Madder Music, Stronger Wine: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent

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Tauris Parke Paperbacks, Jan 12, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 232 pages
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Ernest Dowson, the subject of this biography, was one of the major poets of the romantic late-Victorian Decadent period. He died in 1900 at the age of 32. His life is both a story of doomed love and one of a man's struggle to create beauty in the face of adversity: Dowson was an alcoholic and a severe depressive who created much of his best work when suffering from the tuberculosis which was to kill him when he was a homeless vagabond owning nothing but a tattered manuscript book of verse. Yet this little-understood figure of the Victorian literary world wrote some of the most-quoted lyrics in English verse ("gone with the wind", "days of wine and roses") in the company of contemporaries such as Wilde, Yeats and Beardsley, who illustrated Dowson's work. The poet's circumstances carried all the elements of tragedy: both parents committed suicide, he never had a fixed home, and his life was blighted by an impossible affair with a girl he first met when she was 11. The book examines Dowson's obsessions and explores his life and work in the context of the social mores and attitudes of his era.

It sets out to show how his strange delights and sexual excesses were worked into the pure verse of lyrics such as "Cynara".

 

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MADDER MUSIC, STRONGER WINE: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A thorough look at the decline and fall of one of the lesser-known decadent poets.Documentary producer (and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society) Adams presents British poet Dowson as a tragic ... Read full review

Contents

The Pagan Child
1
The Pessimistic Student
10
Dowson and Son
19
The Serious Rhymers
31
Down Among the Daycadongs
44
Moral Torture
55
The Adventure of Literature
67
Bright Lights
80
Savage Beauty
128
The Devils Dance
141
The Valley of Humiliation
153
The Dying of Ernest Dowson
164
Friends of Ernest Dowson
172
The Dowson Legacy
181
Dowsons Major Works
187
Notes
189

Decadent Disintegration
92
Savoy Days
105
Paris Nights
117

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About the author (2002)

Jad Adams is a producer of history documentaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Madder Music, Stronger Wine is his third biography, his previous two being Tony Benn and Dynasty: The Nehru-Gandhi Story.

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