Biography David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne (October 10, 1916 - November 25, 2001) was an English poet associated with the Surrealist movement.
Gascoyne was born in Harrow and grew up in England and Scotland and attended Salisbury Cathedral School and Regent Street Polytechnic in London. He spent part of the early 1930s in Paris.
His first book, Roman Balcony and Other Poems, was published in 1932, when he was sixteen. A novel, Opening Day, was published the following year. However, it was Man's Life is This Meat (1936), which collected his early surrealist work and translations of French surrealists, and Hölderlin's Madness (1938) that established his reputation. These publications, together with his 1935 A Short Survey of Surrealism and his work on the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition, which he helped to organise, made him one of a small group of English surrealists that included Hugh Sykes Davies and Roger Roughton. Ironically, at this exhibition, Gascoyne had to rescue Salvador Dalí from the deep-sea diving suit -- that Dali had worn to give his lecture -- using a spanner.
Gascoyne spent the years just before World War II in Paris, where he became friendly with Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, André Breton, Paul Éluard and Pierre Jean Jouve. His poetry of this period was published in Poems 1937-1942 (1943) with illustrations by the artist Graham Sutherland.
He returned to France after the war and lived there on and off until the mid 1960s. His work from the 1950s appeared in A Vagrant and Other Poems (1950), and Night Thoughts (1956). Interestingly, this later work had moved away from surrealism towards a more metaphysical and religious poetry. After suffering a mental breakdown, Gascoyne returned to England and spent the rest of his life on the Isle of Wight. He appears to have written little from that point on. Publication continued due to various 'rediscoveries' of his works, with a number of collections and selections of his work from Oxford University Press, Enitharmon and other imprints. Two books of his journals were returned to him after having been lost for some time and were published in two separate hardbacks by Alan Clodd at Enitharmon Press. When a third book was found, a new collection including the additional material was edited by Lucien Jenkins for Skoob Books Publishing. For the latter edition David Gascoyne himself provided what he called a 'postface', one of the most extended pieces of writing from his later years.
It was in Whitecroft Hospital on the Isle of Wight that Gascoyne met his wife, Judy Lewis, in a remarkable coincidence.
1932 - Roman Balcony
1933 - Opening Day
1935 - A Short Survey of Surrealism
1936 - Man's Life is this Meat
1938 - Hoelderlin's Madness
1943 - Poems 1937-1942
1950 - A Vagrant and Other Poems
1952 - Thomas Carlyle
1956 - Requiem
1956 - Night Thoughts
1965 - Collected Poems
1970 - Sun at Midnight
1976 - Three Poems
1978 - Paris Journal 1937-1939
1980 - Journal 1936-1937
1980 - Early Poems
1984 - Journal de Paris et d'Ailleurs 1936-1942
1984 - Five Early Uncollected Poems
1984 - Recontres avec Benjamin Fondane