Enid Starkie (1897-1970)

Criticism


Life
[Enid Mary Starkie]; b. Killiney, Co. Dublin; dg. of William Starkie, a Catholic, and a notably unpopular Commissioner of Education; ed. Alexandra College, the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), and Somerville College, Oxon; also at the Sorbonne; appt. lect. Exeter University, and later at Somerville, 1929; elected Fellow, 1935; appt. Reader in French Lit., 1946; she wrote authoritative critical works on Baudelaire (1957), Rimbaud (1947), and Flaubert (1967); other studies incl. works on Verhaeren and Gide (1938), several studies of Peter Borel (as Petrus Borel en Algérie, 1950) and Peter Borel, Lycanthrope, 1954);
 
she campaigned successfully for tenancy of Oxford Chair of Poetry by poets rather than critics, 1951, resulting in election of Cecil Day-Lewis over C. S. Lewis on the following occasion; she received a Doctorat of the Sorbonne, and the French Academy literary prize; elected to the Legion d’Honneur; issued A Lady’s Child (1941), and autobiog. of life in Dublin and Oxford, marked for its ‘unusual candour’ to the chagrin of her relatives; she became a close friend of Joyce Cary in Oxford; made Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1967; d. Oxford; Walter Starkie was her brother. KUN DIB FDA DUB OCIL

[ top ]

Works
Critical studies
  • Charles Baudelaire (London: Gollancz 1933) [q.pp.]; Do. (London: Faber & Faber 1957), 622pp., and Do. [Pelican Books] (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1971), 719pp.;
  • Arthur Rimbaud in Abyssinia (1937), and Do. as Rimbaud en Abyssinie: Collection de Documents et de Temoignages pour servir à l'Histoire de Notre Temps (Paris: Payot 1938), 213pp.;
  • Arthur Rimbaud, 1854-1954 (London: Faber & Faber 1938), xii, 425pp.; Do. [rev. edn.] (London: Hamish Hamilton 1947), 462pp.; Do. [3rd edn.] (London: Faber & Faber 1961), 491pp.; Do. [another edn.] (London: Faber & Faber 1973), 491pp.;
  • Verlaine and Mallarmé at Oxford [Harlequin, No. 1] (Oxford 1949) [q.pp.]
  • Arthur Rimbaud [Zaharoff lect.] (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1954), 31pp.
  • André Gide (1938; 1947), and Do. [Studies in Mod. Lit. & Thought] (Cambridge: Bowes & Bowes 1953; 1968; 1973);
  • From Gautier to Eliot: The Influence of France on English Literature, 1851-1939 (1960; 1962);
  • Joyce Cary: A Personal Portrait (1961);
  • Flaubert: The Making of the Master: A Critical and Biographical Study, 1856-1880 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1967);Do. [rep. edn.] (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1971), xvi, 461pp.; Do., trans. by Elisabeth Gaspar (Paris: Mercure de France, 1970), 454pp.; and Do. [trans. as] Gustave Flaubert: Kindheit, Lehrzeit, Fruhe Meisterschaft ([q. pub. 1971).
 
Miscellaneous
  • ed., Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal (1942, 1947, 1966, 1962, 1970, 1978)
  • Preface to Geoffrey Wagner, trans., Charles Baudelaire: Selected Poems (London: Falcon Press 1946), 131pp. [Preface, pp.8-23.]
  • Three Studies in Modern French Literature [Studies in Mod. European Lit. & Thought] (Yale UP [1960]), 209pp. [with J. M. Cocking on Marcel Proust & M. François Jarrett-Kerr on Mauriac].
 
Autobiography
  • A Lady’s Child (London: Faber & Faber 1941, 1951), 341pp.

 

[ top ]

Criticism
Joanna Richardson, Enid Starkie: a Biography (1973).

[ top ]

Quotations
Baudelaire: Starkie begins her preface to Geoffrey Wagner, trans., Charles Baudelaire: Selected Poems (1946), by noting that Baudelaire has a special place in the affections of English readers since Swinburne dedicated an obituary poem to him (“Ave Atque vale”, 1898) and further remarks that ‘like most of the great French writers, Baudelaire was of middle-class parents’ (p.8). Here or elsewhere she wrote: ‘All those who study Rimbaud soon reach a gulf of mystery which their imagination and intuition seem unable to bridge.’

[ top ]

References
Katie Donovan, A. N. Jeffares, and Brendan Kennelly, eds., Ireland’s Women (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994), extract from A Lady’s Child.

Belfast Public Library holds A Lady’s Child (1941).

[ top ]

Notes
Brendan Behan first met with references to Oscar Wilde’s homosexuality in Starkie’s Rimbaud (1947) and, being being bothered by them he went to National Library of Ireland to find out what sexual acts Wilde practised. (See Anthony Cronin, Dead as Doornails, London: Calder & Boyars, 1976, Chap. 1).

[ top ]