COVENTRY PATMORE by James Oliver

COVENTRY PATMORE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This new biography of the poet Coventry Patmore makes a thorough attempt to relate his poetry and prose to his life. In this it is successful, and perhaps justifies its existence following as it does the excellent Life and Times of Coventry Patmore by Derek Patmore (1949). Patmore's adult life fell in three distinct parts of about equal length. They correspond oddly enough to the fifteen years of marriage to his first wife in which he wrote the favorite Victorian poem- Angel in the House. At her death, Patmore became a Catholic and married an alcoholic, and he also wrote his great work The Unknown Eros. At her death, Patmore married the able young woman who was governess to his six children and in this period- again about fifteen years- wrote chiefly prose. A man of extravagant contradictions, Catholic and anti-clericalist, conservative but utterly independent, unalterably devoted to his first wife but the husband of two other women, he presents an interesting character study. Unfortunately this is not a brilliant book- merely an able one, and color is lacking. And Patmore although a gifted man, and a friend of Browning, Tennyson and other great men, is an almost forgotten figure today.

Publisher: Sheed & Ward