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Charlotte Mew

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) was an English poet.

She was born in Bloomsbury, London[?], the daughter of an architect, Frederick Mew, who designed Hampstead town hall[?]. He died early in her career. Two of her siblings suffered from mental illness and were committed to institutions, leaving Charlotte and her sister, Anne, who made a pact never to marry for fear of passing on insanity to their children. Charlotte wrote about the subject in several poems. Her own inclinations may have been towards lesbianism; she was strongly influenced by her first schoolmistress, and became deeply attracted to Ella D'Arcy[?], a writer she met through her first publisher.

In 1894, she succeeded in getting a short story into The Yellow Book, but wrote very little poetry at this time. Her first collection of poetry, The Farmer's Bride, was published in 1916, in chapbook[?] format, by the Poetry Bookshop; in the USA, it was entitled Saturday Market and published in 1921. It earned her the admiration of Sydney Cockerell[?]. Many of her poems have a melancholy note, reflecting the sadness of her personal life. Charlotte Mew gained the patronage of several literary figures, notably Thomas Hardy and Siegfried Sassoon, and obtained a small Civil List[?] pension with the aid of Cockerell, Hardy, John Masefield and Walter de la Mare. This helped ease her financial difficulties, but she never achieved the level of fame her patrons felt she deserved. The death of her sister caused her to descend into depression, and she was admitted to a nursing home where she committed suicide by drinking disinfectant.



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