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Collected Poems

Hope Mirrlees

Edited by Sandeep Parmar

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 75 2
Categories: 20th Century, Women
Imprint: FyfieldBooks
Published: September 2011
216 x 135 mm
320 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
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  • Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) has long been regarded as the lost modernist. Her extraordinary long poem Paris (1920), a journey through a day in post First World War Paris, was considered by Virginia Woolf ‘obscure, indecent, and brilliant’. Read today, the poem retains its exhilarating daring. Mirrlees’s experimentalism looks forward to The Waste Land; her writing is integral to the twentieth-century canon.

    And yet, after Paris, Mirrlees published no more poetry for almost half a century, and her later poems appear to have little in common with the avant garde spirit of Paris. In this first edition to gather the full span of Mirrlees’s poetry, Sandeep Parmar explores the paradoxes of Mirrlees’s development as a poet and the complexities of her life.

    Sandeep Parmar was the first scholar to gain access to the Mirrlees Archive at Newnham College, Cambridge, and her edition includes many previously unpublished poems discovered there in draft form. The text is supported by detailed notes, including a commentary on Paris by Julia Briggs, and a selection of Mirrlees’s essays. The generous introduction provides the most accurate biographical account of Mirrlees’s life available. Mirrlees’s Collected Poems is an indispensible addition to a reading of modernism.

    Julia Briggs OBE was Professor of Literature and Women’s Studies at De Montfort University. Among her many influential publications were a biography of E. Nesbit and her acclaimed Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life. She died in 2007.

    Cover Painting Juan Gris (1887-1927), Breakfast, 1915. Oil on canvas. Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris / Peter Willi / The Bridgeman Art Library


    Sandeep Parmar’s edition of Hope Mirrlees’ poetry is a testimony to modern scholarship and provides a missing piece of the British modernist jigsaw.
    Matthew Mitton, Women: A Cultural Review
    Acknowledgements    vii
    Introduction    ix
    A Note on the Text    xlix
    Select Bibliography    lii
    Hope Mirrlees, ca. 1920    liv


    PARIS: A POEM (1920)    1

    MOODS AND TENSIONS (1976)
    Mothers    21
    The Copper-Beech in St. Giles’ Churchyard    22
    The Death of Cats and Roses    24
    A Skull    25
    Et in Arcadia Ego    26
    The Land of Uz    28
    The Glass Tánagra    30
    The Legend of the Painted Room    30
    ‘Une Maison Commode, Propre, et Belle...’    32
    The Rendez-Vous    32
    Bertha frightens Miss Bates    33
    In a Pagan Wood    36
    Sickness and Recovery at the Cape of Good Hope in Spring    37
    Winter Trees    40
    A Portrait of the Second Eve, Painted in Pompeian Red    43
    Amor Fati    45
    Heaven is Not Fairyland    45
    Gulls    46
    A Meditation on Donatello’s Annunciation in the Church
    of Santa Croce, Florence    46
    A Doggerel Epitaph for My Little Dog, Sally    51
    Jesus Wept    52


    PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED POEMS AND TRANSLATIONS
    I’d like to get into your dreams    55
    Crossed in Love    55
    Love Lies Dying    56
    To Mrs Patrick Campbell    57
    To Jean, Who Loves Faerie-tales    58
    The Moon-Flowers    59
    Love    60
    Carpe Diem    61
    My Soul Was a Princess    61
    The Moon-Maid    62
    from My Mother’s Pedigree    63
    The Faerie Changelings    64
    ‘Some talk of Alexander and some sing Monty’s praise’    65
    A Friendship    66
    The Shooting Stars    66
    Ostia Antica    67
    The Toad    67
    The Invocation, by Anna de Noailles    68
    Dusk, by Albert Samain    70

    ESSAYS
    Some Aspects of the Art of Alexey Mikhailovich Remizov (1926)    75
    Listening in to the Past (1926)    85
    An Earthly Paradise (1927)    90
    The Religion of Women (1927)    94
    Gothic Dreams (1928)    98
    Bedside Books (1928)    102

    NOTES AND APPENDIX
    Abbreviations    112
    Commentary on Paris, by Julia Briggs    113
    Notes on the Poems and Essays    129
    Appendix: ‘To Her. A twilight poem’, by Jane Ellen Harrison    138

    Index of Titles and First Lines    141

    Hope Mirrlees
    Helen Hope Mirrlees was born on 8 April 1887 in Chislehurst, Kent. She grew up in Scotland and was educated at St Leonard’s School in St Andrews. She briefly attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before entering Newnham College, Cambridge in 1910, to study classics. There she met the classics ... read more
    Sandeep Parmar
    Sandeep Parmar received her PhD in English Literature from University College London in 2008. She has written extensively on the unpublished autobiographies of the modernist poet Mina Loy . She is currently writing Hope Mirrlees’s biography and editing her out-of-print novels at Clare Hall, Cambridge, where she is a Visiting Fellow. ... read more
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