Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson

Excerpt

WHEN Francis Thompson's first volume, Poems. appeared in 1893 Tennyson and Browning were dead, Alfred Austin was poet Laureate, the Rhymers' Club were meeting at the Cheshire Cheese and were producing, in general, rather pale and world-weary verses. It was the era of The Yellow Book , when the predominant mood among writers was desire to escape from the ugliness and materialism of the time. Thompson, once a silent guest at the Rhymers' Club, was also a refugee from the nineteenth century, but his verses were neither pale nor world-weary; they were highly coloured and sought to express a positive vision of a realm of spiritual realities rather than a rejection of the world of every day. A few thought they found in him true splendour and profound vision; but others thought the splendour merely one of rags and patches, the vision the product of drugs and dreams, of the sentimental reveries of one too weak to deal with the real world. His circle of enthusiastic admirers grew, however, and the collected edition of 1913 had a remarkably good sale; since then he has held the allegiance of a considerable number of ordinary readers of poetry, but the critics have remained, predominantly, hostile. Every one agrees that there are some fine things in his work, but he is blamed for over-ornate diction, imprecise and pretentious imagery, lack of form, derivativeness and pseudo-profundity. If the severer critics are right, we may safely ignore all but a few anthology pieces; but we ought to take a close look at him before deciding that they are so. For it may be that he possesses qualities that are all the more valuable to us for being unfashionable. The most admired work of the younger poets today is precise, controlled, intelligent, but rather lacking in fire and in range and depth of vision. These poets are, admirably, intent upon being honest, on . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.