Mirrlees, Collected Poems
Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) has long been regarded as the lost modernist. Her extraordinary long poem Paris (1920), a journey through a day in post First World War Paris, was considered by Virginia Woolf obscure, indecent, and brilliant’. Read today, the poem retains its exhilarating daring. Mirrlees’s experimentalism looks forward to The Waste Land; her writing is integral to the twentieth-century canon. And yet, after Paris, Mirrlees published no more poetry for almost half a century, and her later poems appear to have little in common with the avant garde spirit of Paris. In this first edition to gather the full span of Mirrlees’s poetry, Sandeep Parmar explores the paradoxes of Mirrlees’s development as a poet and the complexities of her life. Sandeep Parmar was the first scholar to gain access to the Mirrlees Archive at Newnham College, Cambridge, and her edition includes many previously unpublished poems discovered there in draft form. The text is supported by detailed notes, including a commentary on Paris by Julia Briggs, and a selection of Mirrlees’s essays. The generous introduction provides the most accurate biographical account of Mirrlees’s life available. Mirrlees’s Collected Poems is an indispensible addition to a reading of modernism.