James Elroy Flecker
(November 5 1884
- January 3 1915
) was an English
poet, novelist and playwright. As a poet he was most influenced by the Parnassian poets
He was born in London, and baptised Herman Elroy Flecker, later choosing to use the first name "James", either because he disliked the name "Herman" or to avoid confusion with his father. "Roy", as he was known to his family, was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, where his father was headmaster, and Uppingham School. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Oxford he was greatly influenced by the last flowering of the Aesthetic movement there, under John Addington Symonds. From 1910 he was in the consular service, in the Eastern Mediterranean. He met Helle Skiadaressi on a ship to Athens, and married her in 1911. His most widely known poem is "To a poet a thousand years hence". The most enduring testimony to his work is perhaps an excerpt from "The Golden Journey to Samarkand" inscribed on the clock tower of the barracks of the British Army's 22nd Special Air Service regiment in Hereford.
He died of tuberculosis in Davos, Switzerland.
His poem "The Bridge of Fire" is featured in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, in the volume The Wake.
A quatrain from his poem "To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence" is quoted by Jorge Luis Borges in his essay Note on Walt Whitman (to be found in the collection Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952):
O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
student of our sweet English tongue,
read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.
- The Bridge of Fire (1907)
- Thirty-Six Poems (1910)
- Forty-Two Poems (1911) (eBook)
- The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913)
- The Old Ships (1915)
- Collected Poems (1916)
- The Last Generation: A Story of the Future (1908)
- The King of Alsander (1914)
- Hassan (1922; full title Hassan: The Story of Hassan of Baghdad and How he Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand)
- *Incidental music to the play was written by Frederick Delius in 1920, before the play's publication, and first performed in September 1923.
- The Grecians (1910)
- The Scholars' Italian Book (1911)
- Collected Prose (1920)
- The Letters of J.E. Flecker to Frank Savery (1926)
- Some Letters from Abroad of James Elroy Flecker (1930)
- James Elroy Flecker (1922) by Douglas Goldring
- An Essay on Flecker (1937) by T. E. Lawrence
- No Golden Journey: A Biography of James Elroy Flecker (1973) by John Sherwood
- James Elroy Flecker (1976) by John M. Munro