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