Charlotte Mary Mew was born in London on November 15, 1869. Her father, Frederick Mew, was an architect. Her mother, Anna Maria Kendall Mew, was the daughter of the head of her husband's firm. Mew was strictly brought up by her nurse, Elizabeth Goodman, whom she was later to describe in the memoir "An Old Servant." The family was often struck by hardship; three of Mew's siblings died in childhood, and two others went insane in their twenties.
Mew wrote stories and verses in her teens. Her first published work was the story "Passed," accepted by Henry Harland for the 1894 number of The Yellow Book. Harland praised but rejected her next offering, "The China Bowl," and for the next decade and a half Mew published only the occasional story or essay, mostly in order to supplement the family's dwindling income.
Mew wrote most of her poems between 1909 and 1916. In 1912, she gained notice when Henry Massingham's radical paper The Nation published her poem "The Farmer's Bride." Mew was soon taken up by the hostess Catherine Scott, at whose teas she read and thereby gained some literary attention.
Introduced to Alida Klementaski and Harold Monro of the Poetry Bookshop, she published a chapbook, "The Farmer's Bride," under its imprint in 1916. The volume did not sell well, but Sidney Cockerell, the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, noticed it and sent copies to his literary friends, including Siegfried Sassoon and Thomas Hardy. Hardy was particularly impressed by her work. A second edition of "The Farmer's Bride" with additional poems was published in 1921. Cockerell's patronage enabled Mew to receive a small Civil list pension in 1923.
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Author: Najarian, James
Entry Title: Mew, Charlotte
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated July 11, 2011
Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/mew_c.html
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date March 24, 2013
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates
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