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Adelaide Anne Procter

b. 1825 d. 1864

Adelaide Anne Proctor’s father was a poet, and her mother actively encouraged her daughter’s interest in poetry. She submitted her early work to Charles Dickens’s publication Household Words under...

William Barnes

b. 1801 d. 1866

William Barnes was a Dorset‑dialect poet and artist. An extremely learned man with knowledge of many languages, he worked for some time as a schoolteacher, running his own schools with his wife,...

Aphra Behn

b. 1640 d. 1689

Aphra Behn was the first female writer to make her living through her art; she was a significant seventeenth‑century dramatist,The Rover being one of her best‑known plays. Little is known of her...

Paul Laurence Dunbar

b. 1872 d. 1906

Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to be widely known and admired in America. His parents were freed slaves and Dunbar used some of their tales of plantation life in his work.
After a...

A. E. Housman

b. 1859 d. 1936

Alfred Edward Housman, the eldest son of a Bromsgrove solicitor, was born in 1859. He attended Bromsgrove School as a dayboy, but soon after he started there his mother fell ill and his father sank...

D. H. Lawrence

b. 1885 d. 1930

A miner’s son from Nottingham, Lawrence was a prolific writer of short stories, essays, poems and novels before his death at the age of forty‑four in 1930. He was a rebellious, restless and polemical...

Richard Lovelace

b. 1618 d. 1657

Richard Lovelace was born in Woolwich in 1616. His father, Sir William Lovelace, fought in the Low Countries, was knighted by King James I, and  was killed at the Seige of Grolle in 1628. Richard was...

Alexander Pope

b. 1688 d. 1744

Pope was born into a Catholic family in 1688, the year of The Glorious Revolution, when Catholics could not live in London - the centre of literary life – or attend university. At the age of twelve...

Jonathan Swift

b. 1667 d. 1745

Born in Ireland in 1667, Swift spent much of his adult life in England. He was actively involved in politics, and in his self-penned epitaph describes himself as a ‘champion of liberty’. He was a...

John Wilmot Earl of Rochester

b. 1647 d. 1680

John Wilmot was born in 1647, the son of Henry Wilmot, a celebrated Royalist who had led the cavalry at the Battle of Edgehill. Henry helped the young Prince Charles escape to France after the...