Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas, 1878–1917, English poet, b. London, studied at Oxford. Forced to earn a living for his young family, Thomas began his literary career writing prose: dozens of essays on a wide array of subjects; 20 books, including a novel and many on travel and nature, e.g., The South Country, 1909, that deepened the genre; critical studies of Keats, Swinburne, Pater, and others; and hundreds of book reviews. Discerning and a superb stylist, he was a particularly fine poetry critic. His friendship with Robert Frost, which began in 1912, encouraged him to write poetry, and army life during World War I freed him from the drudgery of prose composition. His first volume, Six Poems (1916), mostly pastoral verse, was published shortly before he was killed in the battle of Arras. A poet of the English countryside, Thomas wrote his 144 poems in the last two years of his life. His gentle verse was marked by a clarity of observation combined with a use of natural speech rhythms that brought him great critical acclaim, especially among his fellow poets.

See his collected poems (1920, rev. ed. 1936); Selected Letters (1996), ed. by R. G. Thomas; G. Cuthbertson and L. Newlyn, ed., Edward Thomas: Prose Writings: A Selected Edition (2 vol., 2011–); biographies by R. P. Eckert (1937) and M. Hollis (2012); studies by W. Cooke (1970) and H. Coombes (1956, repr. 1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Selected Letters
Edward Thomas.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Edward Thomas
Vernon Scannell.
Longmans, Green, 1963
Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism
C. B. Cox; A. E. Dyson.
Edward Arnold, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Sign-Post"
High and Low Moderns: Literature and Culture, 1889-1939
Maria DiBattista; Lucy McDiarmid.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Business of the Earth: Edward Thomas and Ecocentrism" begins on p. 107
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Ian Hamilton.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Thomas, Edward (1878-1917)" begins on p. 538
Authors Today and Yesterday: A Companion Volume to Living Authors
Stanley J. Kunitz; Howard Haycraft; Wilbur C. Hadden.
H.W. Wilson, 1933
Librarian’s tip: "Edward Thomas 1878-1917" begins on p. 648
Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950
David Cecil; Allen Tate.
Macmillan, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Edward Thomas (Br. 1878-1917)" begins on p. 199
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