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Hugh Sykes Davies

(1909-1984 / Yorkshire, England)

Biography of Hugh Sykes Davies

Hugh Sykes Davies poet

Hugh Sykes Davies was an English poet, novelist and communist who was one of a small group of 1930s British surrealists.

Davies was born in Yorkshire to a Methodist minister and his wife. He went to Kingswood School, Bath and studied at Cambridge University, where he co-edited a student magazine called Experiment with William Empson. He spent some time in Paris during the 1930s. He was to stand as a communist candidate in the 1940 general election, but the vote was cancelled because of World War II. He was one of the organisers of the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936.

He had a talent for friendship, and as well as Empson, he numbered T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards, Anthony Blunt, Wittgenstein and Salvador Dalí amongst his circle. At one stage he had Malcolm Lowry declared his ward in an attempt to stop Lowry's drinking.

Davies' poems were mostly published in avant garde magazines and were not collected during his lifetime. His novels include Full Fathom Five (1956) and The Papers of Andrew Melmoth (1960). He also wrote Petron (1935).

He was a University Lecturer and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.

Hugh Sykes Davies's Works:

Full Fathom Five (1956)
The Papers of Andrew Melmoth (1960)
Petron (1935)

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Sententiæ

If the father’s bankrupt, and the sons fail,
Blaming it on their own bad start,
Say the father should have gone to gaol,
Forgetting their grandfather’s part.

So with all centuries of blame
Fathers by their children cursed,
Say that all the trouble came
From Eve and Adam first.

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