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Charles Montagu Doughty Biography

(1843–1926), Travels in Arabia Deserta, The Dawn in Britain, Adam Cast Forth, Mansoul

British travel writer and poet, born in Suffolk; he studied geology at Caius College, Cambridge. In 1870 he began travelling in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East; after a year in Damascus learning Arabic, he joined a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1876, undergoing much hardship before his journey concluded at Jedda in 1878. His experiences were recorded in Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888); apart from its topographical and anthropological interest, the work is remarkable for Doughty's cultivation of a richly poetic idiom based on the language of Chaucer and Spenser with additional elements derived from Arabic usage. D. H. Lawrence, who wrote the introduction to the 1921 edition, and D. G. Hogarth were among those on whom it made a deep impression. The book, in which Doughty terms himself a ‘wandering anchorite in the fable of human life’, anticipates the metaphysical preoccupations of his idiosyncratically ambitious poetry. The Dawn in Britain (six volumes, 19067), his best-known poem, forms a mythical allegory of national destiny. His verse also includes Adam Cast Forth (1908), a recasting of Biblical material, and Mansoul (1920), a mystical envisioning of man's quest to unite Heaven and Earth. Hogarth's biography of Doughty appeared in 1928.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) Biography to Dutch