

Notwithstanding the undoubted sufferings that Conrad endured on many of his voyages, he contrived to put up at the best lodgings at many of his destinations. Hotels across the Far East still lay claim to him as an honoured guest, often naming the rooms he stayed in after him: in the case of Singapore's Raffles Hotel, the wrong suite has been named in his honour, apparently for marketing reasons. His visits to Bangkok are also lodged in that city's collective memory, and are recorded in the official history of the Oriental Hotel, along with that of a less well-behaved guest, Somerset Maugham, who pilloried the hotel in a short story in revenge for attempts to eject him.

Conrad is also reported to have stayed at Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel. Later literary admirers, notably Graham Greene, followed closely in his footsteps, sometimes requesting the same room. No Caribbean resort is yet known to have claimed Conrad's patronage, although he is believed to have stayed at a Fort-de-France pension upon arrival in Martinique on his first voyage, in 1875, when he travelled as a passenger on the Mont Blanc.

As the quality of his work declined, he grew increasingly comfortable in his wealth and status. Conrad had a true genius for companionship, and his circle of friends included talented authors such as Stephen Crane and Henry James.

Emotional development

The Roi des Belges, the ship that Conrad sailed up the Congo.A further insight into Conrad's emotional life is provided by an episode which inspired one of his strangest and least known stories, "A Smile of Fortune." In September 1888 he put into Mauritius, as captain of the sailing barque Otago. His story likewise recounts the arrival of an unnamed English sea captain in a sailing vessel, come for sugar. He encounters “the old French families, descendants of the old colonists; all noble, all impoverished, and living a narrow domestic life in dull, dignified decay. . . . The girls are almost always pretty, ignorant of the world, kind and agreeable and generally bilingual. The emptiness of their existence passes belief.”

The tale describes Jacobus, an affable gentleman chandler beset by hidden shame. Extramarital passion for the bareback rider of a visiting circus had resulted in a child and scandal. For eighteen years this daughter, Alice, has been confined to Jacobus’s house, seeing no one but a governess. When Conrad’s captain is invited to the house of Jacobus, he is irresistibly drawn to the wild, beautiful Alice. "For quite a time she did not stir, staring straight before her as if watching the vision of some pageant passing through the garden in the deep, rich glow of light and the splendour of flowers."

The suffering of Alice Jacobus was true enough. A copy of the Dictionary of Mauritian Biography unearthed by the scholar Zdzisław Najder reveals that her character was a fictionalised version of seventeen-year-old Alice Shaw, whose father was a shipping agent and owned the only rose garden in the town. While it is evident that Conrad too fell in love while in Mauritius, it was not with Alice. His proposal to young Eugénie Renouf was declined, the lady being already engaged. Conrad left broken-hearted, vowing never to return.

Something of his feelings is considered to permeate the recollections of the captain. "I was seduced by the moody expression of her face, by her obstinate silences, her rare, scornful words; by the perpetual pout of her closed lips, the black depths of her fixed gaze turned slowly upon me as if in contemptuous provocation."


Nałęcz coat-of-arms. Conrad, who possessed this Polish coat-of-arms, declined a British knighthood.Conrad had risen quickly from a common seaman to first mate. By 1886 he was master of his own ship, and that same year he also became a British subject and changed his name to Joseph Conrad. He sailed to many parts of the world, including Australia, ports on the Indian Ocean, Borneo, the Malay states, South America, and the South Pacific islands. During this period, he began to write.

In 1890 he went to Africa in the Belgian colonial service and sailed up the Congo River, where fever and dysentery undermined his health.

In 1894, aged 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health and partly because he had become so fascinated with writing that he decided on a literary career. His first novel, Almayer's Folly, set on the east coast of Borneo, was published in 1895. Together with its successor, An Outcast of the Islands (1896), it laid the foundation for its author's reputation as a romantic teller of exotic tales, a misunderstanding of his purpose that was to frustrate Conrad for the rest of his career.

In 1896 he married a 22-year-old Englishwoman, Jessie George, by whom he had two sons, Borys and John. Though he was clearly a master of the English language, all his life he spoke it with a heavy Polish accent.

Except for several vacations in France and Italy, a 1914 journey to Poland, and a 1923 visit to the United States, he lived in England.

Financial success evaded Conrad, though a Civil List pension of £100 per annum stabilised his affairs, and collectors began to purchase his manuscripts. Though his talent was recognized by the English intellectual elite, popular success eluded him until the 1913 publication of Chance — paradoxically so, as it is not now regarded as one of his better novels. Thereafter, for the remaining years of his life, Conrad was the subject of more discussion and praise than any other English writer of the time.

In 1923, the year before his death, Conrad, who possessed a hereditary Polish coat-of-arms, declined the offer of a (non-hereditary) British knighthood.

Joseph Conrad died 3 August 1924, of a heart attack, and was interred at Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, England, under the name of Korzeniowski.

Of his novels, Lord Jim and Nostromo continue to be widely read, as set texts and for pleasure. The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes are also considered to be among his finest books. He also, over a period of a few years, composed a short series of novels in collaboration with Ford Madox Ford, writing on these at the same time that he was working independently on other publications.

Arguably Conrad's most influential work remains Heart of Darkness, to which many have been introduced by Francis Ford Coppola's film, Apocalypse Now, inspired by Conrad's novella and set during the Vietnam War. The themes of Heart of Darkness, and the depiction of a journey into the darkness of the human psyche, still resonate with modern readers.

Conrad, an emotional man subject to fits of depression, self-doubt and pessimism, disciplined his romantic temperament with an unsparing moral judgment.

As an artist, he famously aspired, in his preface to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' (1897), "by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel... before all, to make you see. That — and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm — all you demand — and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask."

Writing in what to the visual arts was the age of Impressionism, Conrad showed himself in many of his works a prose poet of the highest order: thus, for instance, in the evocative Patna and courtroom scenes of Lord Jim; in the "melancholy-mad elephant" and gunboat scenes of Heart of Darkness; in the doubled protagonists of The Secret Sharer; and in the verbal and conceptual resonances of Nostromo and The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'.

The singularity of the universe depicted in Conrad's novels, especially compared to those of near-contemporaries like John Galsworthy, is such as to open him to criticism similar to that later applied to Graham Greene.But where "Greeneland" has been characterised as a recurring and recognisable atmosphere independent of setting, Conrad is at pains to create a sense of place, be it aboard ship or in a remote village. Often he chose to have his characters play out their destinies in isolated or confined circumstances.

In the view of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, it was not until the first volumes of Anthony Powell's sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time, were published in the 1950s, that an English novelist achieved the same command of atmosphere and precision of language with consistency, a view supported by present-day critics like A. N. Wilson. This is the more remarkable, given that English was Conrad's third language. Powell acknowledged his debt to Conrad.

Conrad's third language remained inescapably under the influence of his first two — Polish and French. This makes his English seem unusual. It was perhaps from Polish and French prose styles that he adopted a fondness for triple parallelism, especially in his early works ("all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men"), as well as for rhetorical abstraction ("It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention").

T.E. Lawrence, one of many writers whom Conrad befriended, offered some perceptive observations about Conrad's writing:

He's absolutely the most haunting thing in prose that ever was: I wish I knew how every paragraph he writes (... they are all paragraphs: he seldom writes a single sentence...) goes on sounding in waves, like the note of a tenor bell, after it stops. It's not built in the rhythm of ordinary prose, but on something existing only in his head, and as he can never say what it is he wants to say, all his things end in a kind of hunger, a suggestion of something he can't say or do or think. So his books always look bigger than they are. He's as much a giant of the subjective as Kipling is of the objective. Do they hate one another?
In Conrad's time, literary critics, while usually commenting favourably on his works, often remarked that his exotic style, complex narration, profound themes and pessimistic ideas put many readers off. Yet as Conrad's ideas were borne out by 20th-century events, in due course he came to be admired for beliefs that seemed to accord with subsequent times more closely than with his own.

Conrad's was, indeed, a starkly lucid view of the human condition — a vision similar to that which had been offered in two micro-stories by his ten-years-older Polish compatriot, Bolesław Prus (whose work Conrad admired): "Mold of the Earth" (1884) and "Shades" (1885). Conrad wrote:

Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of to-morrow....
In this world — as I have known it — we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt....
There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that... is always but a vain and floating appearance....
A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains — but a clot of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.

In 1975, Chinua Achebe published an essay, 'An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness",' wherein he labeled Joseph Conrad a "thoroughgoing racist." This essay has since sparked a storm of controversy regarding Conrad's legacy. Achebe's point of view, now the single most famous piece of criticism on Joseph Conrad, is that Heart of Darkness cannot be considered "a great work of art" because it is "a novel which celebrates... dehumanization, which depersonalizes a portion of the human race."

Referring to Conrad as a "talented, tormented man", Achebe drew on several instances of racism in the writings of Conrad, in which the author derided "niggers" as variously "unreasoning", "savage", and "inscrutable".Conrad, for his part, has had many passionate defenders since the publication of Achebe's criticism; often, Achebe has been criticized for disregarding the "historical context" of Conrad's work, in defense of Conrad's reputation, or in defending the extant value of his work.

Poland's Baltic Sea coast at Gdynia features an anchor-shaped monument to Conrad.

In San Francisco, California, near Fisherman's Wharf, there is a small triangular Joseph Conrad Square, named after Conrad in the late 20th century.

Novels and novellas

Anchor-shaped Conrad monument, Gdynia, on Poland's Baltic Sea coast.1895 Almayer's Folly
1896 An Outcast of the Islands
1897 The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'
1899 Heart of Darkness
1900 Lord Jim
1901 The Inheritors (with Ford Madox Ford)
1902 Typhoon (begun 1899)
1903 Romance (with Ford Madox Ford)
1904 Nostromo
1907 The Secret Agent
1909 The Secret Sharer (written December 1909; published in Harper's in 1910 and collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
1911 Under Western Eyes
1912 Freya of the Seven Isles
1913 Chance
1915 Victory
1917 The Shadow Line
1919 The Arrow of Gold
1920 The Rescue
1923 The Nature of a Crime (with Ford Madox Ford)
The Rover
1925 Suspense: a Napoleonic Novel (unfinished, published posthumously)

Short stories
"The Idiots" (Conrad's first short story; written during his honeymoon, published in Savo 1896 and collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
"The Black Mate" (written, according to Conrad, in 1886; published 1908; posthumously collected in Tales of Hearsay, 1925).
"The Lagoon" (composed 1896; published in Cornhill Magazine 1897; collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
"An Outpost of Progress" (written 1896 and named in 1906 by Conrad himself, long after the publication of Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, as his 'best story'; published in Cosmopolis 1897 and collected in Tales of Unrest 1898; often compared to Heart of Darkness, with which it has numerous thematic affinities).
"The Return" (written circa early 1897; never published in magazine form; collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898; Conrad, presaging the sentiments of most readers, once remarked, "I hate it").
"Karain: A Memory" (written February–April 1897; published Nov. 1897 in Blackwood's and collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
"Youth" (written in 1898; collected in Youth, a Narrative and Two Other Stories, 1902)
"Falk" (novella/story, written in early 1901; collected only in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
"Amy Foster" (composed in 1901; published the Illustrated London News, Dec. 1901 and collected in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
"To-morrow" (written early 1902; serialized in Pall Mall Magazine, 1902 and collected in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
"The End of the Tether" (written in 1902; collected in Youth, a Narrative and Two Other Stories, 1902)
"Gaspar Ruiz" (written after "Nostromo" in 1904–05; published in Strand Magazine in 1906 and collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US. This story was the only piece of Conrad's fiction ever adapted by the author for cinema, as Gaspar the Strong Man, 1920).
"An Anarchist" (written in late 1905; serialized in Harper's in 1906; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
"The Informer" (written before January 1906; published in December 1906 in Harper's and collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
"The Brute" (written in early 1906; published in The Daily Chronicle in December 1906; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
"The Duel" (aka "The Point of Honor": serialized in the UK in Pall Mall Magazine in early 1908 and in the US periodical Forum later that year; collected in A Set of Six in 1908 and published by Garden City Publishing in 1924. Joseph Fouché makes a cameo appearance)
"Il Conde" (i.e., 'Conte' [count]: appeared in Cassell's [UK] 1908 and Hampton's [US] in 1909; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
"Prince Roman" (written 1910, published in 1911 in the Oxford and Cambridge Review; based upon the story of Prince Roman Sanguszko of Poland 1800–1881)
"A Smile of Fortune" (a long story, almost a novella, written in mid-1910; published in London Magazine in Feb. 1911; collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
"Freya of the Seven Isles" (another near-novella, written late 1910–early 1911; published in Metropolitan Magazine and London Magazine in early 1912 and July 1912, respectively; collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
"The Partner" (written in 1911; published in Within the Tides, 1915)
"The Inn of the Two Witches" (written in 1913; published in Within the Tides, 1915)
"Because of the Dollars" (written in 1914; published in Within the Tides, 1915)
"The Planter of Malata" (written in 1914; published in Within the Tides, 1915)
"The Warrior's Soul" (written late 1915–early 1916; published in Land and Water, in March 1917; collected in Tales of Hearsay, 1925)
"The Tale" (Conrad's only story about World War I; written 1916 and first published 1917 in Strand Magazine)

Memoirs and essays
The Mirror of the Sea (collection of autobiographical essays first published in various magazines 1904-6 ), 1906
A Personal Record (also published as Some Reminiscences), 1912
Notes on Life and Letters, 1921
Last Essays, 1926

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Joseph Connolly (author)

Joseph Connolly (born March 23, 1950) is a British journalist, novelist, non-fiction writer and bibliophile.

For many years Connolly was the proprietor of The Flask Bookshop in Hampstead, London. Having started writing fiction rather late in life, he is best known today for his comic novels, especially in France, where they have been translated by Alain Defossé. He also contributes to The Times and various other publications.

Connolly lives in Hampstead.

[edit] Novels
Poor Souls (1995)
This Is It (1996)
Stuff (1997)
Summer Things (1998) (filmed in France in 2002 by Michel Blanc as Embrassez qui vous voudrez starring Charlotte Rampling, Jacques Dutronc and Carole Bouquet)
Winter Breaks (1999)
It Can't Go On (2000)
S.O.S. (2001)
The Works (2003)
Love Is Strange (2005)
Jack the Lad and Bloody Mary (2007)
His novels are published by Faber and Faber.

[edit] Non-fiction
Collecting Modern First Editions (1977) (a standard work on book collecting)
Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors (1984)
Children's Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors (1988)
P.G. Wodehouse (1979) (biography)
Jerome K. Jerome (1982) (biography)
Beside the Seaside (1999)
All Shook Up: A Flash of the Fifties (2000)
Christmas And How to Survive It: Laughter Matters (2003)

[edit] References and external links
[1] Official Joseph Connolly Website
Joseph Connolly at the Internet Movie Database
"Sharing an Ashtray with ... Joseph Connolly" (interview)
The Hampstead Authors' Society
A review of Love Is Strange from the Camden New Journal (includes author photograph)
Joseph Connolly on Kingsley Amis (The Independent, August 20, 2005)
Retrieved from ""

Wilkie Collins

William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and writer of short stories. He was hugely popular in his time, and wrote 27 novels, more than 50 short stories, at least 15 plays, and over 100 pieces of non-fiction work. His best-known works are The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Armadale and No Name.

Collins was born in London, the son of a well-known landscape artist, William Collins. Named after his father, he swiftly became known by his second name (which honoured his godfather, David Wilkie). At 17 he left school and was apprenticed to a firm of tea merchants, but after five unhappy years, during which he wrote his first novel, Iolani, he entered Lincoln's Inn to study law. (Iolani remained unpublished for over 150 years until 1999.) After his father's death in 1847, Collins produced his first published book, Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A. (1848), and also considered a career in painting, exhibiting a picture at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1849, but it was with the publication of his first published novel Antonina in 1850 that his career as a writer began in earnest.

An instrumental event in Collins' career occurred in 1851 when he was introduced to Charles Dickens by a mutual friend, Augustus Egg. They became lifelong friends and collaborators; several of Collins' novels were serialised in Dickens' weekly publication All the Year Round, and Dickens later edited and published them himself.

Collins suffered from a form of arthritis known as 'rheumatic gout' and became severely addicted to the opium that he took (in the form of laudanum) to relieve the pain. As a result he experienced paranoid delusions, the most notable being his conviction that he was constantly accompanied by a doppelganger he dubbed 'Ghost Wilkie'. His novel The Moonstone prominently features the effects of opium and opium addiction. While he was writing it, Collins' consumption of laudanum was such that he later claimed to have no memory of writing large parts of the novel.

Collins never married, but lived, on and off from 1858, with a widow, Mrs. Caroline Graves, and her daughter. He also fathered three children by another woman, Martha Rudd, whom he met after Mrs. Graves left him in 1868. Mrs. Graves returned to Collins after two years, and he continued both relationships until his death in 1889.

He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, West London. His grave notes him as the author of The Woman in White. Grave Number 31754, Square 141, Row 1.

[edit] Works
His works were classified at the time as 'sensation novels', a genre seen nowadays as the precursor to detective fiction and suspense fiction. He also wrote penetratingly on the plight of women and on the social and domestic issues of his time. Like many writers of his time, he published most of his novels as serials in magazines such as Dickens's All the Year Round, and was known as a master of the form, creating just the right degree of suspense to keep his audience reading from week to week. (Sales of All The Year Round actually increased when The Woman in White succeeded A Tale of Two Cities.)

He enjoyed ten years of great success following publication of The Woman in White in 1859. His next novel, No Name combined social commentary - the absurdity of the law as it applied to children of unmarried parents - with a densely-plotted revenge thriller. Armadale, (the first and only of Collins' major novels of the 1860s to be serialised in a magazine other than Dickens' "All The Year Round") provoked strong criticism, generally centred around its transgressive villainess Lydia Gwilt; and provoked in part by Collins' typically confrontational prefaratory material. The novel was simultaneously a financial coup for its author and a comparative commercial failure: the sum paid by the Cornhill magazine for the serialisation rights was exceptional, eclipsing the prices paid for the vast majority of similar novels by a substantial margin, yet the novel itself failed to recoup its publishers' investment. The Moonstone, published in 1868, and the last novel of what is generally regarded as the most successful decade of its authors' career was, despite a somewhat cool reception from both Dickens and the critics, a significant return to form and reestablished the market value of an author whose success in the competitive Victorian literary marketplace had been gradually waning in the wake of his first "masterpiece." Viewed by many to represent the advent of the Detective Story within the tradition of the English Novel, it remains one of Collins' most critically acclaimed productions.

However, various factors (most often cited are the loss of Dickens' literary mentoring after that author's death in 1870; Collins' increased dependence upon laudanum; and a somewhat ill-advised penchant for utilising his fiction to rail against social injustices) appear to have led to a decline in the two decades following the success of his sensation novels of the 1860s and prior to his death in 1889; and Collins' novels and novellas of the '70s and '80s, whilst by no means entirely devoid of merit or literary interest, are generally regarded as inferior to his previous productions and receive comparatively little critical attention today.

The Woman in White and The Moonstone share an unusual narrative structure, somewhat resembling an epistolary novel, in which different portions of the book have different narrators, each with a distinctive narrative voice (Armadale has this to a lesser extent through the correspondence between some characters). The Moonstone, being the most popular of Collin's novels, is known as a precursor for detective fiction such as Sherlock Holmes.

After The Moonstone, Collins's novels contained fewer thriller elements and more social commentary. The subject matter continued to be "sensational", but his popularity declined. Swinburne commented: "What brought good Wilkie's genius nigh perdition? Some demon whispered - 'Wilkie! have a mission.'"

[edit] Bibliography
Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A. (1848)
Antonina (1850)
Rambles Beyond Railways (1851)
Basil (1852)
Mr Wray's Cash Box (1852)
Hide and Seek (1854)
The Ostler (1855)
After the Dark (1856)
The Dead Secret (1857)
The Frozen Deep (1857), a play co-written with Charles Dickens
A House to Let (1858), a short story co-written with Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter
The Queen of Hearts (1859)
The Woman in White (1860)
No Name (1862)
My Miscellanies (1863)
Armadale (1866)
No Thoroughfare (1867), a story and play co-written with Charles Dickens
The Moonstone (1868)
Man and Wife (1870)
Poor Miss Finch (1872)
Miss or Mrs? (1873)
The New Magdalen (1873)
The Frozen Deep and Other Stories (1874)
The Frozen Deep
Dream Woman
John Jago's Ghost; or The Dead Alive
The Law and the Lady (1875)
The Two Destinies (1876)
The Haunted Hotel (1878)
The Fallen Leaves (1879)
A Rogue's Life (1879)
My Lady's Money (1879)
Jezebel's Daughter (1880)
The Black Robe (1881)
Heart and Science (1883)
I Say No (1884)
The Ghost's Touch and Other Stories (1885)
The Evil Genius (1886)
The Guilty River (1886)
Little Novels (1887)
The Legacy of Cain (1889)
Blind Love (1889 - unfinished. Completed by Walter Besant)
Iolani, or Tahiti as it was. A Romance (1999)

[edit] References
Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 81.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Early Life and Education
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on October 21, 1772 in the rural town of Ottery St Mary, Devonshire. He was the youngest of fourteen children, and his father, the Reverend John Coleridge, was a well respected vicar. Coleridge suffered from constant ridicule by his older brother Frank, partially due to jealousy, as Samuel was often praised and favoured by his parents. To escape this abuse, he frequently sought refuge at a local library, which led him to discover his passion for poetry.

He later wrote in his Biographia Literaria:

At six years old I remember to have read Belisarius, Robinson Crusoe, and Philip Quarll - and then I found the Arabian Nights' Entertainments - one tale of which (the tale of a man who was compelled to seek for a pure virgin) made so deep an impression on me (I had read it in the evening while my mother was mending stockings) that I was haunted by spectres whenever I was in the dark - and I distinctly remember the anxious and fearful eagerness with which I used to watch the window in which the books lay - and whenever the sun lay upon them, I would seize it, carry it by the wall, and bask, and read.

After the death of his father in 1781, contrary to his desires, he was sent to Christ's Hospital, a boarding school in West Sussex. The school was notorious for its unwelcoming atmosphere and strict regimen under The Rev. James Bowyer, many years Head Master of the grammar school, which fostered thoughts of guilt and depression in young Samuel's maturing mind.

However, Coleridge seems to have appreciated his teacher, as he wrote in detailed recollections of his schooldays in Biographia Literaria:

I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a very sensible, though at the same time, a very severe master...At the same time that we were studying the Greek Tragic Poets, he made us read Shakspeare and Milton as lessons: and they were the lessons too, which required most time and trouble to bring up, so as to escape his censure. I learnt from him, that Poetry, even that of the loftiest, and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that of science; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on more, and more fugitive causes....

In our own English compositions (at least for the last three years of our school education) he showed no mercy to phrase, metaphor, or image, unsupported by a sound sense, or where the same sense might have been conveyed with equal force and dignity in plainer words... In fancy I can almost hear him now, exclaiming Harp? Harp? Lyre? Pen and ink, boy, you mean! Muse, boy, Muse? your Nurse's daughter, you mean! Pierian spring? Oh aye! the cloister-pump, I suppose! ... Be this as it may, there was one custom of our master's, which I cannot pass over in silence, because I think it ... worthy of imitation. He would often permit our theme exercises, ... to accumulate, till each lad had four or five to be looked over. Then placing the whole number abreast on his desk, he would ask the writer, why this or that sentence might not have found as appropriate a place under this or that other thesis: and if no satisfying answer could be returned, and two faults of the same kind were found in one exercise, the irrevocable verdict followed, the exercise was torn up, and another on the same subject to be produced, in addition to the tasks of the day.

Throughout life, Coleridge idealized his father as pious and innocent, but his relationship with his mother was more problematic. His childhood was characterized by attention-seeking, which has been linked to his dependent personality as an adult. He was rarely allowed to return home during the school term, and this distance from his family at such a turbulent time proved emotionally damaging. He later wrote of his loneliness at school in the poem Frost at Midnight: "With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt/Of my sweet birthplace"

From 1791 until 1794 Coleridge attended Jesus College, Cambridge. In 1792 he won the Browne Gold Medal for an Ode that he wrote on the slave trade. In November, 1793, he left the college and enlisted in the Royal Dragoons, perhaps because of debt or because the girl that he loved had rejected him. His brothers arranged for his discharge a few months later (ironically because of supposed insanity) and he was readmitted to Jesus College, though he would never receive a degree from Cambridge.

[edit] Pantisocracy and marriage
At the university he was introduced to political and theological ideas then considered radical, including those of the poet Robert Southey. Coleridge joined Southey in a plan, soon abandoned, to found a utopian commune-like society, called pantisocracy, in the wilderness of Pennsylvania. In 1795 the two friends married sisters Sarah and Edith Fricker, but Coleridge's marriage proved unhappy. He grew to detest his wife, whom he only married because of social constraints, and eventually divorced her. During and after his failed marriage, he came to love a woman named Sara Hutchinson, who did not share this passion and consequentially caused him much distress. Sara departed for Portugal, but Coleridge remained in Britain. In 1796 he published Poems on Various Subjects.

In 1795 Coleridge met poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. They became immediate friends.

Around 1796, Coleridge started taking opium as a pain-reliever. His suffering, caused by many ailments, including toothache and facial neuralgia, is mentioned in his own notebook as well as that of Dorothy Wordsworth. There was no stigma associated with taking opium at the time, but also little understanding of the dangers of addiction.

The years 1797 and 1798, during which he lived in Nether Stowey, Somerset, and Wordsworth, having visited him and being enchanted by the surroundings, rented Alfoxton Park, a little over three miles (5 km) away, were among the most fruitful of Coleridge's life. Besides the Rime of The Ancient Mariner, he composed the symbolic poem Kubla Khan, written—Coleridge himself claimed—as a result of an opium dream, in "a kind of a reverie"; and the first part of the narrative poem Christabel. During this period he also produced his much-praised "conversation" poems This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison, Frost at Midnight, and The Nightingale.

A statue of the Ancient Mariner at Watchet Harbour, Somerset, England, unveiled in September 2003 as a tribute to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.In 1798 Coleridge and Wordsworth published a joint volume of poetry, Lyrical Ballads, which proved to be the starting point for the English romantic movement. Though the productive Wordsworth contributed more poems to the volume, Coleridge's first version of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was the longest poem and drew more immediate attention than anything else.

In the spring of 1798, Coleridge temporarily took over for Rev. Joshua Toulmin at Taunton's Mary Street Unitarian Chapel [1] while Rev. Toulmin grieved over the drowning death of his daughter Jane. Poetically commenting on the strength of Rev. Toulmin, Coleridge wrote in a 1798 letter to John Prior Estlin,[2]

I walked into Taunton (eleven miles) and back again, and performed the divine services for Dr. Toulmin. I suppose you must have heard that his daughter, (Jane, on April 15, 1798) in a melancholy derangement, suffered herself to be swallowed up by the tide on the sea-coast between Sidmouth and Bere (sic. Beer). These events cut cruelly into the hearts of old men: but the good Dr. Toulmin bears it like the true practical Christian, - there is indeed a tear in his eye, but that eye is lifted up to the Heavenly Father.[3]

In the autumn of 1798, Coleridge and Wordsworth left for a stay in Germany; Coleridge soon went his own way and spent much of his time in university towns. During this period he became interested in German philosophy, especially the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, and in the literary criticism of the 18th century dramatist Gotthold Lessing. Coleridge studied German and, after his return to England, translated the dramatic trilogy Wallenstein by the German Classical poet Friedrich Schiller into English.

Coleridge's greatest intellectual debts were first to William Godwin's Political Justice, especially during his Pantisocratic period, and to David Hartley's Observations on Man, which is the source of the psychology which we find in "Frost at Midnight." Hartley argued that we become aware of sensory events as impressions, and that "ideas" are derived by noticing similarities and differences between impressions and then by naming them. Connections resulting from the coincidence of impressions create linkages, so that the occurrence of one impression triggers those links and calls up the memory of those ideas with which it is associated (See Dorothy Emmet, "Coleridge and Philosophy").

Coleridge was critical of the literary taste of his contemporaries, and a literary conservative insofar as he was afraid that the lack of taste in the ever growing masses of literate people would mean a continued desecration of literature itself.

In 1800 he returned to England and shortly thereafter settled with his family and friends at Keswick in the Lake District of Cumberland to be near Grasmere, where Wordsworth had moved. Soon, however, he was beset by marital problems, illnesses, increased opium dependency, tensions with Wordsworth, and a lack of confidence in his poetic powers, all of which fueled the composition of Dejection: An Ode and an intensification of his philosophical studies.

In 1804 he travelled to Sicily and Malta, working for a time as Acting Public Secretary of Malta under the Commissioner, Alexander Ball. He gave this up and returned to England in 1806. Dorothy Wordsworth was shocked at his condition upon his return. From 1807 to 1808, Coleridge returned to Malta and then travelled in Sicily and Italy, in the hope that leaving Britain's damp climate would improve his health and thus enable him to reduce his consumption of opium. Thomas de Quincey alleges in his Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets that it was during this period that Coleridge became a full-blown opium addict, using the drug as a substitute for the lost vigour and creativity of his youth. It has been suggested, however, that this reflects de Quincey's own experiences more than Coleridge's.

His opium addiction (he was using as much as two quarts of laudanum a week) now began to take over his life: he separated from his wife in 1808, quarrelled with Wordsworth in 1810, lost part of his annuity in 1811, put himself under the care of Dr. Daniel in 1814.

Between 1810 and 1820 this "giant among dwarfs", as he was often considered by his contemporaries, gave a series of lectures in London and Bristol – those on Shakespeare renewed interest in the playwright as a model for contemporary writers.

In 1817 Coleridge, with his addiction worsening, his spirits depressed, and his family alienated, took residence in the home of the physician James Gillman, at 3 The Grove, Highgate, London, England. In Gillman's home he finished his major prose work, the Biographia Literaria (1815), a volume composed of 23 chapters of autobiographical notes and dissertations on various subjects, including some incisive literary theory and criticism. He composed much poetry here and had many inspirations — a few of them from opium overdose. Perhaps because he conceived such grand projects, he had difficulty carrying them through to completion, and he berated himself for his "indolence." It is unclear whether his growing use of opium was a symptom or a cause of his growing depression.

He published other writings while he was living at the Gillman home, notably Sibylline Leaves (1820), Aids to Reflection (1823), and Church and State (1826). He died of a lung disorder including some heart failure from the opium that he was taking in Highgate on July 25, 1834.

[edit] Poetry
Coleridge is probably best known for his long poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel. Even those who have never read the Rime have come under its influence: its words have given the English language the metaphor of an albatross around one's neck, the quotation of "water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink (almost always rendered as "but not a drop to drink")", and the phrase "a sadder and a wiser man (again, usually rendered as "sadder but wiser man")". Christabel is known for its musical rhythm, language, and its Gothic tale.

Kubla Khan, or, A Vision in a Dream, A Fragment, although shorter, is also widely known and loved. It has strange, dreamy imagery and can be read on many levels. Both Kubla Khan and Christabel have an additional "romantic" aura because they were never finished. Stopford Brooke characterised both poems as having no rival due to their "exquisite metrical movement" and "imaginative phrasing." It is one of history's tragedies that Coleridge was interrupted while writing Kubla Khan by a visitor and could not recall any more of the poem afterwards. However, it is now acknowledged that Coleridge had composed previous drafts of Kubla Khan, perhaps a reflection of his desire to flag the 'power' of imagination.

Coleridge's shorter, meditative "conversation poems," however, proved to be the most influential of his work. These include both quiet poems like This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison and Frost at Midnight and also strongly emotional poems like Dejection and The Pains of Sleep. Wordsworth immediately adopted the model of these poems, and used it to compose several of his major poems. Via Wordsworth, the conversation poem became a standard vehicle for English poetic expression, and perhaps the most common approach among modern poets.

Coleridge's poetry so impressed the parents of British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) that they named him after the poet.

[edit] Coleridge and the influence of the Gothic
Gothic novels like Polidori’s The Vampire, Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Mrs Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk were the best-sellers of the end of the eighteenth century, and thrilled many young women (who were often strictly forbidden to read them). Jane Austen satirised the style mercilessly in Northanger Abbey.

Coleridge wrote reviews of Mrs Radcliffe’s books and of The Mad Monk among others. He comments in his reviews:

Situations of torment, and images of naked horror, are easily conceived; and a writer in whose works they abound, deserves our gratitude almost equally with him who should drag us by way of sport through a military hospital, or force us to sit at the dissecting-table of a natural philosopher. To trace the nice boundaries, beyond which terror and sympathy are deserted by the pleasurable emotions, - to reach those limits, yet never to pass them, hic labor, hic opus est.


The horrible and the preternatural have usually seized on the popular taste, at the rise and decline of literature. Most powerful stimulants, they can never be required except by the torpor of an unawakened, or the languor of an exhausted, appetite... We trust, however, that satiety will banish what good sense should have prevented; and that, wearied with fiends, incomprehensible characters, with shrieks, murders, and subterraneous dungeons, the public will learn, by the multitude of the manufacturers, with how little expense of thought or imagination this species of composition is manufactured.

However, Coleridge used mysterious and demonic elements in poems such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), Christabel and Kubla Khan (published 1816 but known in manuscript form before then) and certainly influenced other poets and writers of the time. Poems like this both drew inspiration from and helped to inflame the craze for Gothic romance.

Mary Shelley, who knew Coleridge well, mentions The Rime of the Ancient Mariner twice directly in Frankenstein, and some of the descriptions in the novel echo it indirectly. Although William Godwin, her father, disagreed with Coleridge on some important issues, he respected his opinions and Coleridge often visited the Godwins. Mary Shelley later recalled hiding behind the sofa and hearing his voice chanting The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

[edit] Family connections
Coleridge was the father of Hartley Coleridge, Sara Coleridge, and Derwent Coleridge and grandfather of Herbert Coleridge, Ernest Hartley Coleridge and Christabel Coleridge. He was the uncle of the first Baron Coleridge. The poet Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861–1907) was his great-great niece. His nephew Henry Nelson Coleridge, who was an editor of his work, married Sara.

[edit] Notes
^ Welcome to Taunton's Historic Unitarian Congregation and Chapel (Dec. 2005). Unitarian Chapel, Mary Street, Taunton. Obtained Oct. 21, 2006.
^ John Prior Estlin (1747-1817) was a Unitarian minister and friend of English poets Barbauld and Coleridge. See, Vargo, Lisa, (Nov. 9, 2004). The Anna Laetitia Barbauld Web Site. | A Note on John Prior Estlin. (adapted by Vargo from the Dictionary of National Biography and Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Early Visions (1989))
^ Calvert-Toulmin, Bruce. (2006) Toulmin Family Home Page. Joshua Toulmin (*1331) 1740 - 1815. Obtained Oct. 21, 2006.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] By Coleridge
The Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Introduction) Oxford University Press 1912
The Collected Works in 16 volumes (some are double volumes), many editors, Routledge & Kegan Paul and also Bollingen Series LXXV, Princeton University Press (1971-2001)
The Notebooks in 5 (or 6) double volumes, eds. Kathleen Coburn and others, Routledge and also Bollingen Series L, Princeton University Press (1957-1990)
Collected Letters in 6 volumes, ed. E. L. Griggs, Clarendon Press: Oxford (1956-1971)

[edit] About Coleridge
Essay by John Stuart Mill: On Coleridge
Biography by Richard Holmes: Coleridge: Early Visions, Viking Penguin: New York, 1990 (republished later by HarperCollins) ISBN 0-375-70540-6; Coleridge: Darker Reflections, HarperCollins: London, 1997 ISBN 0-375-70838-3
Memoir by Thomas de Quincey: Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets ISBN 0-14-043973-0
Book by Dr Gurion Taussig recalling Coleridge's friendships with men: Coleridge and the Idea of Friendship 1789-1804, Associated University Presses: London: 2002

[edit] Related to Coleridge
Science fiction by Douglas Adams: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency ISBN 0-671-74672-3
Fantasy by Tim Powers: The Anubis Gates

[edit] External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Samuel Taylor ColeridgeWikisource has original works written by or about:
Samuel Taylor ColeridgeThe Genealogy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge at
Romantic Circles -- Excellent Editions & Articles on Coleridge and other authors of the Romantic period
The Coleridge Archive
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Kubla Khan
This Lime Tree Bower My Prison
Frost at Midnight
The Pains of Sleep
Works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Project Gutenberg
The Raven
Walk the Coleridge Way in Exmoor National Park and the Quantocks AONB
Audio samples of works by S.T. Coleridge in Creative Commons recordings.
Free audiobook of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from LibriVox
Works of Coleridge at the University of Toronto
Coleridge web resources at Voice of the Shuttle
Essays by scholar Catherine M. Wallace on Coleridge
Selection of Poems by Coleridge
Coleridge's Grave
Friends of Coleridge Society
Find-A-Grave profile for Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"Kubla Khan" and the Embodied Mind, a detailed analysis of the poem.
Talking with Nature in "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison", a detailed analysis of the poem.
Kubla Khan Set To Music, analysis and a musical approach to the themes of the poem for students & teachers of English

Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe, born 19th August 1961 in Birmingham, is a British novelist and writer. His work usually has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although this is often expressed seriously in the form of satire. For example, What a Carve Up! reworked the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name, in the light of the 'carve up' of the UK's resources which some felt was carried out by Margaret Thatcher's right wing Conservative governments of the 1980s. He studied at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge, before teaching at the University of Warwick.

Both What a Carve Up! and The Rotters' Club have been adapted as drama serials for BBC Radio 4; The Rotters' Club (which was set in a very lightly fictionalised version of his old school in the 1970s King Edward's School, Birmingham) was also adapted for television and broadcast on BBC Two. The Dwarves of Death was filmed as Five Seconds to Spare.

In a recent article [1], British journalist John Pilger mentions sending a copy of What a Carve Up! to the imprisoned Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

[edit] Novels
The Accidental Woman Duckworth, 1987
A Touch of Love Duckworth, 1989
The Dwarves of Death Fourth Estate, 1990
What a Carve Up! or The Winshaw Legacy Viking, 1994 (winner of the 1994 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize)
The House of Sleep Viking, 1997 (winner of the Prix Médicis)
The Rotters' Club Viking, 2001 (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize).
The Closed Circle Viking, 2004
The Rain Before It Falls Viking 2007

[edit] Non-fiction
Humphrey Bogart: Take It and Like It Bloomsbury, 1991, a biography of Humphrey Bogart
James Stewart: Leading Man Bloomsbury, 1994, a James Stewart biography
Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B. S. Johnson Picador, 2004 (winner of the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction

Brian Cleeve

Life and work

[edit] Childhood
Brian Cleeve was born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, the second of three sons to Charles Edward Cleeve and his wife Josephine (née Talbot).[1] Josephine was a native of Essex, where her family had lived for generations. Charles Cleeve, who was born in Limerick, Ireland, was a scion of a famous and wealthy family that ran several successful Irish enterprises in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[2] The Cleeves came from Canada originally and emigrated to Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century. As a result of labour troubles and the effects of the Irish Civil War, the Cleeve business failed and Charles moved with his family to England, where Brian was born in 1921.

When he was two-and-a-half, Brian's mother died and his maternal grandparents, Alfred and Gertrude Talbot, took over responsibility for his upbringing. At age eight, Cleeve was sent as a boarder to Selwyn House in Kent, followed at age 12 by three years at St. Edward's School in Oxford.[3] He was by nature a free-thinker and he rejected the assumptions and prejudices that were then part and parcel of upper-middle class English life. His unwillingness to conform meant that school life was very difficult for him, and, in the late summer of 1938, Cleeve decided not to return to St. Edward's for his final year. Instead, he ran away to sea.

[edit] Early life
Cleeve led an eventful life during the next fifteen years. He served on the RMS Queen Mary as a commis waiter for several months.[3] At age 17 he joined the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders as a private soldier, and, because of his age, just missed being sent to Europe as part of the BEF when World War II broke out. In 1940, he was selected for officer training, was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry,[4] and sent to Kenya as a Second lieutenant in the King's African Rifles. A year later he was court-martialled as a result of his objections to the treatment by colleagues of an African prisoner. Stripped of his commission and sentenced to three years' penal servitude, he was transferred to Wakefield Prison in Yorkshire. There, through the intervention of Sir Alexander Paterson, he was offered parole if he agreed to work for British Intelligence. For the remainder of the war he served as a counter-spy in neutral ports such as Lisbon. As cover, he worked as an ordinary seaman in the Merchant Navy.[3]

In 1945, Cleeve took an Irish passport and came to Ireland where, in the space of three weeks, he met and married Veronica McAdie. A year later, they left Ireland, with baby daughter Berenice, on a protracted odyssey that took them to London, Sweden, the West Indies, and finally South Africa. In 1948, the family settled in Johannesburg where Cleeve and his wife set up their own perfume business. A second daughter, Tanga, was born to the couple there in 1953. As a result of his friendship with Fr. Trevor Huddleston, Cleeve witnessed the conditions in which the black and coloured population had to live in townships such as Sophiatown. Cleeve became an outspoken critic of Apartheid, and, in 1954, he was branded by the authorities as a 'political intractable' and ordered to leave South Africa. He returned to Ireland where he lived for the remainder of his life.[5]

[edit] Literary career
Cleeve started writing poems in his teens, a few of which were published in his school paper, the St. Edward's Chronicle. During the war he continued to produce poems of a spiritual or metaphysical nature, most of which were never published. In 1945, he turned to novel-writing. After his first two attempts were rejected, his third novel, The Far Hills, was published in 1952. It is a roman à clef about the first few months of his married life in Dublin. It is also an unflattering picture of the drabness and mean-spiritedness of lower middle class Irish life in the mid 1940s. Two further novels about South Africa followed and their unvarnished descriptions of the reality of life for the native population probably contributed to Cleeve's eventual expulsion from the country.

In the mid 1950s, Cleeve began to concentrate on the short story form. During the next 15 years over 100 of his short stories were published in magazines and periodicals across five continents. He sold nearly 30 to The Saturday Evening Post alone. In 1966, his story Foxer was honoured with a scroll at the annual Edgar Awards.[6]

During the 1960s and 70s, Cleeve returned to writing novels with considerable success. He produced a series of well-received mystery and spy thrillers that did not sacrifice character to plot. One of these, Dark Blood, Dark Terror, was reviewed in the following terms by The Sunday Express: "Dublin author's exciting novel overshadows a man of genius. I am afraid Graham Greene comes off second best". (This was a reference to Greene's The Comedians.)

In 1971, Cleeve published Cry of Morning, his most controversial and successful novel up to that point. It is a panoramic depiction of the economic and social changes that affected Ireland during the 1960s as seen through the eyes of a disparate collection of well-drawn characters. Cleeve subsequently achieved even greater commercial success, especially in the U.S., with a number of historical novels featuring a strong female character as protagonist. The first of these, Sara, is set in England during the Napoleonic era and was published in 1975.[7]

Cleeve also wrote several works of non-fiction, principally the Dictionary of Irish Writers. This was a 20-year project to provide to scholars and the general public alike a comprehensive resource on Irish writers at an affordable price. It was a labour of love that consumed a great deal of his time and was effectively subsidised by his more commercial pursuits. The last edition was published in 1985.[3]

[edit] Television career
On December 31, 1961, Telefís Éireann was launched as the Republic of Ireland's first indigenous television station. Cleeve joined the station as a part-time interviewer on the current affairs programme, Broadsheet. In 1964, a new documentary series, Discovery, began with Cleeve as scriptwriter and presenter. The series covered all aspects of Irish life and Cleeve won a Jacobs' Award for his contribution.[8]

In January 1966, Telefís Éireann announced that Cleeve was being dropped as presenter of Discovery because his voice was deemed to be "too light in tone". Many suspected that the real reason was political. Cleeve was told by a colleague that his English accent was felt to be similar to that of the "ascendancy class". This was a reference to the Anglo-Irish elite which had governed Ireland before independence. An evening newspaper mounted a campaign on Cleeve's behalf and he was soon reinstated.[9]

In September 1966 he joined the new weekly current affairs programme, 7 Days. There, Cleeve and his colleagues set about exposing issues of public interest, much to the dismay of the traditional power structures of big business, the Catholic Church and the political parties. Eventually, external pressure led to the programme coming under tighter editorial control. Cleeve refused to be subject to the new regime and was moved to other less controversial programmes.[10] Telefís Éireann did not renew his contract when it expired in 1973, ironically, just as his last documentary won two awards at the Golden Prague International Television Festival. The documentary, Behind The Closed Eye, focused on the Irish poet Francis Ledwidge who was killed while serving in the British army in Belgium during World War I.[11]

[edit] Other interests
In addition to his literary and broadcasting careers, Cleeve had a lively interest in many other areas. Here are some examples:

While living in South Africa, he took up épée fencing under the Italian master, Ugo Monticelli. Later, in Ireland, he became prominent in the sport's organisation and went on to become Irish champion in 1957 and 1959.[3]
Shakespeare's Hamlet fascinated him and his thesis on the origin of the tale of the Danish prince led to him receiving his PhD from University College Dublin.
His interest in languages drew him to the study of Shelta, the secret language of the Irish Traveller people.

[edit] Spiritual life
Raised as an Anglican, Cleeve converted to Roman Catholicism in 1942.[3] In his thirties he became agnostic but continued to pursue his interest in the spiritual dimension of life. In 1977, he began to experience a deep sense of the presence of God and the effect on his life was profound. He all but abandoned his successful literary career and wrote three mystical works that aroused much debate in Ireland.[12] The first of these, The House on the Rock, contains a series of meditations on a wide variety of topics from the nature of good and evil to more secular matters such as politics and nuclear energy. This was followed by The Seven Mansions, which delves deeper into some of the subjects covered in its predecessor. The third book, The Fourth Mary, was published in 1982 and is an account of a branch of the cult of Dionysus that flourished in first century Jerusalem.

When the clamour caused by his spiritual books died down, Cleeve withdrew from the public gaze. He continued to write for a small audience of those who contacted him following publication of The House on the Rock. In 2001, he published a collection of essays on the Internet summarising his spiritual beliefs. In these, he described the steps he believed were necessary for anyone wishing to pursue a spiritual life. They consist of learning to follow God's guidance as an "inner voice" in one's mind, uncovering the past failures that keep one trapped in a negative cycle of self-absorption, and learning the qualities necessary to live as one of God's servants.[1]

[edit] Final years
Following his wife Veronica's death in 1999, Cleeve moved to the village of Shankill, Dublin. His health deteriorated rapidly following a series of small strokes. In November 2001, he married his second wife, Patricia Ledwidge, and she cared for him during his final months.

On March 11, 2003, he died suddenly of a heart attack and his body now lies under a headstone bearing the inscription, 'Servant of God'.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Novels
The Far Hills (1952)
Portrait of My City (1953)
Birth of a Dark Soul (1954) (also published as The Night Winds)
Assignment to Vengeance (1961)
Death of a Painted Lady (1962) (also published as The Portrait)
Death of a Wicked Servant (1963)
Vote X for Treason (1964) (also published as Counterspy)
Dark Blood, Dark Terror (1966)
The Judas Goat (1966) (also published as Vice Isn't Private)
Violent Death of a Bitter Englishman (1967)
You Must Never Go Back (1968) (also published as Shadow of Gold)
Exit from Prague (1970) (also published as The Sleepers)
Cry of Morning (1971) (also published as The Triumph of O'Rourke)
Tread Softly in this Place (1972)
The Dark Side of the Sun (1973)
A Question of Inheritance (1974) (also published as For Love of Crannagh Castle)
Sara (1975)
Kate (1977)
Judith (1978)
Hester (1978)
A Woman of Fortune (1993)

[edit] Non-Fiction
Dictionary of Irish Writers - Volume 1 (1967)
Dictionary of Irish Writers - Volume 2 (1970)
Dictionary of Irish Writers - Volume 3 (1971)
W.B. Yeats and the Designing of Ireland's Coinage (1972)
The House on the Rock (1980)
The Seven Mansions (1980)
1938: A World Vanishing (1982)
The Fourth Mary (1982)
A View of the Irish (1983)
Biographical Dictionary of Irish Writers (1985) (with Anne Brady)

[edit] Radio/TV Plays and Scripts
The Voodoo Dancer (1961)
Comeback (1962) (with Veronica Cleeve)
The King of Sunday (1962)
A Case of Character (1964) (with John Bowen)
The Girl from Mayo (1969) (with Carolyn Swift)
You Must Never Go Back (1971) (with Peter Hoar)
Cry of Morning (1972) (with Peter Hoar)
Exit from Prague (1972) (with Peter Hoar)

[edit] Short stories (selected)
Alibi (1947)
The Eight Kikuyu (1955)
Passport to Darkness (1956)
The Salmon of Knowledge (1957)
The Medal (1961)
The Panther (1961)
The Sergeant (1963)
Foxer (1965)
The Horse Thieves of Ballysaggert (1966) (Collection)
The Devil & Democracy (1966)
First Love (1968)
Madonna of Rathmines (1969)
An Arab was the First Gardener (1970)

[edit] References
^ Burke, Sir Bernard, Burke's Irish family records, Burke's Peerage, 1976
^ Lee, David and Jacobs, Debbie, Made in Limerick Vol.1, History of industries, trade and commerce, Limerick Civic Trust, 2003
^ a b c d e f Obituary, The Irish Times, March 22, 2003
^ London Gazette, 21 May 1940
^ Cleeve, Veronica, A Woman's Story, Capel, 1982
^ Mystery Writers of America (searchable database)
^ The Irish Times, "Brian Cleeve's Golden Girl", May 10, 1976
^ RTV Guide, December 4, 1964
^ Evening Press, January 11-13, 1966
^ Dowling, Jack, Doolan, Lelia, and Bob Quinn, Sit Down and Be Counted: The Cultural Evolution of a Television Station, Wellington Publishers, 1969
^ Graham, Godfrey, Forty Years Behind the Lens at RTÉ, Ashfield Press, 2005 (p.68)
^ Sunday Independent, "For Brian Cleeve, it's Apocalypse Now", March 30, 1980

[edit] Additional reading and sources
Bruce, Jim, Faithful Servant: A Memoir of Brian Cleeve (Lulu, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84753-064-6)
Cleeve, Veronica, A Woman's Story, (Capel, 1982, ISBN 905441567)
Macdonald, Gina (ed.), Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 276: British Mystery and Thriller Writers Since 1960 (Thomson Gale, 2003, ISBN 978-0787660208)
Reilly, John M.(ed.), Twentieth-century crime and mystery writers (Palgrave Macmillan, 1985, ISBN 0312824181)
Vasudevan, Aruna (ed.), Twentieth-century romance and historical writers (St. James Press, 1994, ISBN 1558621806

John Clare

At the age of seven Clare was taken from school to tend sheep and geese; four years later he began to work on a farm, attending in the evenings a school where he is said to have learned algebra. Since his formal education was brief, but also because he politicised the relationship between his local dialect and the increasingly standardised English in literary use, Clare resisted the use of fully standard grammar and orthography in his poetry and prose. Many of his poems incorporate terms used locally in his Northamptonshire dialect, such as 'pooty' (snail), 'lady-cow' (ladybird), 'crizzle' (to crisp) and 'throstle' (song-thrush).

In his early adult years, Clare became a pot-boy in the Blue Bell public house and fell in love with Mary Joyce; but her father, a prosperous farmer, forbade her to meet him. Subsequently he was a gardener at Burghley House. He enlisted in the militia, tried camp life with Gypsies, and worked in Pickworth as a lime burner in 1817, but in the following year he was obliged to accept parish relief. Malnutrition stemming from childhood would be the main culprit behind his 5-ft stature and contributed to his poor physical health later on.

Clare had bought a copy of Thomson's Seasons out of his scanty earnings and had begun to write poems. In an attempt to hold off his parents' eviction from their countryside home, Clare offered his poems to a local bookseller named Edward Drury. Clare eventually befriended the author of Seasons and introduced his poems to his cousin John Taylor of the publishing firm of Taylor & Hessey, who had published the work of John Keats. They issued the Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery in 1820. This book was highly praised, and in the next year his Village Minstrel and other Poems were published.

He was greatly patronised; fame, in the shape of curious visitors, broke the tenor of his life, and he indulged more freely the convivial habits that he had formed: mainly alcoholism, in which Clare eloquently described as his "taste for ale". He had married in 1820 to a woman named Patty Turner, and an annuity of 15 guineas from the Marquess of Exeter, in whose service he had been, was supplemented by subscription, so that Clare became possessed of £45 annually, a sum far beyond what he had ever earned; but new wants made his income insufficient, and in 1823 he was nearly penniless. The Shepherd's Calendar (1827) met with little success, which was not increased by his hawking it himself. As he worked again on the fields his health temporarily improved; but he soon became seriously ill. Earl FitzWilliam presented him with a new cottage and a piece of ground, but Clare could not settle in his new home.

Clare began to find himself discontent with the fact that his style of poetry was no longer in the current "fashion", but also felt that he did not belong with other peasants. Clare once wrote "I live here among the ignorant like a lost man in fact like one whom the rest seemes careless of having anything to do with---they hardly dare talk in my company for fear I should mention them in my writings and I find more pleasure in wandering the fields than in musing among my silent neighbours who are insensible to everything but toiling and talking of it and that to no purpose." It is common to see the absence of punctuation in many of Clare's original writings, although many publishers felt the need to remedy this practice in the majority of his work. Clare argued with his editors about how it should be presented to the public.

Clare was constantly torn between the two worlds of literary London and his often illiterate neighbours, between the need to write poetry and the need for money to feed and clothe his children. His health began to suffer, and he had bouts of severe depression, which became worse after his sixth child was born in 1830 and his poetry sold less well. His friends and his London patrons clubbed together to move the family in 1832 to a larger cottage with a smallholding in the village of Northborough, not far from Helpston, thinking that would help him. However, this only made him feel more alienated.

His last and best work, the Rural Muse (1835), was noticed favorably by Christopher North and other reviewers, but this was not enough to support his wife and seven children. Clare's mental health began to worsen. As his alcohol consumption steadily increased and his dissatisfaction with his own identity, Clare's behavior became more erratic. A more notable instance of this behavior was demonstrated in his interruption of a performance of The Merchant of Venice, in which Clare verbally assaulted Shylock. He was becoming a burden to Patty and his family, and in July 1837 he was finally removed to a Dr Matthew Allen's private asylum (High Beech Private Asylum near Loughton in Epping Forest).

During his first few asylum years in Essex (1837-1841), Clare re-wrote famous poems by George Gordon Byron, turning his own 'Child Harold' into a lament for past lost love, and 'Don Juan A Poem' into an acerbic, misogynistic, sexualised rant redolent of an aging Regency Dandy. Recently scholars have toyed with the possibility that rather than crude evidence that Clare was delusional, he found in Lord Byron someone who had the playful social and sexual freedoms of which he could only dream. Clare also took credit for Shakespeare's plays, claiming to be the Renaissance extraordinaire himself. "I'm John Clare now," the poet claimed to a newspaper editor, "I was Byron and Shakespeare formerly."

In 1841, Clare left the asylum in Essex, believing that he was to meet his first love Mary Joyce in the woods---Clare was convinced that he was married with children to her and Patty as well. He did not believe her family when they told him she had died three years earlier. He remained free, mostly at home in Helpston, for the five months to follow, but eventually Patty called the Doctors in, between Christmas and New Year in 1841, and Clare was committed to the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum (known since as St Andrew's Hospital). He remained here for the rest of his life, encouraged and helped to write. Here he wrote his most famous poem, I Am, but many others besides. He died 20 May, 1864, in his 71st year. His remains were returned to Helpston for burial in St Botolph’s churchyard. Today, children at the John Clare School, Helpston's primary, parade through the village and place their 'midsummer cushions' around Clare's gravestone, on his birthday, in honour of their most famous resident.

[edit] Poetry
Clare grew up during a period of massive changes in both town and countryside. The Industrial Revolution blackened urban areas. Many former agricultural workers, including children, went to work in factories because of the rural poverty caused by the Napoleonic wars, which kept wages down but forced prices up. The Agricultural Revolution saw pastures ploughed up, trees and hedges uprooted, the nearby fens drained and the common land enclosed. This destruction of a centuries-old way of life distressed Clare deeply.

His early work delights both in nature and the cycle of the rural year. Poems such as Winter Evening, Haymaking and Wood Pictures in Summer celebrate the beauty of the world and the certainties of rural life, where animals must be fed and crops harvested. Poems such as Little Trotty Wagtail show his sharp observation of wildlife, though The Badger is unsentimental about the place of animals in the countryside. At this time, he often used poetic forms such as the sonnet and the rhyming couplet. His later poetry tends to be more meditative and use forms similar to the folks songs and ballads of his youth. A good example of this is Evening.

Clare's descriptions of rural scenes show a keen and loving appreciation of nature; his knowledge of the natural world went far beyond that of the major Romantic poets, and his love-songs and ballads charm by their genuine feeling. There is more to Clare than animals and rural prettiness, however. Although it is regularly observed that his poem I Am shows a metaphysical depth on a par with his more illustrious contemporaries many of his pre-asylum poems deal with intricate play on the nature of linguistics, while his bird's nest poems illustrate the self-awareness, and obsession with the creative process that captivated the romantics in a truly individual style.

Clare was relatively forgotten during the latter nineteenth century, but interest in his work was revived by Arthur Symons in 1908, Edmund Blunden in 1920 and John and Anne Tibble in their ground-breaking 1935 2-volume edition. Copyright to much of his work has been claimed since 1965 by the editor of the Complete Poetry (OUP, 9 vols., 1984-2003), Professor Eric Robinson, though some have contested this copyright claim. Indeed with the recent advent (1999 ff.) of minor and major publishers no longer genuflecting to the putative claim (especially in recent editions from Faber and Carcanet), it seems the copyright is now defunct. For a full list of recent reactions to the issue, see the 'copyright' section of The John Clare Page. For an article summarising the issue see Poor Clare by John Goodridge. For Robinson's most recent public declaration of ownership see his letter to the Guardian of February 2003. Today the largest collection of original Clare manuscripts in existence are housed at Peterborough Museum, where they are available to view by appointment.

[edit] Poem Collections by Clare (chronological)
Please help improve this article or section by expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk page or at requests for expansion. (February 2007)

Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery. London, 1820.
The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems. London, 1821.
The Shepherd's Calendar with Village Stories and Other Poems. London, 1827
The Rural Muse. London, 1835.
Sonnet. London 1841

[edit] Works about Clare (chronological)
Martin, Frederick. The Life of John Clare.' 1865.
Cherry, J. L. Life and remains of John Clare. 1873.
Gale, Norman. Clare's Poems. 1901.
Dendurent, H. O. John Clare: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978.
Brownlow, Timothy. John Clare and Picturesque Landscape. 1983.
Haughton, Hugh, Adam Phillips, and Geoffrey Summerfield. John Clare in Context. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Moore, Alan, Voice of the Fire (Chapter 10 only), Great Britain: Victor Gollancz.
Goodridge, John, and Simon Kovesi, eds., John Clare: New Approaches John Clare Society, 2000.
Bate, Jonathan. John Clare. London: Picador, 2003.
Sinclair, Iain. Edge of The Orison: In the Traces of John Clare's "Journey Out
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