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The Strong College Flecker Page, 1994–2000
James Elroy Flecker, English poet, was born in London on November 5, 1884. His death in 1915 at the age of thirty was “unquestionably the greatest premature loss that English literature has suffered since the death of Keats” (Macdonald, 1924). The eldest son of the Rev. W.H. Flecker, Headmaster of Dean Close School, Flecker attended Trinity College, Oxford, and also Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied oriental languages in preparation for a consular career. From 1910 to 1913 he held a series of minor consular posts in Constantinople, Smyrna, and Beirut, and these appointments reinforced his life-long love for the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Flecker’s health was not robust (he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1910 shortly after he entered the consular service) and he was forced to take frequent leaves of absence from his posts, sometimes to return to England and sometimes to visit sanatoria in Switzerland. He died in Davos, Switzerland, on January 3, 1915, and is buried in Cheltenham, England, at the foot of the Cotswold Hills. His grave is marked with a granite cross inscribed with the poet’s own words: “O Lord, restore his realm to the dreamer.”
“Flecker had a splendor and breadth of vision unmatched among young English poets of his time” (Philadelphia North American). His writings include poetry, short stories, non-fiction prose, and two plays that were published posthumously. Though sometimes grouped chronologically with the Georgian poets, Flecker’s real literary affinity is with the French Parnassian school. The principal editions of his main works are listed below, along with a selection of the biographical and critical literature. A Flecker Sampler linked to this page includes some of his better-known poems.
- The Bridge of Fire. London: Elkin Matthews, 1907.
- Thirty-Six Poems. London: Adelphi Press, 1910.
- Forty-Two Poems. London: J.M. Dent, 1911.
- The Golden Journey to Samarkand. London: Max Goschen, 1913.
- The Old Ships. London: The Poetry Bookshop, 1915.
- Collected Poems. (Editions of 1916, 1935, and 1946.)
- The Last Generation. New Age Press, 1908.
- The Grecians. London: J.M. Dent, 1910.
- The Scholars’ Italian Book. London: David Nutt, 1911.
- The King of Alsander. London: Max Goschen, 1913.
- Collected Prose. London: G. Bell, 1920.
- The Letters of J.E. Flecker to Frank Savery. London: Beaumont Press, 1926.
- Some Letters from Abroad of James Elroy Flecker, with a few Reminiscences by Hellé Flecker and an Introduction by J.C. Squire. London: Heinemann, 1930.
- Hassan. London: Heinemann, 1922. (“The story of ‘Hassan of Bagdad and how he came to make the Golden Journey to Samarkand’ is a sheer delight from beginning to end.” —The New York Times)
- Don Juan. London: Heinemann, 1925.
Biographical and Critical Literature on Flecker
- Hodgson, Geraldine. James Elroy Flecker, From Letters and Materials Provided by His Mother. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1925.
- Gillander, Ronald A. A Critical Study of James Elroy Flecker. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of London, 1954.
- Goldring, Douglas. James Elroy Flecker. London: Chapman and Hall, 1922.
- Lawrence, T.E. An Essay on Flecker. London: Corvinus Press, 1937.
- Mercer, T. Stanley. James Elroy Flecker: From School to Samarkand. Thames Ditton, Surrey: Merle Press, 1952.
- Munro, John M. James Elroy Flecker. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1976.
- Sherwood, John. No Golden Journey: A Biography of James Elroy Flecker. London: Heinemann, 1973.
The Flecker Page was prepared for the Literary Society of Cornelia Strong College at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2013