Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Wolfe, Humbert

Entry updated 20 March 2023. Tagged: Author.

Icon made by Freepik from


(1885-1940) Italian-born civil servant, poet and author, in the UK from infancy, active from around 1915; he served in the Ministry of Munitions during World War One and in the Ministry of Labour in World War Two. The title poem in Shylock Reasons with Mr Chesterton (coll 1920 chap) uses the term "reasons" with some despair; a telling quatrain on the anti-semitism of G K Chesterton appears in Lampoons (coll 1925 chap) :

Here lies Mr Chesterton,
who to heaven might have gone,
but didn't, when he heard the news
that the place was run by Jews.

"The Dream City" in Humbert Wolfe (coll 1926 chap) unfolds a Utopian vision of a transfigured London. The Uncelestial City (1930), a book-length narrative poem broken into semi-detachable sections, carries its dead protagonist [for Posthumous Fantasy see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] through the secular world of his mortal span; the Satire is unremitting through mild. One often quoted passage (sometimes wrongly attributed to Hilaire Belloc) is, in the twenty-first century, all that Wolfe is usually remembered for:

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.

But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

X at Oberammergau: A Poem (1935) does not precisely date the incursion of a reborn Christ into Nazi Germany whose theological biases, though delineated with some lack of vigour, do prefigure Katharine Burdekin's Swastika Night (1937); but His murder is presented vividly. [JC]

Humbert Wolfe

born Milan, Italy: 5 January 1885

died London: 5 January 1940

works (highly selected)


  • Shylock Reasons with Mr Chesterton (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Basil Blackwell, 1920) [poetry: coll: chap: hb/]
  • Lampoons (London: Ernest Benn, 1925) [poetry: coll: chap: illus/hb/Bohun Lynch]
  • Humbert Wolfe (London: Ernest Benn, 1926) [poetry: coll: chap: in the publisher's The Augustan Books of Modern Poetry series: pb/nonpictorial]


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies