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Encyclopedia > Martin Seymour Smith

Martin Seymour-Smith (b.1928 d. 1998) was a British poet, now better known as a critic and biographer.

He began as one of the most promising of British post-war poets. However he became more famous as a critic, writing biographies of Robert Graves (whom he met first at age 14), Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy and numerous critical studies.

His Guide to Modern World Literature is an encyclopedic attempt to describe all major 20th century authors, in all languages. The book is over 1000 pages long. It has been found fascinating, eccentric, annoying and astonishing. It is notable for championing writers Seymour-Smith regarded as being under-rated (writers such as James Hanley, Laura Riding, Pio Baroja, Jose Maria Arguedas and others) and attacking those he regarded as being over-valued (such as W.H. Auden, and T.S. Eliot).

He also wrote other large surveys of literature, including 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written.



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