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Ernest Dowson

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Ernest Christopher Dowson (2 August 1867-23 February 1900), an English poet who was associated with the Decadent Movement, was born at Lee, south-east of London. He attended Oxford University, but left before obtaining a degree.

He was a member of the Rhymer's Club, which included W. B. Yeats and Lionel Johnson. He was also a frequent contributor to the literary magazines The Yellow Book and The Savoy.

In 1891 Dowson fell in love with 12-year-old Adelaide "Missie" Foltinowicz, the daughter of a Polish restaurant owner. Adelaide is reputed to be the subject of his best-known poem, Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae. He pursued her unsuccessfully -- in 1893 she married a waiter in her father's restaurant, and Dowson was crushed. In 1895 his parents both committed suicide, and Dowson began to decline rapidly. He died in London of alcoholism (or some say of tuberculosis) at the age of 32.

The quote "Absinthe makes the tart grow fonder" is attributed to him.

Biography

Madder Music, Stronger Wine by Jad Adams (I.B. Tauris).

See also sections in: Madonnas and Magdalens - the origins and developments of Victorian sexual attitudes. London. Eric Trudgill. (Heinemann, 1976).

External Links

A few of Dowson's poems, through the University of Toronto. (http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poet103.html)

Arthur Symons' memoir of Dowson. (http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/symons/dowson.html)

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