Charles Madge

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Charles Henry Madge (10 October 1912 – 17 January 1996),[1] was an English poet, journalist and sociologist, now most remembered as a founder of Mass-Observation.[2][3]

Charles Henry Madge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, son of Lieut-Col. Charles Madge (1874-1916) and Barbara Hylton-Foster (1882-1967). He was educated at Winchester College and studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was a literary figure from his early twenties, becoming a friend of David Gascoyne; like Gascoyne he was generally classed as a surrealist poet. Madge's essay "Surrealism for the English" (New Verse magazine, December 1933) argued that potential English surrealist poets would need both a knowledge of "the philosophical position of the French surrealists" and "a knowledge of their own language and literature".[4] Madge contributed the essay "Pens Dipped In Poison" (1934) to Left Review, a strong critique of the British intellectuals who had supported the First World War.[5] He worked for a spell as a reporter for the Daily Mirror. By the end of the 1930s, he was more involved in Mass-Observation surveys and reports, socialist realism (in theory) and Communism. By the 1940s, however, Madge was moving away from Communism.[2]

From 1950 to 1970, Madge was Professor of Sociology at the University of Birmingham.[2]

Faber and Faber published his poetry as The Disappearing Castle (1937) and The Father Found (1940).

Family[edit]

In 1938, Charles Madge married the poet Kathleen Raine (previously married to Hugh Sykes Davies). He had two children by Kathleen Raine: Anna Madge (b. 1934) and James Wolf Madge (1936-2006) who married Jennifer, daughter of architect Jane Drew. In 1942 he married Agnes Marie Pearn (known as Inez, previously married to Stephen Spender). In 1984, he married Evelyn Brown.

Books[edit]

  • Grids, perspectival space, and rules of deduction: Of Love, Time, and Places; Selected Poems (1994) Anvil.
  • Charles Madge & Humphrey Jennings, eds. May the Twelfth, Mass-Observation Day-Surveys 1937, by over two hundred observers, London, Faber & Faber, 1937. ISBN 0-571-14872-7

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors
  2. ^ a b c Philip Bounds, Orwell and Marxism: the political and cultural thinking of George Orwell. London: I.B. Tauris, 2009. ISBN 9781845118075 (p. 204)
  3. ^ "...the development of the Mass-Observation movement began with an informal group of friends and colleagues who met frequently in Blackheath at the London home of Charles Madge, Surrealist poet, journalist and soon-to-be sociologist." Natalya Lusty; Helen Groth (eds.) Dreams and modernity: a cultural history. London: Routledge, 2013. ISBN 9780415606943 (p. 151).
  4. ^ Rob Jackaman, The Course of English Surrealist Poetry since the 1930s. Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1989. ISBN 0889469326 (p. 92).
  5. ^ Brian Pearce,"Some Lessons From History: The Left Review, 1934–1938" The Newsletter, November 1959.

External links[edit]