James Elroy Flecker (Herman James Elroy Flecker) Biography
(1884–1915), (Herman James Elroy Flecker), The Bridge of Fire, The Last Generation, Forty-Two Poems
British poet, born in Lewisham, London, educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and at Caius College, Cambridge. Having written poetry since the age of 12, his style matured at Oxford, where he absorbed the influences of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s. The Bridge of Fire (1907) was his first collection of verse. In 1910 he entered the Consular Service and was vice-consul in Beirut from 1911 to 1913, when tuberculosis forced him to retire. He died two years later in a clinic at Davos, Switzerland. Among his other volumes of poetry are The Last Generation (1908), Forty-Two Poems (1912), and The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913), which was widely acclaimed; the middle eastern exoticism of the enduringly popular title poem, given authenticity by his experiences of the region, appealed to the English taste established by Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859). While much of his work is characterized by a late romantic sensitivity to beauty and transience, a number of poems, notably ‘Oxford Canal’, are remarkable for the vividly documentary qualities of their imagery and diction. His verse was featured in the Georgian Poetry series. Hassan (1922), the best known of his plays, combines poetry, prose, dance, and spectacle and was staged with music by Delius in 1923. Among his other works is The Grecians (1910), a dialogue on education, and The King of Alsander (1914), an unusual and innovative novel. John Sherwood's biography of Flecker, No Golden Journey, appeared in 1973.