Thursday, 7 February 2013

Poets of the Wight

A while back - New Maxwell Gray photo - I mentioned that Brighstone Library had kindly sourced me a clipping from the then-unfindable 1933 book Poets of the Wight (Charles John Arnell, County Press, 1933). I can't find the death date of Arnell, a poet and poetry editor, but he was born in Carisbrooke in 1850 and judging by bibliographics - a Google Books search on inauthor:"Charles John Arnell" finds his last book came out in 1937 - it seems likely he's dead more than 75 years and out of UK copyright. I just found on the Internet Archive the 1922 edition of the book scanned in 2011 from the University of Toronto collection.

Poets of the Wight is a rather strange selection. As you'd expect, there are the obvious major poets with a well-known Isle of Wight connection - Tennyson, Swinburne and Keats - and alongside these it includes lesser-known poets of objective reputation and interest, including Mary F Johnson, John Sterling, the light verse writer William Woty, Edmund Peel, Lionel Tennyson, Philip Stanhope Worsley, the novelist Ena Fitzgerald, Mrs Disney Leith, Alice Meynell, Ellen Mary Sewell and Elizabeth Missing Sewell, Hallam Tennyson, and Mary Gleed Tuttiett ("Maxwell Gray", better known for her novels than her poetry).

But the book is padded out with a nepotistic line-up, including a large section by Arnell himself, of verse from the then-elderly Arnell's friends, family, and associated Isle of Wight worthies: his sister Caroline Annie Arnell, his son Hubert Frederick Barstow Carstairs Arnell, Thomas Lee (editor of the Isle of Wight County Press, which published the book), Mrs Jemima Luke, Sir Frederick Black, K.C.B., Robey Frank Eldridge (a Newport solicitor and small-town politician), Miss Innell Jolliffe (proprietor of the Isle of Wight Advertiser), Leonard Jordan, Mary Maude, Percy G Scott-Jackson, and Percy Goddard Stone, It seems, in part, a vanity effort.

"Maxwell Gray"
It is, however, worth reading for some of the poetry and for the biographical sketches, and there are a number of characterful author portraits, including the above one of Maxwell Gray, evidently taken at the same sitting as this one in The Bookman; a review of books and life. v.3, March 1896.

See Poets of the Wight. An anthology of Vectensian poets, namely of poets native to or otherwise identified with the Isle of Wight, with selections from their works and prefatory introductions and portraits (Charles John Arnell, Newport Isle of Wight, County Press, 1922, Internet Archive ID poetsofwightanth00arne).

- Ray
Percy Goddard Stone
Percy G Scott-Jackson
Mrs Disney Leith
Leonard Jordan
Portrait of Philip Stanhope Worsley
ripped off from Julia Margaret Cameron.
Here's why it looks weird.
Ena Fitzgerald
Robey Frank Eldridge
Sir Frederick Black, K.C.B.
Charles John Arnell
Canon Laurence Tuttiett - uncle of "Maxwell Gray"
Lionel Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
uncredited ripoff of George J Stodart engraving
Algernon Swinburne
Albert Midlane - Newport ironmonger and hymn writer
Mrs Jemima Luke
Thomas Lee
Hubert Arnell, the author's son who died
of "heat-apoplexy" in Buenos Aires
Caroline Annie Arnell - the author's sister

No comments:

Post a Comment