Letter of Cecil Day-Lewis

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

DP/149 comprises one single, undated letter from Cecil Day-Lewis to Richard Church. It was purchased in 1968. Thanks him for his encouragement and says `Your own poetry is the only witness that need be called for the defence against this farcical sort of criticism which says that one must be brushed by the wing of Eliot or Auden in order to be saved'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cecil Day-Lewis was born on 27 April 1904 at Ballintubbet in Ireland, the only child of the Reverend Frank Cecil Day-Lewis, a Church of Ireland curate, and his wife, Kathleen Blake. His mother died when he was four and he was brought up in London by his father and an aunt. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He was a contemporary and admirer of W H Auden. His early volumes of verse included Beechen Vigil (1925) and Country Comets (1928). He 1928 he married Constance Mary King and took a teaching post near Larchfield School near Glasgow. To support a growing family he began to write detective novels under the pseudnym, Nicholas Blake. Success encouraged him to abandon teaching for a writing and political career and in 1935 he joined the Communist Party. In 1938 he moved to Devon and devoted himself to poetry. He published several more volumes of verse including Poems 1943-1947 (1948). He worked for the Ministry of Information during the war and for Chatto and Windus after the war. His marriage was dissolved in 1951, after several affairs, and he married Jill Balcon. In 1968 he became port laureate and was elected to the Irish Academy of Letters. His final volume of verse was The Whispering Roots (1970). He died in 1972 (Dictionary of National Biography).

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Originally published by Access to Archives - A2A. The data in this finding aid is in the copyright of the place of deposit.

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University of Texas; Harvard University; Liverpool University; Huntington Library, California; Reading University


Dictionary of National Biography