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Gordon Bottomley Biography

(1874–1948), The Mickle Drede, Poems at White-Nights, The Gate of Smaragdus, Chambers of Imagery

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edward Bond (Thomas Edward Bond) Biography to Bridge

British poet and verse-dramatist, born in Keighley, Yorkshire, educated at Keighley Grammar School. In 1892 he was forced by illness to abandon his intended career in banking and concentrated instead on writing. The Mickle Drede (1896), the first of his collections of verse, displays the interest in Celtic and supernatural themes that is an abiding feature of his work. He produced four further volumes of poetry, Poems at White-Nights (1899), The Gate of Smaragdus (1904), and two series of Chambers of Imagery (1907, 1912), earning high regard for his technical skill and his powerfully imaginative creation of mood. He subsequently concentrated on verse-drama and wrote a long succession of thematically ambitious plays; The Riding to Lithend (1909), based on Norse legend, was followed by King Lear's Wife (1915), the first of his ‘prologues to Shakespeare’, which was acclaimed as a masterpiece when performed in London in 1916. Gruach (1921), a treatment of the early life of Lady Macbeth, was produced by the Scottish National Theatre in 1923. He referred to his later verse-dramas as plays ‘for a theatre unborn’ and worked in a minimalist vein deriving from Noh theatre and W. B. Yeats's more experimental dramatic writings. Lyric Plays and Choric Plays appeared in 1932 and 1939 respectively. A Stage for Poetry (1948) outlines his conceptions of verse-drama. C. C. Abbott's edition of Poems and Plays was published in 1953.

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