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Alice Meynell (née Alice Thompson Meynell) Biography

(1847–1922), (née Alice Thompson Meynell), Preludes, Poems, A Father of Women, Last Poems

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: McTeague to Nancy [Freeman] Mitford Biography

British poet and essayist, born in Barnes, London. She became a Roman Catholic in 1868, which determined the devotional character of much of her poetry. Preludes (1875), her first collection of verse, was much admired by the author and editor Wilfrid Meynell (18521948), whom she married in 1877. In 1891 they rescued Francis Thompson from destitution and secured him literary recognition. Her subsequent volumes include Poems (1893), A Father of Women (1917), and Last Poems (1923). Frederick Page edited the complete edition of her verse (1940). By 1900 she enjoyed widespread critical and popular esteem, largely founded on the impression of lyrical piety generated by her work. Her later verse is more rigorous in tone and sometimes makes use of precisely observed detail. Certain of her poems, notably ‘Christ in the Universe’, display impressive imaginative power. Her essays, originally published in a range of influential periodicals, were collected in numerous volumes, among which are The Rhythm of Life (1893) and The Spirit of Place (1899); The Wares of Autolycus (edited by P. M. Fraser, 1965) is a selection of her essays. A biography by J. Badeni appeared in 1981.

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