James Elroy Flecker
James Elroy Flecker (5 November 1884 – 3 January 1915) was an English poet, novelist and playwright. As a poet he was most influenced by the Parnassian poets.
Born on 5 November 1884 in Lewisham, London, and baptised Herman Elroy Flecker, Flecker later chose to use the first name "James", either because he disliked the name "Herman" or to avoid confusion with his father. "Roy", as his family called him, was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, where his father was the headmaster, and later at Uppingham School. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Oxford he was greatly influenced by the last flowering of the Aesthetic movement there under John Addington Symonds, and became a close friend of the classicist and art historian John Beazley.
Flecker died on 3 January 1915, of tuberculosis, in Davos, Switzerland. His death at the age of thirty was described at the time as "unquestionably the greatest premature loss that English literature has suffered since the death of Keats".
Works and influence
The excerpt from Flecker's verse drama Hassan ... The Golden Journey to Samarkand inscribed on the clock tower of the barracks of the British Army's 22 Special Air Service regiment in Hereford provides an enduring testimony to Flecker's work:
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further; it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea.
A character in the second volume of Anthony Powell's novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time, is said to be "fond of intoning" the lines For lust of knowing what we should not know / We take the Golden Road to Samarkand, without an attribution to Flecker.
Agatha Christie quotes Flecker several times, especially in her final novel, Postern of Fate.
O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.
Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn;
For thee the sunlight creeps across the lawn,
For thee the ships are drawn down to the waves,
For thee the markets throng with myriad slaves,
For thee the hammer on the anvil rings,
For thee the poet of beguilement sings.
- The Bridge of Fire (1907)
- Thirty-Six Poems (1910)
- Forty-Two Poems (1911) (e-book)
- The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913)
- The Old Ships (1915)
- Collected Poems (1916)
- The Last Generation: A Story of the Future (1908)
- The King of Alsander (1914)
- Hassan (1922; full title Hassan: The Story of Hassan of Baghdad and How he Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand)
- Don Juan (1925)
- The Grecians (1910)
- The Scholars' Italian Book (1911)
- Collected Prose (1920)
- The Letters of J.E. Flecker to Frank Savery (1926)
- Some Letters from Abroad of James Elroy Flecker (1930)
- "Beazley, J[ohn] D[avidson], Sir". Dictionary of Art Historians. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Walker, Heather. Roses and Rain (2006). Melrose Books. ISBN 1-905226-06-3
- "James Elroy Flecker, About.com". Classiclit.about.com. 1915-01-03. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- The same extract appears on the UK SAS Memorial in Herefordshire (Popham, Peter (30 May 1996). "SAS confronts its enemy within". The Independent.)
- Staff (15 September 2009). "The Selected Few – Training in the SAS". New Zealand Army.
- "Forty-Two Poems by James Elroy Flecker - Free Ebook". Gutenberg.net. 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- "Delius-hassan-review-1923". Thompsonian.info. 1923-09-29. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- James Elroy Flecker (1922) by Douglas Goldring
- An Essay on Flecker (1937) by T. E. Lawrence
- No Golden Journey: A Biography of James Elroy Flecker (1973) by John Sherwood
- James Elroy Flecker (1976) by John M. Munro
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Elroy Flecker.|
- James Elroy Flecker Collection University of Gloucestershire Archives and Special Collections
- Works by James Elroy Flecker at Project Gutenberg
- James Elroy Flecker at Find a Grave
- The Golden Journey to Samarkand translated to Polish
- Performance of Serenade From Hassan on YouTube by Julian Lloyd Webber
- To a Poet a Thousand Year Hence translated to Russian