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David Gascoyne


David Gascoyne was born in Harrow, Middlesex, in 1926. His father worked in a bank and often moved around. However, like the father in Opening Day, he eventually settled in Richmond, Surrey. Unlike the father in Opening Day, he accepted his son’s artistic leanings. After school and attending the Regent Street Polytechnic, Gascoyne spent some time in Paris. By that time, he had already published a collection of poetry and a novel. However, it was not till the late Thirties, after publications of further poems and his involvement in the Surrealist movement and publication of a history of surrealism, that his reputation rose, not least because of the small number of British writers involved in surrealism. At this time, he also joined the Communist Party. Breton expelled him from the Surrealist movement, when his poems took on a more religious tone. After the war, things were more difficult. He had a nervous breakdown and wrote little after that, spending the rest of his life on the Isle of Wight. Works that appeared had generally been written earlier, though Night Thoughts was commissioned by the BBC and well received. However, after marrying Judy Lewis, whom he met in hospital, some later work was written. He died in 2001. His work is now mainly forgotten.

Books about David Gascoyne

Robert Fraser: Night Thoughts: the Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne

Other web sites

David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne
David Gascoyne, Surrealism and the Vanishing Muse
Night Thoughts: The Surreal Life of the Poet David Gascoyne by Robert Fraser (review of Fraser biography)
French surrealist poetry in English translation by David Gascoyne


1932 Roman Balcony
1933 Opening Day
1935 A Short Survey of Surrealism
1936 Man’s Life is this Meat
1938 Hoelderlin’s Madness
1943 Poems 1937-1942
1950 A Vagrant and Other Poems
1952 Thomas Carlyle
1956 Requiem
1956 Night Thoughts
1965 Collected Poems
1970 Sun at Midnight
1976 Three Poems
1978 Paris Journal 1937-1939
1980 Journal 1936-1937
1980 Early Poems
1983 An Imitation of Leopardi’s Imitation Canti, XXXV
1984 Journal de Paris et d’Ailleurs 1936-1942
1984 Five Early Uncollected Poems
1984 Rencontres avec Benjamin Fondane
1984 Variations on a Phrase
1985 Magnetic Fields
1988 Collected Poems 1988
1988 Extracts from ‘A Kind of Declaration’ & Prelude to a New Fin-de-Siècle
1991 Collected Journals 1937-42
1993 Lawrence Durrell
1994 Three Remanences
1994 Selected Poems
1996 Selected Verse Translations
1996 ‘The Fire of Vision’: David Gascoyne’s ‘Farewell Chorus’ to George Barker
1997 Selected Essays
1998 Selected Prose: 1934-1996
1998 Encounter with Silence: Poems, 1950
2000 April
2001 Existential Writings
2001 Poems: Selected by Judy Gascoyne
2001 The Entrance to That Valley Stands Alone