A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Buchanan, Robert

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Buchanan, Robert (1841-1901). -- Poet and novelist, b. at Caverswall, Staffordshire, the s. of a Scottish schoolmaster and socialist, and ed. at Glasgow, was the friend of David Gray (q.v.), and with him went to London in search of fame, but had a long period of discouragement. His first work, a collection of poems, Undertones (1863), had, however, some success, and was followed by Idylls of Inverburn (1865), London Poems (1866), and others, which gave him a growing reputation, and raised high hopes of his future. Thereafter he took up prose fiction and the drama, not always with success, and got into trouble owing to some drastic criticism of his contemporaries, culminating in his famous article on the Fleshly School of Poetry, which appeared in the Contemporary Review (Oct. 1871), and evoked replies from Rossetti (The Stealthy School of Criticism), and Swinburne (Under the Microscope). Among his novels are A Child of Nature (1879), God and the Man (1881), and among his dramas A Nine Days' Queen, A Madcap Prince, and Alone in London. His latest poems, The Outcast and The Wandering Jew, were directed against certain aspects of Christianity. B. was unfortunate in his latter years; a speculation turned out ruinously; he had to sell his copyrights, and he sustained a paralytic seizure, from the effects of which he d. in a few months. He ultimately admitted that his criticism of Rossetti was unjustifiable.