Christopher Logue Analysis

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(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

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At the beginning of his literary career, while in Paris, Christopher Logue (lohg) did a certain amount of hack work for Olympia Press, including a pornographic novel, Lust (1954). On returning to London, he worked for the satirical magazine Private Eye, and a number of his pieces have been compiled in Christopher Logue’s True Stories from Private Eye (1972) and Christopher Logue’s Bumper Book of True Stories (1980).

Logue became engaged in writing film and theater scripts and in translating. His translation The Seven Deadly Sins (1986), unfortunately, did not gain the approval of the Bertolt Brecht estate. He also became interested in children’s literature, writing children’s verse and editing a number of anthologies of children’s verse, including The Children’s Book of Children’s Rhymes (1986).


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

As an antiestablishment poet, Christopher Logue has probably found it more difficult to achieve recognition in the mainstream literary world of Britain. However, his experiments with public verse reading, including the first public poetry reading at the National Film Theatre in 1958, did create something of a stir in London in the 1950’s, when new forms of drama were also beginning to gain a following. His main recognition came first from writing for Private Eye from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, when it became the leading British satirical magazine and much feared by politicians and establishment figures and before crippling libel cases tamed it.

Logue was a middle-aged man before he won any major awards. In 1990, he won the Bernard F. Conners Prize for Poetry from the Paris Review for his poem “Kings.” In 2002, Logue’s Homer—War Music was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Award. His reworking of Homer’s Iliad (c. 750 b.c.e.; English translation, 1611) had caught the public eye, however, and for Cold Calls, the fifth volume of the enterprise, he received the Whitbread Poetry Prize for 2005 and was also nominated for the Whitbread Book of the Year. In 2007, he received national recognition by being made a Companion of the British Empire.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Bainbridge, Charles. “The War in Heaven.” Review of Cold Calls. The Guardian, October 8, 2005, p. 18. Examines both Cold Calls and the entire War Music project, finding Logue’s translation successful in part because of the vigor and energy he brings to the story.

Carne-Ross, D. S. Classics and Translations: Essays. Edited by Kenneth Haynes. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 2010. Contains an essay examining Logue’s Patrocleia as a translation. Carne-Ross, a radio producer and classicist, helped Logue begin his work.

Leddy, Michael. “All Day Permanent Red: The First Battle Scenes of Homer’s Iliad Rewritten.” Review of All Day Permanent Red. World Literature Today 78, nos. 3/4 (September-December, 2004): 100-102. Praises the action in the poem and Logue’s ability to make the reader see it happen.

Logue, Christopher. “Logue in Vogue.” Interview by Liz Hoggard. The Observer, January 22, 2006. Logue gives a full-length interview after publication of Cold Calls, discussing his life and writing.

Ramsden, George. Christopher Logue: A Bibliography, 1952-1997. London: Stone Trough Books, 1997. The only fully annotated bibliography of Logue’s many publications, small and large, and critical and journal articles.

Underwood, Simeon. English Translators of Homer from George Chapman to Christopher Logue. London: Northcote House, 1998. Fits Logue into the English tradition of Homer translation, comparing him to Alexander Pope especially.