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Sir Charles Johnson (Sir Charles Hepburn Johnson) Biography

(1912–86), (Sir Charles Hepburn Johnson), Towards Mozambique, For Leagros and Other Poems, Eugene Onegin

British poet, born in London, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1936 he began his career in the British Diplomatic Service. After a succession of postings in various capitals, including Tokyo, Cairo, Madrid, and Bonn, he became High Commissioner in Australia in 1965. Much of his poetry draws richly on the landscapes of his diplomatic experiences. During the war he was interned by the Japanese, which gave rise to some of his most memorable and complex poetry in the Spenserian stanzas of Towards Mozambique (1947). It was published under the pseudonym ‘Charles Hepburn’, which he also used for For Leagros and Other Poems (1940), his first collection of verse. A poet of polished accomplishment in traditional modes, he first gained wide notice with his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (1977). Among his subsequent collections are Rivers and Fireworks (1980) and Talk about the Last Poet (1981), which typically consist of further translations, principally of Pushkin and Lermontov, interspersed with original work. He also wrote a number of books on the countries to which he was posted, including The Brink of Jordan (1972) and The View from Steamer Point (1964), an account of his time in Aden. As a writer of fiction, he produced Mo and Other Originals (1971). His Selected Poems, with an introduction by Roy Fuller, appeared in 1985.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tama Janowitz Biography to P(atrick) J(oseph Gregory) Kavanagh Biography