Richard Aldington: An Autobiography in Letters

By Zilboorg, Caroline | Philological Quarterly, Spring 1993 | Go to article overview

Richard Aldington: An Autobiography in Letters


Zilboorg, Caroline, Philological Quarterly


Richard Aldington: An Autobiography in Letters, edited by Norman T. Gates. Pennsylvania State U. Press, 1992.

From his earliest years in London's literary circles in 1911, Richard Aidington has been a figure of controversy. As the youngest of the imagists (he was 19 when he began to edit the literary section of The Egoist in 1912, two years too young to enter the British Library's reading room), he was an intimate friend of many important writers in the formative years of literary modernism: Ezra Pound was an early mentor; F. S. Flint his closest companion; H. D. an admired partner. Others soon moved into the group that became a counterpart to the modernism of Bloomsbury: D.H. Lawrence, Amy Lowell, Harold Monro, John Cournos. Through his work on The Egoist, Aldington's literary circle widened to include the writers he published (Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, James Joyce and later T.S. Eliot) and journalists of Fleet Street (Clement Shorter, Bruce Richmond, Louise Morgan).

In person, Aldington was a dashing fellow: tall, attractive, witty, warm with friends, enduringly loyal, shy with strangers, reserved and independent, sexually appealing. His intimates always included lovers: Brigit Patmore in 1912 and later from 1926 through 36; H. D. from 1912 through 1919; Arabella Yorke from 1917 through 1928; and beginning in 1936, Netta McCulloch Patmore, who became his second wife and the mother of his only child in 1938.

Aldington's military service during the Great War (he was conscripted in 1916, demobilized in 1919) occasioned both love and war poetry; in 1929, he turned from verse to fiction, placing his experiences in the trenches in the context of a bitter satire of the English home front. Death of a Hero was immensely popular and for many readers established Aldington's reputation as a powerful writer and sharp social critic, a sensitive man both hurt and angered by the war. After several successful novels (The Colonel's Daughter [1931] and All Men Are Enemies [1933] are certainly still worth reading), Aldington turned increasingly to biography. His scholarship without the sanction of a university degree or position had always been worthy, from his early translations of Greek and Latin writers through his translations from French and Italian in the 1920's through the 1940s; from his early biography of Voltaire (1925) through his life of the Provencal poet Mistral (1956); from his anthology The Viking Book of Poetry of the English Speaking World (1941) through his collections of Wilde (1946), Pater (1948), and the Aesthetes (1950). His reviews also established Aldington as a critic as early as 1912; he was French reviewer for the TLS from 1919 through the early thirties, and continued to review books of all sorts for London papers throughout the 1920s and 1930s (especially the Times, the Nation, and the Spectator). His biography of D. H. Lawrence in 1950 was one of the first serious studies; it went beyond memoir to perceptive analysis and offered a valuable overview of Lawrence's life and work. Aldington's biography of T. E. Lawrence in 1955 managed to alienate everyone from Sir Winston Churchill to Robert Graves; however, it provided a wealth of information about Lawrence and was the first book to analyze the effect of Lawrence's illegitimacy, privileged upbringing and homosexuality on the career he fashioned for himself as Lawrence of Arabia.

The friends of Aldington's maturity included scholars (Glenn Hughes, Harry T. Moore), publishers (Charles Prentice, A. S. Frere) and younger writers (Eric Warman, Lawrence Durrell, Alister Kershaw). Aldington's faithfulness to early friends meant that he maintained life-long relationships, creating a widening circle of correspondents; Aldington's voracious reading in several languages and indefatigable curiosity meant that his frame of reference constantly increased. He was a writer from childhood and a published author from the age of most university sophomores; he remains a literary figure of still underrated influence, reputation and elegance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Richard Aldington: An Autobiography in Letters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.