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Laurie Lee Biography

(1912– ), The Sun My Monument, My Many-Coated Man, Selected Poems, A Rose for Winter

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

British writer and poet, born and educated in Gloucestershire. The Sun My Monument (1944), Lee's first collection of verse, contained numerous responses to the Spanish Civil War; these form some of his best work as a poet in their imaginative sensings of tensions between the lyrical vitality of nature, a dominant theme in all his verse, and man's fatally destructive proclivities. Subsequent volumes of poetry, including My Many-Coated Man (1957) and Selected Poems (1983), present evocations of the natural world drawn from a wide range of English, European, and Asian settings. His prose work A Rose for Winter (1955) describes his travels in Franco's post-war Spain. The publication of Cider with Rosie (1959), an account of his boyhood in a Cotswold village, brought him world-wide popular and critical acclaim; the work remains one of the outstanding evocations of childhood in English, conveying its experiences with memorable freshness and clarity. The childhood so convincingly recreated ends with the narrator's first taste of cider and the kisses of Rosie, a village girl. A sequel, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969), follows the narrator on foot from Gloucestershire to London, and in Spain where he remains, supporting himself by playing his fiddle, until the outbreak of the Civil War. His other works include The Firstborn (1964), an essay on the birth of his daughter; I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of short pieces; Two Women (1983), a photographic essay on his wife and daughter, and A Moment of War: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War (1991).

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