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C. Day Lewis

Day Lewis, C. (Cecil Day Lewis), 1904–72, English author, b. Ireland. While he was still at Oxford, he became associated with a group of leftist poets led by W. H. Auden. After graduation he taught at various schools until 1935 and then decided to devote himself to writing. He was professor of poetry at Oxford from 1951 to 1956. Included among his volumes of poetry are Collected Poems 1929–1933 (1935), Overtures to Death (1938), Short Is the Time (1945), Collected Poems (1954), Pegasus and Other Poems (1957), and The Whispering Roots and Other Poems (1970). Lewis was a member of the Communist party from 1935 to 1938, and his early poetry is marked by didacticism and a preoccupation with social themes. His later work, however, is more personal and metaphysical. Besides poetry, C. Day Lewis is noted for the collection of essays A Hope for Poetry (1934); for a verse translation of Vergil's Aeneid (1952); and for detective stories written under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake. From 1967 to 1972 he was poet laureate of Great Britain.

See his autobiography, The Buried Day (1960); biography by J. N. Riddel (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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