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This article is taken from PN Review 252, Volume 46 Number 4, March - April 2020.

Edgell Rickword and The Calendar of Modern Letters
Hart Crane ‘from this side’
Francesca A. Bratton
Before the Boriswood edition of his Complete Poems was published in London in 1938, Hart Crane’s reputation in the UK rested on, as F.R. Leavis put it in his review of the volume in Scrutiny, ‘the odds and ends of him one came on in American periodicals, together with the kind of claims made for him by the critics’. It was ‘at last possible for the reader on this side of the Atlantic to come to a conclusion about the legend of Hart Crane’. While it is true that it would have been easier to lay hands on essays and reminiscences of Crane written by Allen Tate or Malcolm Cowley in a UK bookshop, Leavis seems to have missed or forgotten Crane’s appearances in London-based magazines. Crane’s poetry was published in both T.S. Eliot’s The Criterion (1922–39) and Edgell Rickword’s Calendar of Modern Letters (1925–1927), whose ‘Scrutinies’ feature gave its name to Leavis’ own journal.

Edgell Rickword joined the Artists Rifles in 1916, serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment as an officer. Following the Armistice, he was awarded the Military Cross and was invalided out of the army. Rickword’s first collection of poems, Behind the Eyes, was published in 1921, followed by Invocation to Angels (1928) and Twittingpan and Some Others (1931), with his Collected Poems appearing in 1947. Rickword founded and edited the influential Calendar of Modern Letters with Douglas Garman and Bertram Higgins, receiving financial backing from publisher Ernest Wishart. He went on to work as an associate editor ...

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