Literary Criticisms

Literary Criticisms

Literary Criticisms

Literary Criticisms

Excerpt

In his study of other poets, Francis Thompson was deeply interested in finding the future man in the boy. And in his own mature work as critic, no less than poet, there is clear evidence of the boy of whom his father once said: "I cannot imagine where that boy has learned all that he knows." Thompson's critical work embraces an incredible number of subjects, ranging from the poems of Ernest Dowson to the Odes of Coventry Patmore; from Roman empresses to the Blind Sisters of St. Paul; from Marysiencka to St. Teresa of Avila; from the early Church to the Salvation Army; from Astro-Physics to Mysticism. Learned, keen, and wellbalanced, these criticisms are expressed in flawless prose -- witty, racy, and, at times, sublime -- that every week delighted readers of London's most important periodicals.

Because many of these articles were unsigned, few of Thompson's contemporaries had any knowledge of the incredible amount of work he accomplished in the field of criticism during the last ten years of his life -- the decade that bridged the close of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.

1897: End of Poet. Beginning of Journalist.
The years of transition completed.

That simple entry in one of Thompson's notebooks records the change that issued in the rich legacy of criticism that he has left us.

A notable description of Thompson during his days of book reviewing, quoted by Everard Meynell in his Life of the poet, was the inspiration of the Honorable Neville Lytton's pastel reproduced as frontispiece of this volume.

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