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Richard Aldington Biography | Poet

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Richard Aldington (July 8, 1892 – July 27, 1962), name at birth Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet. He was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry.

Aldington was born in Portsmouth and educated at Dover College and the University of London; he was unable to complete his degree because of the financial circumstances of his family. He met the poet H.D. in 1911 and they married two years later.

His poetry was associated with the Imagist group, and his work forms almost one third of the Imagists' inaugural anthology Des Imagistes (1914). At this time he was one of the poets around the proto-Imagist T. E. Hulme; Robert Ferguson in his life of Hulme portrays Aldington as too squeamish to approve of Hulme's robust approach, particularly to women. He knew Wyndham Lewis well, also, reviewing his work in The Egoist at this time, hanging a Lewis portfolio around the room and (on a similar note of tension between the domestic and the small circle of London modernists) regretting having lent Lewis his razor when the latter announced with hindsight a venereal infection (Paul O'Keefe, Some Sort of Genius, p.164). Going out without a hat, and an interest in Fabian socialism, were perhaps unconventional enough for him (John Paterson, Edwardians). At this time he was also an associate of Ford Madox Hueffer, helping him with a hack propaganda volume for a government commission in 1914, and (more honourably) taking dictation for The Good Soldier when H.D. found it too harrowing.

In 1915 Aldington and H.D. moved within London, away from Holland Park very near Ezra Pound and Dorothy, to Hampstead, close to D. H. Lawrence and Frieda. Their relationship became strained by external romantic interests and the stillborn birth of their child. Between 1914 and 1916 he was literary editor of The Egoist .

He answered the national call for service in the army, and served on the Western Front in 1916–18. Aldington never completely recovered from his war experiences, and although it was prior to an official diagnoses of PTSD, he was likely suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Aldington and H. D. attempted to mend their marriage in 1919, after the birth of her daughter by a friend of writer D. H. Lawrence, named Cecil Gray, with whom she had became involved and lived with while Aldington was at war. However, she was by this time deeply involved in a lesbian relationship with the wealthy writer Bryher, and she and Aldington formally separated, both becoming romantically involved with other people, but they did not divorce until 1938. They remained friends, however, for the rest of their lives.

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things