James Thomson


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Thomson, James,

1834–82, Scottish poet and essayist. He is remembered for his darkly pessimistic poem The City of Dreadful Night. He was raised in an orphan asylum and became (1851) an army teacher at Ballincollig, Ireland. In 1862 he was dismissed from the service for a very minor offense, became a clerk in London, and contributed (using the signature B.V.) to the National Reformer, the magazine of his friend Charles BradlaughBradlaugh, Charles
, 1833–91, British social reformer, a secularist. Editor of the free-thinking weekly National Reformer from 1860 and later associated with Annie Besant, he was an early advocate of woman's suffrage, birth control, free speech, national education,
..... Click the link for more information.
. Thomson's life in London was lonely and impoverished, aggravated by insomnia, his own incredibly melancholic disposition, and periodic bouts with alcoholism. His greatest poetical work, The City of Dreadful Night (1880, first published in the National Reformer, 1874), gives brilliant, haunting expression to his despair. The poem "Sunday up the River" (first published in Fraser's Magazine, 1869) is an example of his lyric gift. Vane's Story (1880) and A Voice from the Nile (1884) are later collections of his poems. Thomson also wrote many essays and criticisms. His collected poems appeared in 1895 and a volume of prose in 1896.

Bibliography

See biography by H. S. Salt (rev. ed. 1914); study by I. B. Walker (1950).


Thomson, James,

1700–1748, Scottish poet. Educated at Edinburgh, he went to London, took a post as tutor, and became acquainted with such literary celebrities as GayGay, John,
1685–1732, English playwright and poet, b. Barnstaple, Devon. Educated at the local grammar school, he was apprenticed to a silk mercer for a brief time before commencing his literary career in London.
..... Click the link for more information.
, ArbuthnotArbuthnot, John
, 1667–1735, Scottish author and scientist, court physician (1705–14) to Queen Anne. He is best remembered for his five "John Bull" pamphlets (1712), political satires on the Whig war policy, which introduced the character John Bull, the typical
..... Click the link for more information.
, and PopePope, Alexander,
1688–1744, English poet. Although his literary reputation declined somewhat during the 19th cent., he is now recognized as the greatest poet of the 18th cent. and the greatest verse satirist in English.
..... Click the link for more information.
. His most famous poem, The Seasons, was published in four parts, beginning with "Winter" (1726), which achieved an immediate success. "Summer" (1727) was followed by "Spring" (1728) and then "Autumn" in the first collected edition (1730); a revised edition appeared in 1744. In The Seasons, Thomson's faithful, sensitive descriptions of external nature were a direct challenge to the urban and artificial school of Pope and influenced the forerunners of romanticism, such as GrayGray, Thomas,
1716–71, English poet. He was educated at Eton and Peterhouse, Cambridge. In 1739 he began a grand tour of the Continent with Horace Walpole. They quarreled in Italy, and Gray returned to England in 1741.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and CowperCowper, William
, 1731–1800, English poet. Physically and emotionally unfit for the professional life, he was admitted to the bar but never practiced. After a battle with insanity, Cowper retired to the country, taking refuge with the family of Mrs.
..... Click the link for more information.
. His other important poems are Liberty (1735–36), a tribute to Britain, and The Castle of Indolence (1748), written in imitation of SpenserSpenser, Edmund,
1552?–1599, English poet, b. London. He was the friend of men eminent in literature and at court, including Gabriel Harvey, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Robert Sidney, earl of Leicester.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and reflecting the poet's delight in idleness.

Thomson also wrote a series of tragedies along classical lines, with a strong political flavor. The most notable were Sophonisba (1730); Edward and Eleanora (1739), which was banned for political reasons; and Tancred and Sigismunda (1745). In 1740 he collaborated with his friend David MalletMallet or Malloch, David
, c.1705–1765, English poet and dramatist, b. Scotland. His best-known work is the ballad William and Margaret (1720).
..... Click the link for more information.
 on a masque, Alfred, which contains his famous ode "Rule Britannia."

Bibliography

See his poetical works (ed. by J. L. Robertson, 1908, repr. 1965); biographies by H. H. Campbell (1979) and M. J. Scott (1988); studies by R. Cohen (1963 and 1970) and R. R. Agrawal (1981).

Thomson, James

 

Born Sept. 11, 1700, in Ednam, Roxburghshire; died Aug. 27,1748, in Richmond. English poet.

Thomson’s poem The Seasons (parts 1–4,1726–30) was one of the first works to express sentimentalist moods. It had a great influence on European, including Russian, literature. Thomson also wrote classical tragedies, the allegorical poem The Castle of Indolence (1748), and the lyric “Rule, Britannia.”

WORKS

Complete Poetical Works. Oxford, 1908.
In Russian translation:
Chetyre vremeni goda. Moscow, 1812.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fase. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Cohen, R. The Art of Discrimination. Berkeley–Los Angeles, 1964.
References in periodicals archive ?
newspaperman and disappointed job-seeker named James Thomson Callender.
West organized and managed the research between Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) and its academic collaborators, James Thomson and John Gearhart, that led to the first isolation of human embryonic stem and human embryonic germ cells.
Those shortlisted for awards include two-yearold James Thomson whose throat, vocal chords, tongue and stomach were all horrifically burnt after he drank a toxic substance.
Comic and broadcaster Fred MacAulay will be joined by Michelin star chef Andrew Fairlie and restaurateur James Thomson on a quest to munch neeps and tatties on 19,000ft Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
James Thomson, 26, was asked to leave after lighting a cigarette at a bar in Brighton during a bender with mates.
Under-15s: 1st Aberdare Legends: Joel Makin, James Thomson, Dan Cope; 2nd St Mellons 1: Macario Chung, Adil Hussain, Greg Jones; 3rd Newport 3: Simeon Ollewfello, Rhys Forty, Ryan Davies; 4th Vale 1: Robert Luke, Chris Horton, Salil Gokhale.
James Thomson and Charlotte Wadley, from Yardley, fly to India next month to spend two weeks in a deprived area, helping youngsters in need.
Following an exhaustive national search, the global real estate services provider has appointed James Thomson as managing principal to head its new Boston operation.
Joiner James Thomson, 26, of Brae, Shetland, was working on a house next to the health centre in Levenwick.
The original idea came from a poem of that name by the 18th century English poet James Thomson.