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John Middleton Murry Biography

(1889–1957), Rhythm, Son of Woman, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Athenaeum, The Problem of Style, Adelphi, Keats and Shakespeare

British criticand editor, born at Peckham in London, educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he founded the magazine Rhythm; his insistence as editor on the direct relationship between art and society established the central emphasis of his career. Through the magazine he met Katherine Mansfield, whom he married in 1918, and D. H. Lawrence, with whom he sustained a troubled but intense friendship; Son of Woman (1931) is his tribute to Lawrence. Fyodor Dostoevsky (1917) was the first of his many critical studies. He edited the Athenaeum from 1919 to 1921. The Problem of Style (1922) established him as a critic of note. He remained dedicated to Mansfield's memory after her death in 1923 and edited a succession of her works. From 1923 to 1930 he was editor of the Adelphi. Keats and Shakespeare (1925) confirmed him as an astute and provocative critic, while To the Unknown God (1924) and The Life of Jesus (1925) indicated the increasingly religious tenor of his thought. His Marxist tendencies throughout the 1930s are clear from The Fallacy of Economics (1932) and The Necessity of Communism (1932). The Pledge for Peace (1938) followed his conversion to pacifism in 1936; during the Second World War he lived in a pacifist agrarian commune and edited Peace News. His later works include Jonathan Swift (1954) and Love, Freedom, and Society (1957), a comparative study of Lawrence and Albert Schweitzer. Between Two Worlds (1935) is an autobiography of his earlier life. F. A. Lea's Life of John Middleton Murry (1959) and Beloved Quixote (1986) by his daughter Katherine Middleton Murry are the principal biographical studies.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mr Polly to New France