Francis Thompson

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Francis Thompson
BirthplacePreston, Lancashire

Thompson, Francis,

1859–1907, English poet. His poetry, usually on religious subjects, is noted for its brilliant imagery and sonorous language. He was educated for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Ushaw College but in 1877 entered Owens College, Manchester, to study medicine. Relinquishing his medical studies in 1885, he went to London, where he lived a destitute life, suffering from ill health, poverty, and opium addiction. In 1888 he sent a manuscript to Wilfrid Meynell who, with his wife Alice MeynellMeynell, Alice (Thompson)
, 1847–1922, English poet and essayist. She spent most of her youth in Italy. Converted to Roman Catholicism in 1872, she wrote much on religious subjects.
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, edited the Catholic periodical Merry England. They recognized Thompson's poetic ability and took him under their care. Poems (1893), which attracted much attention, contained "The Hound of Heaven," Thompson's chief and best-known work, describing the poet's futile flight from God. Two more volumes appeared, Sister Songs (1895) and New Poems (1897), both supplemented by the publication of a few more poems after his death. Thompson spent the years from 1893 to 1897 in a monastery in Wales. Although Thompson is considered an important English poet, his verse has frequently been criticized for its verbosity and lack of originality in thought. Thompson also wrote a number of essays, including a study of Shelley (1909).


See his Literary Criticisms (ed. by T. L. Connolly, 1948); biographies by E. Meynell (1913, repr. 1971), and P. van K. Thomson (1961, repr. 1972); studies by J. C. Reid (1959) and R. L. Mégroz (1927, repr. 1971).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." While it is true, then, that Francis Thompson will probably never become as well known as Gerard Manley Hopkins and other "Catholic" poets, one hopes that his poetry will become more widely recognized and admired for its unique attributes, particularly its originality and powerful dynamism.
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Hart shows a genuine engagement with these writers, one epitomized by Francis Thompson's "The Hound of Heaven," an intense and almost surreal narrative of a man chased like the biblical Jonah by the Absolute until he finally yields.
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BLACK FRANCIS - THRESHOLD APPREHENSION I am one of the luckiest people in the world because Charles aka Black Francis Thompson gave me a peck on the cheek when The Pixies where last in Dublin.
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The sufferings endured to escape its grasp are unimaginable, as attested by the life of poet Francis Thompson, who in his "Hound of Heaven" so luminously acknowledged God's boundless love and mercy, yet who battled opium addiction until his death.
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William Francis Thompson (18881965) was born in Minnesota but moved in 1903 with his parents to Everett, Wash., where his father, Pirrie, worked for the Great Northern Railway.