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This article is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

Portraits of Four Poets: Sylvia Townsend Warner, Cecily Mackworth, Stevie Smith, Nancy Cunard (edited by Geoffrey Strachan) Walter Strachan

To many of the people who encountered him during his long life, whether they were students or creative artists, my father, Walter Strachan - poet, translator, teacher, propagandist, romantic - offered a beacon of light in a sometimes grey world. He was a standard-bearer, a white knight of arts and letters. During the course of seven decades of teaching, writing, lecturing and translating he championed and interpreted the work of countless writers, painters, graphic artists and sculptors, both British and European. Born in 1903, himself a poet and a translator of French poetry, he translated novels from French, German and Italian (Julien Gracq, Hermann Hesse, Cesare Pavese among others). He was the author of pioneering books on graphic art and sculpture, a translator of art books, a teacher of modern languages and an informed enthusiast in many fields, including architecture, calligraphy and typography. This is a book about his friendships and shared passions, compiled from his reminiscence, letters and poems.

Strachan 's love of France and his awareness of the challenging work done by some of her most creative spirits, even under the German occupation, lay behind the publication in 1948 of
Apollinaire to Aragon, a volume of the translations he had made of a wide range of modern French poetry, encouraged by francophile writers such as Nancy Cunard, Cecily Mackworth and Sylvia Townsend Warner.

1. PEN and Sylvia Townsend Warner

Sylvia Townsend Warner was one of a group of four women writers ...

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