David Jones

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Other literary forms

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David Jones’s other main creative outlet was painting, but he did write a number of essays and reviews connected to art and literature. A collection of these essays and reviews, many of which date back to the 1940’s, appeared as Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings (1959), edited by his associate, Harman Grisewood. Other essays were collected after his death by Grisewood as The Dying Gaul, and Other Writings (1978).


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David Jones’s In Parenthesis gained instant recognition for the poet when it won the Hawthornden Prize in 1938. Before and immediately afterward, Jones’s achievements had been in his modernist painting. Recognition of Jones as both artist and poet came with the award of a Civil List Pension in 1954 and the award of the Order of the British Empire in 1955. The Anathemata won the Russell Loines Award in 1954.

Further recognition came with the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1960, the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine in 1961, and an award from the Society of Authors Travelling Fund in 1962. His Epoch and Artist won a Welsh Arts Council Award in 1959 and an honorary doctor of literature degree from the University of Wales in 1960. The next year, he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and to membership in the Royal Watercolour Society. In 1972, he won the gold medal of the Royal National Eisteddford on Wales in recognition of his promotion of Welsh culture and history. Perhaps his greatest honor came in 1974 (the last year of his life), when the Queen invited him to become a Companion of Honour, an order limited to just sixty-six notable men of letters and public figures.


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Blamires, David. David Jones: Artist and Writer. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1971. An early study of Jones’s life and work in both words and pictures.

Dilworth, Thomas. The Shape of Meaning in the Poetry of David Jones. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988. A comprehensive scholarly study of the poetry of Jones.

Hague, René. A Commentary on “The Anathemata” of David Jones. Wellingborough, England: C. Skelton, 1977. Elucidates the poem with a line-by-line explication of sources and allusions.

Hills, Paul, ed. David Jones, Artist and Poet. Brookfield, Vt.: Scolar Press, 1997. A collection of interpretive and critical essays.

Humfrey, Belinda, and Anne Price-Owen, eds. David Jones, Diversity in Unity: Studies of His Literary and Visual Art. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000. A specialized look at all of Jones’s art.

Raine, Kathleen. David Jones: Solitary Perfectionist. Ipswich, England: Colgonooza Press, 1975. Situates Jones’s work within the tradition of Christian poetry.

Rees, Samuel. David Jones. Boston: Twayne, 1978. A helpful biographical and critical introduction for the general reader.

Staudt, Kathleen Henderson. At the Turn of a Civilization: David Jones and Modern Poetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994. Provides extensive analysis of the poetry, especially The Anathemata.

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Critical Essays