F. L. Lucas bigraphy, stories - Literary

F. L. Lucas : biography

28 December 1894 - 1 June 1967

Frank Laurence Lucas (1894–1967) was an English classical scholar, literary critic, poet, novelist, playwright, political polemicist, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and intelligence officer at Bletchley Park during World War II.

He is now best remembered for his scathing attacks on the poetry of T. S. Eliot during the 1920s,Lucas, F. L., ‘The Waste Land’: a review in New Statesman, 3 November 1923; reprinted in the Macmillan Casebook series and the Critical Heritage series. Some extracts: and for his book Style (1955), an acclaimed guide to recognising and writing good prose.'Heavy Sentences', Joseph Epstein, The New Criterion, www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Heavy-sentences-7053 ; 'The Art of Writing Well', Matthew Walther, New English Review, www.newenglishreview.org/print.cfm?pg=custpage&frm=110481&sec_id=117345 His Tragedy in Relation to Aristotle's 'Poetics' (1927, substantially revised in 1957) was for over half a century a standard introduction.'Hogarth Press', University of Delaware Library Special Collections His most important contribution to scholarship was his four-volume Complete Works of John Webster (1927), the first collected edition of the Jacobean dramatist since that of Hazlitt (1857), itself largely a copy of Dyce (1830).Lucas, F. L., ed., The Complete Works of John Webster, London, 1927; vol.1, p.1 T. S. Eliot called Lucas “the perfect annotator”;Eliot, T. S., ‘John Marston’ in Elizabethan Essays, London, 1934 and all subsequent Webster scholars have been indebted to him, notably the editors of the new Cambridge Webster (1995–2007).Gunby, David; Carnegie, David; Hammond, Antony; DelVecchio, Doreen; Jackson, MacDonald P.: editors of The Works of John Webster (3 vols, Cambridge, 1995-2007)

Lucas is also remembered for his wartime work at Bletchley Park.


Category:1894 births Category:1967 deaths Category:English literary critics Category:English classical scholars Category:English poets Category:British World War I poets Category:People educated at Rugby School Category:Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge Category:Fellows of King's College, Cambridge Category:People associated with Bletchley Park

Original writing


The scholar’s wit and verve that mark Lucas’s literary studies are present in his creative work. Of his novels the best received was Cécile (1930), a "tenderly brilliant story" (New Statesman, 24 May 1930) of love, politics and philosophy in the France of 1775-1776. "For grace and style and insight into character,” wrote Kathleen Tomlinson,Tomlinson, Kathleen, Nation and Athenaeum, 7 June 1930 "Cécile is reminiscent of Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin. Only reminiscent, for Mr Lucas has a more profound philosophy, or wisdom, and is not content with the challenge and interplay of the individual, but extends his psychological understanding to classes and nations." "His extraordinary gift for delightful persiflage," noted the New York Bookman,O'Brien, Justin, The Bookman, Oct. 1930, p.173 unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1930oct-00173a02?View=PDF "contributes not a little towards making this novel almost as dix-huitième in spirit as Manon Lescaut is in fact." Vita Sackville-West also praised the novel: "It seemed to me to be full of the deepest and truest feeling," she wrote,Sackville-West, V, The Listener, 21 May 1930 "never sentimental, but always convincing and extremely moving. The relationship between Andrée and Gaston is admirably true to nature. No-one could fail to be moved by this picture of a woman struggling against her own love for a husband who disappoints and betrays her at every turn." Lucas dedicated the novel to T. E. Lawrence, a friend and admirer.T. E. Lawrence Studies Lucas, F. L., Journal Under the Terror, 1938 (London, 1939), p.356-7 He wrote two further historical novels, Doctor Dido (1938), set in Cambridge in 1792-1812, and The English Agent: A Tale of the Peninsular War (1969), set in Spain in 1808.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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