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Kirkup, James

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1918-2009) UK-born academic, translator, poet and author who left England permanently in 1956, long before the hoicked-up "scandal" of his gay poem about Christ, "The Love that Dares to Speak its Name" (3 June 1976 Gay News), resulted in the last successful conviction for blasphemy in the UK; securely resident abroad, Kirkup did not attend these proceedings. His first book, The Cosmic Shape: An Interpretation of Myth and Legend with Three Poems and Lyrics (coll 1946) with Ross Nichols (1902-1975), espouses earnestly an understanding of myth as a deep story-like interaction between the world and human societies, a relationship that must be acted upon or we are lost.

Of his prolific later work, little is of genre interest, though he contributed four poems to the early sf Poetry compilation Frontier of Going (anth 1969) edited by John Fairfax. The True Mistery of the Nativity (1956 chap) and The True Mistery of the Passion (1962) are fantasy plays; Tales of Hoffmann (coll trans 1966) is an extremely competent (though short) selection from E T A Hoffmann; and Queens Have Died Young and Fair: A Fable of the Immediate Future (1993) is an sf Satire whose scatty imprecations encompass Sex, politics, and culture. [JC]

James Falconer Kirkup

born South Shields, County Durham: 23 April 1918

died Les Bons, Andorra: 10 May 2009

works (highly selected)

works as translator (highly selected)


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