Image of James Elroy Flecker


Lifetime: 1884 - 1915 Passed: ≈ 109 years ago


Novelist, Poet


United Kingdom

James Elroy Flecker

James Elroy Flecker was a British novelist, playwright, and poet who lived from 5 November 1884 to 3 January 1915. He was born in Lewisham, London, and educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, and Trinity College, Oxford. After graduating from Oxford, Flecker joined the consular service and was posted to Constantinople and Beirut. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1910 and was forced to resign from the consular service in 1913. He spent the last two years of his life in various sanatoriums in Switzerland, where he continued to write poetry. Flecker died of tuberculosis in Davos, Switzerland, on 3 January 1915, at the age of 30.

Flecker's poetry was most influenced by the Parnassian poets, a French literary movement of the late 19th century that emphasized the importance of form and beauty in poetry. Flecker's poems are characterized by their lush imagery, exotic settings, and musicality. He is best known for his poem "The Golden Journey to Samarkand," which was published in 1913. This poem is a celebration of the beauty and mystery of the East, and it has become one of the most popular and enduring poems in the English language.

Flecker's other notable works include the poem collections The Bridge of Fire (1907), Forty-Two Poems (1911), and The Old Ships (1915), and the plays Hassan (1922) and Don Juan (1925). Hassan is a romantic verse play set in the East, and it was a huge success when it was first performed in London in 1923. Don Juan is a verse comedy based on the legend of Don Juan, and it was also a success when it was first performed in London in 1926.

Flecker's philosophy of life was based on the belief that beauty and art are the most important things in life. He wrote in the preface to his collection The Golden Journey to Samarkand:

"The aim of poetry is to give us beauty, and beauty alone."

Flecker was a complex and fascinating figure. He was a poet of great talent and originality, but he was also a difficult and demanding man. He was a perfectionist who was constantly striving to write the perfect poem. He was also a heavy drinker and a smoker, and his health was always delicate.

Flecker's poetry is still enjoyed by readers today. It is a poetry that celebrates beauty, art, and the imagination. Flecker is remembered as one of the most important poets of the early 20th century.

Interesting facts about James Elroy Flecker:

  • Flecker was a polyglot, and he spoke several languages, including French, German, Italian, and Arabic.
  • Flecker was a skilled musician, and he played the violin and the piano.
  • Flecker was a talented athlete, and he excelled in cricket and tennis.
  • Flecker was a friend of many other writers and poets, including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats.
  • Flecker's poetry has been set to music by many composers, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Michael Tippett.

Books by James Elroy Flecker

A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon Cover image

A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon

Beauty Death Poems Journey Life Verses Imagination

A ship, an isle, a sickle moon: a scene of beauty and mystery, or a portent of things to come? James Elroy Flecker's poem "A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon" is a haunting and evocative meditation on the nature of reality and the passage of time. The p...

Forty-Two Poems Cover image

Forty-Two Poems

This is a collection of poems by James Elroy Flecker. - Summary by Carolin

King of Alsander Cover image

King of Alsander

First published in 1914, the King of Alsander is the only novel by James Elroy Flecker, best known as a poet, but also a noted scholar, linguist and diplomat. Flecker's love of learning, language and travel, and his keen satirical insight into poli...