Read The poems of Ernest Dowson - 1906 by Ernest Dowson Free Online
Book Title: The poems of Ernest Dowson - 1906|
The author of the book: Ernest Dowson
Edition: SINE CAUSA
Date of issue: November 4th 2011
ISBN: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 21.77 MB
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At last, a poet who no longer hears the music, yet insists he must continue singing—a fellow most famous for his phrases rather than his verses, such a shame, and for his drink rather than his dithyramb—a pity, and his turn-of-phrases that can’t quite get to the essence of the turn of the century. I adore Ernest Dowson, and I consider him a phenomenal talent whose prosody—while kind of trite—is nevertheless given grandiosity by the beyond-language beauty of his imagery. He exceeded the l'art pour l'art nonsense of his time. His ability to invoke the crooked image in clarion consonance is unique. Never has English sounded so Romantic, specifically French. (Making English sound like French is not worthwhile itself, but how it serves these verses!) Yes, here is a poet who gives vivacity to the sad art nouveau paintings and posters of his time. Here is a poet who wants nothing more than to be a poet: nothing vatic, nothing prophetic, nothing resembling Shelley nor the horrors of Eliot that were on the horizon. Dowson merely wanted to be a maker or melody, finding dithyrambic phrases to make English sound lonely and indifferent. The pronoun "I" now demands pity or contempt, for it now represents a poet more concerned with the sound of words than the purpose of words. It is, if we stop and think about it, a pretty radical notion; yes, it was common among these aesthetes—but no one...*no one*...comes nearer than Dowson to poetry.
Ezra Pound divided poetry into three different realms: logopoeia, melopoeia, and phanopoeia. Our modern verse often champions the first. Dowson considers the second and third to be the very heart of his art. If it sounds dulcet, then it is a poem. If the imagery intoxicates, then it is Dionysian. No, I don’t think this fellow is on par with, say, Keats. Who could be? But my goodness is Dowson excellent, and it’s a pity that he was swept into the fold of the aesthetes, because he could have done something that transcended any of his peers had he retained a modicum of independence.
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Read information about the authorErnest Christopher Dowson was an English poet, novelist and writer of short stories, associated with the Decadent movement.
Dowson attended The Queen's College, Oxford, but left before obtaining a degree. In November 1888, he started work with his father at Dowson and Son, a dry-docking business in Limehouse, east London, established by the poet's grandfather. He led an active social life, carousing with medical students and law pupils, going to music halls, and taking the performers to dinner. Meanwhile, he was also working assiduously at his writing. He was a member of the Rhymers' Club, which included W. B. Yeats and Lionel Johnson. He was also a frequent contributor to the literary magazines The Yellow Book and The Savoy. Dowson collaborated on two unsuccessful novels with Arthur Moore, worked on a novel of his own, Madame de Viole, and wrote reviews for The Critic.
Dowson was also a prolific translator of French fiction, including novels by Balzac and the Goncourt brothers, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos.
In 1889, at the age of 23, Dowson fell in love with 11-year-old Adelaide "Missie" Foltinowicz, the daughter of a Polish restaurant owner. Adelaide is reputed to be the subject of one his best-known poems, Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae. He pursued her unsuccessfully; in 1897, she married a tailor who lodged above her father's restaurant and Dowson was crushed. In August, 1894, Dowson's father, who was in the advanced stages of tuberculosis, died of an overdose of chloral hydrate. His mother, who was also consumptive, hanged herself in February, 1895, and soon Dowson began to decline rapidly.
Robert Sherard one day found Dowson almost penniless in a wine bar and took him back to the cottage in Catford where he was himself living. Dowson spent the last six weeks of his life at Sherard's cottage and died there of alcoholism at the age of 32. He is buried in the Roman Catholic section of nearby Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries.
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