T. E. Hulme 1883-1917

Thomas Edward Hulme was born in Horton in rural North Staffordshire, the son of a land agent. He was educated at Newcastle-under-Lyme High School and St John’s College, Cambridge where he read mathematics. He was sent down for rowdy behaviour in 1904 on the night of the Boat Race and expelled later after a scandal involving a girl. He completed his education at London University and then went traveling around Canada. He then lived in Brussels for a while where he studied French and German.

He settled in London and became interested in philosophy whilst aspiring to become a poet. In 1908 he established the Poets’ Club and his Lecture on Modern Poetry encapsulated his Imagist views, which favoured the use of imagery and clear language and the instantaneous receipt of information through the senses. Autumn and A City Sunset were his first two imagist poems published in 1909. He had a further five poems published in The New Age in 1912.

In 1914 on the outbreak of war, he volunteered as an artilleryman, serving first with the Honourable Artillery Company and then with the Royal Marine Artillery in France and Belgium. He continued to write for The New Age during the war and was wounded in 1916 and killed by a shell in West Flanders the following year.

T. E. Hulme wrote about 25 poems, most of them between 1908 and 1910, although the majority were not published until after his death. His poetry was influenced by Gustave Kahn, the French symbolist poet and as a metaphysician he achieved great beauty with a variety of verse forms. He also wrote a vast number of articles and essays and translated work on metaphysics from French. His writing is positive, original and acute and he is considered to be “the father of imagism”.Jacob Epstein created a bust of him and the Indian poet, Bijay Kant Dubey wrote a poem in his honour. His finest poem is generally considered to be The Embankment.

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