Sir Herbert Read

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Sir Herbert Edward Read (1893–1968) was an English anarchist, poet, and critic of literature and art. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism, and was strongly influenced by proto-existentialist thinker Max Stirner.

Early life

The son of a farmer, Read was born at Muscoates near Nunnington, about four miles south of Kirkbymoorside in the ... more »

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  • ''A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them.''
    Sir Herbert Read (1893-1968), British critic, poet. English Prose Style, ch. 13, Holt (1928).
  • ''To fight without hope is to fight with grace,
    The self reconstructed, the false heart repaired.'''
    Sir Herbert Read (1893-1968), British poet. To a Conscript of 1940 (l. 32-33). . . Oxford Book of War Poetry, The. Jon Stallworthy, ed. (1984) Oxf...
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Best Poem of Sir Herbert Read

To A Conscript Of 1940

A soldier passed me in the freshly fallen snow,
His footsteps muffled, his face unearthly grey:
And my heart gave a sudden leap
As I gazed on a ghost of five-and-twenty years ago.

I shouted Halt! and my voice had the old accustom'd ring
And he obeyed it as it was obeyed
In the shrouded days when I too was one

Into the unknown. He turned towards me and I said:
`I am one of those who went before you
Five-and-twenty years ago: one of the many who never returned,
Of the many who returned and yet were dead.

We went where you are going, into the rain and ...

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