Friday, August 10, 2007

Dunstan Thompson

Dunstan Thompson was born in the US in Conneticut in 1918. He had a wide-ranging education in the US, England, and France and then eventually at Harvard. He published Poems in 1943 and this book in 1947 and at the time of publication of this book, the blurb tells us he was in Egypt writing a travel book for the same publisher on the Middle East. (This was duly published later). He was quite widely anthologised at the time, primarily as a 'war poet' and, as far as he is remembered today it is under that label. His writing was admired by a very diverse bunch of critics, including Stephen Spender. However, he then disappears from the literary scene and published nothing more. Wikipedia is suitably brief and intriguing, telling us that "it has been stated that he was a homosexual" and then also that he became a Christian convert and changed his "lifestyle" as a result. I know that I'm not the only one left wondering... also among the Google results is the notice of an article in an academic journal titled, "Whatever Happened to Dunstan Thompson", but if the author of the article discovered the answer then I am none the wiser because one has to subscribe to read the whole text.

Characters like this are so fascinating. So much more so than the heavily 'biographised' and well known figures of the gay literary scene. A great little find and a great little book of poems which is good enough that I want to find his other works.

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