Laurie Lee
Overview
 
Laurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

(June 26, 1914 – May 13, 1997) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, novelist, and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, raised in the village of Slad
Slad
Slad is a village in Gloucestershire, England, located in the Slad Valley, about from the town of Stroud.Slad is famous for being the home of Laurie Lee, who based his book Cider with Rosie on his own life in the village....

, and went to Marling School
Marling School
Marling School is a grammar school for boys located in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, next to its sister school, Stroud High School. It is on the Cainscross Road, the main route out of Stroud towards the M5....

, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

. His most famous work was an autobiographical
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie
Cider with Rosie
Cider with Rosie is a 1959 book by Laurie Lee . It is the first book of a trilogy that continues with As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War...

(1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is a memoir by Laurie Lee, a British poet. It is a sequel to Cider with Rosie which detailed his life in post First World War Gloucestershire...

(1969) and A Moment of War
A Moment of War
A Moment of War by author Laurie Lee is the last book of his semi-autobiographical trilogy. It covers his time as a combatant in the Spanish Civil War from 1937-38...

(1991). The first volume recounts his childhood in the Slad Valley. The second deals with his leaving home for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and his first visit to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1935, and the third with his return to Spain in December 1937 to join the Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

.
Having been born in Stroud, Lee moved with his family to the village of Slad in 1917, the move with which Cider with Rosie opens.
Encyclopedia
Laurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

(June 26, 1914 – May 13, 1997) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, novelist, and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, raised in the village of Slad
Slad
Slad is a village in Gloucestershire, England, located in the Slad Valley, about from the town of Stroud.Slad is famous for being the home of Laurie Lee, who based his book Cider with Rosie on his own life in the village....

, and went to Marling School
Marling School
Marling School is a grammar school for boys located in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, next to its sister school, Stroud High School. It is on the Cainscross Road, the main route out of Stroud towards the M5....

, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

. His most famous work was an autobiographical
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie
Cider with Rosie
Cider with Rosie is a 1959 book by Laurie Lee . It is the first book of a trilogy that continues with As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War...

(1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is a memoir by Laurie Lee, a British poet. It is a sequel to Cider with Rosie which detailed his life in post First World War Gloucestershire...

(1969) and A Moment of War
A Moment of War
A Moment of War by author Laurie Lee is the last book of his semi-autobiographical trilogy. It covers his time as a combatant in the Spanish Civil War from 1937-38...

(1991). The first volume recounts his childhood in the Slad Valley. The second deals with his leaving home for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and his first visit to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1935, and the third with his return to Spain in December 1937 to join the Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

.

Early life and works

Having been born in Stroud, Lee moved with his family to the village of Slad in 1917, the move with which Cider with Rosie opens. After fighting in the First World War with the Royal West Kent regiment, Lee's father Reg did not return to the family. Lee and his brothers grew up loving their mother's family, the Lights, and intensely disliking the Lee side. At twelve, Laurie went to the Central Boys' School in Stroud. In his notebook for 1928, when he was fourteen he listed 'Concert and Dance Appointments', for at this time he was in demand to play his violin at dances. He left the Central School at fifteen to become an errand boy at a Chartered Accountants in Stroud. In 1931 he first found the Whiteway Colony
Whiteway Colony
Whiteway Colony is a residential community in the Cotswolds in the parish of Miserden near Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK. The community was founded in 1898 by Tolstoyans and today has no spare land available with over sixty homes and one hundred and fifty colonists...

, two miles from Slad, a colony founded by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

an Anarchists. It gave him his first smattering of politicization and was where he met the composer Benjamin Frankel
Benjamin Frankel
Benjamin Frankel was a British composer. Frankel's most famous pieces include a cycle of five string quartets and eight symphonies as well as a number of concertos for violin and viola; his single best-known piece is probably the First Sonata for Solo Violin, which, like his concertos, resulted...

 and the 'Cleo' who appears in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1933 he met Sophia Rogers, an "0exotically pretty girl with dark curly hair" who had moved to Slad from Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, an influence on Lee who said later in life that he only went to Spain because "a girl in Slad from Buenos Aires taught me a few words of Spanish." At twenty he worked as an office clerk
Clerk
Clerk, the vocational title, commonly refers to a white-collar worker who conducts general office or, in some instances, sales tasks. It is also occasionally used to refer to third-year medical students completing a medical clerkship. The responsibilities of clerical workers commonly include record...

 and a builder's labourer, and lived in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 for a year before leaving for Spain in the summer of 1935. Walking more often than not, he eked out a living by playing his violin. His first encounter with Spain is the subject of As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is a memoir by Laurie Lee, a British poet. It is a sequel to Cider with Rosie which detailed his life in post First World War Gloucestershire...

(1969).

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 in July 1936 Lee was picked up by a British destroyer from Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

, collecting marooned British subjects on the southern Spanish coast. During this period, he met a woman who supported him financially. He started to study for an art degree but returned to Spain in 1937 as an International Brigade volunteer. His service in the Brigade was cut short by his epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

. These experiences were recounted in A Moment of War
A Moment of War
A Moment of War by author Laurie Lee is the last book of his semi-autobiographical trilogy. It covers his time as a combatant in the Spanish Civil War from 1937-38...

(1991), an austere memoir of his time as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. According to many biographical sources, Lee fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) in the Republican army against Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

's Nationalists. After his death there were claims that Lee's involvement in the war was a fantasy; the claims were dismissed as "ludicrous" by his widow.

Before devoting himself entirely to writing in 1951, Lee worked as a journalist and as a scriptwriter. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 he made documentary films for the GPO Film Unit
GPO Film Unit
The GPO Film Unit was a subdivision of the UK General Post Office. The unit was established in 1933, taking on responsibilities of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit...

 (1939–40) and the Crown Film Unit
Crown Film Unit
The Crown Film Unit was an organisation within the British Government's Ministry of Information during World War II. Formerly the GPO Film Unit it became the Crown Film Unit in 1940. Its remit was to make films for the general public in Britain and abroad...

 (1941–43). From 1944 to 1946 he worked as the Publications Editor for the Ministry of Information
Ministry of Information
The term Ministry of Information may refer to the following:* Ministry of Information , part of the Cabinet of Egypt* Ministry of Information , part of the Cabinet of Equatorial Guinea...

. In 1950 Lee married Catherine Francesca Polge, whose father was Provençal
Provençal
Provençal may refer to:*Provençal, meaning "of Provence", a region of France*Provençal dialect, a dialect of the Occitan language, spoken in the south-east of France*Provençal, meaning the whole Occitan language...

 and whose mother was one of The Garman Sisters; they had one daughter, Jessie. From 1950 to 1951 he was caption-writer-in-chief for the Festival of Britain
Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in Britain in the summer of 1951. It was organised by the government to give Britons a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war and to promote good quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities. The Festival's centrepiece was in...

, for which service he was awarded the decoration of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (OBE) in 1952.

Cider with Rosie continues to be one of the UK's most popular books, and is sometimes used as a set English Literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 text for schoolchildren. It captured images of village life from a bygone era of innocence and simplicity. Lee said it took him two years and was written three times. With the proceeds Lee was able to buy a cottage in Slad, the village of his childhood.

Poetry

Lee's first love was always poetry, though he was only moderately successful as a poet. Lee's first poem appeared in The Sunday Referee in 1934. Another poem was published in Cyril Connolly
Cyril Connolly
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon and wrote Enemies of Promise , which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of...

's Horizon
Horizon (magazine)
Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art was an influential literary magazine published in London, between 1940 and 1949. It was edited by Cyril Connolly who gave a platform to a wide range of distinguished and emerging writers....

in 1940 and his first volume of poems, The Sun My Monument, was launched in 1944. This was followed by The Bloom of Candles (1947) and My Many Coated Man (1955). Several poems written in the early 1940s reflect the atmosphere of the war, but also capture the beauty of the English countryside.

Other works

Other works include A Rose for Winter, about a trip he made to Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

 fifteen years after the Civil War; Two Women (1983), a story of Lee's courtship and marriage with Kathy, daughter of Helen Garman; The Firstborn (1964), about the birth and childhood of their daughter Jessye; and I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of occasional writing.

Lee also wrote travel books, essays, a radio play, and short stories.

Honours and awards

Lee received several awards, including the Atlantic Award (1944), the Society of Authors
Society of Authors
The Society of Authors is a trade union for professional writers that was founded in 1884 to protect the rights of writers and fight to retain those rights .It has counted amongst its members and presidents numerous notable writers and poets including Tennyson The Society of Authors (UK) is a...

 travelling award (1951), the William Foyle Poetry Prize
William Foyle
William Foyle co-founded Foyles bookshop in 1903 with his brother, Gilbert Foyle.The eldest son of a Shoreditch grocer, William attended Owens School and King's College London with his brother Gilbert. After failing their Civil Service examinations in 1902 the brothers advertised their used...

 (1956), and the W.H. Smith and Son Award (1960).

In As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, Lee writes of his stay in Almuñécar
Almuñécar
Almuñécar is a municipality in the Spanish Autonomous Region of Andalusia on the Costa Tropical between Nerja and Motril . It has a subtropical climate...

, a Spanish fishing village which he calls "Castillo". In 1988 the citizens of Almuñécar erected a statue in Lee's honour.

In 1993, A Moment of War was chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by the editors of The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review is a weekly paper-magazine supplement to The New York Times in which current non-fiction and fiction books are reviewed. It is one of the most influential and widely read book review publications in the industry. The offices are located near Times Square in New York...

.

Lee provided a great deal of valuable support to the Brotherhood of Ruralists
Brotherhood of Ruralists
The Brotherhood of Ruralists is a British art group founded in 1975 in Wellow, Somerset, to paint nature. Their work is figurative with a strong adherence to 'traditional' skills...

 in their attempts to establish themselves in the 1970s, and he continued to do so until his death; his essay Understanding the Ruralists opened the Brotherhood's major 1993 retrospective book. Indeed, it was Lee who is said to have given them the name "Ruralists."

In 2003 the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

 acquired Lee's original manuscripts, letters and diaries. The collection includes two unknown plays and drafts of Cider with Rosie, which reveal that early titles for the book were Cider with Poppy, Cider with Daisy and The Abandoned Shade.

Final years

In the 1960s, Laurie Lee and his wife returned to Slad to live near his childhood home, where they remained for the rest of his life. Lee revealed on the BBC1 Wogan Show in 1985 that he was frequently asked by children, visiting Slad as part of their O-Level study of Cider with Rosie, enquiring "where Laurie Lee was buried" assuming that the author was dead.

Laurie Lee died of bowel cancer in Slad on May 13, 1997, at the age of 82. He is buried in the local churchyard.

Works

Books
  • Land at War (1945)
  • An Obstinate Exile (1951)
  • A Rose for Winter: Travels in Andalusia (1955)
  • Man Must Move: The Story of Transport (with David Lambert) (1960); published in the U.S. as The Wonderful World of Transportation, (1960) – for children
  • The Firstborn (1964)
  • I Can't Stay Long (1975)
  • Innocence in the Mirror (1978)
  • Two Women (1983)

Autobiographical Trilogy
  • Cider with Rosie
    Cider with Rosie
    Cider with Rosie is a 1959 book by Laurie Lee . It is the first book of a trilogy that continues with As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War...

    (1959); published in the U.S. as The Edge of Day (1960)
  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
    As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
    As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is a memoir by Laurie Lee, a British poet. It is a sequel to Cider with Rosie which detailed his life in post First World War Gloucestershire...

    (1969)
  • A Moment of War
    A Moment of War
    A Moment of War by author Laurie Lee is the last book of his semi-autobiographical trilogy. It covers his time as a combatant in the Spanish Civil War from 1937-38...

    (1991)

Poetry
  • The Sun My Monument (1944)
  • The Bloom of Candles: Verse from a Poet's Year (1947)
  • My Many-Coated Man (1955)
  • Poems (1960)
  • Selected Poems (1983)

Recordings
  • Laurie Lee Reading His Own Poems (1960)

Plays
  • The Voyage of Magellan for Radio (broadcast 1946; published 1948)
  • Peasants' Priest (1947)

Screenplays
  • Cyprus Is an Island (1946)
  • A Tale in a Teacup (1947)

Radio Play
  • The Voyage of Magellan (1946)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK