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T. E. Hulme (Thomas Ernest Hulme) Biography

(1883–1917), (Thomas Ernest Hulme), New Age, Introduction to Metaphysics, Criterion, Speculations, Notes on Language and Style

British philosopher and aesthetician, born at Endon, Staffordshire, educated at St John's College, Cambridge, from which he was sent down in 1904. He subsequently studied privately in London and Belgium. In 1909 he convened meetings of a group of poets which included Ezra Pound and F. S. Flint. Hulme's rejection of Romanticism and his emphasis on clarity and precision in poetic imagery provided the theoretical basis for Imagism. His ‘Complete Poetical Works’ of five poems, intended to illustrate his innovative conceptions, were published in the New Age in 1912. His translation of Introduction to Metaphysics by Henri Bergson, who was a major influence on his thought, appeared in 1913. After joining the army in 1914, his ‘war notes’ were published in the New Age, expressing his opposition to pacifism and its philosophical implications. He was killed near Nieuport in 1917. The stress on discipline and austerity and the subscription to the idea of Original Sin which characterize Hulme's combination of Modernism and conservatism were widely influential; in 1924 T. S. Eliot, whose intellectual and ethical position came to resemble Hulme's closely, described him in a Criterion editorial as ‘classical, reactionary and revolutionary … the antipodes of the eccentric, tolerant and democratic mind of the end of the century’. Herbert Read edited two volumes of Hulme's works, Speculations (1924) and Notes on Language and Style (1929); Further Speculations, edited by S. Hynes, was published in 1955. Biographical and critical studies include Michael Roberts's T. E. Hulme (1938) and Alun R. Jones's The Life and Opinions of T. E. Hulme (1960).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Honest Ulsterman to Douglas Hyde Biography