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Geoffrey Scott Biography

(1883–1929), The Architecture of Humanism, A Box of Paints, Poems, Oxford Book of Modern Verse

British architectural historian and poet, educated at New College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for his poem ‘The Death of Shelley’ and the Chancellor's Prize for his essay ‘The National Character of English Architecture’. During a tour of Italy with John Maynard Keynes in 1906 he met Bernard Berenson, who subsequently employed him as a secretary and librarian. Berenson's theories of art informed Scott's The Architecture of Humanism (1914, revised 1924), which is regarded as a seminal work for its extension of the critical vocabulary and its advocacy of the baroque. He returned to England in 1925 following the collapse of his marriage after an affair with Vita Sackville-West, one of several celebrated liaisons which fostered his reputation for remarkable charm and exceptional good looks. The formal elegance and opulent imagery of A Box of Paints (1923), his first collection of poems, combines with a rigorous contemplative element in the posthumous Poems (1931), from which W. B. Yeats made selections for his Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936). In 1925 he published The Portrait of Zelide, his witty biography of Madame de Charrière; among her suitors had been James Boswell, whose papers Scott began editing in 1927. His 18-volume edition of The Private Papers of James Boswell from Malahide Castle (192834, vols vii–xviii with Frederick Pottle) was in an advanced state of preparation at the time of his death.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Sansom (William Norman Trevor Sansom) Biography to Dr Seuss [Theodor Giesel] Biography