By John R. Sloan
Back in 1917, Virginia Woolf expressed surprise that anyone as good as John Davidson should "be so little famous." This book, the first biography of Davidson (1857-1909) in more than thirty years, shows the poet to be a key figure in the emergence of literary modernism and a major influence on the younger poets of his day, particularly T.S. Eliot. Sloan presents a wealth of new information about Davidson's life, including his struggles in London as a penniless author. The picture that emerges is not simply that of a late Victorian rebel, but of a proto-Modernist who pioneered a new idiom and subject matter for twentieth-century verse.