Francis Scarfe (1911 - 1986) was an English poet, critic and novelist, who became an academic, translator and Director of the
British Institute in Paris.
He was born in
South Shields; he was brought up from a young age at the Royal Merchant Seaman's Orphanage. He was educated at Durham Universityand Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He then studied at the Sorbonne.
While in Paris he wrote
surrealist verse, and dabbled in communism, from which he then retreated. He taught at the University of Glasgowbriefly before the outbreak of World War II, in which he worked in the British Army's Education Corps. He was posted to Orkney, and the Faroe Islands. While in the Orkneys he lodged with the family of the young George Mackay Brown, on whom he was a major influence.
His book from 1942 was one of the first to engage critically with the
Auden Group, if superficially; he returned to Auden in a post-war book of greater depth. After the war he held a number of academic positions.
*Inscapes (1940) poems
*Forty Poems and Ballads (1941)
*Auden & After: The Liberation Of Poetry, 1930-41 (1942) criticism
*Promises (?) first novel
W. H. Auden(1948) criticism
*Underworlds (1950) poems
*Single Blessedness (1951) novel
*The Unfinished Woman (1954) novel
*The Art of
Picassoby Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard (1956) translator
Baudelaire(1961, Penguin Books) editor
*Conversations on the
Dresden Gallery, by Louis Aragonand Jean Cocteau(1982) translator
*Complete Verse of Charles P. Baudelaire (1986
Anvil Press Poetry) translator
*Baudelaire: the Poems in Prose (1989,
Anvil Press Poetry) translator
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