Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Location: Born Glasgow/living in West Yorkshire
|Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:11 pm Post subject: Laurie Lee
|Laurie Lee was born in Stroud in 1914 and educated at Slad village school and from the age of 12 at the Central Boys School in Stroud.
After leaving school at 15 he worked as an errand boy for a Stroud firm of chartered accountants before "upping sticks" and heading off by foot to London. His itinerant existence took him on to Spain, then in the throes of Civil War. But when he returned he was "quickly taken up by members of the London literary establishment" -especially by John Lehmann and Stephen Spender. He was soon working for the BBC and for the GPO Film Unit and then as Publications Editor for the Ministry of Education. He also did work for the Festival of Britain.
Lee saw himself initially as a poet. He did have three collections published - THE SUN MY MONUMENT (1944), THE BLOOM OF CANDLES (1947) and MY MANY-COATED MAN (1955). McCrum (1999) notes that he showed "originality of technique" but his poems were said to lack depth.
But it was with his prose that he made his mark. CIDER WITH ROSIE was published in 1960, when he was 45. It is an "evocation of Lee's village childhood" and is seen as a classic.
McCrum (1999) suggests, perhaps unkindly, that Lee -who live a messy existence with frequent visits to the pub- never wrote "anything to match it again." That said, AS I WALKED OUT ONE MIDSUMMER MORNING (1969)tells of his youthful adventures on the road. MOMENTS OF WAR (1991) recalls his experiences in Spain. Both received some acclaim.
Lee died on 13 May 1997, aged 82, and is buried in Slad churchyard.