Authors Today and Yesterday: A Companion Volume to Living Authors

By Stanley J. Kunitz; Howard Haycraft et al. | Go to book overview

AUTHORS TODAY AND YESTERDAY

Lascelles Abercrombie 1881-

LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE, English poet, critic, and scholar, was born on January 9, 1881; the sixth son of William Abercrombie of Ashton- on-Mersey, Cheshire, and a younger brother of Leslie Patrick Abercrombie, English architect and writer.

After attending Malvern College he entered Victoria University, Manchester, where his studies were chiefly along scientific lines. His natural bent was literary and academic, however, and 1919 found him lecturer in poetry at the University of Liverpool. Three years later he was made professor of English literature at the University of Leeds and since 1929 he has been Hildred Carlile Professor (of literature) in Bedford College, University of London.

Professor Abercrombie is currently best known to the general public as a teacher, lecturer, and essayist, but competent critics are of the opinion that it is as an exponent of the limited movement in poetry known as "Georgian" that he is most likely to be remembered by future generations. Tho his verse has never been in any sense "popular" he is not infrequently called the Georgian laureate.

His first published writing was a small book of verse, Interludes and Poems, issued in 1908 when he was twenty- seven. In 1912, unable to find a commercial publisher, he had The Sale of St. Thomas, "a dramatic poem," printed privately. (It was to become his best known poetic effort and was reissued publicly in 1930.) A year later he joined with Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, and W. W. Gibson in founding a quarterly magazine, New Numbers, which was devoted to the poetry of the four founders. Three issues appeared and then the War intervened and broke up the group. Two of the group, Aber-

Lascelles Abercrombie: lă'ĕlz ăb'ẽr-krŭm-bē LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE

crombie and Gibson, together with Walter De La Mare, were named financial beneficiaries of Brooke's literary estate by the terms of his will.

From the outbreak of the War to the early 'Twenties Abercrombie published but little. Since then numerous books have come from his pen. Most of his recent works, however, are in prose. The crowning achievement of his career as a poet came in 1930 when a collected edition of his verse was issued in the Oxford Poets Series. Only two poets have been included in the Series in their lifetimes. (The other was Robert Bridges.)

Despite this unusual recognition, Abercrombie's poetry has found only a small public, chiefly because of its limited appeal, which Louis Untermeyer identifies with the author's "superficially dense style." He is a poet of the intellect and esthetic theory, recording philosophical abstractions rather than emotional sensations, and his writing is opposed equally to the Imagist school

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Authors Today and Yesterday: A Companion Volume to Living Authors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Key to Pronunciations viii
  • Authors Today and Yesterday 1
  • Index 719
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