Richard Aldington, an influential English writer and poet, emerged as a significant literary figure during the early 20th century. He was known for his profound modernist poetry and novels, notably his contributions to the Imagist movement, a major shift in English literature that emphasized precision of imagery and clear, sharp language.
Born on July 8, 1892, in Hampshire, England, Aldington was a scholar of classics at London University before he ventured into writing. His early work as a poet is distinguished by its vivid visual imagery and clear, economical style. He was one of the original members of the Imagist group, along with poets such as Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle (also known as H.D). Their collective efforts helped to promote and define the Imagist style.
However, Aldington’s work is not confined to poetry alone. His novels, such as Death of a Hero published in 1929, reflect his experiences as a soldier during World War I. He is also renowned for his biographies of notable figures like D.H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. These works reveal Aldington’s ability to blend historical insight with personal observation, resulting in a unique narrative style.
Despite Aldington’s significant contributions, his work has often been overshadowed by his tumultuous personal life and controversial views. Yet, his influence on 20th-century literature cannot be understated. His innovative use of language and form reshaped the landscape of English literature and continues to influence writers and poets today.
Aldington passed away on July 27, 1962. However, his legacy prevails through his compelling works which provide an intimate insight into the complexities of human nature and societal norms of his time. Richard Aldington’s life and work remain an integral part of English literary history.
Let the sea beat its thin torn hands
In anguish against the shore,
Let it moan
Between headland and cliff;
Let the sea shriek out its agony
Across waste sands and marshes,
And clutch great ships,
Tearing them plate from steel plate
In reckless anger;
Let it break the white bulwarks
Of harbour and city;
Let it sob and scream and laugh
In a sharp fury,
With white salt tears
Wet on its writhen face;
Ah! let the sea still be mad
And crash in madness among the shaking rocks—
For the sea is the cry of our sorrow.
Curated by Jennifer