Oliver Bernard

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Oliver Bernard (6 December 1925 - 1 June 2013)[1] was an English poet and translator. Bernard is most famous for translating Arthur Rimbaud into English as part of the Penguin Classics collection.

Oliver Bernard was born in London, the son of Oliver Percy Bernard OBE (architect, scenic, graphic and industrial designer) and (Edith) Dora Hodges (opera singer, stage name Fedora Rosell). He and his two brothers, art critic and photographer Bruce Bernard and the journalist Jeffrey Bernard, were prominent in London's literary and artistic scene in the mid-twentieth century.

Bernard published a book of memoirs.[2] Tony Benn wrote of Oliver Bernard, "Oliver Bernard's Peace Poems are sensitive and perceptive in their description of the militaristic society which imprisons us all. They also offer some comforting visions of life as it could be if we release the compassion that is in us all."[3]

Bernard was a third cousin to the film and stage actor Stanley Holloway[4] by way of his father, Oliver Percy Bernard, who was Holloway's second cousin. He was distantly related to the former model Sophie Dahl, the granddaughter of Stanley Holloway.[5]

In later life, Bernard converted to Roman Catholicism and lived in a small cottage in Kenninghall, Norfolk. Every day he walked 2 miles to the monastery in Quidenham for morning mass.[6]



  1. ^ "He was the nice one: farewell to Oliver Bernard". London Evening Standard. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Bernard, O. (1992). Getting Over It: Recollections. London: Peter Owen. ISBN 0720608651. 
  3. ^ Bernard, O. (1985). Five Peace Poems. London: Five Seasons Press. 0947960015. 
  4. ^ "He was the nice one: farewell to Oliver Bernard", London Evening Standard, 4 June 2013
  5. ^ Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o’ luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. London: Frewin. OCLC 3647363.  Also published as Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o’ luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. New York: Stein and Day. OCLC 1373117. 
  6. ^ "Oliver Bernard obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2015.