Ridler, Anne (1912—)

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Ridler, Anne (1912—)

English poet and dramatist . Born Anne Bradby in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, on July 30, 1912; daughter of Henry Christopher Bradby and Violet (Milford) Bradby; attended Downe House School in Berkshire; graduated from King's College in London with a degree in journalism, 1932; married Vivian Ridler, in 1938; children: four.

Selected writings:

(poetry) Poems (1939), The Nine Bright Shiners (1943), The Golden Bird (1951), A Matter of Life and Death (1959), Dies Natalis (1980), Ten Poems (with E.J. Scovell, 1984), New and Selected Poems (1988); (verse dramas) Cain (1943), Henry Bly (1947), The Trial of Thomas Cranmer (1956).

Born Anne Bradby in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, in 1912, Anne Ridler started her life in the academic world of her father, who was a housemaster of Rugby School. Her early education at Downe House School in Berkshire was complemented by six months in Florence and Rome. In 1932, she graduated from King's College in London with a degree in journalism. From 1935 to 1940, Ridler worked as a secretary to T.S. Eliot at Faber & Faber. In 1938, she married Vivian Ridler, later a printer at the University of Oxford.

In 1939, Ridler published Poems, her first collection. "It was Eliot who first made me despairing of becoming a poet," she wrote; "Auden… who first made me think I saw how to become one." The threads of domesticity and religion weave their way through her works, as she contemplates the various levels of love. The Nine Bright Shiners (1943) reflects her anticipation at facing motherhood; The Golden Bird (1951), focuses on the pain and anxiety of separation, and A Matter of Life and Death (1959) highlights the sadness of children growing to adulthood.

Ridler also wrote plays, translated opera libretti, and edited the works of Charles Williams, James Thomson, Walter de la Mare, Thomas Traherne, George Darley, and William Austin. Her dramatic style is often compared to that of T.S. Eliot. Among her plays are Cain (1943), Henry Bly (1947), and The Trial of Thomas Cranmer (1956). Ridler's later poetry collections include Dies Natalis (1980) and New and Selected Poems (1988), and she collaborated with E.J. Scovell in 1984 on Ten Poems.


Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Shattock, Joanne. The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland