We are experiencing COVID-related supply chain delays. Please note, orders are currently taking 10-15 days to be delivered.
We thank you for your understanding and patience.
Penn Press logo
Ernest Dowson

Ernest Dowson

Mark Longaker

Third Edition
320 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 6 illus.
Cloth 1967 | ISBN 9781512803679 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512803686 | Buy from Combined Academic Publishers £64.00
An Anniversary Collection volume

"To give an important subject its due, to show what the man was like, and what a dangerous trade the writing of poetry really is, Mark Longaker has written Ernest Dowson. . . . For anyone who wishes to go to the root of the matter, Ernest Dowson is a fine piece of work, and it should endure."—Francis Hackett, New York Times

"An admirably complete and readable account of a life which illustrated strikingly the self-limited and self-destructive artistic cult to which it was dedicated."—John T. Frederick, Chicago Sun

"This straightforward study of an equivocal and ambivalent genius is a fine performance . . . as full of good sense as anything the reader is apt to encounter with respect to Ernest Dowson."—Leonard Bacon, Saturday Review of Literature

"A painstaking, devoted biography of Dowson. . . . It also treats his poetry from first to last with the reverence that only great art can deserve."—George F. Whicher, New York Herald Tribune

"Longaker tells his story sympathetically and fully, clearing up many previously existing misconceptions. He has been able to use a number of unpublished letters . . . and he has gained much new information through interviews and correspondence with surviving intimates of the poet. This is an important book and a highly readable book."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"Interesting not only for the new material it contains on Dowson but for the cross-lights it sheds on the brief and rather thwarted Bohemia that existed among the writers, artists, and publishers of London in the nineties."—New Yorker

Few of the many romantic figures of the nineties have weathered the changing schools of literary taste as well as Ernest Dowson, in whose verse there is found a timeless, ingratiating charm and enduring interest. This biography is only incidentally a critical appraisal of Dowson's achievements but attempts to give a more completely rounded picture of the man than we have had before it. The book is based on a great deal of new material, which clears up many misinterpretations of Dowson's personality. This consists of unpublished letters from various sources, including twelve from Oscar Wilde that have not been printed before and detailed information gleaned by the author in interviews and in correspondence with persons who knew the poet intimately.

To modern readers versed in psychological explanations of behavior, Dowson's story unwinds in a foredoomed pattern: the talented child of neurotic parents, the maladjusted boy at Oxford, the discontented young man in London, his curious infatuation for the child Adelaide, the brief association with prominent literary leaders in the Rhymers' Club and on the short-lived Savoy, and then his mother's suicide, his homelessness, poverty, aimless wandering abroad, the escape in drinking, finally death. Yet with it all, the insatiable urge to weave out his dreams in facile words which now form a unique and permanent contribution to English poetry.

From this book Dowson emerges as a tragically interesting figure. The biography gives as much of his story as probably will ever be known, and as such takes an important place among the lives of English poets.

View your shopping cart | Browse Penn Press titles in Biography, Autobiography | Join our mailing list

Penn Press | Site Use and Privacy Policy
Report Accessibility Issues and Get Help | University of Pennsylvania
Copyright © 2022 University of Pennsylvania Press | All rights reserved