Meyerstein, Edward Harry William

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MEYERSTEIN, EDWARD HARRY WILLIAM

MEYERSTEIN, EDWARD HARRY WILLIAM (1889–1952), English poet and novelist. The son of a well-known philanthropist, Meyerstein was educated at Harrow and Oxford. He worked for some years in the manuscripts department of the British Museum. Though a noted scholar, especially in Greek and Roman literature, Meyerstein was mainly drawn to poetry. He published a number of volumes of verse elaborate in diction and reminiscent of the fashions of the 1890s. They included The Door (1911); New Odes (1936); Briancourt (1937); Sonnets (1939); The Visionary (1941); In Time of War (1942); Three Sonatas (1948); and The Delphic Character (1951). The Unseen Beloved was published posthumously in 1953. Meyerstein also wrote several novels, outstanding among which was the trilogy Terence Duke (1935), a study in viciousness. Few of his works retained their popularity, but his careful and detailed life of Thomas Chatterton (1930) is one of the best extant studies of that romantic poet. A melancholy and eccentric bachelor who kept an "extraordinary collection of whips" in a box under his bed, Meyerstein is unsympathetically portrayed in the character of Brunstein in Arnold Lunn's novel, The Harrovians (1913). His own account of his youth appears in Of My Early Life (1958). Some Letters of E.H. Meyerstein (ed. Rowland Watson, 1959) is valuable in disclosing his strange life and views.

bibliography:

Wain, in: Encounter, 19 (Aug. 1962), 27–42. add. bibliography: W.D. Rubinstein, Great Britain, 129–30, 454.

[Philip D. Hobsbaum]