The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
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WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Read, Herbert
Sir Herbert Edward Read, M.C., D.S.O. (b. 1893 – d. 1968) was
an English poet, scholar, and critic of literature and art.
Read was born in Kirbymoorside in North Yorkshire. His studies at the
University of Leeds were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War,
during which he served in France, where he received both the Military Cross and
the Distinguished Service Order.
His early poetry, which shows the influence of
imagism, appeared from 1915 and was mainly in free verse. His
Collected Poems appeared in 1946 (revised edition 1966). He
published a fantasy novel, The Green Child.
As a critic of literature, Read mainly concerned himself with the English Romantic poets
(as in The True Voice of Feeling: Studies in English Romantic Poetry 1953, for example).
However, Read was (and remains) better known as an art critic. He was a champion of
British neo-romantic artists such as Paul Nash. He became associated with Nash's contemporary
arts group Unit One.
Read was professor of fine arts at the University of Edinburgh (1931–33); and editor
of the trend-setting Burlington Magazine (1933–38). He was one of
the organisers of the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936
and the editor of the book Surrealism, published in 1936,
with contributions from André Breton, Hugh Skyes Davies, Paul Eluard and
Politically he regarded himself as an anarchist, in the English
neo-romantic utopian tradition of Edward Carpenter and William Morris,
a fact that did not endear him to hardline Marxist academics.
His To Hell With Culture was republished by Routledge in 2002 and deals specifically with Read's disdain for the
term culture and expands on his anarchist view of the artist as artisan, as well as
presenting a major analysis of the work of artist Eric Gill. Read was
a pioneer in the English-speaking world in the use of Jungian archetypes as a tool for art and literary criticism.
Following his death in 1968, Read was sidelined and neglected by Marxist academics. His work continued to be read
by some followers and academics. In the 1990s there was a revival of interest in him
following a major exhibition in 1993 at Leeds City Art Gallery. Since then more
of his work has been republished and there was a Herbert Read Conference, at Tate Britain in June 2004.