Raine, Kathleen, 1908-2003

Alternative names
Birth 1908-06-14
Death 2003-07-06
French, English, Spanish; Castilian

Biographical notes:

Kathleen Raine was born in London, her father was a schoolmaster, and the family strict Methodists. She was sent to stay with an aunt in rural Northumberland for the duration of World War I, an idyllic childhood period she later recalled in 'Farewell Happy Fields' (1973). She was educated at Ilford County High School and came to Girton as an Exhibitioner to read Natural Sciences then Moral Sciences 1926-29. While she was at Cambridge she began writing poetry and also made long-term friendships with other aspiring writers. She had a brief marriage to a fellow student, Hugh Sykes Davies, then to fellow poet and sociologist Charles Madge with whom she had 2 children, a son and a daughter (the daughter came to Girton 1952). The marriage broke up in 1940. Her first volume of poetry 'Stone and Flower' illustrated with drawings by Barbara Hepworth was published in 1943. There followed a prolific output of work which continued throughout her life. In addition to poetry, she wrote scholarly and critical work particularly on Blake and Yeats. In 1955, towards the end of her relationship with the naturalist and writer Gavin Maxwell (with whom she shared a love of Northumbria and a fascination in the occult), she returned to Girton as Research Fellow working on Blake (work which led to the Mellon lectures 'Blake and Tradition') and also lectured in English for College 1955-61. In 1981 she co-founded Temenos Review of the Arts of the Imagination with the ambition to affirm 'at the highest level of scholarship and talent, and in terms of the contemporary situation, of the Sacred' and soon became sole editor with a devoted international following. Nine years later she established the Temenos Academy, a teaching organisation which received the patronage of the Prince of Wales. She received numerous awards and honours including honorary doctorates from Leicester, Durham and Caen Universities, the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry (1992) and the CBE (2000). She taught and lectured in the USA, India and Ireland, published 4 volumes of autobiography, and her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese and Hindi.

From the guide to the Personal Papers of Kathleen Raine, 1998-1999, (Girton College Library, University of Cambridge)


Kathleen Raine was born in 1908 in Ilford, an East London suburb. Except for a few brief periods, she has always lived in London. She attended school at Cambridge as a student, 1926-1929, and as a research fellow at Girton College, 1955-1961. Raine married Hugh Sykes Davies after her third year at Cambridge. After their divorce, she married Charles Madge, the father of her two children, James and Anna. After her second marriage ended, Raine lived alone.

In 1980, Raine co-founded the review Temenos. She was founder of Temenos Academy in London in 1990, a program of lecture and seminars at the Prince of Wales' Institute of Architecture in London.

From the description of Kathleen Raine collection, 1932-1998. (Florida State University). WorldCat record id: 50680649

Kathleen Raine is a poet and literary scholar who has written extensively on Blake and Yates.

She was born in London, England on June 14, 1908. Raine began her career as a poet shortly after receiving her master's degree in natural sciences from Girton College, Cambridge in 1929. She published her first volume of poems, Stone and flower, in 1943. In addition to her poetry and numerous scholarly writings, Raine has published several autobiographical works. She has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates; was a research fellow at Girton College, Cambridge from 1955-1961; and served in 1962 as Andrew Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. As of 2001 Raine resides in London.

From the description of Kathleen Raine papers, ca. 1913-1986 (bulk 1950-1975). (University of California, Irvine). WorldCat record id: 47793091


Kathleen Raine, a poet and literary scholar, was born on June 14, 1908 in London. She was educated at County High School in Ilford and Girton College in Cambridge and received a master's degree in natural sciences from Girton in 1929. Raine began her literary career as a poet, publishing her first volume of poetry, Stone and Flower: Poems 1935-43, in 1943. She later wrote extensively on both Yeats and Blake in works such as Yeats, The Tarot, and The Golden Dawn (1973) and From Blake to a Vision (1979), and she frequently reviewed books by other literary scholars. She also wrote several autobiographical works, including Farewell Happy Fields (1973), The Land Unknown (1975) and The Lion's Mouth (1977).

Raine was a research fellow at Girton College from 1955 to 1961, and in 1962 she was the Andrew Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She received honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom, France and the United States and has won numerous awards and honors, including the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize (1952), Arts Council Award (1953), Oscar Blumenthal Prize (1961), the Smith Literary Award (1972), and the Queen's Medal for Poetry (date unknown).

Raine married and later divorced Charles Madge with whom she had two children. She resides in London as of 1998.

From the guide to the Kathleen Raine Papers, ca. 1913-1986 (bulk 1950-1975), (University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.)

Kathleen Raine was born in London in 1908, the adored only child of a schoolmaster and Methodist lay-preacher and his Scottish wife. Kathleen was sent to stay with an aunt in Northumberland for the duration of the First World War and always recalled this period as idyllic.

Kathleen was a gifted child who wrote poetry from a very early age but when she went up to Cambridge in 1926 it was to read Natural Sciences and then Moral Sciences. At Cambridge she began writing poetry seriously, was married briefly to a fellow student and then to Charles Madge, a fellow poet and sociologist with whom she had two children. This marriage broke up in 1940 and Kathleen's first book of poetry was published in 1943.

The love of Kathleen's life was the homosexual writer Gavin Maxwell, with whom she shared a love of Northumberland, but the relationship was doomed and ended in acrimony. After Maxwell's death in 1969 Kathleen Raine blamed herself for his misfortune and decline.

Throughout her life Kathleen Raine remained true to her vocation as a poet, writing and publishing regularly. She also wrote four volumes of very frank autobiography and several critical studies of William Blake and other writers.

In 1980 Kathleen's life took a new turn when, with a group of like-minded artists and writers, she launched Temenos, a review devoted to the arts of the imagination. For the rest of her life through this and the related Temenos academy Kathleen promoted the link between the arts and the sacred. Kathleen Raine died in 2003 at the age of 93.

From the guide to the Papers of Kathleen Raine, 1951-1976, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)


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  • Poetry
  • Women poets
  • Arts
  • Criticism--Archival resources
  • Mythology, Celtic
  • Spanish drama
  • Japanese poetry
  • Existentialism
  • English literature--History and criticism--Archival resources
  • Poetry--History and criticism
  • Poets--Correspondence
  • English poetry--20th century--Archival resources


  • Poets
  • Librettists
  • Literary critics


  • India (as recorded)
  • Tokyo (Japan) (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)