Storyline: The transcendent lyricist shows he the man when it comes to shaping the King’s English into a towering tongue, as he finally comes to grips with his former elitist sense of superiority and returns to Earth in far more modest, democratic form
Vikram Seth (1952) - Indian/English poet and novelist. Outer: Of Punjabi descent. Father was a shoe company executive, while his mother served as a judge. The oldest of three, with one brother ultimately conducting Buddhist meditational tours and a sister serving as an Austrian diplomat. Originally wanted to be an economist, before discovering his great love of sheer literary expression. Traveled back and forth between India and England for his early eduction, then matriculated at Oxford, earning a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, with a particular fascination with languages. Studied at Stanford Univ. towards a Phd in economics, although never completed his degree, since his passion was clearly geared towards linguistic self-expression. Continued his education with classical Chinese poetry and different languages at Nanjing Univ. in China, from 1980 to 1982, while he also hitchhiked through Nepal into india, later writing about it. Eventually chose to make England his home base, settling into a house once owned by poet George Herbert (Henry James), while also sharing space in Delhi in his parents home where he keeps his library and papers. Bisexual, he has never married, although is quite open about his orientation, and more than willing to politically defend it. Uses friends and acquaintances as the basis for many of his characters, while his writings cover a variety of fields, including travel, poetry, children’s literature and novels. The latter set began in 1986 with “The Golden Gate,” which is limned entirely in verse, in a bravura literary performance that follows the para-adventures of some California yuppies, in non-engaging but brilliant stylistic fashion. His best known novel, “A Suitable Boy,” published in 1993, takes place in 1950 in post-partition India and follows four families, while setting a record of sorts for sheer volume of a single volume, at nearly 1350 pages. The effort, which took a decade, temporarily exhausted him. Later forced to pay back some of his healthy advance for its follow-up, “A Suitable Girl,” which brings its characters into present time, has yet to see print, because of his meticulous and obsessive need to pour over every word, before releasing an oeuvre. Inner: Polyglot in his love of languages, while using English as his primary mode of literary expression. Intensely cerebral and a perfectionist in his outpourings, with a far greater interest in the past than the future, and a view towards the present as a potential compendium of eventual nostalgia. Great love of music, particularly the songs of Franz Schubert (Stevie Wonder). A suitable man’s lifetime of literally and literarily coming back down to Earth after many a round as an elitist intoxicated with language, but with little real patience for his fellow ordinary human beings. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) - Irish poet and playwright. Outer: From a family of clergyman, with the exception of his father, who was a lawyer turned portrait painter. His younger brother, Jack Yeats, became a successful artist and public personality. Had two sisters, as well, while his mother was the daughter of a prosperous merchant. His sire was an eloquent, but ineffectual patriarch, while his mother eventually sank into senile depression. The duo probably gave him strong motivation to continually reinvent himself, having gotten no solid grounding or self-confidence from either of them. Raised a Protestant, but had difficulty reconciling himself with materialistic Christianity, preferring the Irish pagan past as his spiritual basis, and allowing magic central status in his imagination. The family moved to London when he was 2, but he was always imbued with a mystical sense of Ireland. Returned to Dublin in his teens, and attended art school there, before abandoning it at 19 for poetry, while forming a group dedicated to exploring occultism, the Dublin Hermetic Society. Dark-haired and sallow-skinned, with a curiously melancholy laugh. Returned to London, and became a Theosophist, looking to integrate mysticism and magic with his own growing visionary interests. Once had a girlfriend named Olivia Shakespeare. Had an obsessive and unrequited love for Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne (Maya Lilly), who rejected his marriage proposals, as did her daughter later on. Joined the Irish national cause because of her, then turned his considerable esthetic, and not inconsiderable social anger, to the stage, using Irish lore to help create the controversial Abbey Theater in 1904, with the desire to uplift and reinvigorate his native land’s collective mind through the sorcery of sublime language. His prose and verse dramas there, however, were deemed anti-Irish and anti-religious, which high-horsed him, and involved him in numerous disputes, that made his name anathema, so that he achieved the exact opposite of his original lofty purpose. In response, he could no longer countenance conventionality and became anti-middle class, seeing himself transcendent to ordinary folk. Continued to write as if whispered to by a word-besotted angel, despite his unheavenly snobbery and superiority. The poet Ezra Pound became his secretary prior to WW I, opening him up to Japanese drama, with which he experimented, while a trip to Italy at the same time, with Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory, a co-founder of the Abbey Theater, tuned him into Renaissance Italy as a further inspiration. In 1917, while in his early 50s, despite still being in love with Maud Gonne, and sexually obsessed with her daughter, he married Georgie Hyde-Lees, a woman with mediumistic talents. The union produced a daughter and son, after he initially showed little sexual interest in his wife. His son later said, “It was like living with a national monument.” GH-L’s automatic writing would give foundation to their married life, providing both a sexual impetus to it and healthful tips, as well as plots, stories and characters for his works, although she prevailed over him never to talk about their sessions. Had a vasectomy late in life and was still chasing after groupies in his 70s, when his wife stopped sleeping with him, bringing up a great fear of impotence, which made him resort to injections of powdered monkey glands to stay his flagging libido. At the founding of the Irish Free State in 1922, he was made a member of the Senate, where he served for 6 years. Won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923, then embarked on a literary effort to synthesize poetry, his/story and mysticism. Deeply disturbed by the state of the world twixt the Great Wars, his work took on apocalyptic foreboding, filled with terror and wonder. Almost died in 1930 from a lung hemorrhage, and became more fascistic as he grew older, admiring Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and seeing that only an authoritarian leader could solve the world’s problems. Failing health at life’s near-end caused him to travel to warmer climes. Died of myocarditis, after a series of heart attacks, while in the south of France in a little boardinghouse where he and his wife were staying. His epitaph reads, “Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman pass by.” Inner: Proud, arrogant, lordly aesthete. Quarrelsome, selfish, lecherous, cold-eyed, and without much trace of the lyrical grace of his own tongue. Self-absorbed and self-indulgent in extremis. Possessed a fervid imagination and an intoxicating sense of language, probably the lyrical poet in English of the 20th century. Mystical, aristocratic visionary with a highly spiritual and moral sense, although more and more divorced from the real world as he grew older and more famous. Always viewed himself as a dramatist first, although his verbal cerebrations were far beyond the grasp of most theatergoers, and his 26 plays remain unembraced by critic and public alike, largely because he saw his true audience as a secret society, rather than an accessible communal enterprise. Magical mystery tour lifetime of looking at a divided world from far too lofty a perspective to truly understand it, while displaying his usual superb gifts of poetic exposition, and, for the first time, revealing his flawed self in toto to posterity. Ueda Akinari (Ueda Shūsei) (1734-1809) - Japanese waka poet, doctor and scholar. Outer: Born in a brothel. Mother was a prostitute, father was unknown. When he was 4, he was adopted by a wealthy merchant. Sickly and small, he contracted smallpox as a child, which left him with deformed fingers, after his parents had prayed for his recovery, giving him a great reverence for the supernatural. Suffered ill health for the rest of his life as a result of the smallpox. Sensitive about his physical appearance, he later wrote under pseudonyms such as the “pruned cripple” and “Ueda the Crab.” In 1760, he married Ueyama Tama, who was working in the home of his adoptive parents, and the two of them adopted a daughter. At the death of his father in 1761, he inherited the family oil and paper shop, but had little feel for the commercial world, and ultimately fire consumed the business after he had helmed it unhappily for a decade, leaving him and his family homeless. Moved to Kashima-mura in 1773 and began studying medicine, while also learning about Chinese colloquial fiction from the same teacher. Although successful as a physician, he was continually bothered by his inability to alleviate the suffering of others. Penned stories with unrealistic elements, and in 1776, began publishing, working in what was known as the yomihon genre, with his two masterpieces, Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Rain and Moon), a collection of nine gothic stories and Harusame Monogatsan (Tales of Spring Rain), both of which became central to the Japanese literary canon of the time. Continued his medical practice and also became a scholar of classical Japanese literature. Liked to write about ghosts and spirits who appeared in Chinese legends. In 1778, he abandoned his practice because a misdiagnosis caused the death of a young patient. At 50, he lost the vision in his left eye, and with his wife, he moved to a Buddhist temple, where both pursued a religious life, which spurred his second great collection of stories. Moved to Kyoto in 1793, and his wife died four years later. In 1802, he designed his own tombstone, and destroyed a number of his manuscripts, although continued to write. Eventually died at the home of a friend, after sinking into poverty, and great pessimism. Inner: Cerebral and mystical. Fascinated with melding the world of reason with the occult. Extremely strong believer in the supernatural. Preferred characters with emotional, rather than intellectual depth, per his fascination with the mystical. Disfigured lifetime of exploring Asian literature as a vehicle for his lyrical genius in his ongoing fascination with both language and myth and the endless imagination of humanity. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) - English poet and playwright. Outer: Son of a successful wool dealer, glove maker and money lender, as well as town bailiff, who later, during his son’s adolescence, met financial reversals which may have been due to his Catholicism, which he refused to abjure, although no direct proof exists as to his denominational religiosity. Eventually he became a butcher. Mother was the daughter of a well-to-do farmer. Both parents were probably illiterate. 3rd child and eldest son. Outlived his 3 brothers and only one sister made it to maturity. Much of his life is open to speculation, since none of his inner processes were ever recorded, nor were the specifics of his early years ever confirmed. His schooling remains unclear. In 1582, he married Anne Hathaway (Anne Rice) a woman 8 years his senior, who was pregnant at the time, 3 children from union, including a pair of twins, with one of them, a son, dying by drowning at the age of 9. His early life is obscured, although he probably was a country schoolteacher. Tradition has it, he was caught deer-poaching in 1585, and wrote a bitter ballad against his accuser, which may or may not have been his first attempt at poetry. The ballad redoubled the enmity directed at him, and he was forced to abandon both hearth and trade and hie himself to London in 1586, where, supposedly, he began his theater career by holding horses outside the playhouses. Became an actor and playwright, remaining with one company his entire career, which eventually called itself the King’s Company of Players. Strong-voiced, with a powerful body, and unusual stamina, giving him the ability to learn new parts quickly. By 1592, he had established a reputation for himself, and also had begun to actively put quill to paper in service of an audience. At the same time his father’s affairs worsened, causing him to return to Stratford around 1596 to restore his family fortunes. The following year he bought and repaired the largest house in Stratford, and was never in financial difficulties afterwards, particularly after becoming a shareholder in the newly built Globe theater in 1599, which doubled his revenues. Continued to act until 1611, although his performances abated after 1600, giving him a quarter century career upon the boards. Despite his solvency, he had the same litigious propensities as his sire. Able to learn from his supportive milieu, which demanded a prolific output. Began with comedies and dramas, as well as lyric poetry, switched to his/stories, then dark comedies and dark tragedies, and finally fairy tales. May have been a mediumistic channel on some level, allowing him the consistent high quality of his dramatic and lyric voice. May also have received some hidden help from his wife. Played supporting roles while producing the most extraordinary body of work in the entire literary canon of the English language, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, a host of his/storical dramas and a trove of unmatched poetry. A successful businessman, although never wealthy, he was able to make a comfortable living all his life, and retired in 1611 to a handsome home. Made frequent visits to London, kept up his contacts with the theatrical world and died on his birthday. Some pipes that were found in his house, may have had a residue of marijuana in them, leading to speculation he was a secret cannabis smoker. For a master of the pen, he left absolutely no paper trail behind him - no letters, diaries or manuscripts, adding to the mystery of the true authorship of his plays. Inner: As in all his previous lives, his inner self is largely hidden, while some mystery surrounds his ability to produce such an astonishing body of work, although he probably did, serving as a perfect channel for poetry, story-telling and theater, with the ability to hear the language of the spheres, during a time when English drama was in its fullest flower. Cared little about the publication of his work. Master channeler lifetime of absolute command over language and theatrics, with the ability to expand his incredible talent to encompass the very literature of life, while remaining absolutely hidden to the subsequent ages. Edmund Spenser (c1552-1599) - English poet. Outer: Origins unclear, probably from a family related to wealth, although not wealthy itself. It is speculated his father was a journeyman cloth-maker. Mother’s name was Elizabeth, as was his second wife’s, as well as his queen. Received a “poor boy” education, matriculating at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, and supported himself through menial tasks, during which time he thoroughly familiarized himself with classical literature and mythology, along with gaining a thorough comprehension of Greek. Received his master’s there in 1576, but left without getting a fellowship. Given support by poet Gabriel Harvey, and through his influence, he ultimately wound up in the sphere of writer/courtier Sir Philip Sidney (Winston Churchill), whom he idolized, and who introduced him to court. Dedicated his Shepherd’s Calendar, a series of 12 poems, which was published in 1579, to him. Through it, he returned to the pastoral verse of Geoffrey Chaucer, an earlier life of his. The same year he married Machabyas Chylde, 3 sons and daughter from the union. Made secretary to the lord deputy of Ireland in 1580, and became deeply attached to the country, while becoming involved in the violent pacification of a rebellion there, showing a far different side of himself, as the unflinching and hard-hearted patriot, than his earlier pure poetic sensibilities evinced. Published a position paper, “View of Ireland,” on the subject, offering an either/or solution of submission or extermination, quite out of keeping with the rest of his printed work. Continued in public service after the lord-deputy was recalled in 1582, and in 1586, was made clerk to the council of Munster. Returned to England in 1589, where he was lionized, and won further patronage. The following year, the first three books of his allegorical and lyrical masterpiece, The Faerie Queen, were published, and he remained a year to enjoy the laudatory nectar of the fruits of his labors. After his wife’s death, he married his muse in 1594, an Englishwoman, and another Elizabeth, this one Boyle, who lived in Ireland, before issuing forth a series of publications, followed up in 1596, by the next three books of The Faerie Queen. Wound up with a large estate in Ireland, which was ultimately burned in an Irish uprising, after he had been appointed sheriff of Cork. Left the emerald isle with his fortune gone, and returned in despair to London, where he died. His last years were unhappy, and he eventually wore himself out, since he was never particularly robust, although contemporary writers threw their poems and pens into his grave in honor of the rich, hearty ink of his quill. Buried in Westminster Abbey next to Geoffrey Chaucer in an unconscious linkage of two. Inner: Little is known of his character, other than his own self-references, although he was probably an admixture of the esthete and the active courtier, with a thirst for adventure and an equal love of the extraordinary musical power of language. Ambitious, hidden, attracted to power, and as always, lyrical master of poetic form. Self-shepherding lifetime of creating himself from a weak springboard, and giving a Renaissance base to the English canon of poetry to come. Geoffrey Chaucer (c1343-1400) - English poet. Outer: From a family of prosperous middle-class vintners. Father was also a deputy to the king’s butler. In 1357, he became a page in the household of Elizabeth de Burgh (Nancy Reagan) the wife of the duke of Clarence (Ronald Reagan), the second son of Edward III (Duke of Marlborough), and two years later served in the retinue of the prince during the kingdom’s 100 year war with France. Captured in 1360, he was subsequently ransomed for 16 pounds, then served as a diplomatic envoy with letters back to England, to begin his career as such. His schooling is unclear, but he probably studied law from 1361 to 1367. In 1366, he married Philippa Roet, the daughter of a Flemish knight, who was a lady-in-waiting to the queen, and sister of his patron, John of Gaunt’s (Lyndon Johnson) eventual third wife, Catherine Swynford. Became an esquire to the royal household through the unhappy union, which produced 2 sons and 2 daughters with one, Thomas, becoming Speaker of the House of Commons. Lived much of the time apart from his wife, who may also have been Gaunt’s mistress, with one of her children his. Served on several diplomatic missions to the continent, familiarizing himself with the Renaissance literature of Italy while there, as well as holding numerous official posts. In 1367, he is first recorded as a member of the royal household, from which he received an annuity for life of £20. An active writer at this juncture, in both English and French, he also served in Gaunt’s army at the resumption of hostilities with France in 1369. During the 1370s, he would write several of the poems that would later be included in his “Canterbury Tales,” while also continuing on his diplomatic missions on the continent, as well as receiving more posts and more annuities. In 1380, he was indicted for rape, but the charges were dropped, when the victim, Cecily Champain, signed a document releasing him from all legal actions. Briefly a member of Parliament in 1386, while remaining active in various political capacities his entire adult life. A prolific penman, his writing style matured as he did, culminating in his masterwork, the aforementioned “Canterbury Tales,” a series of stories told by religious middle and lower-class pilgrims of various archetypes. Spent the last 13 years of his life on the work, and never quite finished it, thanks to the duties thrust upon him. In 1389, he was appointed clerk of the King’s works, putting him in charge of the purchase, transportation and storage of royal supplies, which took up quite a bit of his time. Robbed several times during this clerkship, he retired from the position in 1391. His last official duty was that of deputy forester in Somerset. Died of the plague, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Inner: Portly and courtly. Social but had a totally hidden inner life, leaving no record of it and no means of insight into himself, other than his outer career and his writings. Had a great love of learning and letters, and was imbued with productivity. Opaque lifetime spent immersed in the high level political activities of his age, giving him the insight, coupled with his innate abilities, to compose one of the enduring foundations of English literature, while once more acting the invisible man for posterity. Guido Guinizelli (c1230-1276) - Italian poet. Outer: Father was a judge, family was of the ancient nobility. Little known of his life, save that he studied law and succeeded his sire. Had both a wife and a son and was an active member of the Ghibelline, or imperial sect in Italian politics, and was ultimately exiled for his troubles in 1274, dying two years later. Wrote in the tradition of courtly love, and his fame rests on one preserved canzone, as well as the praise heaped upon him by fellow Ghibelline, Dante (Ezra Pound), in his Divine Comedy. Considered the most original poet of his time, and a founder of the sweet lyrical style that Dante and cohorts would continue to explore. Inner: Unseen lifetime, once again, of being totally hidden, with only the brilliance of his work left for posterity and little memory of the actual man. Pindar (c518-c438B) - Greek poet. Outer: Born into a noble Spartan family. Gained a musical training from his uncle, completed his education in Athens, tarried for 2 years in a Sicilian court, then spent most of his career in Thebes, enjoying widespread patronage. Considered the greatest lyrical poet of his time, composing triumphal odes to the deeds of others in a rich, well-designed style. Traveled widely, enjoyed much honor, married Megacleia, two daughters and a son from the union, and responded to the demands on his talent with elegant songs from his gifted mind. Lived to a ripe old age, with his travails coming from the political fluctuations of the times, rather than personal tragedy. Imitated widely in his own time, then rediscovered millennia later by European literateurs for a further run. His family was spared generations later when Alexander the Great sacked Thebes, because of the poet’s lasting reputation. Inner: Aristocratic temperament, psychologically astute, with a strong sense of religiosity and heroic deed, and the ability to meld the two. Lyric cheerleader lifetime of enjoying renown for his gifts as the pre-eminent troubadour of his times, with a minimum of conflict to force him to explore himself.


Storyline: The quixotic windmill-tilter goes increasingly over his own edge in his ongoing dualistic duel with power and his inability for intimacy.

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) - American poet. Outer: Of English descent. Only child of a federal bureaucrat who took a post as asst. assayer at the U.S. Mint. Distantly related to poet H. W. Longfellow (Robert Penn Warren) through his mother. His family moved from Idaho to Philadelphia when he was 2, and he grew up in a comfortable, Presbyterian, middle-class suburban home. Had a brief stint at a military school, and ultimately graduated the Univ. of Pennsylvania, entering at 15, but stopped short of a Ph.D. At 15, he also resolved he would know more about poetry by 30 “than any man living.” Learned many languages and dialects, both ancient and modern, and wound up dedicating his life to shaping his pen into a broadsword in the service of the sheer beauty of language, although he was a superficial thinker at best. Burly, green-eyed and red-bearded. Became a professor of Romance languages at Wabash College in Indiana, but his lack of behavioral constraint eventually sent him packing, much to his relief. In 1908, he sailed for Europe at his parents’ expense, rarely to return to America afterwards, and published his first book of poems in Venice, Italy in his early 20s, which was highly derivative. Saw himself as a bard of muscular thought, taught, wrote reviews, and established a name for himself in London’s literary circles, as a shameless and flamboyant self-promoter, while recognizing and pushing other talents. In his late 20s, he married Dorothy Shakespear, the daughter of a mistress of poet William Butler Yeats, one son from union, which was companionable rather than passionate. Supported T.S. Eliot and James Joyce early in their careers, as well as writer Ernest Hemingway, while living a largely penurious existence. Became the chief theoretician of a new brand of verse, imagism, which was shorn of its language-soaked luster, and reduced to its direct points, in keeping with a new century’s needs, although quit the movement, when he wasn’t allowed to be its head. Disgusted by the carnage of WW I, he moved to Paris, and then Rapallo, Italy, which became his home for two decades, and was an unconscious return to his literary roots. Began publishing his Cantos, a series of 116 verses written over a 50 year period, which covered the whole of classical, medieval and modern his/story and would be his major lifework. Had a daughter by a American violinist, but was uninvolved with the upbringing of either of his children. The major love of his life was language, and all else was secondary. His wide-ranging interests included the arts, his/story and politics, although he showed little aptitude for the latter. Also a composer of little note, using classical structures as an extension of poetry, while unable to carry a tune. During the 1930s, he became obsessed with monetary reform, and began broadcasting anti-American propaganda in Italy in English in 1941. Indicted for treason in absentia, he was arrested after WW II and brought to trial in the U.S. The experience unbalanced him and he was adjudged insane, spending 12 years in a hospital for the criminally challenged, where he continued writing, and was also awarded a literary prize in 1948, much to the displeasure of his native nation. Returned to Italy on his release through the determination of his fellow writers and lived out the rest of his life there. Barely spoke to anyone the last decade of life, his precious sense of language now turned totally inwards. Outlived his contemporaries and died silent, quieted by the excesses of his tongue. Inner: Inner: Great desire to be pound-for-pound heavyweight champ of the literary world, although quite willing to fake it to gain his ends. Passionate idealist, although without a real sense of the political and economic realities of his time. Volatile, contentious, delusional, self-confident, highly political, master of language, cheerleader/critic for the major talents of his day. Indefatigable intellectual, although unable to truly understand relationships that did not emanate from the head. Loved playing the fool. Head-pounding lifetime of dividing his considerable intelligence into the cerebral celebration of literature and the emotional charge of politics, without being able to integrate the two, and ultimately rendering himself mute in the process. Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834) - English poet. Outer: Tenth child and youngest son of an English vicar, who was headmaster of a local grammar school, and was known for scholarship, simplicity and a genuine caring for his charge. His mother was his father’s second wife, and highly ambitious for her male progeny. A voracious reader as a child, with a particular fascination for The Arabian Knights. Had a susceptibility to romance, and found the realities of school traumatic. His father died suddenly when he was 8, but his schooling went on and he continued to bury himself in books, particularly visionary philosophy and works that titillated the imagination. Read Virgil, a former life of his, for amusement, and composed some verse, which showed signs of the genius to come, as well as the physical discomfort his body gave him. Attended Jesus College, Cambridge, where he impressed everyone with his prodigious memory and eloquence. Developed a taste for opium in college because of rheumatism, and also became a heavy drinker, with a strong tendency towards melancholy. Had a brief military stint under the assumed name of Silas Tomkyn Comberbache during financial difficulties at school, before returning there, only to leave again in 1794. Extremely restless, he was stirred by the social possibilities, but not the violence, of the French Revolution, and helped create a socialist ideal called pantisocracy with poet Robert Southey (Wyndham Lewis), but the American community founded on it, failed for lack of funds. In his early 20s, he unhappily married Sara Fricker, the daughter of a schoolmistress who was Southey’s sister-in-law, 3 children from the union, including Hartley Coleridge (Richard Aldington) and Sara (Audre Lord). Rarely at home, although he did make erratic efforts to support the family. His daughter, Sara, ultimately became his primary editor. His intellectual pursuits took precedence over everything else, and once again, he began conceiving a new, informal form of poetry, to give voice to the new century. Wrote his most inspired verse over a three year period in the last half of the 1790s, including the opiated fragment, Kublai Khan, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and settled in the Lake District, becoming a close friend of fellow melancholic romantic, William Wordsworth (T.S. Eliot) and his sister Dorothy (Hilda Doolittle). The trio were inseparable, traveling together to Germany, although the former duo had a major falling-out over his unhappy love for WW’s future sister-in-law. Struggled with his addictions over the next few years, and broke with his intimacies of the past. Suffered ill health, separated from his family, accepted a post as secretary to the acting governor of Malta in 1804, then traveled throughout Italy, all the while producing poetry, social and literary criticism, lectures and plays, gaining renown for his talks on Shakespeare and other poets . Despite his suicidal depressions, he always had people supporting him, thanks to his persuasive gifts. Taken in by a surgeon and his motherly wife in 1816, he spent his last 18 years at his host’s house, curing himself of his opium habit through the doctor’s ministrations, and rejoining his social world again, while his hosts took endless dictations of his literary outpourings. His emotional turbulence, and restlessness were finally assuaged through his adopting a romantic sense of Christianity from which he found some level of inner peace. In his last years, he resumed his productive output, although in a more controlled and far less inspired vein, before dying of heart failure. Inner: Passionate idealist, romantic through and through, ardently unstable, with a great desire to wed intellect and emotion. Brilliant talker, albeit not much of a listener. Busy intellectual life, difficulties with his own physicality. Manic energy, generous, but subject to emotional paralysis. Harbored a great fear of his own lack of resolve and strength, and great sadness over his final decline. Incisive critical mind, language master. Feed-my-head lifetime of opening his imagination at the cost of his body and his relationships, before finally gaining some sense of personal and spiritual integration, at the cost of his own artistry. Dante Aligheri (1265-1321) - Italian poet. Outer: Born into the minor nobility, to a Guelph family (papal supporters) of Florence. Father was a notary. Only sketchy information is available on his life, based on his own writings. Received a good education from the Franciscans, and probably later at the Univ. of Bologna, despite his family’s modest means. Of medium height and swarthy with a grave demeanor. Began writing amatory verse while young. In 1294, he married into a politically powerful family via Gemma Donati, at least two sons who became poets, and a daughter who became a nun, although his true love, Bice Portinari, Beatrice, whom he met when they were children, and then saw once again as a teen, died in her 20s, after becoming the wife of a Florentine banker. Thereafter she served as his muse, giving him both an ideal to live up to, and the impetus to better his mind through diligent study. Once again, he preferred relationships of the imagination to that of the pedestrian heart. Entered public life in Florence in 1295 and held several city posts, gradually rising in power, as a diplomat and magistrate. Both religious and political, he had a deep sense of order and morals, with a great respect for authority. Close friend of poets Cino da Pistoia (T.S. Eliot) and Guido Cavalcanti (Wyndham Lewis), whom he was later forced to banish. Suffered the same fate while on an embassy trip to Rome, after the defeat of his party, the White Guelphs by their Black antagonists, and never saw his beloved native city after 1302. Later offered amnesty but scornfully refused it. Lived the harsh life of an exile, serving as secretary or ambassador for the local ruler as he moved from city to city in northern and central Italy, over the last two decades of his life, while his interests in philosophy and literature broadened. Wrote political treatises, defending the divine authority of temporal leaders, seeing monarchical rule as in the best interests of human welfare. Also championed the German HRE Heinrich VII (Helmut Kohl) as a potential restorer of the glory of his House and a retaker of Florence from his enemies, but when the emperor died in 1313, so did the poet’s political hopes. Turned his attention back to literature, producing his masterwork, “The Divine Comedy,” one of the seminal allegorical guidebooks of the Western literary canon, where he used his former self, Virgil, as his escort and symbol of reason through his own judgmental sense of the circles of Hell within him, before his muse Beatrice guides him through Purgatory and all but the highest levels of his inner Heavens as an embodiment of spiritual and secular grace. His final pilot is St. Bernard, representing mystical revelation, showing him the transcendental pathway to the mysteries of the divine nature of Christianity’s prime prophet and avatar. Introduced vernacular, via the Tuscan dialect, as a viable literary vehicle, once again recreating poetic language to fit a newfound age. Eventually died of a fever at the court of one of his political patrons, after returning from a diplomatic mission. Inner: Details of his intimate relationships are unknown, but probably apostrophized women, rather than viewing them as fellow flawed mortals, and sought out intellectual, rather than emotional companionship. Fervent disciple of Thomas Aquinas (Ludwig Wittgenstein), putting his insights into reason, revelation and faith into verse, most particularly in his “Comedy.” Divined lifetime of drawing his esthetic and moral sensibilities together to create a literary legacy for all time, while putting his passion into his ideals rather than his relationships, and being made to suffer down through the ages for his ongoing inability to love on a mere mortal level Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) - Italian poet. Outer: Eldest of 10 children of a military leader in the service of the princely house of d’Este, who eventually became a military governor and then ruling official of Ferrara. Unwillingly studied law, then became a diplomatic attache to a cardinal of the d’Este family, although his real interest was always in the power of language. At the death of his father in 1500, he gave up his interests to support his siblings. Tall, thin, stooped, and prematurely bald, and continually in delicate health. Made a commander and courtier, but his desire for a peaceful existence was continually frustrated. In 1518, he entered the service of Alfonso d’Este (Tim Buckley) the duke of Ferrara, and was made governor over a bandit-ridden province, proving to be a good administrator. Also placed in charge of the lavish theatrical entertainments that the duke relished, acting in concert with the artists Dosso Dossi (David Hockey). His lifework was Orlando Furioso, a mock epic based on the medieval legends of Charlemagne (Napoleon Bonaparte) and Rolando (Ferdinand Foch), and a continuation of Orlando Innamorato, an unfinished epic by Matteo Boiardo. Had a couple of illegitimate children, before siring his favorite son by a mistress, whom he kept with him the rest of his life, while he continually revised his epic. Fell in love with a married woman, Alessandra Benucci, whom he later secretly married when she became a widow. Enjoyed a peaceful end-life, retiring to a small cottage to indulge in his favorite pastime, writing and revising. Wrote satires and comedies as well as poetry and plays, and enjoyed wide influence down through the centuries. In 1532, a terrible fire destroyed nearly a wing of the Ferrara palace, including the duke’s theater. In failing health, he passed on the following year. Inner: Simple tastes, reluctant but competent official. Preferred the life of the mind to that of the activist’s, keeping his passions in check for once, to see how they would serve him in a purely literary manner. Meditative lifetime of focusing on his inner life, because of a weak outer constitution, and using the power of language as a meditative, rather than a confrontative, tool, before spinning back in time to do the opposite. Virgil (70-19BZ) - Roman poet. Outer: Son of a prosperous farmer, who could afford to give him a superior education. A Gaul by birth, because of the cisalpine village in which he grew up. Tall, dark and rustic. Well-educated in various Italian cities, including Rome, he finished his studies in Naples, but because he was unfit for an active life, thanks to a weak stomach, throat and head, he returned to his family farm to write. A homophile, and a great believer in the Roman ‘empire without end,’ he was made an official citizen in 49 BZ. During the civil wars in 41B.Z., his farm was confiscated, then returned to him through the intercession of powerful friends. Spent his succeeding time in Campania and Sicily, while also maintaining a home in Rome. Enjoyed patronage at the start of his writing career, by the future imperial minister Maecenas (Thomas Jefferson), who aided him immensely. Friends with the politically powerful, he became part of the court circle around the future emperor Augustus (Franklin D. Roosevelt), to whom he was subservient, while hanging out with fellow poets, Propertius (James Joyce) and Horace (T.S. Eliot). Through his social and literary skills, he became recognized as the pre-eminent poet of the Roman Golden Age, and was viewed in a similar light for the next 2 millennia. Author of 3 remarkable works, the pastoral Ecologues, a didactic poem on farming, the Georgics, and his epic on the founding of Rome, The Aeneid. Wrote the latter at the commissioned behest of Augustus in order to establish the pedigree of his family as descendant from Venus. Spent his last decade under heavy pressure to complete it, and died before fully editing it, although he managed to read several books of it to the imperial family. Wished to have the poem burned at his death because of his own sense of perfectionism, although the emperor overruled that desire. Died of a fever contracted on a visit to Greece while in the august company of Augustus. Inner: Fascist-at-heart, worshiper of individual power. Understood what was demanded of him as a social being, probably enjoyed the solitary act of creating over any and all his relationships, save with pure power. Upper crust lifetime of celebrating and learning about power as an insider, while using language and vision to anchor the fleeting majesty of Rome as an enduring work of art.


Storyline: The subdued scholar keeps a stiff upper lip in his pursuit of esthetic truth, and lets intimates act out the madness of his times, while he plays detached observer.

T. S. Eliot (Thomas Stearns Eliot) (1888-1965) - Anglo/American poet, critic, editor and playwright. Outer: Of Puritan descent. Mother was an accomplished writer, and father was a successful brick manufacturer. Youngest of 7. Ultimately walked the line between them. Midwestern by birth, though a New Englander at heart. His grandfather had founded Washington Univ. and his activist persona loomed over the house, despite his departure before the poet was born. 6’, with sharp, esthetic features. Encouraged by his family in his intellectual pursuits, he was Harvard educated, showing a particular fondness for literature. Spent a year at the Sorbonne in France, where he met poet Ezra Pound. Shared a similar sense of alienation and social prejudice with him, as well as a love of the power of the printed word. Returned to Harvard, continued his studies, and put pen significantly to paper in a series of memorable poems, including The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Studied on the continent, although the outbreak of WW I made him switch to Merton College, Oxford, and he finally settled in London in 1915. The same year, he unhappily married Vivian Haigh-Wood, whose physical and mental ailments caused him much stress and suffering. whose physical and mental ailments caused him much stress and suffering. The two lived apart after her madness became more pronounced in the early 1930s. The relationship, however, probably made him focus far more on his poetic sensibilities, allowing him to sacrifice the personal for the universal. Had a brief career as a teacher at a boy’s school, then switched to being a banker for several years, before international recognition came with The Waste Land in 1922, which was written after a barren stretch of writer’s block. With Pound, who edited him, he revolutionized poetic diction, much as he had in his previous incarnation in this series, a century earlier. Changed careers to director and editor of a London publishing house in 1925, which occupied the rest of his working life. Became a British subject in his late 30s. Converted to Anglo-Catholicism, and enjoyed the reputation of being a poetic eminence, in a largely ivory tower existence centering around the pleasures of the mind. Wrote an essay on an earlier life of his, Andrew Marvell, calling him “the quality of a civilization,” while exploring his own sense of civilized spirituality in his blank verse plays. After his wife’s death in 1947, he married again a decade later to Valerie Fletcher, which provided him with far more compatible companionship, two years before his own demise from emphysema. Won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948, capping off a life of being well-honored for his gifts. A skilled essayist and editor, he was eager to share his love for the power of the pen, while his true strength lay in his lyric poetry. Viewed as a founder of poetry’s 20th century voice: lofty, common and demanding. Died peacefully of emphysema after a long life lived in the service of aesthetics. Inner: Erudite, scholarly, exemplar of rational spirituality. Refined, with a restless intellect. Extremely skittish about revealing himself to potential biographers, going so far as to having his correspondence burned. Revered impersonality, covering himself in a protective shroud the more famous he became. Anti-liberal in his cultural and sociological overview. Eminently civilized albeit highly contained lifetime of giving language to the inner processes of the mind and spiritual heart, while making his personal life secondary to his intellectual pursuits. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) - English poet. Outer: Son of a business agent, mother was the daughter of a linen draper. Very close with his sister Dorothy (Hilda Doolittle), although the two were separated by their parents’ early demise, going to live with different relatives. His mother died when he was 8, his father when he was 13. Placed under the guardianship of an uncle, and sought solace in nature in response to his cold home environment. A scholarship student at St. John’s, Cambridge, but he was a mediocre student, preferring pen, rather than book, in hand, dashing family hopes he would take holy orders. 5’10”. Took a walking tour of continental Europe, and lived in France during the French Revolution, where he displayed strong republican sympathies, and subsequently felt torn between his two countries. Fathered a child with a well-loved mistress, Annette Vallon, but his uncles refused to support him further, and he spurned her pleas to marry her. Radicalized by love and politics, but brought back to Earth by economics, he reluctantly returned to England in 1792, where he suffered his own winter of discontent, although was fascinated by London radicals. Engaged in political debate and contributed to a radical weekly, but eventually became disillusioned by the wasteland of the French Terror and the politics of retrenchment. May have done some espionage work in Germany in 1798. Finally settled in the Lake District with his sister Dorothy, through the legacy of a friend. Met Samuel Coleridge (Ezra Pound), and the trio became inseparable intellectual companions, traveling together to Germany, where he wrote some of his finest lyrics. Revolutionized English verse with Coleridge, although initially the works of both were ill-received. The duo eventually became estranged by Coleridge’s behavior. In 1802, he married Mary Hutchinson, a friend from his earlier schooldays and the pair had 5 children, 2 dying young, and his most beloved progeny predeceasing him by 3 years. After a spectacular decade of writing, his poetic powers began to wane. Accepted a sinecure job, and ultimately became poet laureate in 1843, although little in his last decades of writing matched his earlier output. Sister Dorothy, who had lived with him throughout his marriage, eventually disappeared into her own mind. Once again, a female intimate acted out his own inaccessible madness and anger. Spent his last years on his verse autobiography, which was published shortly after his death from pleurisy. Inner: Rugged, strong-willed, imbued with a deep reverence for the natural world, seeing his sense of the Godly in it. Strongly egotistical, easily irritable, with a profound distaste for criticism. Struggled between being directly engaged in the passions of his earlier times with being the mere poetic observer of humanity’s anguish and nature’s supremacy. Opted for the latter, and eventually petered out in his ability to raise observance to art. Word’s worth lifetime of exploring himself through the serial losses of beloved intimates, and producing seminal literary echoes of the romantic disposition of his times, although ultimately unable to sustain his gifts in the process. Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) (1304-1374) - Italian poet and scholar. Outer: Son of a notary attached to the Florentine government, who was forced into exile, a few months after poet Dante Alighieri (Ezra Pound). His family moved numerous times, and he eventually went to the schismatic papal court in Avignon, France. Studied law at his father’s insistence, but returned to Italy to pursue a literary career, despite his sire’s dire disapproval. After his father’s death in 1326, he abandoned his law studies, and returned to Avignon. Took minor orders, pursued a Church career, and in 1327 viewed a woman in a church, whom he idealized as Laura, and she became his inspirational muse, even after her death from the plague, exactly 21 years later, following pumping out 11 children. Fathered two children by an unknown woman. Enjoyed continued patronage and benefices, allowing him the leisure of his literary pursuits, while seeing himself as a bridge twixt the classical past and the Christian present. Established himself in the south of France, became widely known for his scholarship, moved back to Italy, and was crowned poet laureate of Rome in 1341, replete with a “laurel” wreath. Had numerous diplomatic adventures and did much traveling and moving about, before becoming occasional secretary and ambassador to the Visconti family in Milan in 1353, a position he held for 8 years. Struggled with his sense of religiosity and worldliness, an ongoing preoccupation of his, this time opting for the latter. Much of his writing was an act of self-analysis over his inability to reconcile the schism between flesh and spirit. A poet of love and loss, he exerted enormous influence on Italian poetry, and in turn, English verse. Enjoyed a long friendship with the younger Giovanni Boccaccio (James Joyce), who acknowledged him as his master. Lived in Venice with his daughter’s family, and eventually retired to Padua. Had a stroke, although continued writing, dying with his head on a manuscript of the Roman poet Virgil (Ezra Pound), in a house he had built. In his will, he made provision his remains be buried in the seven places he thought he might die. One of the founders of humanism, and a direct precursor of the English sonnet form. Inner: Stiff, prickly and proud, with a melancholic disposition. Humanist, worldly, yet wished to integrate spirituality with classicism. Deeply concerned with his soul, his mind, his heart and his reputation. Viewed self-fulfillment as a Christian province, whie valuing worldly things, as a human reflection of the divine. Laurel-wreathed lifetime of providing Renaissance Europe with a cultural bridge twixt its past and present, and in doing so, fashioned himself as one of the major literary figures of his time and all time. Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) - English writer. Outer: Father was a country minister and schoolmaster who drowned when his son was 20. Educated under his begetter, then went to Trinity College, Cambridge, leaving briefly, after falling under the spell of some Jesuits, before his sire persuaded him to return. His progenitor’s death ended his hope of an academic career. Briefly renounced Calvinism for Roman Catholicism, before reverting back to the religion of his upbringing. Spent 5 years abroad, probably working as a tutor. Returned to England and was attracted to the Puritan cause of Oliver Cromwell (Robert Kennedy) in the subsequent English Civil War. Worked as a tutor to the daughter of an English general, then tutored a ward of Cromwell. A colleague of John Milton (John Stott) in the office of the Latin secretary to John Thurloe (Allen Dulles) until the Restoration in 1660, and then was a member of Parliament until his death, during which time he wrote hundreds of letters detailing actions and debates, while engaging in occasional political scuffles and passionately defending his own positions. Under suspicion at the time of his death for subversive scribblings. Wrote lyrical secular metaphysical poems, as well as satirical political verse, with his pre and post-Restoration output markedly different, and the lyrics far and away his superior work, with their sensuous rhythms and piquant language. Accused of being an alcoholic and homophile by his detractors, into which his secretive private life naturally fed, although no substantive evidence exists to either refute or affirm the claims. Subtle artist, whose wit, rhythm and intelligence transcended the conventional nature of his work. A lifelong bachelor, although his housekeeper claimed to be his widow, which was probably untrue. It was she who discovered his poems, which were published posthumously. Some mystery exists around his sudden death, possibly poisoned. Known in his lifetime as a political figure, his reputation as a versifier did not come to fruition until centuries later. Inner: Relatively uncommunicative, learned, witty, and a republican at heart. Modest, liked wine as a writing stimulus. Alternately detached and committed to anti-extremist positions. Hidden marvel lifetime of playing in the political arena, with written exposition as a secondary, rather than primary, means of expression as in the other lives in this series. Horace (Qunitus Horatius Flaccus) (65-8BZ) - Roman lyric poet and satirist. Outer: Father was an auctioneer’s assistant who had been born a slave, but had won his freedom before his son’s birth, and worked as a tax collector. Taken to Rome by his progenitor, who had earned enough to buy a small estate, and was given an aristocratic education, after the former had realized his progeny’s potential. Went to Athens at 18, and became a tribune for the losing side in the civil war following Julius Caesar’s (Charles de Gaulle) death in 44BZ. Served Caesar’s assassins, Brutus (Henri Petain) and Cassius (Robert NIvelle) in Greece, then after their swift fall, he returned to Italy penniless and disillusioned. Small, dark-eyed, slovenly and given to corpulence later on, as well as prematurely gray. After a general amnesty, as well as the death of his father and the confiscation of his property, he bought the office of a public scribe with what was left of his patrimony and became a clerk of the treasury. Began his writing career with satires and odes in order to earn a little extra money, and transposed Grecian lyric meters into Latin. Through the private circulation of his works, which were largely autobiographical, with political and moral overtones, he joined the circle of writers around the art patron Maecenas (Thomas Jefferson), via the auspices of the poet Virgil (Ezra Pound), and eventually became an intimate of the emperor Augustus (FDR), who supported him and became his heir. A discreet homophile and an unabashed apologist for the imperial state, which provided an extremely comfortable living for him. Given a farm near Tivoli by Maecenas, he was able to enjoy a life of both stimulation and independence. After the death of Virgil in 19 BC, he became the virtual poet laureate of Rome, enjoying great social power. Most of his works survived, and he went on to exercise a strong influence on the later development of European literature as a model-maker extraordinaire. Particularly noted for his Satires and Epistles, revealing him to be an incisive wit who well understood the follies of the world around him. Died shortly after Maecenas. Inner: Moody and irascible, but also friendly and easily appeased. Epicurean sensualist, intellectual, detached, kindly and humane. Subtle, well-spoken ironist, moralist and keen observer. Compromised lifetime of integrating the physical with the esthetic, and enjoying the rewards of power that it brought. Probably receded further into himself in this ongoing series in order to look at his larger truths in less compromised, and less involuted, circumstances.


Storyline: The lacerating wit employs a mordant eye on his social milieu, and a painter’s way with words, while successfully maintaining inner partnerships in the face of his outer alienation.

James Joyce (James Augustine Aloysius Joyce) (1882-1941) - Irish writer. Outer: First surviving child of an improvident alcoholic, who was continually denuding the family fortunes through his feckless behavior. Bibulous and pugnacious, the old man eventually became a Collector of Rates for the city of Dublin, but lost that job when his son was 10, at which point the family embraced poverty as a way of life, and his sire turned to the bottle to drown his inadequacies. Mother was the artistic daughter of a wine and spirits agent, and a decade her husband’s junior, who used the Catholic Church as her support through their misfortunes, although her son rejected her values, despite enjoying her support. Eldest of 10 surviving children, including 5 boys and 6 girls from a brood of 14, with the last son dying in infancy. Initially Jesuit educated, where he proved a good student, but his family’s downward spiral caused him to complete his early learning at home, while his household continually moved to lesser and lesser accommodations. Began a vast autobiographical novel in his teens, which became the foundation for several works, as he returned again and again to his palpable past and family his/story in order to transmute his “sluggish” realities into high art. Returned to Jesuit school, but a loss of faith, and a comparable growing fascination with modern literature, caused him to quit. 5’11”, with pale blue eyes, a high forehead, thin lips and a determined chin. Eventually completed his education at a Jesuit school, Dublin’s University College. A voracious reader, he was intoxicated with words, sounds and myths, with an equal fondness for drink and dissolution to wash them down. Also a talented musician and singer. Went to Paris in 1902 as an impoverished medical student to get away from the stultifying old sod, while continuing his drifting way, only to return 4 months later, on the final illness of his mother. Stayed in Dublin, wrote reviews and tried teaching, then met and fell in love with Nora Barnacle, a hotel chambermaid from Galway, the same year, but refused on principle to marry her, 2 children from the union, including daughter Lucia, a schizophrenic dancer, who fell apart when she was denied a creative career of her own and spent most of her last 4 and 1/2 decades in mental hospitals, until her death in 1982. His lusty romance with Nora later inspired Ulysses, an epic of an alienated day-in-the-life, celebrating 6/16/1904, the date the two began their physical liaison. The duo eloped to the continent, where he taught English, engaged in failed moneymaking schemes, bank clerked in Rome, and returned briefly to Dublin in 1912 for the final time, before settling in Zurich in penny-pinching circumstances, during WW I. Continually struggled financially, and harbored many grudges, while his eyes grew worse and worse from glaucoma, cataracts and dissolution of the retina, resulting in near blindness, which put him at a further remove from everyone. Nora found exile far less stimulating than he. Moved to Paris in 1920, and formed a friendship with Ezra Pound, who helped get Ulysses published, which was an immediate success, in goodly part due to having it initially banned in both the U.S. and Britain. Became grander and more remote with his ensuing fame, feeling at last vindicated for his genius. Finally married Nora in 1931 to protect their children’s inheritance rights. Spent most of his next two decades on his masterwork, Finnegan’s Wake, which wedded his brilliant sense of linguistics with mythology, into a night-in-the-life rumination, which was not well-received, because it was all but unreadable, save to those with a thirst for the juggled thesauri of pure language. Because of his failing eyesight, he had to memorize whole sections, and depend on his secretaries for his notes, as he plumbed both his conscious and unconscious for one final free-for-all rampage through his orderly, mad mind. Supported his last 24 years by Harriet Weaver, which made him more and more rapacious. After the fall of France in 1940, he returned to Zurich, where he died of peritonitis after a successful abdominal operation for a perforated ulcer. His last words reputedly were a request to his nurse to call his wife and son. Hardly received any money from his writing during his lifetime, and subsisted on the beneficence of patrons, in keeping with his own self-portrait of the artist as an unseen visionary. Inner: Restless, resentful, martyr-prone. Suspicious, supremely alienated, self-indulgent and improvident. Lusty language-master, with both the anger and humor to render his subconscious alive. Liked to be surrounded by people and fortified with drink. Great fear of aloneness. Bibulously bitter lifetime of giving verbal life to his deep and complex interior, while literally blinding himself to everyone and everything that did not support his unusual talent and self-proclaimed genius. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) - Irish satirist, poet and cleric. Outer: From a family of English clergyman. Posthumous son of an Irish steward, who had gone to Ireland to practice as a lawyer, and brought up by his uncles, but harbored grudges against his relatives, because of his own insecurities. Cousin of John Dryden (Winston Churchill), who thought little of his talent. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and was censured for his behavior, ultimately obtaining his degree by ‘special grace.’ Went to England after the Revolution of 1688, and attached himself to the house of William Temple (Harold Nicholson), serving as his secretary, although he chafed when Temple could not get him a preferred position. Pursued what he considered a humiliating defeat, a career as a country vicar in Ireland, after taking holy orders and receiving a small prebend in 1694. Returned to Temple 2 years later, edited his correspondence, and found his true metier in satire, etching The Battle of the Books, which was published in 1704. On Temple’s death in 1699, he returned to Ireland, was given another prebend in Dublin, and began to make his dark, mischievous presence felt. Made numerous trips to London, and knew many of the major writers of the day. Took on political topics both large and small, making enemies by the outraged score with his pungent wit, while his sympathies lay with the Church, rather than the Whig party, to which he was allied. Won renown for his satires, while switching allegiance to the conservative Tories in 1710. Made a Dublin dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral and with the fall of the Tories the following year, in 1714, he retreated to Ireland with much bitterness, although continued his satiric output. His private relationships were obscured, several women flitted through his life, including Esther Johnson (Vita Sackville-West), whom he had known since she was 8, and to whom he may have been secretly married.She was the daughter of Temple’s housekeeper, whom he idealized as ‘Stella.’ She remained a continual companion of his until her death when he was in his early 50s. The pair probably remained chaste the length of the relationship, and he may have been impotent. Anonymously published his best known work, Gulliver’s Travels, in 1726. Became deaf and possibly insane at life’s end, certainly ill-tempered and out-of-control. Suffered a stroke and declined into a helpless state. Inner: Possessed a scalpel-sharp wit, along with deep insecurities and much bitterness. A master of irony, his famous epitaph in Latin, read, ”Where savage indignation can lacerate his heart no more.” Savagely indignant lifetime of tuning his keen perceptions, his gall-ridden spleen and his marked ability with language to the political sphere, while struggling, as always, to secure himself in a noticeably insecure and unsecure world. John Donne (1572-1631) - English poet and prelate. Outer: Mother was a descendant of the martyr/theologian Thomas More (George Orwell). Father was a successful London ironmonger and practicing Catholic, who rose to prosperity, then died when his son was 4. The former remarried a Catholic doctor, and he was educated at home and raised a Roman Catholic. Enjoyed a relatively raffish youth, dipping into the pleasures of the flesh available to him, while allowing his poetic sensibilities an erotic run. Never permitted these libidinous musings publication, lest his earlier promiscuity compromise his subsequent donnish deanish stance. Matriculated at two universities, but failed to get a degree because of the anti-Catholic sentiment of the time. Studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, without enthusiasm, while his brother died in prison for harboring a Catholic priest, and his mother went into overseas exile, which led to his own dark speculations on his beliefs. After some military adventures in which he enlisted in the earl of Essex’s (Ethan Hawke) expedition against Catholic Spain, he became secretary to the Lord Keeper of the Seal in 1597 through the connections he had made, then went to Parliament in 1601. Rejecting Catholicism, he wrote poetry to redefine his faith, imitating Juvenal, an earlier life of his, while showing great wit and passion in his enthusiastic spiritual musings. Secretly married Ann More, the 15 year old niece of his earlier employer and the daughter of an ambitious noble who had him briefly imprisoned for his social climbing. A dozen children from the close passionate union, although only 6 survived him, including Constance, who went on to marry aged actor Edward Alleyn (Paul Robeson), towards the end of his life. Fell into financial difficulties because of his burgeoning family, but remained loyal and loving to his wife. Traveled, wrote a satire against the Jesuits, and after a deep spiritual and financial struggle and further blockage to a hoped-for political career, he entered the Anglican church in 1615, following the death of two children and an all-around annus horribilis. His wife subsequently died in a stillborn childbirth in 1617. Held several posts, before ultimately becoming dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1621, where he executed his duties conscientiously. Fell into ill health, and suffered the loss of children and friends at life’s near end. His various tragedies, however, always proved an inspirational rallying point around which he could express himself most artistically. Preached his own death sermon, “Death’s Duel,” summing up the dueling dualities of flesh and spirit that had so enflamed his imagination his entire life, and then died several weeks later. Noted for both his elegies and his sermons during his lifetime but not truly recognized for many a century afterwards for the depth and passion of his poetry. Inner: Witty, charming, eloquent, with a rich sense of image and language. Intensely cerebral, and imaginatively charged by the sheer act of thinking. Moral, studious, tolerant and playful. Later in life saw his youth as a representation of his fallen state. Well-donne lifetime of exploring his inner workings, rather than the outer workings of society, with his usual wit and insight but without his usual bitterness at his worldly difficulties, losses and failings. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) - Italian writer and scholar. Outer: Illegitimate son of an Italian merchant and a French mother, who married soon after his birth. Had an unhappy Florentine childhood, because of conflicts with his father over his passion for poetry. Sent to Naples to study commerce for six years, which he hated, and then pursued canon law, which he also abhorred. Studied Roman classic poetry on his own, and initially imitated Juvenal’s style, unconsciously tapping into an earlier self. Returned to Florence in 1341 after his father’s business went under, and concentrated on finishing his earlier literary works. Entered court circles, fell in love with the king’s daughter, and, after a tempestuous romance, which she broke off, he remained scarred by her for many years, even after her death by the plague in 1348. Idealized her as Fiammetta, the flame, in his many works. Called back to Florence, he suffered financial difficulties, but continued with his poems and satires, culminating in his masterwork, The Decameron, a collection of 100 earthy stories narrated by a fashionable group of young men and women. Served in several ambassadorial posts. After meeting Petrarch (T.S. Eliot), he devoted himself to scholarship and humanism in lieu of fiction, and writing in Latin in lieu of Italian. The two were close friends for four decades. Became more spiritual and far less sensual as he grew older, probably due to his own physical as well as financial decline. After several more ambassadorial missions, he gave a series of public lectures on Dante’s Divine Comedy, after having earlier written a life of that poet. Ill health caused him to retire and he died shortly afterwards. Inner: Erudite, witty and spiritually confused. Held a lusty but improvident vision of life. Storyteller supreme lifetime of struggling with the material world his father represented, while giving impressive voice to the sensual wit and perceptions that continually characterize him. Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) (c60-c140) - Roman satiric poet. Outer: Father was a well-to-do Spanish freeman. Virtually nothing is known of his life, save for what he mentioned in his poems. Pursued a military, then a civic career, but his frustrations soon gave vent to satiric release, and he began using his own internal poisons as ink to mock his times. Went to Rome to see if he could be supported as a public speaker. Instead, he was banished and had his property confiscated because of his sly musings on the emperor, who did not share his sense of humor. After probably living in Egypt, he returned to Rome and lived in poverty, cadging off of the wealthy. Sensitive to societal imbalances, he satirized contemporary life in Rome, with many mythological allusions. Eventually enjoyed some material success, and his darker earlier tone softened. Death unknown. Probably the most influential satirist from antiquity, with 16 trenchant works surviving him. Inner: Acerbic, acute, with a strong sense of social order and disorder. Savagely indignant lifetime of transmuting disappointment and bitterness into sharp social perceptions, a continual alchemical preoccupation of his. Sextus Propertius (c50-c16BZ) - Roman elegiac poet. Outer: Life largely obscured. Received an ample education from his mother, following the death of his father when he was a boy. After his property was partially confiscated, he went to Rome, and fell into the circle around the megapatron Maecenas (Thomas Jefferson), where he met both Virgil (Ezra Pound) and Horace (T.S. Eliot). Became known for his elegiac verse and his psychological insight into love. Had numerous affairs, including a tempestuous one with his jealous mistress, Hostia, whom he immortalized as Cynthia. The duo eventually parted, giving him fodder for further poetic ruminations. Possibly married afterwards, one child from union. Ended his life, living in elegance on an estate overlooking Rome. Inner: Passionate, brooding, highly social, conservative. Pleasure-loving, with a view of having free license for licentiousness because of his gifts. Enjoyable lifetime of integrating his zest for life and language, without the usual fall-outs or bitterness, which probably prompted him to pursue a more alienating path in lives to come in order to touch down on his true genius for discontent and the wintery wit that goes with it.


Storyline: The transcendent seer brings his earlier childlike persona to full maturity, while forever remaining the revelatory sayer of both the sooth and the truth, as he espies it.
Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957) - Russian/American/Italian artist. Outer: From an old and very wealthy aristocratic Russian family. Eldest of 5 children, with 2 brothers and 2 sisters. As a child, he loved German and Russian fairy tales where facts and fancy intermingled, and that sentiment would inform his later work as a distorter of representational reality. Educated by a series of French, German and English governesses, who fostered his interest in the arts, while giving him the linguistic facilities to ultimately become a citizen of the world. Began drawing at 5, before starting formal art school at 12, and was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith. Father was a liberal who supported his son’s pursuits, although the family lost their property in the 1917 Revolution. Along with them he fled to Kiev in the Ukraine the following year, where he took courses at Kiev Univ. While there he produced his first theater designs. 5’9 1/2”, 150 lbs. Given classical training in drawing, although he was soon drawn to the modern currents of cubism, before rejecting its forms in favor of curves, which led to a uniquely representational style marked by vivid coloration. Forced to flee once again, in front of the advancing Red Army, he went to Odessa, and then Berlin via Istanbul and Sofia. In Germany, he met Allen Tanner, an American pianist, who became his lover. Began his career as a representational artist, doing still-lifes, portraits and figures. After spending two years in Berlin, enjoying considerable success as a designer for both the theater and opera, they both moved to Paris in 1923, and he became a permanent émigré. While there, he began painting portraits of the city’s avant-garde, as well as its homophile elite. Although labeled a surrealist for his fantastical compositions and fascination with multiple perspectives, he rejected the categorization, as well as being lumped in with any movement, preferring to think of himself as a complete original. Never had any trouble selling his work, because of his innate representational skills, and his easy acceptance by the avant-garde tastemakers of his time, although he would continually challenge them with his exaggerated sense of color, which turned off many. Made a European name for himself as a highly innovative set designer for the ballets staged by fellow émigré Sergei Diaghilev (Gerard Mortier) and his Ballets Russes. Moved to NYC in 1934, with a new lover, art critic Charles Henri Ford, and the duo became a highly social and popular pair in the upper crust gay demimondaine of the city. Continued his set designing for Lincoln Kirstein’s staged ballets, as well as George Balanchine’s American Ballet Company. His most famous pair of paintings, done in the mid-30s and early 40s, would be “Phenomena,” an infernal vision of the discontents of civilization, replete with noticeable portraits of some of his associates, and “Hide and Seek,” whose central image would be an enormous tree inside the head of an old viking, with its branches forming further veined heads. The two works were part of an ambitious trilogy which was never finished. Did some book and poetry illustration, while searching for exterior manifestations of the human interior in his work. During the 1940s, he illustrated the surrealist magazine, “View,” edited by his partner. Became an American citizen in 1952, although he spent most of his last eight years living in Italy. Suffered a heart attack in 1956, and died of a heart condition in Rome the following year, with Ford by his side. Inner: Extremely cosmopolitan, with far more of a critical view of his homeland, than a nostalgic one. Witty and dazzling conversationalist, with an equal facility for language and images. Fascinated by internal processes, with a desire to transliterate them into external images, while viewing the human body as a landscape unto itself. Harbored a dark apocalyptic view of humanity, as a literal citizen of the world who bore direct witness to its violent fervor for mass destruction. Complementary lifetime of bringing his earlier Blakean adolescence to maturity, in his ongoing self-appointed role as the Earth’s imagistic custodian of Revelation. William Blake (1757-1827) - English poet, artist and visionary. Outer: Third son of a hosier, who recognized his talents early on. Mother had been a widow, as well as a Moravian, although left the sect before her second marriage. One of 4 brothers, and a sister, with his closest sibling his younger brother Robert, who died in 1787. Had a pleasant, peaceful childhood. Saw angels as a child, and continually had visions throughout his life as a mediumistic channel. Read widely, although he often skipped school, preferring celestial company to that of the mundane. Remained a teenager all of his life, seeing a certain perfection in his visions and ability to transmute them into word and brushstroke, and therefore had little motivation to change from his largely innocent state. Sent to drawing school at 10, began writing poetry at 12, and at 14, he was apprenticed to an engraver, staying with his master for 7 years. Became a journeyman engraver in 1779, and began studying at the Royal Academy of Arts with the hope of becoming a his/story painter, but had difficulties in school, although was highly social and befriended other artists. After a rejection by another, in his mid-20s, he married an illiterate, Catherine Boucher, the daughter of a market-gardener, who took care of him his whole life, and aided in his work, helping him remain a child. The couple were childless themselves. Mrs. Blake said of him, “I have very little of Mr. Blake’s company; he is always in Paradise.” Regarded as a master by his intimates, but no one else. Added visionary poetry and prose to his mediumistic repertoire, while his drawing style never really changed his entire life. On his father’s death in 1784, he opened a print shop, and supported himself by it with intermittent periods of prosperity. Moved to Lambeth in 1790, then lived on a writer’s estate at century’s turning, and in 1804 was unsuccessfully prosecuted for sedition, after removing a drunken soldier from the garden. Songs of Innocence, about childhood, which was published in 1789, and Songs of Experience, about polarities, which was brought forth in 1794, were his initial masterworks. Printed them himself, with his wife’s help, through a process of relief engraving on copper that he had perfected, following the death of his beloved brother Robert. Suffered a period of spiritual uncertainty and the stultifying effects of patronage afterwards, and stopped producing illuminated books in 1795. Two years later, he undertook his largest commercial project, over 500 illustration for Edward Young’s (Henry James) Night Thoughts. Took on other poets and projects after the turn of the century, as well as composing his own Jerusalem, hand-coloring one copy, which did not sell during his lifetime. Entered a downward end-life spiral, although was revered by the people who knew him well. Rejected by the Royal Academy in 1809, after decades earlier having shown there, he later exhibited his own works. Suffered gallstones and jaundice, as well as continual poverty in his unworldly disregard for materiality, while his wife became rheumatic. His last period saw his most luminous painting, favoring color over line, in contrast to how he had earlier worked. His chief creation over this period was a series of engraved designs illustrating the Biblical Book of Job. Came to be seen as an Old Testament prophet towards the end, by a group of young artists, and he reveled in their adoration. Died in bed, probably of biliary cirrhosis, from the fumes he had inhaled while etching, and was buried in an unmarked grave, which became a point of orgiastic celebration for later generations of admirers. His works were little known during his lifetime, but his reputation soared in the centuries following. Inner: Amiable, unworldly, unconscious channeler and continual celebrator of the divine in earthly life, although recognized the hell of the industrial world to come. Felt ‘all things exist in the human imagination alone.’ Strongly identified with the ancient Druids, and wrote in a prolific prophetic vein, positing the tensions of a dualistic universe. Songs of Innocence lifetime of giving full head to his visionary capabilities, rendering in both line and verse his unique mystical vision of this earthly sphere, while showing himself to be remarkably unworldly in all else he did. Thomas Traherne (c1636-1674) - English poet and clergyman. Outer: Son of a shoemaker. His parents probably died when he and his brother were infants. Brought up by a wealthy innkeeper who was twice mayor of Hereford, and took his name as well as full advantage of a good education through his auspices. Went to Brasenose College, Oxford, as a commoner, got his degree and was ordained as a clergyman in 1660. Involved in a religious circle, wrote prose and poetry and often saw ghosts and phantoms. In 1669, he was made chaplain to the lord keeper of the seal, and held the position the rest of his life. Never married. Employed a unique style, and was one of the first to write of childhood experience in English. Wrote of the union of the divine and the human, with special emphasis on the power of the imagination, and the boundless potential of humanity’s spirit and mind. Rediscovered over two centuries after his death. Inner: Intensely visionary, with a strong metaphysical and mystic impulse. Deeply devout and rapturous in his writings, felt it extremely important to regain the simple wonder of childhood in order to truly be spiritually pure. Solitary lifetime, once again, of singing songs of both innocence and experience, with little regard for the outside world or how posterity would receive his work. El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (1541-1614) - Greco/Spanish artist. Outer: Born on the isle of Crete. Nothing known about his early life, possibly married early, but the union did not last. Gained a sense of Byzantine culture, which would pervade his more spiritual works, before unconsciously uniting eastern and western pictorial traditions by opting for Italy as a young man. Picked up the name El Greco (the Greek), while studying art in Venice, and wore it as his alien badge, despite a facility for assimilating and taking on the characteristics of his adopted cultures. Probably worked in the studio of Titian (Louis Malle), and was familiar with the other major artists of the day. Might have had an astigmatism, accounting for the elongated figures in his paintings, although the backgrounds are normally proportioned, and he also worked in the Mannerist style. Failed to gain commissions in Rome, while vociferously criticizing Michelangelo (Henri Matisse), who was considered a demi-god there, and left Italy in his mid-30s for Spain, hoping to work on the projected monastery El Escorial of Felipe II (Adolf Hitler), although the latter was not enamored of his work. As soon as he came to Spain, he immediately embraced the severe realistic traditions of Castilian painting. Primarily a religious painter, although also an accomplished portraitist, with a unique smoky style, that was far more geared towards the passions of the spirit, and the inner life of his sitters, than a direct rendition of nature. A bold and dramatic colorist, he never painted a smile on any of his subjects. By 1577, he settled in Toledo, and was involved in the intellectual and spiritual life of the city, with many scholars and ecclesiasts as friends, although he was litigious, which caused him royal and church patronage, and made him dependent on private patrons. Had one son in 1578 by a longtime mistress. Possessed a formidable library, and was deeply interested in the Renaissance humanism of the time. Extremely popular during his lifetime, he lived comfortably in the palace of a marquess, and continued his prolific output his entire life, while also dabbling in sculpture and architecture. Grew more eccentric in his work as he got older, with a predilection for strange, cold coloring. He was working on the baptism of Christ when he died, and never finished it. Made no will, but received the sacraments upon his deathbed. Inner: Austere, arrogant, unstable, high-strung and mystical, but social and extravagant, as well, with a profound religious sensibility fusing him together. Also lonely, and cut off from ordinary intercourse by his deep-seated religious passion, and his desire to see the divine in everything. Contentious and opinionated, often squabbling over prices he felt he had earned. God-loving lifetime of singing the songs of experience and exploring the dualities of east and west and heaven and earth through a visionary receptacle that had one foot firmly planted on the planet and the other stretching to the skies. Piero Della Francesca (1420-1492) - Italian artist. Outer: Son of either an apothecary or a tanner. One of three brothers; the other two and his father would eventually act as his agents. Given a decent education in Latin, as well as a firm grounding in the sciences and mathematics, and apprenticed as a painter to a provincial master. Familiarized himself with the many styles of his day, painting throughout Italy, including Florence, where he was an assistant to the progressive and teacherly Domenico Veneziano. Thanks to his scientific background, he understood the elements of linear perspective, and was able to make all his figures relatively proportional, with a particularly facility for architectural renditions. By the time he was 30, his reputation was assured, and he worked steadily in a variety of ducal courts. His recognized masterpiece would be a series of frescoes done at Tuscany in his early 30s, showing him to be the most sophisticated humanist painter in Italy at the time. Despite his travels, he always returned home to Borgo San Sepolcro, where he held public offices and was a leader of his town’s most prominent lay religious organization. Patronized by monasteries, local citizens and provincial nobility. Fascinated with geometric form, and works of the Greek mathematician Euclid, and all his compositions would be both staid and remote. Wrote and illustrated treatises on Grecian geometry and art, while putting his postulates to practice. His contemporary fame came from a trio of theoretical treatises he wrote on math. Never married. Slow and deliberate in his work, which was well-respected in his time, although was not truly recognized until many centuries later. Spent his last 14 years, save for one brief trip, in Borgo San Sepolcro, and probably continued painting until his last decade. Blind in his old age, although he continued to write when he could no long paint. Died the day Columbus landed in the New World. Inner: Used color to express form, while evincing a mastery over light. Largely unemotional and inexpressive in his depiction of humans, see them as visual vessels rather than wellsprings of feeling. Harbored a scientific as well as aesthetic outlook, and was notoriously slow in all he did. Contemplative, analytic, mystical. Humanist lifetime of putting his profound spirituality into the geometry of the universe, viewing form, above all else, as his manifestation of the divine. William Langland (c1330-c1386) - English writer. Outer: A native of the western Midlands, he was probably monastery educated, before living in London, where he produced his classic work, Piers Plowman, a disquisition on both spiritual corruption and love in symbolic form, limning the simple Christian life. Probably took orders, but never became a priest. Eked out an existence by singing masses and copying documents. The events of his life were sketchy, and largely deduced from his work. Piers was issued in three versions over a thirty year period, and may or may not have been totally written by him. It proved to be the most influential written epoch of his time, showing a man deeply imbued with traditional Christian morals. Also wrote a remonstrance against Richard III (Evelyn Waugh). Inner: Called himself ‘Long Will.’ Hidden lifetime of employing his exquisite gifts of storytelling and exposition in the service of spiritual morality, while staying largely hidden from the prying eye of the future. Caedmon (fl. 7th cent AZ) - English poet. Outer: Illiterate herdsman from peasant stock. One night, he couldn’t sing upon request, retired, and dreamt of a stranger who commanded him to carol on the beginning of things. Spoke his dream, was brought to a nearby monastery and was asked to channel sacred his/story, which he did. Probably an old man by the time this happened, and he remained there the rest of his life, channeling scripture into vernacular poetry, after it was translated for him. Inner: Natural medium, filled with a strong Christian sense of morality. Humble lifetime of developing his unique connection between the heavenly and the earthly as a clear-eyed visionary with absolutely no overt sense of the written word. John of Patmos (fl.1st cent AZ) - Asia Minor writer. Outer: Not much known of his life. Probably was a Christianized Jewish mystic who went into exile in midlife from Judea to Asia Minor. Had a thorough knowledge of Jewish apocalyptic traditions, as well as the Hebrew Bible, and was a religious purist at heart, seeing no compromise with Rome, his self-described “Whore of Babylon.” Reputed to have been the author of the Book of Revelation, the final prophetic tome of the New Testament Bible. Wrote in an era when Christians were under extreme persecution, and adopted the same end-of-the-world consciousness in channeling his own apocalyptic vision of world’s end and revealed new beginnings. The authorship of the text has been in question ever since, as well as its meaning, in a work that would capture the imagination of the many during the entire Piscean Age. Claimed to have been a conduit for God’s voice, and gave the world the fantasy of the Prophet Jesus vanquishing evil at the final battle of Armageddon and ushering in a 1000 year period of perfection, followed by cataclysm and final judgment. Inner: Obsessed with purity in all things, and a master of unsettling metaphor. War-of-the-words lifetime of creating the most tantalizing esoteric work of the next two millennia, thanks to a deeply dramatic imagination and a surefire sense of apocalyptic symbolism, two traits he would continue to explore throughout this series..


Storyline: The suicidal sailor is forever drowning in his own seas, despite his transcendental lyrical gifts.

Tim Buckley (1947-1995) - American poet and singer. Outer: Father suffered a head injury during WW II, and was continually verbally and sometimes physically abusive with his son, while his mother was chronically critical of him. The family moved when he was 10 to Southern California, and though it was an unhappy home, it was also a music-loving household. As a child, he experimented with his voice in both high and low ranges. Melancholic by nature, he saw music as his escape from ordinary existence and began his professional career in his teens in the folk clubs of Los Angeles. Became a recording artist before he was 20, and was noted for his mournful, yet dense, rich work. Began exploring avant-garde jazz and expanding his musical metier to a far more complex semblance of sounds, while diving deep into himself with a variety of drugs. Completely self-involved, and adrift on his own seas, he evolved into a gloomy troubadour, as his haunting music became more and more improvisational and atonal, while his voice ultimately turned into another instrument. Became disillusioned because his work was considered uncommercial and dropped out to work as a chauffeur for musician Sly Stone. Contemporary black music brought him out of his funk, and he returned to performing, seemingly having his life together again. Accidentally killed himself with an overdose of heroin and morphine, which he had thought was cocaine. Briefly married Mary Guibert in 1965, who produced a son, Jeff, whom he only met once. The latter became a singer of note, and then ironically died at 30 from drowning, repeating his father’s continual premature egresses. Inner: Lyrical, rhapsodic musician with a strong death wish. Sad-eyed lifetime of exploring himself through music, and finding some sense of integration, while following the same draw of dying young that has permeated his romantic self-view through the last several centuries. Harold Hart Crane (1899-1932) - American poet. Outer: Born the same day as writer Ernest Hemingway. Mother was a neurasthenic devotee of Christian Science, and a vain beauty who had wanted a show biz career. Father was a wealthy candy maker, who created Life Savers and made a fortune manufacturing cheap sweets. Had an unstable childhood, as their only offspring. The household was fraught with insecurity, thanks to the constant tensions between both parents who ultimately divorced in 1917, and his mother became increasingly obsessed with her son’s poetic career. Began writing at 13, using poetry as a refuge, dropped out of high school, visited his grandfather’s fruit farm in Cuba with his mother, then went to NYC to try to become a poet on his own, while also twice attempting suicide at 16. A handsome homophile and budding alcoholic, he labored at various jobs, then after unsuccessfully trying to enlist in the army, he worked in a munitions factory during WW I. Had a particular fascination with, as well as a voracious appetite for sailors, while constantly scuffling for money. His father tried to drum poetry out of him because of his complete inability to countenance anything other than business. After a brief employment in one of his sire’s stores in Ohio, he worked as an advertising writer in Cleveland. His mother’s obsessiveness, however, would prove far more burdensome than his father’s opposition to his calling. Returned to his precarious existence in NYC in 1923 and used that urban landscape for some of his extraordinary imagistic poetry. Wrote on his family plantation in Cuba and later traveled to California and Europe, as a companion to a neurasthenic stockbroker. Best known poem was The Bridge, which used the Brooklyn Bridge as a metaphor for American life and destiny, although he felt betrayed by the mixed review it received from his friends. Won prizes, enjoyed and squandered patronage, and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, which he used to go to Mexico to try to write an epic on the conquest of that country by Hernando Cortez (Hugo Chavez), although he ultimately failed to do so. Had a brief affair with Malcolm Cowley’s estranged wife, while continuing to chase after sailors. Depressed at the death of his father, and by his inability to overcome his alcoholism, he took off his coat, folded it neatly on the railing, and leaped drunkenly overboard from a ship returning to U.S. from Mexico and drowned, after supposedly calling out, “Goodbye, everybody.” His body was never recovered. Possessed an extraordinary sense of imagery, although individual passages stand out more than his completed poems do, as a reflection of his fragmented life. Inner: Alcoholic and sexual addict, with a continually quest for ecstasy, without the emotional stability to achieve it. Argumentative, manic and difficult. Deliberately deranged his senses to achieve distorted emotional states. A feverish romantic with an acute sense of his own frailty. Generous, with a quicksilver personality, able to make friends easily, partially out of his continual need for support, but had difficulty in maintaining relationships, through the same overweening needs, rendering him ultimately alone, and forever craning to his own ‘hart.’ Overboard lifetime of deliberately induced unhappiness and instability, with a lure towards drowning in his own tears that proved inescapable. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - English poet. Outer: Son of wealthy landed gentry, affording him a privileged upbringing. Oldest of 5 surviving children, with four sisters and a brother. Mother was a noted beauty, while his father became an MP and baronet, although he evinced none of the dash of his own sire, who had accumulated a fortune through marriage and personal enterprise. Had a lifelong habit, from childhood on, of giving voice to imaginary events as being real, showing a clear preference for his inner world over the outer one in which he found himself. Began receiving Latin lessons at 6, then went on to Eton, where he was bullied, and finished his formal education at University College, Oxford, but was expelled for an atheistic pamphlet upon which he collaborated with close friend and future biographer, Thomas Hogg, which estranged him from his family, as well as cut off their financial support. 5’11”, slim, stooped and fragile, with delicate, asymmetrical, almost feminine features, and an unusually small head, set off by long, bushy brown hair and deep blue eyes. Had a noticeably dissonant voice, save when reading aloud. Eloped to Edinburgh at 19 with a neurotic 16 year-old compatriot of his sisters, Harriet Westbrook (Margot Kidder), to save her from her family, daughter and son from the unsettled union. By the time he was 20, he had already published a pair of Gothic novels as well as two co-authored collections of verse. Wandered for a while, never staying anywhere for long, although was an affectionate father initially with his daughter, while constantly falling prey to his fantasies, including one that he had caught elephantiasis. Involved himself during this period with political and social reform in Ireland and Wales through his pamphleteering, in which he espoused the romantic ideals of liberty, equality and justice. By 1813, his wife had separated from him and returned to her father, where she gave birth to their second child, a son who died at 13. For unknown reasons, he married his wife a second time in London in 1814, probably in order to give their children legitimacy. Settled in the Lake District, and became a disciple of freethinker William Godwin (Betty Friedan), falling in love with his 16 year-old daughter Mary Wollstonecraft (Lynda Barry), the future author of “Frankenstein.” Estranged from his wife a second time, he eloped with Wollstonecraft to Switzerland in 1814, causing a huge scandal. Returned to London, hid to avoid arrest, then came into a legacy from his grandfather the following annum and was able to settle his debts. His first wife drowned herself while pregnant by another lover, much to his shock and dismay, and he was refused custody of their children. Officially married Wollstonecraft in 1816, two daughters and two sons from the union, but only the second son survived beyond two years. Close friend of John Keats (Jeff Buckley), and supported by editor and poet Leigh Hunt (Paul Thomas Anderson), who championed his poetry. Feared his children might be taken from him, and was unhealthily entangled in poet Lord Byron’s (Bernardo Bertolucci) affairs, which forced him to leave England and settle in Italy in 1818, where he produced his greatest work amidst much moving about, including his masterpiece, Prometheus Unbound, a lyrical drama that explored the origins of evil and the power of love as a regenerating force. Lost his next two children there, and produced his only surviving child, while his wife withdrew from him, and he had a couple of brief liaisons. Became the center of an expatriate group including Byron, whom he continued to idolize despite realizing his failings as a human being, but died, along with two others, in a sailing accident, aboard his schooner, the “Don Juan,” when it was caught in a sudden squall. His body washed ashore and was burned, according to Greek tradition, while his wife kept his dried heart, and dedicated the rest of her life to keeping his memory alive. His death may also have been the result of a designed collision by another boat intent on robbing him. Seen as depraved during his lifetime by some of the critical establishment, although his ultimate reputation would be as a dominant figure in the English romantic movement. Inner: Atheistic, rebellious, charismatic, and highly romantic, with an ongoing fascination with the feminine as a reflection of the beauty that lies at the heart of enlightened existence. Saw all authority as oppressive, beginning with his father. Highly imaginative and visionary, with a gift of language to match. Capable of soaring conceits, while feeling poets were “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Generous, enthusiastic, iconoclastic, courageous, and highly idealistic. Continually searched for some sort of spiritual foundation, only to ultimately find a rough sea. Full-bore lifetime of living out his sense of allegorical romance and doom, with an adoring mate to render him immortal for the ages. David Mallet (David Malloch) (1705?-1765) - Scottish poet and playwright. Outer: 2nd son of a well-to-do tenant farmer. Educated at a parish school, where he served as janitor, before becoming a resident tutor in his teens. Studied at Edinburgh Univ., where he met James Thomson (Jeff Buckley) and the duo became lifelong friends. Left without degree, and worked as a tutor for 8 years. Composed a number of short poems, including “William and Margaret,” a famous ballad. The national ode, “Rule Britannia,” is sometimes attributed to him, but also may have been written by Thomson. Changed his name at 24, to hide his Scottish background. Small, with a tendency towards corpulence as he grew older. In his mid-20s he had his first tragedy, Eurydice produced. Married around 1734, son and daughter from the union, with his wife dying 7 years later. Received his MA from St. Mary Hall, Oxford in 1734, and continued with miscellaneous writing. Wrote a masque with Thomson in 1740, then became under-secretary to Frederick, the Prince of Wales (Prince William). In 1742, he made a 2nd marriage to Lucy Elstob, the daughter of an earl’s steward. Gained a huge dowry, and the union produced 2 daughters. Acted as a pamphleteer for the Tories, and was highly unpopular with his contemporaries. Turned towards politics for his thematic writing, and was rewarded with the post of inspector of exchequer-book in the outports of London. Unoriginal, his reputation did not succeed him. Inner: Vain, opportunistic, affected an English accent. Search-for stability lifetime of playing it straight, emotionally, politically, and esthetically, and barely making any waves in any of those realms, which probably inspired a return to his excesses of yore in his subsequent go-rounds in this series. Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) - English playwright and poet. Outer: Son of a judge of the common pleas of the same name, he had a privileged upbringing. Studied at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, but left school 2 years later when his father died. Enrolled at Middle Temple to study law, but showed far more enthusiasm for drink and carousing than the legal profession, and soon abandoned it in favor of making a living through his lively pen. Wrote voluptuous poetry, and began hanging out with Ben Jonson (Norman Mailer) and his circle of acolytes at the Mermaid Inn, while first publishing his poetry in 1602. Jonson thought so much of his critical facilities, that he showed him all his plays, for his appraisal. Found much in common with John Fletcher (Jeff Buckley), and began collaborating with him around 1605, sharing lodgings, similar tastes, and all their possessions as well as their women. The dominant partner of the two, they combined on intricately plotted tragicomedies with surprise revelations, on which their reputations lie, completing ten of them. The singular work he composed on his own was The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a boisterous burlesque completed around 1608. There is no evidence he wrote anything after 1612. Married Ursula Isley, an heiress around 1613, and retired but died soon after in his early 30s. Inner: Largely hidden figure, existing in odd symbiosis with Fletcher, who was equally unrevealing about himself. Absorbed the art and artifice of a magical time in the English language’s evolution, and played to his public, rather than trying to elevate them, which probably put him on a deeper and more treacherous pathway towards self-knowledge in his future constructions. Hidden lifetime of continuing his longtime connection with close associate, allowing the two to fuse their unusual esthetic together, without the usual overt downward draw that accompanied all his other shipwrecked lives in this series. Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) - Italian poet. Outer: Son of poet and courtier, Bernardo Tasso. His early life was beset by his begetter’s exile, his family estate being confiscated, and his mother’s death. Joined his sire at a ducal court, received an excellent Jesuit education, then continued his studies in various Italian cities, before parlaying an ardent, handsome and polished persona into the active life of the courtier. Close friend of Giovanni Battista Guarini (Jeff Buckley). Fired with romantic fantasies of the crusades, he began limning them in verse, and established his reputation as a wordsmith of repute, starting with his first publication at the age of 18. Studied law and philosophy at the Universities of Padua and Bologna, then attached himself to a cardinal, and frequented the ducal court of Ferrara, under the patronage of Alfonso II d’Este (Shannon Hoon), a crypto-descendant of an earlier incarnation of his. His best known work was the epic poem, “Jerusalem Liberated,” which he continually re-edited throughout the rest his life, falling victim through it to his own paranoia about being considered a heretic, when some of his friends were less than receptive to it. Traveled to France with Cardinal d’Este, and when Charles IX (Rajiv Gandhi) praised his work, he made an impolitic remark about Protestants, who were being persecuted there, much to the mortification of his companions. Couldn’t tolerate criticism, feared assassination and attacked a servant with a knife, while negotiating with the rival House of de’ Medici in fear of his ongoing safety. Despite his many gifts, he began showing greater and greater signs of mental instability, and in 1579, was adjudged insane and confined in an asylum, where he was chained in solitary confinement. Nevertheless, he continued writing moral and philosophical dialogues under those extreme conditions. Escaped in the guise of a peasant, wandered, then was re-interred, after maniacally feeling ignored. Finally released in 1586, he restlessly wandered for another 9 years in extreme poverty, during which time he mangled and published his epic, before finally returning to Rome where he was given an annual pension and the promise of a position as poet laureate by the pope, but died a few weeks later before he could claim the honor. Composed nearly 2,000 lyrics, as well as a score of letters and other writings. Inner: Descended from a brilliant, privileged and accomplished youth into a cursed, unbalanced, paranoid adult, proving himself capable of finding unhappiness under any circumstances. Padded cell lifetime of exploring his own dark waters through self-induced self-destruction, giving him the thematics he would continue to play with throughout most the succeeding lives in this series. Alfonso I d’Este (1476-1534) - Italian Renaissance prince. Outer: Father was Ercole I d’Este (Bernardo Bertolucci), the Duke of Ferrara. Mother was the daughter of the king of Naples. Younger brother of Beatrice d’Este (Vanessa Bell) and Isabella d’Este (Virginia Woolf), and older sibling of future Cardinal Ippolito (Jeff Buckley) as well as 2 other competitive male siblings. Well-educated, he grew up in a splendid, cultured court which attracted many of the best minds of the time during the high-point of his family’s rule, showing a lifelong interest in science, while following family tradition and initially training as a condottiere. In 1491, in a double wedding ceremony he married the sister of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, while Isabella wed Ludovico Sforza (Michael Milken). In 1502, for political reasons, he married Lucrezia Borgia (Indira Gandhi), the daughter of the reigning pope Alexander VI (Maxim Gorki), in a spectacular ceremony. Although initially rejecting of her, and much preferring the company of prostitutes, he came to regard her warmly, as did the court of Ferrara, particularly after the death of her scheming, licentious father. 5 surviving children from union, including his successor Ercole II. Both his brothers Giulio and Cardinal Ippolito fell in love with Angela, the 18 year old sister of Lucrezia Borgia, and the latter sibling wound up pummeling the other, which in turn caused the pummelee to plot with the remaining sibling against both him and Ippolito, resulting in his having to put the last two in prison. One subsequently died there after 30 years, while the other was pardoned at the age of 81. Lucrezia would go on to dazzle his court and he would write quite movingly of her death 17 years later. Succeeded his father in 1505. Had a great interest in design and the production of weapons. Understood the importance of artillery and refortified Ferrara with cannons, which would prove decisive in future battles. Personally cast some of the cannons, and also experimented with metals, looking for new alloys. Wanted to free his duchy from Venetian rule, and joined the League of Cambrai against Venice, only to lose as much territory through the greed of his allies, as he did in military actions. Subsequently, engaged in warfare with Pope Julius II (Peter Jackson), an old enemy of his family, who failed in dislodging him from Ferrara. Excommunicated in 1510, although ultimately recognized again by a succeeding pope. By 1513, he had lost so much money and property, he was forced to pawn the family jewels. Nevertheless, enlarged his castle at Ferrara, in a competition with his sister in Mantua as a serious art collector, while sponsoring lavish theatricals. Employed, among others, in his mania for collecting, Ludovico Ariosto (Ezra Pound), and Titian (Louis Malle) to further his literary and artistic aims, while making his court a cultural stand-out of the time. Spent his last 2 decades concentrating on maintaining his family power through diplomacy, and when that failed, he bought back territory the family had lost. Never married again after the death of Lucrezia, and was succeeded by his son. Inner: Both earthy and princely. Had a great intellectual curiosity, as a Renaissance prince who understood the ballistic consequences of the scientific revolution in progress. Loved to turn everything he owned into an object of both delight and display. Completion lifetime of sating his desire for rule, allowing him to switch over, along with his cohorts, into the far more troubled, at least for him, arena of pure expression, in order to truly let loose his ongoing violent imagination, on tablets other than the battlefield. Ethelbert (?-866) - English king. Outer: 2nd son of Ethelwulf (Harold Nicolson) and Osburga. Succeeded to the subkingdom of Kent during his father’s lifetime and was able to hold it until his older brother Ethelbald’s (Bernardo Bertolucci) death in 860, after which his 2 younger siblings, Ethelred (Jeff Buckley) and Alfred (Thomas Jefferson) relinquished their claims on it. Harassed by Danish marauders throughout his reign, but managed to unite the kingdoms of Wessex and Kent during his 6 year run at the top. Inner: Peaceful, amiable and noble ruler. Singing sword lifetime of being given a shot at rule, and showing himself totally capable of it, before exploring his more creative and self-destructive side, in the millennium to come. Constantine III (?-411) - Roman emperor. Outer: Origins completely obscured. A private soldier in Britain, he took advantage of the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the west. After the legions of Britain became discontent with Rome’s ability to protect the inland, they set up 2 emperors who were serially assassinated, before proclaiming him as saidsame in 407. Immediately took off for the continent with a large part of his field army, which inadvertantly detached Britain from the Roman Empire and set it on its own course. After the legions in the Gallic provinces also deserted to him, he set up his capital at Arelate. Able to guard the Rhine frontier, while winning victories over some Germans in Gaul and making agreements with other groups of them. Appointed his son Caesar, and then Augustus, and demanded recognition by Honorius (Bret Eason Ellis) the acknowledged emperor of the West, who felt obliged to agree because of outward pressures from the Visigoth Alaric (Napoleon), who was about to sack Rome. Agreed to help Honorius against Alaric, with the secret plan of seizing Italy for himself. The general he left in Spain, however, set up a rival emperor there, and moved into Gaul, killing his son. Besieged by the imperial force at his capital and facing immediate capture, he stripped off his imperial purple and fled to a sanctuary, where he had himself ordained as a priest. Sent back to Ravenna with his surviving son under a guarantee of safety which was reneged on and he and his scion were executed outside the city. Inner: Wayward and gluttonous. Slippery eel lifetime of taking full advantage of a chaotic situation to make an effective power/run, only to fall victim to perfidy and his self-defeating manipulations


Storyline: The pastoral oddball is slowly drawn into deeper and deeper waters by his continually drowning karmic brother because of their mutual fascination with the siren song of self-destruction.

Jeff Buckley (1966-1997) - American singer. Outer: Mother, Mary Guibert, was born in Panama, and was a trained classical pianist who also wanted to be an actress. Father was singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, although he only met him once in his life at the age of 8, spending two weeks with him shortly before his death from a drug overdose. The couple were only briefly married for a little over a year, and his father abandoned the family before he was even born. Older of 2 half/brothers. Moved often during his childhood, and got used to living out of paper bags. Raised on rock, roll and reefer. His mother’s 2nd husband, an auto mechanic, served as his real sire and influenced his musical tastes, and he decided at 12 to become a musician. Eventually wound up going to high school in Orange County in California, where his hippie attire caused him to be beat up. Played in garage bands in Southern California before moving back to NYC in 1990. Began his career singing in small Greenwich Village cafes, after making his debut in 1991 in St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, where a group of NY musicians had gathered to give a concert of his father’s works, and where he shined even more brightly. Sang with Gods & Monsters, and then decided to go solo. Despite his anti-star rhetoric, signed with Columbia Records. His debut album “Grace,” established him as a promising virtuoso talent, combining folk, blues and alternative rock in textured ballads of loss, delivered with an ethereal tenor voice, like his father’s. Long tried to escape from out of the shadow of the latter, despited noticeable similarities in their oeuvre, and both looking and sounding like him. Toured Europe, and built up a dedicated following, then drowned in the Wolf River outside of Memphis, Tennessee, after jumping in fully clothed for a swim. Floated on his back, laughing and singing, then disappeared. His body wasn’t discovered til 6 days later. His mother helped compile a second album, “Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk,’ from studio sessions and demos as a tribute to him. Following his death, he enjoyed cult status, as well as continued interest in his music, particularly his mantra of a song, “Hallelujah,” thanks in large part to his mother, who has dedicated her life to being the custodian of his flame. Inner: Sensitive, melancholic, noncommercial, with a superb musical sensibility. uncomfortable with his fame and a seeker, in his own way, after esthetic truths. Wolfed down lifetime of imitating his long/time cohort’s earlier proclivity for drowning in his own tears. Both probably desired to experiment separately with music as a new venue for self-expression, and, more than likely, will combine once again in the future as an ongoing pair of bards with more than a hint of desolate self-destruction in their haunting lyrical grace. John Millington Synge (1871-1909) - Irish poet and playwright. Outer: Son of upper middle-class Protestant parents. One of 5 children, with 3 brothers and a sister. Brought up by his mother, who moved next door to her own mother after his father died of smallpox when he was one. The former was obsessive about religion and the wages of sin, and he wound up haunted and tormented by images of Hell from her constant ministrations on the subject. Always had a delicate constitution from a chronic asthmatic condition, and his early education was largely at home, with nature as his true school. An enthusiastic hiker, he harbored a lifelong fascination with birds, and initially had a desire for a musical career, after studying the violin. A convinced Darwinian, he renounced his religious beliefs at Trinity College in Dublin, much to his family’s consternation, while studying Gaelic and Irish antiquities. Graduated in 1892, and at the same time formed the Irish Literary Society, in a desire to make art more accessible to ordinary readers. Won an award and continued his education in literature and music in Germany, before abandoning the latter discipline, in favor of a career as a critic in his mid-20s. Wrote his first play during this period after repeated romantic rejections, by someone who could not countenance marrying a non-believer. Studied literary criticism at the Sorbonne in Paris, then wintered there for the next 7 years, but his output proved rather mediocre. Met William Butler Yeats in 1896, who felt Paris was not his inspirational locale and encouraged him to visit the Aran Islands and write about Irish peasant life. Visited them annually for 5 years, immersing himself in the culture that his plays and travel sketches would later depict, and his visitations awoke his true sensibilities. In 1897, he had an operation for a growth on his neck and his hair began falling out, necessitating his wearing a black wig. Continued his poetry and playwriting, and in 1905, he became director of the Abbey Theater, as well as a leading figure of the Irish Renaissance. His masterwork was Playboy of the Western World, a tale of a peasant boy who boasts about killing his father, thereby gaining his fellow villagers’ respect, only to have the old man show up alive, thereby losing it again. The audience rioted at its opening night in Dublin, as well as subsequent performances in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, which disturbed him greatly. Fell in love with Molly Allgood, a young actress, but was already doomed by another inoperable growth. A semi-convalescent the last two years of his life, he died of Hodgkin’s disease in a nursing home, a condition he had suffered from since his 20s. Inner: Delicate, watchful and shy, with a deep love of nature and the arts. Meticulous craftsman, serious artist. On some level, also the playboy of his own western world, with his fathers often exiting early, and his having to work through their absences. Tinged and singed lifetime of being awakened by his own culture, after early dilettantism, to revive his longheld genius within, while focusing on his inner rather than his outer life in a frail body that absolutely demanded he do so. John Keats (1794-1821) - English poet. Outer: Son of a prosperous livery-stable manager, mother was the daughter of its original proprietor. Eldest of 4 surviving children, including two brothers and a sister. Closely connected with his siblings, as well as his parents, in an affectionate household, which ended when his father died in a riding accident when he was 8. His mother hastily and unhappily remarried, before disappearing from all domestic responsibility, and the children were shunted off to a grandmother, who appointed a miserly tea merchant as guardian over them. Her 2nd husband took control of her estate and gave nothing to the stepchildren. Attended a small academy, where his interests were fostered, although he was more bellicose than esthetic, despite a strong interest in poetry. After the death of his mother, whom he nursed through the final stages of consumption, he was apprenticed at 14 to a surgeon, but discontinued with him and went to London to become an apothecary and a dresser at a hospital. 5’, with a delicate nature. Began penning poetry, which became the creative mainstay of his life, while yearning for recognition and fame, both of which would totally elude him. Fascinated by the theater, seeing in its ephemerality his own projected brief existence, although his attempts were never dramatically viable and never produced. Made friends with a circle of literateurs who encouraged him, including Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley), and headed by Leigh Hunt (Paul Thomas Anderson). Published a book of poetry, and moved in with his brothers in London. Went on a walking tour of the Lake District and Scotland, which brought on his first symptoms of tuberculosis. Nursed his brother Tom until he succumbed to the same disease at the age of 19. Met a young woman, Fanny Brawne (Mary Guibert), and fell madly in love with her, and the duo became next door neighbors as well as engaged. Wrote lyrical odes, apotheosizing among other things, a Grecian urn, a nightingale, and melancholy. They, in turn, would grant him his longsought immortality, while his mortality was another matter entirely, and he realized quite early on his earthly run would be transient at best. Savaged by critics who were more interested in his politics and alliances than the breadth and scope of his language. Felt himself a complete failure, and wanted “Here lies one whose name was writ on water,” written on his tombstone, as a perfect epithet for his self-perceived evanescence. Attended by companions, he sailed to Rome, where he passed away penniless from tuberculosis at the age of 25, dying, while spitting up blood, in the arms of a friend, artist Joseph Severn, fully aware of the curse the fates had laid upon him. Despite the carping of his contemporaries, his deathless legacy would include some of the most enduring odes ever unleashed from a pen proffered in the service of the immutable Muses. Inner: Restless, feverish, delicate. Overwrought emotionally, with a highly developed esthetic sense and a metaphorical mastery of language. Wished to live a life of ethical beauty. Genuinely caring, with a gift for friendship, albeit none for money. Saw a strong duality between the transience of life and the eternality of ideals. Romantic-to-the-bone lifetime of internalizing his duality of feeble flesh and strong mind, while trying to reconcile his brief mortal state with his linguistic sense of immortality. James Thomson (1700-1748) - Scottish poet. Outer: Son of a Presbyterian clergyman, who died when his son was 16, while exorcising a ghost. Fourth child in a family of four boys and five girls. Grew up on the English/Scottish border, whose harsh, but scenic landscape gave him a deep appreciation of nature. A mediocre student, he was encouraged, nevertheless, in penning poetry. Educated at the College of Edinburgh, although chose not to graduate, and instead, entered Divinity Hall, Edinburgh, as a candidate for the ministry. Spent five years pursuing his goal, while also joining secular literary clubs, where he met David Malloch (Tim Buckley), who would become a lifelong friend. Began publishing his poems in 1720. After feeling his efforts had been adversely criticized, he followed Malloch, now Mallet, to London in 1725 and gave Scotland a permanent raspberry, never to return. Lost his mother the same year, and became a tutor, then a teacher, befriending several poets, while hoping to live by his pen. Wrote a series of poems on the Seasons, which remains his best-known work. By 1730, he had a measure of both fame and fortune, with patrons backing him, and the companionship of literateurs. Able to help two sisters open a millinery shop in Edinburgh, although he was largely careless in material matters for himself. Took a grand tour of France and Italy as traveling companion to the son of the solicitor-general. Received a pension from the Prince of Wales, and became a frequenter of court. Wrote masques and tragedies, as well as plotless poems, counter to long-standing literary traditions. Combined with Mallet on a masque called Alfred in 1740. Despite an ungainly physicality, a tendency to sweat copiously and little encouragement from the object of his affections, he pursued one Elizabeth Young for four years, but she married a gallant sailor instead, who, in turn, became a vice admiral. Made surveyor-general of Leeward Islands in 1744, and then retired to a quiet country life, living with a male cousin as a bachelor. Died of a chill caught on the river Thames. Wound up intestate, owing hundreds of pounds, although friends staged his works to pay off some of his debts, as a final tribute to him. Inner: Contemplative, deeply spiritual, thanks to an integrative sense of God in nature. Self-indulgent, never rose before noon, lecherous, likable and lazy. Entranced with nature his entire life, taking the view that the scientist and poet were both in thrall to God. Loved to eat and drink. The beginning of a series where his father would disappear relatively early in life. Spiritually sensual lifetime of looking inward to balance his esthetic sensibilities and desire to be close to be God, before embarking on a string of foreshortened lives to bring out the deeper lyrical poet within. John Fletcher (1579-1625) - English playwright. Outer: From a distinguished family, cousin of the writers, Giles (C. S. Lewis) and Phineas Fletcher (J. R. R. Tolkien). Youngest son of a minister who successively became the queen’s chaplain, dean, then bishop, gaining fame as a bigoted accuser of and then clumsy chaplain to Mary, Queen of Scots (Marguerite Duras) at her execution. Admitted to Benet College, Cambridge, at the age of 12, presumably to follow his progenitor’s profession, but did not take a degree. Became a Bible clerk instead, although shared none of his father’s righteous intolerance. The 7 years after his father’s death remain unrecorded. Published an English adaptation of his earlier life’s work, The Faithful Shepherd. In 1605, he began to work with Francis Beaumont (Tim Buckley) in collaboration on plays, in which the two were virtually interchangeable, although the latter was probably the dominant figure in the 10 works they produced. The duo also lived together, and shared both similar tastes, as well as women, in a totally symbiotic relationship. Unlike other Elizabethan dramatists, both he and Beaumont were from the upper strata of society, and moved in wealthy circles, which allowed them to effortlessly mimic the conversation of high-born ladies and gentlemen in their works. The partnership ended in 1613, when Beaumont got married. Continued to collaborate with others, but also wrote prolifically by himself, but the lasting legacy he left was in his collaborative work, which featured bizarre either-or plots, tragicomic romance and fairy-tale settings. During his final decade, he was probably the leading playwright of the Elizabethan stage, thanks in large part to his fecund pen. Died in the great London plague of 1625, when he stayed in the city to be measured for a new suit, instead of fleeing to the country. Inner: Mostly hidden character, perhaps because of a need to hide from his overbearing father. The new suit was a strong symbol of the need for change in the face of death. Symbiotic lifetime of working in tandem with longtime close friend, and burying himself in their combined duality in order to elevate his own expressive gifts in lives to come. Giovanni Battista Guarini (1538-1612) - Italian court poet. Outer: Had an ancestor who was a well-known humanist. Father was a professor of literature. Well-educated, he became a professor of rhetoric before he was 20. Entered the service of Alfonso II d’Este (Shannon Hoon), the 5th Duke of Ferrara as courtier and diplomat, the latter role being his main career, in an unconscious continuation of his previous go-round’s connection with the court. Became a close friend of Torquato Tasso (Tim Buckley), and both were credited with introducing the pastoral drama to Italian literature. Replaced Tasso in 1577 as court poet, when the latter stepped over the edges of his sanity. Spent much of his private fortune to maintain the post, before retiring embittered and impoverished in his 40s to his ancestral farm, where he wrote The Faithful Shepherd, upon which his reputation rests. Married Taddea di Niccolo Bendino while there, eight children from the union, including Anna (Judy Garland), a virtuoso singer who was murdered by her husband Re-entered the Florentine courts, but once again found them manipulative and distasteful. Served on diplomatic missions in Rome and Florence. Returned to Ferrara, and was involved in lawsuits with his own children and disputes with critics. Died both disappointed and unaware that he had created a classic of Italian literature. Inner: Unsettling lifetime of allowing worldly disappointments to overshadow his strong creative legacy, bringing more depth and sorrow into his subsequent go-rounds, after switching over from rule to exposition like his fellow crypto-family members. Ippolito I d’Este (1479-1520) - Italian cardinal. Outer: Father was Ercole I d’Este (Bernardo Bertolucci), the Duke of Ferrara. Younger brother of Alfonso I d’Este (TIm Buckley), as well as Beatrice d’Este (Vanessa Bell) and Isabella d’Este (Virginia Woolf). Because of his family’s power, at the age of 6, he was made the head of an abbey, and at 8, through an aunt, who had married into Hungarian royalty, he was given an archbishopric there, although he was not confirmed by the pope until he reached 18. Spent 7 years at the Hungarian court, where he received the brunt of his education. Traveled frequently to Italy once he reached his majority, and was made a cardinal in 1493 by the Borgia pope, Alexander VI (Maxim Gorki). Added to his offices when his brother Alfonso married Alexander’s daughter Lucrezia (Indira Gandhi), and became one of the richest figures in the church. Along with his brother Giulio, he fell in love with Lucrezia’s sister Angela, and came to blows with him over her, severely beating him with a staff, and leaving him bleeding and half-blind in his jealous rage. When no punishment was forthcoming for his brutality, it occasioned a plot against both him and Alfonso by another sibling and his beaten brother, who were ultimately thrown in prison for their inept plotting. Relations also became strained with Alexander, but after his death, the next pope made him bishop of Ferrara. His successor, Julius II (Peter Jackson), however, proved inimical to his family, and he left the Curia in 1507. Despite winning favor with the latter again, following his leading a military contingent and regaining land lost to Venice, he fled to Hungary rather than return to Rome, thanks to some anti-papal stances. Moved back and forth twixt Rome and Hungary, until Leo X (Brett Ratner) ascended the Chair of Peter, and he was able to return to Ferrara. In 1514, he and his family were pardoned by the new pope, for their contretemps with his predecessor. Like the other members of his family, he was a patron of the arts, with Ludovico Ariosto (Ezra Pound) one of the prime beneficiaries of his patronage. Despite his ecclesiastic state, he also managed to sire two illegitimate children. Before his death, he left the archbishopric of Milan to a same-named nephew. Died as a result of indigestion, after a meal of lobsters. Inner: Normally cautious, but also given to strong emotion, with an inherent sense of family violence. Had a strongly developed esthetic, like the other members of his family, as well as an innate survival sense, allowing him to challenge the papacy and live to tell about it. Red-hatted lifetime of taking full advantage of his advantageous birth to be patron, active churchman and sensualist in a full-throated go-round that easily matched the other secular members of his ducal crew in both adventure and high-spirited hi-jinks. Ethelred I (?-871) - English king. Outer: 3rd son of Ethelwulf (Harold Nicolson) and Osburga. Married Wulfthryth, and had two sons, Ethelhelm, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ethelwold, a usurper, who was killed trying to wrest the throne from his cousin Edward the Elder (JFK). Succeeded his brother Ethelbert (Tim Buckley) in 866 to become king of Wessex, and spent his entire reign fighting the Danes, along with his younger brother Alfred (Thomas Jefferson), who succeeded him upon his death of wounds incurred in the battle of Merton. Both his sons were too young at the time to be considered for the kingship. Inner: Known for his piety, as well as his affability. Pious sword-in-hand lifetime of dealing with rule from a pure male warrior’s sensibility and getting passing grades as part of an accomplished longtime crew, before switching to his pure creative side, like the others, in the millennium to come.


Storyline: The lyrical lush is unable to employ his transcendental gifts for self-expression into any other arena in his life, and suffers mightily for his failing.

Shannon Hoon (Richard Shannon Hoon) (1967-1995) - American musician. Outer: One of 3 children. Used his middle name to differentiate himself from his father. Hyperactive as a child, he channeled his energy in high school into three sports, football, wrestling and pole-vaulting. Grew up a rebellious rock’n’roller, with requisite brushes with the authorities, while getting his initial licks playing in the bands of others, including Styff Kytten, for which he was frontman and lead singer. Headed for Los Angeles in 1990, and formed Blind Melon, getting initial help from fellow Lafayette, Indiana, r’n’r rebel Axyl Rose, who showcased him in a Guns’n’Roses video. His first album release in 1992, sparked a minimal response, but a single, “No Rain,” and its accompanying video, caught the ear’n’eye of America the following year, and he followed that up with a nude cover for “Rolling Stone,” an ultimate statement of arrival. The band would go on to tour constantly, while his uninhibited antics would grab public attention, as he lived the road life, in a fog of drug and drink. In 1993, he was arrested for indecent exposure after stripping and urinating on a fan in Vancouver. The following year, amidst other incidents, he attacked a security guard at the Billboard Music Awards. In 1995, his longtime girlfriend gave birth to a daughter, which caused him to enter rehab, and the next month, the group released its 2nd album, which he did not remember even making. Later that year, he was found dead of an accidental heroin overdose in the back of a touring bus. Inner: Innocent, wanton, rude and well-tattooed. Quick-tempered and subject to mood swings. Live fast, die young lifetime of embracing death from the outset through his choice of drug, although will probably return in similar manner to see if he can finally integrate his strong esthetic with the will to bring himself to full maturity without self-destructing in the process. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) - Irish poet. Outer: Only son of a schoolmaster, at whose school he was educated. Mother was a farmer’s daughter. Spent long visits at his aunt’s farm, which filled him with lyrical joy. Despite being a poor student, he had an extensive knowledge of English poetry. Began writing at a young age, worked as a reporter on Welsh newspaper and published his first works at 20, with themes of sex and death, and sin and redemption predominant. His highly individualistic lyrical style was marked by a rich, voluptuous sense of language. Used Christian mythology, memories of childhood, and the consciousness of a Welsh bard to forge his unique linguistic vision. Received heady praise, and spent the rest of his sickly life trying to live down to it. Went to London where he stayed for most of a decade. In his early 20s, he married a fellow imbiber and bohemian free-spirit, Caitlin MacNamara, who was the daughter of an Irish writer, two sons and a daughter from union. Roisterous marriage, both partners were adulterous and given to the grape, while continually bickering over her resentful role as handmaiden to his genius. Highly sociable and well-regarded by literati, but had difficulties with finances, and was constantly cadging, scrounging and borrowing. Excused from military service during WW II, because of a lung condition. Always a heavy imbiber, with little business sense, he began drinking even more heavily, and borrowing money from rich friends. As he grew older, it became more difficult for him to write because of his self-polluting tendencies. Did most of his best work by the time he was 26. Disenchanted with London, he probably had a nervous breakdown, but refused help. Moved to Oxford, continued working for the BBC, and despite publishing successes, continued to struggle with money. Best remembered for Under Milkwood, a radio play first performed on the BBC in 1954. Also penned the immortal line, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” on the lingering death of his father. Toured America several times, but the strains of drinking imperiled both himself and his marriage. Finally died of an overdose of alcohol in NYC, after spending four days in a coma. His wife burst into the hospital room while he was comatose and bit the attendant, screaming, “Is the bloody man dead yet?” Inner: Monumentally self-destructive, with a deep lyrical sense of nature and a Christian mystic’s view of life. Hammy performer, with a sonorous voice, despite an occasional tendency to vomit or pass out. Seriously clownish and highly social with little sense of the practical. Saw himself as a trinity of “angel, beast and madman.” Roisterous lifetime of indulging himself in extremis to bring out his rare lyrical gift, and simultaneously bring down the body which created it. James Thomson (1834-1882) - English poet and essayist. Outer: Father was a jovial, hard-drinking officer in the merchant marine. Mother was intensely pious and melancholic. His sire suffered a paralytic stroke when he was 6, and his mother died when he was 8. Suffered a scarred and sad upbringing, and ultimately wound up at an orphan asylum where he was educated. To top his early misery, the love of his life died when she was 16, from which he probably never recovered. Became a teacher in military schools, then served as an army schoolmaster in England and Ireland and began writing poetry. Wrote under name of Bysshe Vanolis, in honor of his future life and the mystic German poet, Novalis, who also lost a teenage love. Also unconsciously held the name of one of his longtime cohort’s incarnations. Contributed to radical journals, was discharged from military for insubordination in 1862, and lived for four years with an editorial benefactor before becoming a solicitor’s clerk. Best known for The City of Dreadful Night, a dark look at despairing London. Traveled to Colorado as secretary to a mining company and worked as foreign correspondent in Spain for a New York newspaper, before ending his unhappy, alcoholic life in London, living in drab surroundings, on hack journalism, filled with depression and despair and dying of a hemorrhage. Inner: Deeply melancholic, continually saw life at its darkest. Possessed romantic sensibilities but without the ability to realize them in the realities given him. Dreadful night lifetime of both expressing and living a profound unhappiness to stir his poetic nature, but so unable to rid himself of his deep waters, that he internally drowned in them once again. Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) - English writer and hoaxer. Outer: Posthumous son of a writing master, who possessed fifteenth century manuscripts. His mother, who was considerably younger, kept a dame school and took on sewing to support herself and her son. Had a sad childhood, and was a slow learner, but became entranced with letters, and sprang intellectually alive from his love of literature, writing from the age of 10. Learned to read from material from the past. Spent much time in the attic perusing his father’s legacy, and began writing imitations of the old masters, trying to fob them off as originals. Created the character of Thomas Rowley, a 15th century Bristol monk. Apprenticed to an attorney, but spent most of his time in his creative endeavors. Went to London, but literally starved there, taking arsenic at the age of 17 to extinguish himself. Became famous afterwards, showing a genuine lyric gifts in his imitations, although his own verses were immature and with little merit. Inner: On some level either tapped into a past manifestation of himself, or channeled far more mature sensibilities than he was consciously capable of transmitting. Attic child lifetime of literary mischief, and compressing the archetype of the suffering artist into a teenage fantasy. Alfonso II d’Este (1533-1597) - Italian Renaissance prince. Outer: Elder son of the 4th Duke of Ferrara. Mother was the daughter of Louis XII (Ferdinand Foch) and Anne of Brittany (Jessica Mitford), the king and queen of France. Fought in the service of Henri II (Robert Downey, Jr.), against the Hapsburgs, and, on the death of his father in 1559, became the 5th Duke of Ferrara. Like his forebears, he proved to be an exemplary patron, with Torquato Tasso (Tim Buckley) and G. Battista Guarini (Jeff Buckley), serving as his court poets. Sponsored both the arts and sciences, while maintaining the high taxation policies of his predecessors in order to keep Ferrara at the forefront of Renaissance Italy, and depleting his considerable treasury in order to do so. Unable, however to provide a male heir for his line, thanks to his own sterile state. Engaged to marry into the Tuscany branch of the de’ Medici clan, his intended died before the wedding. Married her sister Lucrezia instead, but she died two years later, childless, with poisoning a distinct possibility in her demise. Afterwards, he obtained a horoscope from the famous seer Nostradamus, who predicted his third wife would give him a male heir. In 1565, he married Barbara of Austria, the daughter of the HRE Ferdinand I (Arthur Seyss-Inquart), but failed again with her to provide an heir, while spreading his seed among every available young maiden to the Ferrara court, with little luck as well. His wife died seven years into the union, and he made his third and final official try with Margherita Gonzaga, the 14 year old daughter of the duke of Gonzaga, expecting her to become expectant any day, thanks to the Nostradamus prophecy, although it wound up proving false. By this time, he was in his late 40s, and when she proved barren as well, he gave up on the idea of an heir, and instead, spent the rest of his life having a good time, drinking, carousing and dancing, and generally enjoying his exalted status. Arranged for the family title to be passed onto a cousin, Cesare, thus ending the three centuries of Este rule in Ferrara, since the latter could not hold his title or the city, and was forced to relinquish both a year after his cousin’s death, allowing Ferrara to be incorporated into the Papal States. Inner: Pleasure-loving, with a well-developed esthetic. End of the line lifetime of shooting blanks, coming to accept it, and having a general good time, despite failing to continue a magnificent house in his family’s vaunted name.


Storyline: The former pugnacious poet comes to grips with himself by rediscovering his humor, allowing him to arise from his own dead and work collaboratively instead of competitively, after earlier blindly receding into himself because of an uncontrolled contentious nature.
Edgar Wright (1974) - English filmmaker. Outer: Parents were art teachers, who also had a screen printing business. One older brother Oscar, who became an artist, as well as a contributor to his film oeuvre. Often deposited with his sibling at local cinemas in lieu of babysitters when his parents took their screen printings to art fairs, and quickly developed a love of the cinema, particular grade B horror and action fare as well as genre films. Kept careful written record of all the movies he had seen, while also rating them. His family didn’t have a VCR so he would sometimes stay up all night to catch something he wanted to see. Started making Super 8 films at 14 with friends, and won a Comic relief competition with an animated film. Turned down, however, by every film course he applied to for being too young. Attended the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art from 1992 to 1994, and received a National Diploma in Audio-Visual Design. 5’8”, slim and hairy, with a beard. His first film, shot in 1995, the low budgeter, A Fistful of Fingers, was a spoof Western, whose positive filmmaker response led to TV directing, and collaborations with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who would go on to appear in many of his features. Did TV series afterwards, before gaining acclaim in 2004 with Shaun of the Dead, a zombie homage film to classics of that genre, setting the style for the intricate visual compositions that would mark all his succeeding work, including the 2007 comedy action thriller Hot Fuzz and 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, whose big budget was not covered by the box office, despite good reviews. Subsequent work would see him tackle pub crawls and superheroes, with a host of projects in planning stages. Has also directed music videos and promos, while his professional life has trumped his private life. Inner: Perfectionist, often driving himself crazy with his compulsive need to get everything right. Geekish with a genuine sense of joy to his work, thanks to his dazzling visual sensibilities. Known for his kinetic camera work, and playing over and over again with images. Doesn’t like to do sequels, preferring his films to stand alone. Literal eye-opening lifetime of finding a perfect métier that combines his artistic and writerly gifts, while also deliberately collaborating in defiance of his self-against-the-world sensibilities of his previous go-round in this series, in an attempt to reintegrate himself with the larger realities around him. Percy Wyndham Lewis (1884-1957) - English poet and artist. Outer: Father was an eccentric American who never held a permanent job, but depended on family investments for income. Family made their money as merchants and lawyers. Born aboard his yacht in port. His mother was English. His parents separated when he was eleven, and he was brought to London by his mother in his teens. Studied art, and was a painter in Paris, before returning to London. Attempted to integrate art and writing, founding the Vorticist movement, which related art to the industrial world, and was also connected with T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and the imagist poets, working as a co-editor with the latter for their manifesto Blast. Served as an artillery officer in WW I, then became a war artist. Disappeared into himself for several years, before delivering a prolific outpouring of critiques, stories and essays, as well as paintings. Married Anne Hoskins in his mid-40s. An enthusiastic fascist and Hitler supporter and subject of two libel suits, which lost him both friendships and money. Savagely attacked his literary cohorts in print, which further alienated him from artistic circles, and wound up extremely isolated and alone. Journeyed to America for a lecture tour in hopes of recouping his fortune, but WW II kept him there. Forced to live in poverty with his wife for 3 years in Toronto. Returned to London, became an art critic, and continued to pour forth with his prolific pen, before his sight finally began to fail. Blind the last three years of his life. Given a retrospective exhibition of paintings at life’s end. Died in a hospital either of a brain tumor that had caused his blindness or of kidney failure. Inner: Martyr-prone, keen eye for esthetics, but had blurred vision around everything else. Held many internal conflicts, highly subjective, intolerant and more emotional than rational. Great passion for ideas, extremely cerebral, but able to employ his considerable mind as a vehicle for pure emotional expression. Confrontational lifetime of pitting himself against the world, and largely coming out the loser for it. Robert Southey (1774-1843) - English poet. Outer: Son of a respectable linen draper, but was raised largely by an eccentric maiden aunt. Had a lonely childhood, lightened only by reading. Expelled from Westminster school for an article he had written, and became an enthusiast for the French Revolution. His father went bankrupt and died, and he entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he formed a friendship with Samuel Coleridge (Ezra Pound), the two writing verse drama together. The duo planned a utopian community in America, but he lost interest in the project, causing a breach in the friendship. In his early 20s, he secretly married Edith Fricker, the sister of Coleridge’s future wife, causing his aunt to disown him, 7 children from union. A trip to Portugal with his uncle, on his wedding day, changed him into a conservative. Briefly studied law, then decided to be a writer. Joined the Coleridge family in Keswick in 1803, and after Coleridge abandoned his family, lived with them the rest of his life, taking on the responsibility for his brood and some of the Coleridges, causing him to write relentlessly on a variety of subjects. Always a fluid stylist, and far better at prose than poetry. Appointed poet laureate of England in 1813 through the influence of Walter Scott (Jack Kerouac), although came to dislike the post. Involved in a literary feud with Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci), and was the subject of the cruel satires of several writers, who saw him as a sell-out. His wife dipped into insanity and his remarriage 2 years after her death in 1837, caused further bitterness in his family. Finally enjoyed economic security at life’s near end, only to be subject to his own failing health in both mind and body. Inner: Courter of controversy, martyr-prone, loads of friends, loads of enemies. Honest and generous but with a facility for antagonizing others. Clear firm stylist with a wide range of interests, although not touched by genius. Rollercoaster lifetime of clarity of expression, played out against a confusion of purpose, and a talent for outraging others. Guido Cavalcanti (c1255-1300) - Italian poet. Outer: Son of a distinguished Guelph family (papal supporters) of Florence. Little known of his early life, although he may have studied under the same teacher as poet Dante Alighieri (Ezra Pound), who placed his father in the circle of the heretics in his divinely comic vision of hell. Studied philosophy, showed himself to be a scholar of note, and became ardently involved in the Florentine faction feuds that characterized the time. Met his muse on pilgrimage in 1292, whom he celebrated as Mandetta, but married Beatrice degli Uberti, the daughter of a leader of the rival Ghibellines (imperial supporters). Close friend of Dante (Ezra Pound), who admired his work, but later was instrumental in banishing him for his political sympathies. Noted for his love lyrics, particularly his exposition of heartache. Went into exile in 1300, contracted malaria and died of it after returning home. Inner: Temperamental, brilliant, stormy, passionate personality. Eschewed religion for metaphysics, and attempted to intellectualize his considerable sense of emotion. Achy-breaky lifetime of allowing his emotions free reign, and trying to capture them with his pen, while allowing himself, as usual, to be buffeted about by the stormy politics of the time. Livy (Titus Livius) (59BZ-17AZ) - Roman chronicler. Outer: Parents are unknown, although he probably belonged to the provincial elite, allowing him a decent education, which gave him some oratorical skills, although he had difficulties with the Greek language, indicating he stayed in Italy and was largely a product of the provinces. Experienced the civil war between Julius Caesar (Charles de Gaulle) and Pompey (Henry Luce) as a youth, but had no military experience himself. Probably wrote philosophical essays as a youth, although his perspective was without any particular depth, save for a compassionate view of his fellow humans, and an innate understanding of their internal workings. Following Caesar’s death, and the ultimate emergence of his nephew Octavian (FDR) as an ameliorating influence on Roman politics, he resumed his studies and began publishing the first five books of his “History of Rome,” between the years 27 and 25. Focused on personalities more than events, as he recounted the republic’s story from its founding through its initial stages as an empire, while creating speeches himself, that he subsequently ascribed to a variety of figures, so that his work was less an accurate retelling of events than a projected psychological study of the main characters in its long and tumultuous story, which he presented in chronological order. Although his wife remains unknown, he had at least a son and a daughter, who was married to a teacher of oratory. Used his “History” as a means of trying to bestir a moral revival, and in so doing, drew the attention of Octavian. Although never part of his inner circle, he did enjoy access to the royal court. Spent his life working on his “History,” which covered the early kingdom through the reign of Octavian, when he became the emperor Augustus. Despite being well-known for his efforts, he was never particularly popular, thanks, in large part to his lack of urban sophistication, and an ongoing provincial overview, that lacked both irony and charm. His magnum opus ultimately consisted of 142 books, compiled over a 45 years period. Made use of earlier archives, although was unoriginal in his interpretations of them. Inner: Serious and rather humorless, but with a genuine sense of sympathy for the foibles and frailties of his fellow Romans. Moralist at heart, and deeply disturbed at what he perceived as the degeneration of the Roman character, through a love of luxury and decadence. Outsider lifetime of trying to serve as an uplifter and moral scold through truthful, as he saw it, storytelling as part of his own literary education in the millennia to come.


Storyline: The hidden individualist finally emerges in century 20, to become a distinct voice in her own write, after earlier largely serving as support.

Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961) - American poet. Known as H.D. Outer: From Puritanical New England stock. Mother was a Moravian artist, father was an astronomer, professor of math, and the director of an observatory. The latter was a distant figure, with his head literally in the clouds. Her mother, his second wife, was the opposite, warm but repressed. Always felt her mother preferred her younger siblings to her. Had a dualistic upbringing, raised as a Moravian, a subjective religion based on conduct rather than scriptures. Turned to books because of her father’s aloofness, and developed a lifelong fascination for Greece from them. Tall, blonde and blue-eyed. Moved to Philadelphia with her family, and was educated there. Studied at Bryn Mawr, met Ezra Pound at 15 and was briefly engaged to him, despite parental objections. Left school because of ill health. Traveled to Europe in her mid-20s, initially as a vacation, and remained there most of the rest of her life. Married in her late 20s to poet Richard Aldington, with whom she worked on Greek translations. Initially a happy union, but she suffered a miscarriage 2 years later and was told by a nurse not to have sex until WW I was over. Her beloved brother was killed during the conflict, and her father died from the shock. Thanks to the nurse’s edict, her marriage broke down, and her husband began carnally looking elsewhere, effecting a separation between the two in 1919, although they did not divorce for nearly two decades. A daughter was born shortly after they separated, but her true paternity was a secret, after which she fell ill with double pneumonia but survived. Nursed by the novelist Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman), and the duo shared lives and a domestic situation afterwards, despite other involvements. Friends with T.S. Eliot. Idolized and was close friends with D.H. Lawrence, although he broke with her in 1918, shocked over her loose ways. Fell and broke her hip in 1926 and never fully recovered from it. Analyzed because of war traumas by Sigmund Freud in the 1930s, who mistakenly thought her mother-fixated, but recognized her megalomania. Developed a very direct, spontaneous style of writing, in poetry, translations, verse drama and prose, although felt limited by her identification with the Imagists, and after her analysis, became a better writer. After WW II, she lived mainly in Switzerland, with Bryher. Developed a religious mania after psychic experiences, and her prose, which was initially spare and cool, became far richer and more mystic. Continued exploring themes related to classic images until her death from the results of a stroke suffered several months earlier. A productive writer her entire adult life, growing more autobiographical as she grew older. Inner: Highly self-conscious, highly self-involved feminist myth-maker, and modernist romantic. Looking inward lifetime of developing her sensibilities on her rocky own, and being given the opportunity for both action and reflection with the support of her longtime crew of cronies. Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1885) - English journal writer. Outer: Father was a business agent, and her mother was the daughter of a linen draper. 3rd of 5 children and younger sister of William Wordsworth (T.S. Eliot), to whom she was extremely close. Separated from him when their mother died in 1778, and went to live with an uncle. Despite the tragedy of also losing her father in 1783, she had a relatively happy childhood living with a series of relatives. Finally rejoined her brother in their early 20s, when she became his housekeeper in the Lake District. Along with Samuel Coleridge (Ezra Pound), the trio were tightly bound for several years. The trio traveled to Germany together, then she and her brother had their first home of their own, and she continued staying with him after his marriage. Wrote to please her brother, although none of her work was published during her lifetime. From her late 50s onward she was in ill health, slipping into pre-senile dementia. Spent her last two and half decades as an invalid in both mind and body, disappearing into herself. Died in the care of her sister-in-law, and outlived her brother by 5 years. Inner: Quiet, unassuming, supportive. Support lifetime of developing her own skills at exposition, before retreating inwards to contemplate herself from the clouded perspective of invalidism while being rendered invalid by society as a 19th century unmarried female.


Storyline: The put-upon poet works to separate himself from the shadow of genius and live a life worth writing about.

Richard Aldington (Edward Godfree Aldington) (1892-1962) - English poet. Outer: Father was a clerk articulated to a solicitor. Grew up in suffocatingly dull environs. Met Ezra Pound while studying at the Univ. of London as well as his future wife, Hilda Doolittle. Forced to leave college for financial reasons. Became a sports journalist before establishing a reputation as an avant-garde poet. In his early 20s, he married Doolittle, but enforced sexual abstinence after a miscarriage doomed the union, and they separated after six years, although did not divorce until some 25 years later, allowing him to remarry. One daughter from first union, although he was not the father. Served as secretary to writer Ford Madox Ford, then was commissioned as a lieutenant in WW I, becoming neurasthenic after suffering gassing and shell shock in the trenches. Felt broken and embittered throughout the 1920s by the experience. Left England for France in the late 1920s, and despite periodic returns, never made his native land his home again. Famous after 1929 for Death of a Hero. One of the leaders of the Imagist poetic movement, he helped edit their organ, Egoist. His first published poems all conformed to the dicta of the group, which stressed the clarity and conciseness of classical poetry. Began publishing novels in his late 30s, which were biting and sardonic commentaries. Proved highly effective when conveying genuine anger in his works, less so otherwise. Did his most important work in biography, limning the lives of both writers and military figures. Married Netta McCullough, the daughter-in-law of his mistress, in the late 1930s, one daughter from the union, born a week after the marriage. Adverse publicity surrounding his love life, as well as two too-truthful biographies, outraged the English literati, and sent him to America, where he became a screenwriter during WW II. Wrote little poetry afterwards. Hooked up with an Australian writer in the late 1940s, who remained a close and loyal friend. His wife returned to England in 1950, while his daughter remained with him, the duo finally settling in Vermont. Celebrated his 70th birthday in the U.S.S.R., where he was quite popular. Highly prolific, published 200 titles, including translations. Inner: Had a passion for truth and great sensitivity to beauty. When he saw both being attacked, created his most ardent oeuvre. Warm and generous to friends despite the anger of his writings. Egoistical, but not egotistical, lifetime of trying to get out of the direct shadow of his longtime cultural family, in order to etch more of a singular name for himself. David Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849) - English poet and biographer. Outer: Eldest son of Samuel Coleridge (Ezra Pound). Father was rarely home, parents were estranged when he was young, and he eventually went to live with his uncle’s, poet Robert Southey (Wyndham Lewis) family, and spent most of his childhood with them. Beautiful and precocious, he was treated and indulged as young genius, remaining in that stuck stance his entire life. After winning a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, he gained a fellowship at Oriel College, although was afraid of his pupils. Dismissed because of intemperance, he went to London and supported himself as a tutor, taking refuge for his personal failings in alcohol. His first biographies began appearing in his late 30s. At the same time he brought out a lovely volume of sonnets, which gave him a literary reputation. Shortly afterwards, he retired to the Lake District, where he spent the rest of his life uneventfully, as a burden on his relatives and friends, save for a short stint as an assistant at a grammar school. His brother published the remainder of his literary works after his death from bronchitis. Inner: Shy and melancholic, with an introspective personality. Exaggerated his father’s “fatal paralysis of will.” Fitted only for a life of ease and study; felt he could never support a wife. Self-reproachful, childlike, although loved by everyone. Excellent critical faculties, inherited both his father’s strengths and weaknesses. Stunted lifetime of remaining an eternal adolescent, while dealing with the dark personality shadow of his extraordinary sire.


Storyline: The warrior womanist continues to self-confidently celebrate all aspects of her self, from mind to body, as an emblem of self-conscious consciousness.

Audre Lorde (Rey Domini) (1934-1992) - American poet. Outer: Third and youngest daughter of West Indian parents, who had hoped to return to Grenada, but were unable to do so because of the Depression. Raised in Manhattan where her father was a real estate broker. Had a dislocated upbringing; under sad and strict parents, and didn’t speak until she was five, while always being Infatuated with her mother’s warm physicality. Had an abortion before she realized she was a homophile, and began exploring the underground NYC sexual outlaw subculture in her mid-teens. Feeling misfit among her mostly white cohorts, she began working out the complexities of being black, female and lesbian, through poetic expression, while laboring as a night nurse and in assembly plants. Originally influenced by classical poetry, she had her first poem accepted before she was 17. Graduated Hunter College and received a master’s degree in library science at Columbia Univ. In 1962, and briefly married an attorney,while raising a son and daughter, in her words, to be “warriors.” Became a librarian, then taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi where she was galvanized by the civil rights movement, and also met the love of her life there, Frances Clayton. Returned to NYC, and began building a rep, so that by the late 70s, with the publication of The Black Unicorn, she was a name to be taken seriously. Became a focal figure through her self-confident presence and poetic sensibilities, giving sensuous, passionate, erotic voice to the opening up of America to its invisible peoples. A public speaker, as well as a workshop giver, she continually empowered women to change. Her last 14 years saw her battle breast cancer, from which she ultimately died, after seeking alternative cures, but not before making her presence felt and known. Inner: Strongly self-motivated with the passion of a prodder. Poetic, erotic, with strong political convictions. Unoriginal and tone deaf, less the lyrical writer than the emotional one. Clenched fist lifetime of making herself a visible personality in her own unusual image, from a springboard of powerlessness and invisibility, only to ultimately eat herself away, through an ultimate lack of self-nurturing, despite always giving to those all around her. Amy Lowell (1874-1925) - American poet. Outer: From an extremely wealthy family that encouraged uncommon personality in its children. Had 2 famous brothers, Percival Lowell, the astronomer who predicted the planet Pluto, and Abbot Lawrence Lowell, an educator. Alternately disregarded and spoiled as a child. Despite her plain looks, she held a strong inner sense of self-confidence. Given free access to her father’s library, she was largely self-educated, and did not start formal school until her 10th year. Led a life of wealth and ease, traveling and socializing until the death of her parents when she was in her late 20s. Bought her old family home, but became subject to bouts of nervous prostration. Finally saw some esthetic meaning in her life in 1902, after watching a performance by the Italian actress, Eleanora Duse (Sophia Loren). Began writing poetry, and published her first verse, which was quite conventional, in her mid-30s, then went to England where she met Ezra Pound and became identified with the no-nonsense Imagist movement. Following Pound’s exit, she took over the role as group’s leader and champion, feeling it her duty to promote it in the USA. Reveled in her public career, and delighted in her own celebrityhood by smoking cigars in public, and flaunting her highly individualistic personality. As a writer of sensuous verse, she was also an unabashed homophile. Her most important relationship was with Ada Russell, who had been an actress and was 11 years her senior, and inspired much of her later poetry. Died of complications following surgery for an umbilical hernia, after being lifted out of a buggy driven off a road in a thunderstorm, a perfect birth/death metaphor that summed up her imagistic sense of the dramatic. Suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died within hours. Wrote 650 poems, 11 books of poetry, three critical works and an important biography of John Keats (Jeff Buckley). Inner: Eccentric, natural performer, flamboyant, imperious. Also courageous, generous and kind. Insisted on sleeping on 16 pillows, and had to have all mirrors covered wherever she went, much preferring her interior to her exterior. Stogie-puffing lifetime of enjoying power, wealth and high visibility right from the beginning, before trying it again from a base that would be the polarity of that trio. Sara Coleridge (1802-1852) - English writer, editor and translator. Outer: Youngest of three children of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Ezra Pound), with two older brothers, poet Hartley (Richard Aldington) and writer and scholar Derwent. By the time of her birth, her father was estranged from her mother, and spent much of his time in London, although her Lake District home was a repository for several noted poets of the area, so that she enjoyed a childhood lit by literary lights, and darkened by impecunity. Given both support and tutelage by her mother and uncle, poet Robert Southey (Percy Wyndham Lewis), before embarking on her own career in her teens translating a book written in German on Paraguay, which was published when she was 20. Her delicate health would always be of paramount concern to her and her family, while she yearned for a sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Continued with her translations, through a proficiency in a variety of languages, while becoming secretly engaged to her first cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge. Both suffered from health problems, making for an extended engagement, while she turned to opium for relief, aping her father, and creating an addiction that would last her entire life. In 1829, she finally wed Henry and the couple moved to London, where her husband practiced law, and it was assumed she would give up her literary ventures for the Victorian virtues of domesticity. Produced a son and daughter which reduced her to invalid status, although it didn’t stop her from exercising her mind, reading widely, and also engaging in an extensive correspondence. Her physical and mental state, however, continued to deteriorate, thanks to her ongoing dependence on opium, as she gave birth to a set of twins, a boy and a girl, who survived only a few days, and whose deaths plunged her into the deepest of depressions. Focused on educating her children, while penning “Pretty Lessons in Verse for Small Children,” which went through five editions, after being published in 1834, the same year she lost her father. Felt obligated to defend her sire’s literary reputation following posthumous attacks on his character and works, and set about to do so with her husband. Began a systematic rereading of her progenitor’s oeuvre, while also suffering three miscarriages during the rest of the decade, and publishing a prose fairy tale and more poems. Lost her husband in 1843 to a degenerative nerve disease, but continued on with keeping her father’s works before the public, with essays, notes and research, along with new editions of his output, complete with lengthy introductions and appendices, in which she explained, defended and qualified his theories and philosophies. Continued her correspondences with a host of literary figures, as well, while also writing reviews, and absorbing the intellectual life of her times via voracious reading. Died at home after a long battle with breast cancer, leaving hundreds of unpublished pages and fragments which she never had the time to fully draw together. Inner: Extremely cerebral and quite driven, while constantly doing battle with her physical corpus. Dutiful daughter’s lifetime of developing her own skills of exposition through translation, careful study of her sire’s works, and plumbing her own imagination, while dealing with an out-of-sync body and a compensatory narcotic addiction that, nevertheless, allowed her to plumb her considerable intellect in service to literature and philosophy.



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