Day Lewis, C. (Cecil), 1904-1972

Alternative names
Birth 1904-04-27
Death 1972-05-22

Biographical notes:

Cecil Day Lewis was a British poet and writer of detective stories under the name Nicholas Blake. The University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections has a mandate to acquire literary papers.

From the description of Cecil Day Lewis collection. [1929-ca. 1930s]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 667848431

Cecil Day-Lewis was born on 27 April 1904 at Ballintubbet in Ireland, the only child of the Reverend Frank Cecil Day-Lewis, a Church of Ireland curate, and his wife, Kathleen Blake. His mother died when he was four and he was brought up in London by his father and an aunt. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He was a contemporary and admirer of W H Auden. His early volumes of verse included Beechen Vigil (1925) and Country Comets (1928). He 1928 he married Constance Mary King and took a teaching post near Larchfield School near Glasgow. To support a growing family he began to write detective novels under the pseudnym, Nicholas Blake. Success encouraged him to abandon teaching for a writing and political career and in 1935 he joined the Communist Party. In 1938 he moved to Devon and devoted himself to poetry. He published several more volumes of verse including Poems 1943-1947 (1948). He worked for the Ministry of Information during the war and for Chatto and Windus after the war. His marriage was dissolved in 1951, after several affairs, and he married Jill Balcon. In 1968 he became port laureate and was elected to the Irish Academy of Letters. His final volume of verse was The Whispering Roots (1970). He died in 1972 (Dictionary of National Biography).

From the guide to the Letter of Cecil Day-Lewis, "Wednesday" (December, 20th century), (Hull University, Brynmor Jones Library)

English poet.

From the description of Letters : to Andrew Wright, 1962-1965. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 33122760

From the description of Autograph note signed : [n.p.], to Tom Turner, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270877614

English poet laureate.

From the description of Beauty's end : [n.p.] : autograph manuscript fair copy of the poem signed, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270536003

Author C. Day Lewis was born in Ireland, and raised in England. An underachiever at Oxford, he met W.H. Auden there; the two became friends, and Day Lewis's early poems were clearly influenced by Auden's radical genius. His early verse had a dynamic complexity that gradually gave way to more traditional lyric poetry; his reputation rests primarily on his association with the Auden-Spender group of the 1920s and 1930s. He also wrote novels, criticism, and many mystery stories, and his literary career culminated in his appointment as Poet Laureate in 1968.

From the description of C. Day Lewis letters and poems, 1926-1971. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 61104056

Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972) was an Irish-born British poet, author, and professor. During his long career, he published multiple volumes of poetry and collected essays, as well as several translations of classical texts. In 1968, he was appointed Poet Laureate. Under the name "Nicholas Blake," Day-Lewis wrote a series of detective novels. He taught at Cambridge and Oxford, and later at Harvard.

From the guide to the Cecil Day-Lewis Papers, 1935-1968, (Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.)


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  • Poets
  • Male authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence


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