22 November - Adela Florence Cory (1865-1904) Jul 14, 2008 22:04:07 GMT 2
Post by moira on Jul 14, 2008 22:04:07 GMT 2
Adela Florence Cory (1865-1904)
Writing under the pseudonym of Laurence Hope,
Adela Florence Cory's first volume of poetry,
The Garden of Kama and other Love Lyrics from
India(1901), attracted considerable attention
in the English-reading world and was repeatedly
reissued every year for the next fourteen years.
Here is but one poem:
Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell!
Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far,
Beore you agonise them in farewell?
Oh, pale dispensers of my Joys and Pains,
Holding the doors of Heaven and Hell,
How the hot blood rushed wildly thorugh the veins
Beneath your touch, until you waved farewell.
Pale hands, pink tipped, like Lotus buds that float
On those cool waters where we used to dwell,
I would have rather felt you round my throat
Crushing out life; than waving me farewell!
Other poems can be found at RPO Representative Poetry On-line
'Laurence Hope', actually Adela Florence Cory (1865-1904), was born in Gloucester, the daughter of colonialists. Her father, Arthur Cory (died 1903) was a high-ranking officer in the Indian army; her mother, Elizabeth Fanny Griffin (18341916). Her sister, Annie Sophie Cory, was a novelist and also wrote under a pseudonym, Victoria Cross. (The beginning of the 20th century saw an increase in women writers who used pseudonyms, mostly semi-male ones.) . Cory went to private school in England but eventually settled in India. She married Malcolm Hassels Nicolson, an army colonel considerably older than her. There's a short life of him in the ODNB; among other things, you learn he was an expert linguist expert linguist, "having passed the interpreter's test in Baluchi, Brahui, and Persian, and the higher standard in Pushtu." Two months after he died in 1904, she committed suicide.
The poems were sold and written and talked about because of the unrestrained (but decorative ) way in which it spoke of physical passion and longing. The ODNB says they show the influence of Swinburne and the Pre-Raphaelites; the sexuality and exoticism were excused under the guise of translation, "Indianness" and "orientalism" (in Said's sense). They were initially reviewed (and welcomed) as the work of a man. Once readers discovered Hope was a woman, they imagined a young Sapphic figure - which was part of their popular allure - little knowing that Hope was by this time a married woman in her late thirties. Thomas Hardy admired her work, and they corresponded; he wrote a preface for Indian Love, published posthumously and without Hardy's preface; he wrote ano obituary. There were other collections: Star of the Desert and Last Poems. Some of her shorter poems in the musical setting of Amy Woodforde Finden (18601919), continued to be very popular into the 1930s and were recorded by, among others, John MacCormack, Dame Clara Butt, and Rudolph Valentino.
There is a book: T. Malone, The Secret Life of Laurence Hope (1951)
I've been listening to a wonderful dramatic reading aloud by Sam Dastor of Paul Scott's Jewel in the Crown (old unabridged audiocassettes) and rewatching the 13 part film adaptation. Whence my remembering this woman poet.
* * * * * *
Thank you so much for this wonderful posting Ellen! Your posts continue to fascinate me and lead me to the library : ) How do you find these poets? I can understand the draw to describing her work as having a Sapphic influence (Sapphic meaning influenced by Sappho rather than depicting Lesbianism).
I wonder if Amy Lowell ever read her?
I am a shameless fan of Laurence Hope and have two of her books, one with a torn dusk jacket with a soulful photo of her on the front. In fact, she is the "poetess" who is the subject of my "Ghazal for a Poetess" in CALENDARS
Thanks for bringing her to WOM-PO, Ellen.
Thank you for your comment. I went over and read your poem. Very fine. You seem to be describing her books too. I know only what I wrote about Cory in the posting and have only come across a couple of her poems.
My interest comes from a few vantage points. As I said, I am listening to Jewel in the Crown read aloud; I'll add I love hyphenated Anglo-literature (and francophone literature too). So Anglo-Indian and all sorts of texts that are stigmatized as colonialist I really enjoy; the cross-currents fascinate me; they seem so rich.
As a translator I'm alert to people using translation as a way to express themselves creatively. I find particularly interesting
texts that are again stigmatized once people find out the person didn't translate another text, but pretended to. These sort of forgeries are often creative, people working outside the norms of conventions of the times and using masks to get away with it. One of the poets I chose for the website was such a person: Judith Gautier:
An 18th century woman poet I'm interested in used the guise of "orientalism" or middle-eastern-ness to allow herself to write passionate love poetry: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
And I thought the poem I put on our list lovely, yes Pre-Raphaelite and reminding me of poetry of better known men and occasionally other women of the 1890s (for example, Henley, Dowson, Wilde, Thompson, Symons). There's a name for this group and I can't recall it just now, something having to do with twilight. There was an Italian movement at the same time called crepuscular (that's an English transliteration), also the French poets have poems like this: Verlaine. A woman few have ever heard of: Rosamund Marriot Watson (friends with Hardy -- he too of this era and he praised Cory's poetry) and influenced
Annie Finch (1956-)
Ghazal For A Poetess
Many the nights that have passed,
But I remember
The river of pearls at Fez
And Seomar whom I loved.
Laurence Hope, 1903
1The corners of the frontispiece yellow from their darker edges.
2Aching eyes lift in tremolo from their darker edges.
3Moon lit your blood in the jasmine-blooming gardens;
4bodies still glide in tableau from their darker edges.
5Your "hungry soul" laps at the page with its "burning, burning";
6your moans send out an echo from their darker edges.
7Silk covers your arms, your fingers, your lips, your voice.
8Your black lines weave a trousseau from their darker edges.
9Wind strikes at the palm trees where you walked;
10fronds shake like tousled arrows from their darker edges.
11Your nights spread quiet over "parched and dreary" sand.
12Finches fill them till they glow from their darker edges.
1] ghazal: "species of Oriental lyric poetry, generally of an erotic nature, distinguished from other forms of Eastern verse by having a limited number of stanzas and by the recurrence of the same rhyme" (Oxford English Dictionary). Laurence Hope: pseudonym of the English-Indian poet, Adela Florence Cory (1865-1904).
Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto. This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Annie Finch or Tupelo Press permissions department.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Publication date note: Calendars
(Dorset, Vermont: Tupelo Press, 2003): 37.
Cornell University Library OLIN PS 3556
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
Recent editing: 1:2004/6/16
Composition date note: Composed 1999.