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naïvety

Edwin Emmanuel Bradford

The Reverend Edwin Emmanuel Bradford (1860-1944) was an English clergyman and Uranian poet and novelist. He attended Exeter College, Oxford, received his B.A. in 1884, and was awarded a D.D. He was vicar of Nordelph, Downham Market, Norfolk, from 1905 to 1944. Towards the beginning of his life Bradford was an Anglo-Catholic but he subsequently became a Modernist. He was at one time a great friend of The Reverend S. E. Cottam, M.A., with whom he had been an undergraduate, and may even have been in love with him.

Bradford's verse was outspokenly pederastic, but also remarkably popular during his lifetime given the prudery of Victorian England. W. H. Auden and John Betjeman, were entertained by the apparent naïvety of Bradford's poetry. Betjeman's friend George Alfred Kolkhorst collected Bradford's novels.

Bradford's work can just barely be interpreted as a sign of innocent "romantic friendship" with youths, but several verses, such as "The Bather in the Blue Grotto at Capri" and "Alan", are plainly erotically inspired. Many of his poems are direct though sometimes self-effacing pleas of love to the young males in his life. In Bradford's own words:

Here's a loyal and a loving heart,
Take it, lad, or leave it.

Works

  • Sermon sketches for the Sundays of the Christian year (1907)
  • Sonnets, Songs, and Ballads (1908)
  • Stories of life at our great public schools (1908)
  • Passing the Love of Women and Other Poems (1913)
  • In Quest of Love and Other Poems (1913)
  • Lays of Love and Life (1916)
  • The New Chivalry and Other Poems (1918)
  • The Romance of Youth and Other Poems (1920) (Archive.org e-book)
  • Ralph Rawdon: a Story in Verse (1922)
  • The True Aristocracy (1923)
  • The Tree of Knowledge (1925)
  • The Kingdom within You and Other Poems (1927)
  • Strangers and Pilgrims (1929)
  • Boyhood (1930)
  • ''Boris Orloff: A Christmas Yarn (Stoke Ferry, Norfolk: Daedalus Press, 1968; a limited edition of 200 copies plus 10 copies on Japanese paper lettered from A to J)
  • To Boys Unknown (1988)

References

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