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Encyclopedia > Stephen Spender

Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE, (February 28, 1909, LondonJuly 16, 1995) was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. Commanders Badge of the Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions, in order of seniority: Knight or Dame Grand Cross... February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification  -  by Athelstan 967  Area... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... A novel is an extended work of written, narrative, prose fiction, usually in story form; the writer of a novel is a novelist. ... An essayist is an author who writes compositions which can be about any particular subject. ... Social injustice is a concept relating to the perceived unfairness or injustice of a society in its divisions of rewards and burdens. ... Class struggle is class conflict looked at from a Marxist, libertarian socialist, or anarchist perspective. ...

Contents

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Early life

He was born to a journalist father (Edward Harold Spender); his mother was Violet Hilda (née Schuster), who was a painter and a poet. Spender went to Gresham's School, Holt, as a child and University College, London and University College, Oxford as a young adult. He was made an honorary fellow of Oxford University in 1973. But He did not finish his at degree London University and lived for periods of time in Germany. Perhaps his closest friend and the man who had the biggest influence on him was W.H. Auden. Around this time he was also friends with Christopher Isherwood (who had also lived in Weimar Germany), and fellow Macspaunday members Louis MacNeice, and C. Day Lewis. He would later come to know W.B. Yeats, Allen Ginsberg, Ted Hughes, Joseph Brodsky, Isaiah Berlin, Mary McCarthy, Roy Campbell, Raymond Chandler, Dylan Thomas, Jean-Paul Sartre and T. S. Eliot, as well as members of the Bloomsbury Group, in particular Virginia Woolf. Gresham’s School is a coeducational, independent boarding school at Holt in North Norfolk, England, founded in the year 1555, a member of the HMC. // Big School (1903) Greshams School was established at Holt by Sir John Gresham in 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary I. For its... The Front Quad University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. ... The term university college is used in a number of countries to denote institutions that provide tertiary education but do not have full or independent university status. ... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... Christopher Isherwood (left) and W.H. Auden (right), photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Christopher Isherwood (prior to 1946 Christopher William Bradshaw-Isherwood) (August 26, 1904 – January 4, 1986), Anglo-American novelist, was born in the ancestral seat of his family, Wybersley Hall, High Lane, in the north west of... The period of German history from 1919 to 1933 is known as the Weimar Republic (in German Weimarer Republik). It is named after the city of Weimar, where a national assembly convened to produce a new constitution after the German monarchy was abolished following the nations defeat in World... MacSpaunday was a term used to describe a group of poets from the 30s, that for the most part were Oxford educated, leftist, and bisexual, and who dedicated many of their early works to each other. ... Frederick Louis MacNeice (September 12, 1907 – September 3, 1963) was a British and Irish poet and playwright. ... Cecil Day-Lewis (or Day Lewis) (27th April 1904-22nd May 1972) was a British poet. ... A 1907 engraving of Yeats. ... Irwin Allen Ginsberg (IPA: ) (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American Beat poet. ... 1 Aspinall Street, Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, where Ted Hughes was born. ... Bookcover of Works and Days in Russian Joseph Brodsky (May 24, 1940 – January 28, 1996), born Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (Russian: ) was a Russian-born poet and essayist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987) and was chosen Poet Laureate of the United States (1991-1992). ... Sir Isaiah Berlin, OM, (June 6, 1909 – November 5, 1997) was a political philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century. ... Mary McCarthy may refer to: Mary McCarthy (author), novelist, critic, and memoirist (1912-1989) Mary McCarthy (CIA), a former CIA employee accused of leaking information Mary McCarthy (screenwriter) This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... Roy Campbell is the name of: a South African poet a jazz musician a character in the Metal Gear series of video games. ... Raymond Chandler Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an author of crime stories and novels. ... Dylan Thomas Dylan Marlais Thomas (October 27, 1914 – November 9, 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer. ... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ... Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965), was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. ... The Bloomsbury Group or Bloomsbury Set or just Bloomsbury, as its adherents would generally refer to it, was an English group of artists and scholars that existed from around 1905 until around World War II. // History The group began as an informal socialwe have been great to society assembly of... For the American childrens writer, see Virginia Euwer Wolff Virginia Woolf (née Stephen) (January 25, 1882 – March 28, 1941) was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. ...


His early poetry, notably Poems (1933) was often inspired by social protest. His convictions found further expression in Vienna (1934], a long poem in praise of the 1934 uprising of Viennese socialists, and in Trial of a Judge (1938), an anti-Fascist drama in verse. His autobiography, World within World (1951), is a re-creation of much of the political and social atmosphere of the 1930s. Vienna (German: , see also other names) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. ... Members of the Dutch Eindhoven Resistance with troops of the US 101st Airborne in Eindhoven in September 1944. ...


Spender began work on a novel in 1929, which was not published until 1988 under the title The Temple. The novel is about a young man who travels to Germany and finds a culture at once more open than England—particularly about relationships between men—and showing frightening anticipations of Nazism, which are confusingly related to the very openness the main character admires. Spender says in his 1988 introduction:

In the late Twenties young English writers were more concerned with censorship than with politics.... 1929 was the last year of that strange Indian Summer -- the Weimar Republic. For many of my friends and for myself, Germany seemed a paradise where there was no censorship and young Germans enjoyed extraordinary freedom in their lives....[1]


== ==


==The war years

When the Spanish civil war began, he went to Spain with the International Brigades (who were fighting against Francisco Franco's fascist forces) to report and observe for the Communist Party of Great Britain. Harry Pollitt, head of the CPGB, told Spender "to go and get killed; we need a Byron in the movement." Combatants Spanish Republic With the support of: Soviet Union[1] Nationalist Spain With the support of: Italy Germany Commanders Manuel Azaña Francisco Largo Caballero Juan Negrín Francisco Franco Gonzalo Queipo de Llano Emilio Mola José Sanjurjo Casualties 500,000[2] The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict... Blason of the International Brigades The International Brigade was the name given to the band of volunteers and mercenaries who travelled to Spain to fight against the Nationalist forces led by General Franco and helped by Nazi German and Mussolini Italian forces, and defend the legitimate Spanish Republic government in... Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde (4 December 1892–20th (or possibly 19th) November[1] 1975), commonly abbreviated to Francisco Franco (pron. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was the largest communist party in the United Kingdom. ... Harry Pollitt (1890 - 1960) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain for more than 20 years. ... The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was a political party in the United Kingdom, which existed from 1920 to 1991. ... Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22, 1788–April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. ...


A member of the political left wing during this early period, he was one of those who wrote of their disillusionment with communism in the essay collection The God that Failed (1949), along with Arthur Koestler and others. It is thought that one of the big areas of disappointment was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, which many leftists saw as a betrayal. Like fellow poets W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood and several other outspoken opponents of fascism in the 1930s, Spender did not see active military service in World War II. He was initially graded 'C' upon examination due to his earlier Colitis, poor eyesight, varicose veins and the long term effects of a tapeworm in 1934. However, he contrived by pulling strings to be re-examined and was upgraded to 'B' which meant that he could serve in the London Auxiliary Fire Service. Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... The God that Failed is a song from Metallicas self-titled album. ... Arthur Koestler (September 5, 1905, Budapest – March 3, 1983, London) was a Hungarian polymath who became a naturalized British subject. ... Molotov signs the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Stalinism is a brand of political theory, and the political and economic system implemented by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. ... Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) was an English poet. ... Christopher Isherwood (left) and W.H. Auden (right), photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Christopher Isherwood (prior to 1946 Christopher William Bradshaw-Isherwood) (August 26, 1904 – January 4, 1986), Anglo-American novelist, was born in the ancestral seat of his family, Wybersley Hall, High Lane, in the north west of... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Colitis is a digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the colon. ... Vein gymnastics in the barefoot park Dornstetten, Germany. ... Orders Subclass Cestodaria Amphilinidea Gyrocotylidea Subclass Eucestoda Aporidea Caryophyllidea Cyclophyllidea Diphyllidea Lecanicephalidea Litobothridea Nippotaeniidea Proteocephalidea Pseudophyllidea Spathebothriidea Tetraphyllidea Trypanorhyncha In biology, Cestoda is the class of parasitic flatworms, called cestodes or tapeworms, that live in the digestive tract of vertebrates as adults and often in the bodies of various animals...


He felt close to the Jewish people; his mother, Violet Hilda Schuster, was half Jewish (her father's family were German Jews who converted to Christianity, while her mother came from an upper-class family of Catholic German, Lutheran Danish and distantly Italian descent). Spender's second wife, Natasha Litvin/Lady Spender, whom he married in 1941, was also part Jewish. For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ...


With Cyril Connolly and Peter Watson Spender co-founded Horizon magazine and served as its editor from 1939 to 1941. He was editor of Encounter magazine from 1953 to 1966, but resigned after it emerged that the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which published the magazine, was being covertly funded by the CIA. Spender always insisted that he was unaware of the ultimate source of Encounter's funds. Spender taught at various American institutions, accepting the Elliston Chair of Poetry at the University of Cincinnati in 1954. In 1961 he became professor of rhetoric at Gresham College, London. == == == Cyril Vernon Connolly (10 September 1903 - 26 November 1974) was an English intellectual. ... Victor William (Peter) Watson (September 14, 1908 – May 3, 1956) was a wealthy art collector in England in the 20th century. ... Encounter was a literary magazine, founded in 1953 by Stephen Spender and Irving Kristol. ... The International Association for Cultural Freedom (previously known as the Congress for Cultural Freedom) was an anti-communist political group best known for being revealed in 1967 as a covert operation of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. ... The CIA Seal The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an American intelligence agency, responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the U.S. Government. ... The University of Cincinnati is a state university located in Cincinnati, Ohio. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of spoken and written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... Sir Thomas Greshams grasshopper crest is used as a symbol of the College Gresham College is an unusual institution of higher learning off Holborn in central London. ...


Link titleBold text |}==Late life== Spender was Professor of English at University College, London, 1970-77, and then became Professor Emeritus. The Front Quad University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ...


In 1980, following a lecture in Oneonta, New York, Spender's plane was grounded due to bad weather, so he took a taxi 287 miles to Manhattan for a date with Jacqueline Onassis. "I simply had to get there," he said. [1] Oneonta, New York, as depicted on an 1884 panoramic map. ... Taxicab, short forms taxi or cab, is a type of public transport for a single passenger, or small group of passengers, typically for a non-shared ride. ... Manhattan is a borough of New York City, USA, coterminous with New York County. ... First official White House portrait. ...


Spender was made a CBE in 1962 and knighted in 1983. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions; in decreasing order of seniority, these are Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GBE) Knight Commander... The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals personal bravery, achievement or service to the United Kingdom. ...


His son Matthew is married to the daughter of artist Arshile Gorky. Vostanik Manoog Adoyan, (better known as Arshile Gorky) (April 15, 1904 – July 21, 1948) was an Armenian abstract expressionist painter. ...


Sexuality

Spender's sexuality has been the subject of debate. Spender's seemingly changing attitudes towards homosexuality and heterosexuality have caused him to be labeled bisexual, repressed, latently homophobic, or simply someone so complex as to resist easy labelling. Many of his friends in his earlier years were gay. Spender himself had many affairs with men in his earlier years, most notably with Tony Hyndman (who is called "Jimmy Younger" in his memoir World Within World). Following his affair with Muriel Gardiner he shifted his focus to heterosexuality,[2] though his relationship with Hyndman complicated both this relationship and his short-lived marriage to Inez Maria Pearn (1936-39). His marriage to concert pianist Natasha Litvin in 1941 seems to have marked the end of his romantic relationships with men. Subsequently, he toned down homosexual allusions in later editions of his poetry. The following line was revised in a republished edition: Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Homophobia is the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. ... GAY can mean: Gay, a term referring to homosexual men or women The IATA code for Gaya Airport Category: ... As a literary genre, a memoir (from the Latin memoria, meaning memory) forms a subclass of autobiography, although it is an older form of writing. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Whatever happens, I shall never be alone. I shall always have a boy, a railway fare, or a revolution.

It was later revised to read:

Whatever happens, I shall never be alone. I shall always have an affair, a railway fare, or a revolution.

Spender sued author David Leavitt for allegedly using his relationship with "Jimmy Younger" in Leavitt's While England Sleeps in 1994. The case was settled out of court with Leavitt removing certain portions from his text. David Leavitt is a writer. ...


Selected bibliography

Poetry

  • Nine Experiments (1928, privately printed)
  • Twenty Poems (1930)
  • Poems (1933; 2nd edition 1934)
  • Vienna (1934)
  • The Still Centre (1939)
  • Ruins and Visions (1942)
  • Spiritual Exercises (1943, privately printed)
  • Poems of Dedication (1947)
  • The Edge of Being (1949)
  • Collected Poems, 1928-1953 (1955)
  • Selected Poems (1965)
  • The Express (1966)
  • The Generous Days (1971)
  • Selected Poems (1974)
  • Recent Poems (1978)
  • Collected Poems 1928-1985 (1986)
  • Dolphins (1994)
  • New Collected Poems, edited by Michael Brett, (2004)

Letters and journals

  • Letters to Christopher: Stephen Spender's Letters to Christopher Isherwood (1980)
  • Journals, 1939-1983 (1985)

Criticism, travel books, and essays

  • The Destructive Element (1935)
  • Forward from Liberalism (1937)
  • Life and the Poet (1942)
  • European Witness (1946)
  • Poetry Since 1939 (1946)
  • The God That Failed (1949, with others, ex-Communists' testimonies)
  • Learning Laughter (1952)
  • The Creative Element (1953)
  • The Making of a Poem (1955)
  • The Struggle of the Modern (1963)
  • The Year of the Young Rebels (1969)
  • Love-Hate Relations (1974)
  • Eliot (1975; Modern Masters series)
  • W. H. Auden: A Tribute (edited by Spender, 1975)
  • The Thirties and After (1978)
  • China Diary (with David Hockney, 1982)
  • Love-Hate Relations (1974)
  • The Thirties and After (1978)

The God that Failed is a song from Metallicas self-titled album. ...

Drama

Memoir

  • World Within World (1951)

Fiction

  • The Burning Cactus (1936, stories)
  • The Backward Son (1940)
  • Engaged in Writing (1958)
  • The Temple (written 1928; published 1988)

Notes

  1. ^ Quoted in Richard R. Bozorth, "But Who Would Get It?": Auden and the Codes of Poetry and Desire (ELH 62.3 [1995] 709-727).
  2. ^ MS letter, 14 September 1934, Huntington Library, quoted in John Sutherland, Spender, Sir Stephen Harold (1909–1995)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/57986, accessed 24 October 2006

September 14 is the 257th day of the year (258th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... October 24 is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 68 days remaining. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

Further reading

  • Hynes, Samuel, The Auden Generation (1976)
  • Sutherland, John, Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography (2004); US edition: Stephen Spender: A Literary Life (2005)

See also

The Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College is appointed by the Mercers’ School Memorial Trust, administered by the Worshipful Company of Mercers. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Stephen Spender

  Results from FactBites:
 
Stephen Spender: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1521 words)
Spender taught at various American institutions, accepting the Elliston Chair of Poetry at the University of Cincinnati in 1954.
Spender was made a CBE in 1962 and knighted in 1983.
Spender's seemingly changing attitudes towards homosexuality and heterosexuality have caused him to be labeled bisexual, repressed, latently homophobic, or simply someone so complex as to resist easy labelling.
Stephen Spender's facile politics. - By Stephen Metcalf - Slate Magazine (1355 words)
In 1980, Spender battled a lost wallet, an octogenarian driver, and 287 miles of dismal weather to taxi from a lecture in Oneonta, N.Y., to a dinner date with Jacqueline Onassis in Manhattan.
Spender, " Randall Jarrell once wrote, "he looked so sincere that her heart failed her, and she said: 'ask anything, and I will give it to you,' and he said: 'Make me sincere.'" Sincerity is a nice enough virtue in acquaintances, but it keeps a literary voice from carrying.
For his part, Spender was indefatigable, lecturing at one point on how the modern writer "is a kind of superegotist, a hero, and a martyr, carrying the whole burden of civilization in his work." For their part, modern writers were happy to take Spender's handouts, then disparage to others his missionary naiveté.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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