The greater part of James Elroy Flecker’s brief adult life was spent in the Near East. He was born in the Lewisham district of London, the son of the Reverend W. H. Flecker, head of Dean Close School, Cheltenham. He attended his father’s school, then transferred to Uppingham, and matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, in 1901, where he took his A.B. degree in 1906. In 1907 he went to London and taught school there until 1908, at which time he entered the Consular Service and was sent to Caius College, Cambridge, to study modern Asian languages.
His first consular post was at Constantinople in 1910, but his ill health soon required a period of recuperation in England. On his return to duty, he was sent to Smyrna in 1911. In May of that year, while on leave in Athens, he married Helle Skiadaressi. In the autumn of the same year, he was transferred to Beirut, but again the tuberculosis from which he suffered required leave of absence, until, in the spring of 1913, he was compelled to go to Switzerland for treatment. There he spent the last year and a half of his life. He died at Davos, on January 3, 1915. His body was returned to England and buried at Cheltenham in the Cotswold Hills.
Flecker is an extremely uneven poet who wrote in several different manners without ever quite arriving at a distinctive style of his own. Some of his early work is decidedly in the “decadent” tradition of the 1890’s; he next came under the influence of...
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