Search - List of Books by John Davidson
"I don't know why people are so surprised by my live performances. My approach is so simple; every song I sing, every story I tell, every move I make, must move the audience to laughter, tears or inspiration. Otherwise, why should I do it?" -- John Davidson
John Davidson (11 April 1857 — 23 March 1909) was a Scottish poet and playwright, best known for his ballads.
Total Books: 478
He was born at Barrhead, East Renfrewshire as the son of a Dissenting minister and entered the chemical department of a sugar refinery in Greenock in his 13th year, returning after one year to school as a pupil teacher.He studied at the University of Edinburgh. He was afterwards engaged in teaching at various places, and having taken to literature went in 1889 to London.
He achieved a reputation as a writer of poems and plays of marked individuality and vivid realism. His poems include In a Music Hall (1891), Fleet Street Eclogues (1893), Baptist Lake (1894), New Ballads (1896), The Last Ballad (1898), The Triumph of Mammon (1907), and among his plays are Bruce (1886), a Tragic Farce (1888), Godfrida (1898). He also wrote novels, including a well-known work of flagellation erotica, A Full and True Account of the Wonderful Mission of Earl Lavender (1895). From 1901 he wrote pessimistic blank verse Testaments. He was given a Civil List pension in 1906.
Davidson disappeared on 23 March 1909, under circumstances which left little doubt that under the influence of mental depression he had drowned himself at Penzance. Among his papers was found the manuscript of a new work, Fleet Street Poems, with a letter containing the words, "This will be my last book." His body was discovered a few months later.
Davidson's poetry was a key early influence on important Modernist poets, in particular T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens. Davidon's poem "In the Isle of Dogs", for example, is a clear intertext of later poems such as Eliot's "The Wasteland" and Stevens' "The Idea of Order at Key West".