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Laurence Binyon (Robert Laurence Binyon) Biography

(1869–1943), (Robert Laurence Binyon), Painting in the Far East

war art poems historian

British poet and art historian, born in Lancaster, educated at Trinity College, Oxford. He worked throughout his career at the British Museum, where he became Keeper of the Department of Oriental Prints and Books. The best-known of his numerous works as an art historian is Painting in the Far East (1908). As a poet, he is inevitably remembered for his ‘For the Fallen’ (‘They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old …’), which was collected in The Winnowing Fan: Poems on the Great War (1914). He went to the Western Front in 1916 as a Red Cross orderly and produced a further collection of poems directly concerned with the war, The Cause (1918). The authoritative public tone he achieved in response to the Great War was sustained in later collections, among them the long ode The Idols (1928), The North Star (1941), and The Burning of the Leaves (1944), his widely acclaimed meditation on the Second World War. A Collected Poems in two volumes appeared in 1931. He wrote a number of verse-dramas, which include Attila (1907) and Arthur (1923), the latter with music by Elgar. The refinement and lucidity of his style are well displayed in his terza rima translation of Dante's Divina Commedia (1933, 1938, 1943). His other works include the critical studies English Poetry and Its Relation to Painting and the Other Arts (1919) and Landscape in English Art and Poetry (1931).

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