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Laurie Lee Biography | Poet

Photo of Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee was born Laurence Edward Alan Lee. Laurie became a common nickname for him, since this was in an era before Laurie was largely regarded as a feminine nickname. He was born on the 26th of June in 1914 in the village of Slad in Stroud, Gloucestershire of the United Kingdom. He was 82 when he died on the 13th of May in the year 1997. For better or for worse, his birth and death occurred in the same location. A good portion of his most famous works were autobiographical in nature, especially his 1959 work Cider With Rosie. People who are interested in Spain in the 1930's are advised to look at his other famous autobiographical works, such as A Moment of War and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning.

The Education That Made Laurie Lee Who He Was

Laurie Lee was definitely a born artist. He wasn't the sort of poet who started out wanting to pursue one career before deciding to pursue art after becoming more educated or after traveling somewhere. He went to the Central Boys' School in Stroud for only three years and left at fifteen. He became an errand boy after that, and was an office clerk and a laborer in his twenties. Laurie Lee was also a violinist, and he managed to support himself doing that at different points. While he made other attempts to study for an art degree, his life circumstances kept getting in the way, and Laurie Lee was able to achieve success as a writer without a great deal of education on the subject.

The People in Laurie Lee's Life

Growing up, Laurie Lee and his mother and brothers were much closer to the maternal side of the family than the paternal side of the family. His father, Reginald Joseph Lee, was a veteran of the First World War who ultimately left the family, which no doubt caused a certain degree of bad blood.

Laurie Lee had a troubled romantic life, to say the least. His extreme childlike nature made it difficult for him to sustain many adult relationships. His doomed love for Lorna Wishart may have inspired him when he was still young, but it didn't do him any favors during his very troubled older years.

The Best Work of Laurie Lee

By far, the most important work in the catalog of Laurie Lee is Cider With Rosie. It still sells well in England today, even though it is less well-known throughout the Western world. His 1969 work As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is still read today. His 1991 work A Moment of War has not been forgotten. It is interesting that these books are all regarded as part of the same trilogy since they were released so far apart from one another, and it would seem that they should reflect the artist at different life stages. Laurie Lee had an eternally childlike aspect to him, however, which helped mitigate that effect.

Laurie Lee had other poems published here and there. His first volume of poetry, the Sun My Monument, was published in the year 1944. He then published the Bloom of Candles in 1947 and My Many-Coated Man in 1955. However, people still remember Cider With Rosie more potently today than they remember almost any of his other works, so it could be regarded as his magnum opus.

The Importance of Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee's work paints a very good portrait of England and Spain during a very particular time and place, which is part of the reason why his work is still part of the canon, particularly Cider With Rosie. Laurie Lee seemed to have strong nostalgia for the English countryside of his youth, and he never really seemed to advance beyond that in any way.

The English countryside and England as it was before World War Two have captured the hearts of many modern people who are just as nostalgic as the people who were really from that time period. It is as if their nostalgia was inherited. One way or another, the fact that Laurie Lee was able to capture those feelings so vividly has led to him being somewhat immortalized, even though he was far from a prolific artist. 

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