1926 Autograph Letter Signed by Sir John Collings Squire, Poet and Literary Editor.

Letter rejecting a poem by this New Age Circle poet and literary critic

Brief autograph letter signed by John Collings Squire (1884–1958) rejecting a poem. Squire was a New Age Circle poet, literary critic, and editor of the The London Mercury. As editor of The London Mercury, Squire here thanks a woman for her letter and comments that a particular poem is “fine in spirits” (faint praise indeed), but “...a little too Miltonicall [?]...” In a postscript Squire adds “[w]e have one with a similar angle in the next number.” Squire was knighted in 1933.

“Moving to London in 1907 to work for the Sheffield Independent, Squire was soon offered a job as a parliamentary reporter for the National Press Agency, for whom he worked until 1912… During this period he became a regular contributor of poetry and literary criticism to New Age, and with Howard Hannay founded the Howard Latimer Publishing Company with the purpose of discovering and helping young or unknown poets. ... In 1913 his public career began in earnest with his appointment as literary editor of the New Statesman. His critical essays, which he signed with humorous melancholy Solomon Eagle, became popular with the lay reader. ... In 1919 Squire set up a monthly magazine with a title revived from the eighteenth century: the London Mercury [see above]. ... The encouragement of the poets he admired, however, never failed and his influence at this time was such that it led some to speak irreverently of the ‘Squirearchy’. He was knighted in 1933. In the original series the London Mercury lasted until 1934, by which time Squire, despite his catholicity and editorial vivacity, had offended many intellectuals, not least by his unbusinesslike methods. (He resigned in September 1934.) He was ridiculed as Jack Spire, editor of the London Hercules, in Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall (1928). ... The last twenty years of Squire’s life were unsettled by a litany of disappointments and tragedies. His marriage broke down and he began to live in clubs and with friends. He travelled much and met Mussolini, with whom he discussed archaeology. His brief flirtation with fascism was a further indicator of the collapse of his life: an unhappy love affair with Henrie Mayne, the termination of his contract with The Observer, an arrest for drunken behaviour in 1937, and the waning of his poetic powers. He continued to be productive to the end of his life but nothing matched his previous output. He was out of sympathy with the new literary élite of Auden and Eliot, and denigration of the ‘Squirearchy’, who were associated with the outmoded versifying of Georgianism, became more frequent (see J. Arrow, J. C. Squire v. D. H. Lawrence, 1930). ... Squire made his reputation as a literary editor, and the London Mercury, although largely forgotten, is considered by some his greatest achievement (Howarth).” (ODNB)

Description: 1926 Autograph Letter Signed by Sir John Collings Squire, Poet and Literary Editor.

London, March 16, 1926. [1]p. A.L.S. 8vo. Letterhead of The London Mercury, A Monthly Review of Literature & the Arts. Folds; very good.


Price: $50.00