Charlotte Mew

Charlotte Mew

b. 1869 d. 1928


A frail, dead, new-born lamb, ghostly and pitiful and white a blot upon the night, the moon's dropped child! - Charlotte Mew, 'Fame'


About Charlotte Mew

Charlotte Mew was surrounded by mental ill health and death from a young age. Three brothers died while she was still a child and two other siblings were committed to mental institutions. She vowed never to marry, fearful of the mental ill health any children she had might develop.

Mew was not a prolific writer but began intermittently publishing poetry and short fiction in magazines. She achieved some recognition after her narrative poem ‘The Farmer’s Bride’ appeared in a journal in 1912, and she began to be invited to readings and gatherings in influential literary circles in London. Her first collection of poetry sold slowly, but a revised edition published in England and America attracted interest and praise.

In 1923 literary friends used their influence to secure Mew a small government pension, but she became increasingly isolated and delusional. She entered a nursing home in 1928 but committed suicide by drinking disinfectant.