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John Peale Bishop Biography

(1892–1944), The Undertaker's Garland, This Side of Paradise, Green Fruit, Now with His Love

edited collected virginia verse

American poet, born in West Virginia, educated at Princeton. As a student he began lasting friendships with Edmund Wilson, his collaborator on The Undertaker's Garland (1922), a humorous miscellany of verse and prose about death, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is said to have taken Bishop as the model for Tim D'Invilliers in This Side of Paradise (1920). Althoug many of his contemporaries admired the lyrical concentration and classical precision of his verse, he published only three principal collections, Green Fruit (1917), Now with His Love (1933), and Minute Particulars (1936). The last contains much of his best work, written after he took up residence at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1934 upon returning from France where he had lived since the early 1920s; ‘A Subject of Sea-Change’ is perhaps his finest poem, its compelling philosophical eloquence sustained with maritime imagery of rich particularity. His Virginia background is reflected in much of his writing, which is deeply informed by his elegiac sense of the passing of the patrician culture of the pre-Civil War era; the short stories of Many Thousands Gone (1931) are predominantly given Virginian settings. He also produced the highly regarded novel Act of Darkness (1935) and made valuable contributions to the Kenyon Review and other leading critical journals. Edmund Wilson edited his Collected Essays (1948); Collected Poems (1948) was edited by Allen Tate, whose correspondence with Bishop was published under the title The Republic of Letters (1981, edited by T. D. Young). Elizabeth Spindler's John Peale Bishop: A Biography appeared in 1980.

[back] Elizabeth Bishop Biography - (1911–79), Collected Prose, North & South, Poems: North & South / A Cold Spring

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