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Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore

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Published : 3 Articles
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Patmore, Coventry Kersey Dighton I Coventry Patmore, Patmore l, 1823–1896, poet, critic. Privately educated. Assistant in printed books department, British Museum, 1846–65. Contributed to North Brit. Rev., the Germ, Edin. Rev., Macmillan's, Pall Mall Gazette, St. James's Gazette, and other periodicals. Published Poems, 1844; Tamerton Church-Tower, 1853; the four parts of The Angel in the House, 1854–62 in book form; The Unknown Eras, 1877; Amelia, 1878; collections of some of his periodical articles, e.g., Principle in Art, 1889, and Religio Poetae, 1893.


In his article "Popular Serial Literature," North Brit. Rev., May 1847, Patmore pointed out various excellencies and various shortcomings in Dickens's writing. Passages that showed "a master's touch" he found offset by passages of mawkishness and of wearisome description, by passages characterized by exaggeration and mannerism. Scott, wrote Patmore, was "a greater than he" – i.e., than Dickens.
      Patmore's prose contribution to H.W. ["'Evil is Wrought by Want of Thought'", I, 580–87. Sept. 14, 1850] is a childish story titled by a line from Thomas Hood. Dickens "touched" the ending, he wrote to Wills, Aug. 14, 1850, to make less disagreeable the feeling towards each other of the two sisters who appear as characters.
      Certain verses that Patmore submitted to H.W. in 1854 Dickens did not accept for publication (letter to Patmore, Pilgrim Letters). The two poems that were accepted have interest in the fact that Patmore salvaged parts of them, as he did of some of his other early poetry, for inclusion in the final version of the Angel. Approximately half of the lines of "The Golden Age" [II, 132–33. Nov. 2, 1850] appear, with some revision, in Letter VII of Book III of Faithful for Ever, 1860 (Letter XVIII in Oxford Edition of Poems); twelve lines of "Honour" [XI, 204. March 31, 1855] appear, with but minor revision, as part of a Prelude ("The Joyful Wisdom") first added to Canto X of "The Betrothal" in the second edition of the Angel, 1858.
      Harper's reprinted "The Golden Age," without acknowledgment to H.W.
                                                                                                                             D.N.B. suppl. 1901

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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