John Masefield

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Masefield, John

(mās–), 1878–1967, English poet. He went to sea as a youth and later spent several years in the United States. In 1897 he returned to England and was on the staff of the Manchester Guardian. His first volumes of poetry, Salt-Water Ballads (1902), containing "Sea Fever" and "Cargoes," and Ballads (1903), earned him the title "Poet of the Sea." It was, however, for his realistic, long narrative poems—The Everlasting Mercy (1911), The Widow in the Bye Street (1912), Dauber (1913), and Reynard the Fox (1919)—that he won his greatest fame. He was also a playwright and novelist of some note. His plays, written in both verse and prose, include The Tragedy of Nan (1909), The Tragedy of Pompey the Great (1910), and The Coming of Christ (1928). Among his novels are Multitude and Solitude (1909), Sard Harker (1924), and The Bird of Dawning (1933). Masefield is the author of several literary studies, of which his William Shakespeare (1911) is the most notable. Other works include adventure stories for boys and two war sketches, Gallipoli (1916) and The Nine Days Wonder (1941), and the posthumous volume of poetry In Glad Thanksgiving (1968). He was poet laureate from 1930 until his death and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1935.


See his autobiographical works In the Mill (1941), So Long to Learn (1952), and Grace Before Ploughing (1966); see biographies by S. Sternlicht (1978) and J. Dwyer (1988); bibliography by G. Handley-Taylor (1960).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Masefield, John


Born June 1, 1878, in Ledbury, Herefordshire; died May 12, 1967, in Abingdon, Berkshire. English writer.

In his early years, Masefield worked as a sailor and lived in the USA. In 1897 he returned to England and became a journalist. In his early collections of verse Salt Water Ballads (1902) and Ballads (1903), Masefield depicted the hard life of the sailor. He wrote several plays about the everyday life of the lower classes, including The Campden Wonder (1907; Russian translation, 1923), Mrs. Harrison (1907), and The Tragedy of Nan (1908). In his novels Dead Ned (1938) and Live and Kicking Ned (1939), Masefield exposed the cruelty of English criminal law. He also published literary criticism (essays on Shakespeare, 1911; on Chaucer, 1931).


The Poems and Plays, vols. 1–2. New York, 1918.
The Collected Poems. London, 1935.
Old Raiger and Other Verse. London, 1964.


Handley-Taylor, G. J. Masefield: A Bibliography and Eighty-first Birthday Tribute. London, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
'Masefield and the Chantyman', Wanderings [Journal of the John Masefield Society], 2 (1993), 5-10.
The author is a high school teacher who understands young men and athletics; and he provides interesting quotes about the sea at the beginning of each chapter, by such writers as John Masefield, E.B.
The author also wrote biographies of Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte and John Masefield.
On the day Harry Farr was shot Haig had a leisurely lunch with the poet John Masefield. He was in the pay of the Government propaganda machine to write about the honour and justice of our cause for consumption in America.
John Masefield doesn't make the cut, but the deconstructionist Gayatri Spivak does, as does the postcolonial theorist Homi K.
Maybe they felt the same lure as classical poet John Masefield - "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
"I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky," John Masefield wrote, and our Post illustrators have had the same urge, except for a different reason--they were looking, for good ideas for cover paintings.
While these three types of ionizing radiation have the same effects on food, there are some differences in how they work, says John Masefield, an executive advisor with Steris/Isomedix Services, Inc., Menton, Ohio, and chairman of the Food Irradiation Processing Alliance.
During the 1920s John Masefield, the future Poet Laureate, published two novels set in the imaginary Latin American republic of Santa Barbara, Sard Harker (1924) and ODTAA (1926).
"We're going to work with the food industry to provide them with the support and information they need to use irradiation in order to deliver the best possible products to consumers," says John Masefield, FIPA's chairman.
Work on the Queen Mary halted in December 1931, and the launch was not until 1934, when the sea-fevered John Masefield wrote an ode for the occasion, entitled 'Job 534' ('I long to see you leaping to the urge', etc., in The Times 25 September 1934), and, subsequently, a letter to Florence Lamont about the 'deplorable' decoration of the 'poky and stingy' lounges and lesser rooms (Letters of John Masefield to Florence Lamont), ed.
At his death he was poet laureate, having succeeded John Masefield in 1968.