Poems of Adoration - Michael Field

Poems of Adoration

Poems of Adoration

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Michael Field was a pseudonym used by Katharine Harris Bradley and her niece and ward Edith Emma Cooper. Together, as Field, they produced in the order of 40 works together with a long journal ‘Works and Days’. Their original intention was to keep their pseudonym a secret, especially as polite Victorian society was not the most liberal of arenas but, after confiding in their friend Robert Browning, it became public knowledge.

Katharine Bradley was born on 27th October 1846 in Birmingham, England. Her education took place at the Collège de France and Newnham College, Cambridge.

Bradley's elder married sister, Emma Cooper, went to live in Kenilworth, where her daughter, Edith Emma Cooper, was born on 12th January 1862. After the birth of her second daughter Emma was invalided for life and Katharine stepped in to become the legal guardian of her niece.

From the late 1870s, when Edith was at University College, Bristol, they decided to live together and over the next 4 decades were both lovers, and co-authors. The situation was helped by Katherine’s father leaving them an inheritance. Their first joint publication as Michael Field was in 1884; ‘Callirhöe and Fair Rosamund’.

Katherine first published as Arran Leigh, a nod to Elizabeth Barrett. For their first joint publication, ‘Bellerophôn’, Edith published as Isla Leigh.

They developed a large circle of literary friends and cultivated and knew many of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, including Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, J. A. Symonds and Bernard Berenson.

In 1899 the death of Edith's father enabled them to buy their own house but Edith was conflicted feeling also her father’s death was retribution for their lifestyle. Accounts suggest that this also pushed Edith into establishing the couple as active Catholics.

Their name of Michael Field was their way of declaring and celebrating their unique bond, in addition they wrote a number of passionate love poems to each other. They were also devoted to their pets and, in particular, a dog; Whym Chow, who had a whole book of poems written, published and dedicated to himself. When Whym Chow died in 1906, the emotional layers of the relationship was disturbed. The following year they fully converted to the Roman Catholic faith. Their faith became a larger part of both their work and life.

Edith died of cancer on December 13th 1913, as did Katherine less than a year later on September 26th 1914. They were buried together at St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake.
Sprog: Engelsk Kategori: Digte Oversætter:

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Forlag: Portable Poetry
Udgivet: 2020-04-01
ISBN: 9781839673542
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