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Francis Thompson

(1859—1907) poet and writer


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(1859–1907),

after failed attempts to train for the Roman Catholic priesthood, spent three years, from 1885, of homeless and opium‐addicted destitution in London, till he was rescued by Wilfred and Alice Meynell, who secured him literary recognition. He never freed himself for long from opium which, together with tuberculosis, caused his early death. His best‐known poems are ‘The Hound of Heaven’ and ‘The Kingdom of God’; he published three volumes of verse, in 1893, 1895, and 1897, and much literary criticism, in Meynell's Merry England, the Academy, and the Athenaeum. His finest work conveys intense religious experience in imagery of great power; he was influenced especially by Shelley, De Quincey, and Crashaw.

Subjects: Literature


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