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Lascelles Abercrombie Biography | Poet

Photo of Lascelles Abercrombie

Lascelles Abercrombie was a British poet and literary critic. He was born in Cheshire, England on January 9, 1881. As a poet he was associated with the "Georgian" style of poetry which became popular early in the twentieth century during the reign of King George the fifth. Abercrombie was also closely associated with a small group of writers known as the Dymock Poets. In his lifetime Abercombie was best known for writing verse dramas and for poems written in the years following the end of World War One. He died in London on October 27, 1938.

Abercrombie was educated at Malvern College and then at Manchester University, where he began writing poetry an undergraduate. His first book of poems appeared in print in 1908, the same year that be began a career in journalism, working for a Liverpool newspaper.

Two years later, Abercrombie and his wife Catherine moved to a cottage in the countryside close to the England/Wales border. While writing poetry there he was also working as a freelance journalist and established his name as a literary critic. In 1910 he paid for the publication of his first book, Mary and the Bramble, a long dramatic poem.

The next poetic work Abercrombie published was a short play in verse, The Sale of Saint Thomas. This was reprinted in December 1912 in the first book of an Anthology of Georgian Poetry and it received some good reviews. Two of the leading literary critics at the time praised Abercrombie for his imaginative thinking and poetic talent.

Other poets began to gather in the Dymock area, where Abercrombie was living in Gloucestershire. In his small country cottage Abercrombie and his wife entertained, among others, Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Rupert Brooke.

In 1913 he published another successful verse drama, The End of the World. This book did receive some adverse criticism but it was greatly admired by the poet Robert Frost who had just returned to the United States. Frost requested more copies of the book to be sent to him so that he could distribute them to his literary friends in the US.

Following the outbreak of the First World War Abercrombie felt unable to write anything creative. Several of the Dymock Poets became famous for their war poetry, but Abercrombie was declared unfit for active service because of his health. Instead he went to work in a munitions factory. After the war he returned to his village home and again became a working poet.

In the years following the end of the war, Abercrombie wrote some of his greatest poems. He wrote one of his most renowned poems, Ryton Firs, about some fir trees growing near to his cottage that were cut down in the war to be used as support props in the Welsh coal mines.

The collected poems and plays of Lascelles Abercrombie appeared in print in 1930. By then he had also written several books about poetry and on literary criticism. He was appointed professor of literature at three different British universities and gave lectures on the role of poetry. In 1937 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy.

Lascelles Abercrombie was never to become as famous as the war poets he associated with in Dymock, but in literary circles his views on poetry and his talent for writing poetry were acknowledged during his lifetime. 


Lascelles Abercrombie (also known as the Georgian Laureate) (January 9, 1881 – October 27, 1938) was a British poet and literary critic, one of the "Dymock poets". He was born in Ashton-on-Mersey and educated at the University of Manchester.

Before the First World War, he lived for a time at Dymock in Gloucestershire, part of a community which included Rupert Brooke and Edward Thomas. In 1922, he was appointed Professor of English at Leeds University. In 1929 he moved on to the University of London, and in 1935 obtained a teaching post at Oxford. He wrote several books of poetry criticism, as well as his own Georgian poetry, which was collected and published in 1930. He was the brother of the architect Patrick Abercrombie.

His son was the cell biologist Michael Abercrombie.

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