Night Thoughts: The Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne

Hardcover | March 1, 2012

byRobert Fraser

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The poet David Gascoyne (1916-2001) led a life as surreal as his early poems. At eighteen he drafted the manifesto of the English Surrealist Group and at nineteen he published what remains an authoritative account of the international movement. He translated for Salvador Dali and crossedswords with Andre Breton; the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London was largely his brainchild. During the war he toured as an actor, embraced religious existentialism and became, in the words of John Lehmann, 'the most important philosophic poet of our time'. After the war he wrote for radio, painted, cooked, and went mad. The journals he kept during his periods of mental instability are masterpieces of the bizarre. Gascoyne found unexpected happiness in late middle age, emerging as an elder statesman of British poetry. Robert Fraser contends that,through all the twists and turns of his variegated existence, Gascoyne strove for candour and truth of self-expression. With equivalent candour this pioneering biography describes his creative work and multifarious translations, his inconvenient addictions, his tormented private life, and his manyfriendships in England and in France.

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The poet David Gascoyne (1916-2001) led a life as surreal as his early poems. At eighteen he drafted the manifesto of the English Surrealist Group and at nineteen he published what remains an authoritative account of the international movement. He translated for Salvador Dali and crossedswords with Andre Breton; the 1936 International ...

Robert Fraser is the author of books on Marcel Proust and Sir James Frazer, and of a widely reviewed biography of the poet George Barker. He has also written plays on the lives of Dr Johnson, Lord Byron, Carlo Gesualdo, Katherine Mansfield and D. H. Lawrence. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has lectured in the universit...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:March 1, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199558140

ISBN - 13:9780199558148

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Table of Contents

List of PlatesTwilight: Two DeathsNight One: 1916-19391. Among Women2. The Earl of Salisbury's Pavanne3. 'Rolling and Unrolling'4. Voiles5. Et in Arcadia6. Out of Bounds7. The Tears of Heraclitus8. This Meat9. The Queen of Unrest10. Engage11. Journal of a Disappointed Man12. The Leap of FaithNight Two: 1939-196413. Clamavi14. Paul Gravey15. 'Multiplicity is My Daemonia'16. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Sneeze17. Exit Pursued by Poles18. Ayer Absconditus19. A Bridge Too Soon20. Humpty Dumpty and the Cuckoo21. Megalometropolitan22. A Surrealist Cookbook23. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral24. An Incident at the ElyseeNight Three: 1964-200125. Post-Apocalyptic26. Enter Zukk27. An Incident at Buckingham Palace28. Not Necessarily Silly29. Under the Clock30. Dog Eats Sun31. A La Terrace32. A Mouth Urgently Speaking33. 'Words, Words, Words'34. 'Diverlike below'35. 'Truth is what it is'36. 'And now in age I bloom again'AcknowledgementsSources and Abbreviations