John Betjeman

Betjeman, Sir John

Sir John Betjeman (bĕt´jəmən), 1906–84, English poet, b. London. Traditional in rhyme and meter, his verse combined a witty appraisal of the English present with nostalgia for England's past, especially the Victorian past. His published collections include Mt. Zion (1933), Continental Dew (1937), Old Lights for New Chancels (1940), A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954), High and Low (1966), Metro–Land (1977), Church Poems (1981), and Collected Poems (1971 and 2006). He also wrote numerous architectural studies, including Ghastly Good Taste or a Depressing Story of the Rise and Fall of English Architecture (1933, rev. ed. 1971) and A Pictorial History of English Architecture (1972). Knighted in 1969, he was named poet laureate of England in 1972.

See Summoned by Bells (1960), an autobiography in verse; biographies by P. Taylor-Martin (1983), B. Hillier (1988 and 2002), and A. N. Wilson (2006); B. Hillier, John Betjeman: A Life in Pictures (1984); C. L. Green, ed., John Betjeman Letters (2 vol., 1994–95); studies by M. L. Stapleton (1974) and F. Delaney (1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

A Few Late Chrysanthemums
John Betjeman.
Murray, 1954
Selected Criticism: Prose, Poetry
Louise Bogan.
Noonday Press, 1955
Librarian’s tip: "John Betjeman" begins on p. 343
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Ian Hamilton.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Betjeman, Sir John (1906-84)" begins on p. 44
The Modern Poets: An American-British Anthology
John Malcolm Brinnin; Bill Read.
McGraw-Hill, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "John Betjeman" begins on p. 31
The Columbia History of British Poetry
Carl Woodring; James Shapiro.
Columbia University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "From Ballads to Betjeman" begins on p. 110
Puzzles and Epiphanies: Essays and Reviews, 1958-1961
Frank Kermode.
Chilmark Press, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XVI "Henry Miller and John Betjeman"
Anglicanism and the Poetry of John Betjeman
Gardner, Kevin J.
Christianity and Literature, Vol. 53, No. 3, Spring 2004
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