Important figures in the life of Richard Aldington
H.D (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961): the American poet who became Aldington’s wife in 1913. They parted in 1919 and were divorced in 1937, but their relationship remained a close one, particularly in their later years. Photograph taken in 1913.
Brigit Patmore (1882 – 1965): Aldington’s lover when he was an eighteen year-old and then from 1929 to 1936. Aldington eventually abandoned her for her daughter-in-law. Photograph taken in 1929
Ezra Pound (1885 – 1972): the expatriate American poet who moved to Italy in 1924 and embraced Fascism. Tried by the USA for treason in 1945, he was incarcerated in a mental hospital for twelve years. Pound was Aldington’s first mentor – and the mentor of many other writers including H.D., James Joyce, T S Eliot and Ernest Hemingway. Aldington never lost his gratitude and affection for Pound despite his reservations about his work – and his politics! Photograph taken in 1920 by Alvin Coburn
D H Lawrence (1885 – 1930): the novelist and poet who was a friend of Aldington’s from 1914 to his early death in 1930. After Lawrence’s death Aldington did more than any other writer or critic to keep Lawrence’s work alive. A man so strange and inspired, wrote Aldington in 1935, that he seemed to live in a finer, more luminous world than other men. Photograph taken in 1916
T S Eliot (1888 – 1965): the expatriate American poet, whose friendship with Aldington soured towards the end of the 1920s and never recovered. Aldington was highly critical of the school of poetry inspired by Eliot. It is insane, he wrote in 1935, to question his genius as a poet or his extreme skill as a critic. What can be attacked, or should be, is his expressed and implied attitude to life; and the over-intellectual, over-specialised type of poetry he has created as a refuge from life. Photograph taken by E O Hoppé in 1919.
Norman Douglas (1868 – 1952): the British writer whom Aldington first met – and admired – in 1931. By 1954, when he published his memoir of Douglas, Pinorman, Aldington had become less admiring of the older writer’s work and highly critical of the morality of his lifestyle. Photograph taken by Islay Lyons circa 1950
T E Lawrence (1888 – 1935): the hero of the Arab Revolt. Aldington told a friend in 1951: I have been working very hard on a biography – the most difficult and dangerous job I ever undertook. His judgment proved correct: Lawrence of Arabia, a Biographical Enquiry (1955), in which he revealed Lawrence’s illegitimacy and questioned his integrity and reputation, created an enormous back-lash, from the effects of which Aldington never recovered. Photograph taken circa 1925