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This article is taken from PN Review 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 1983.

T. E. Hulme & Michael Roberts Anthony Quinton

This essay is an edited version of Anthony Quinton's introduction to T. E. Hulme by Michael Roberts, to be published in the autumn by Carcanet New Press.

T. E. Hulme and Michael Roberts had a good deal in common. Both, to start with, were farmers' sons, on the whole. (On the whole, only because Hulme's father turned to the manufacture of ceramic transfers and Roberts's spent part of each year running a shop in Bournemouth.) Hulme was born in the village of Endon, North Staffordshire in 1883; Roberts in the village of Thorney Hill in the New Forest in 1902. Both went to Cambridge as exhibitioners to read mathematics; Hulme to St John's, Roberts to Trinity. Hulme's academic career ended abruptly in 1904 when he was sent down for some piece of boisterous misconduct. Roberts, even if he wound up as principal of an Anglican teacher training college, was clearly a lively and combative young man. Both were, one might say, unusually muscular intellectuals, not at a loss in the open air. Hulme spent a couple of years fending for himself in Canada, pretty much at the edge of subsistence. Roberts's favourite recreation was mountain-climbing, which he practised in a quite serious and distinguished way.

A more significant likeness is that in an epoch when the life of the mind in England was parcelled out between increasingly specialised academics on the one hand and a generation of gentlemanly aesthetes who preserved their sensibilities intact from ...

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