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W. N. P. Barbellion, (Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion), pseudonym of Bruce Frederick Cummings Biography

(1889–1919), (Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion), pseudonym of Bruce Frederick Cummings, Proceedings, Journal of Botany

journal natural diarist self

British diarist, born in Barnstaple, Devon. As a boy he conceived a keen interest in natural phenomena and achieved a high degree of self-education in biology. In 1912 he became an official of the Natural History Museum in London. He published work in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society and the Journal of Botany, and supplied other periodicals with more general articles. He resigned from his post in 1917 due to the onset of disseminated sclerosis. The voluminous diaries he had kept since 1903 provided material for the writing to which he subsequently devoted himself; The Journal of a Disappointed Man (1919), for which H. G. Wells wrote an introduction, appeared under the ‘Barbellion’ pseudonym shortly before his death, rapidly gaining him a reputation as a major diarist. The work's intensely personal introspection combined to highly original effect with a nervously energetic style and an attitude of scientific detachment towards the self. A. J. and H. R. Cummings edited the Journal's sequels, Enjoying Life and Other Literary Remains (1919) and A Last Diary (1920). R. H. Hellyar's W. N. P. Barbellion was published in 1926.

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