Richard Aldington

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Richard Aldington (8 July 1892 – 27 July 1962), born Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet.

Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry. His 1946 biography, Wellington, was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.


Early life

Aldington was born in Portsmouth, the son of a solicitor, and educated at Dover College, and for a year at the University of London.[1] He was unable to complete his degree because of the financial circumstances of his family. He met the poet H.D. in 1911 and they married two years later.

Man of letters

His poetry was associated with the Imagist group, and his work forms almost one third of the Imagists' inaugural anthology Des Imagistes (1914). Ezra Pound had in fact coined the term imagistes for H.D. and Aldington, in 1912.[2]

At this time, he was one of the poets around the proto-Imagist T. E. Hulme; Robert Ferguson in his life of Hulme portrays Aldington as too squeamish to approve of Hulme's robust approach, particularly to women.[3] However, Aldington shared Hulme's conviction that experimentation with traditional Japanese verse forms could provide a way forward for avant-garde literature in English, and went often to the British Museum to examine Nishiki-e prints illustrating such poetry.[4] He knew Wyndham Lewis well, also, reviewing his work in The Egoist at this time, hanging a Lewis portfolio around the room and on a similar note of tension between the domestic and the small circle of London modernists regretting having lent Lewis his razor when the latter announced with hindsight a venereal infection.[5] Going out without a hat, and an interest in Fabian socialism, were perhaps unconventional enough for him.[6] At this time he was also an associate of Ford Madox Ford, helping him with a hack propaganda volume for a government commission in 1914 [7] and taking dictation for The Good Soldier when H.D. found it too harrowing.

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