The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney - Michael HurdLondon, New York & Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1978, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Previous owners' name to the first blank.
Contains: Black & white photographs; Maps;
From the cover: “Behind the name Ivor Gurney lies the tragic story of a composer and poet whose life seemed full of promise, but who, like Hugo Wolf and John Clare, ended his days in a lunatic asylum.
Ivor Gurney was born in Gloucester in 1890, and the city and beautiful Severn Valley countryside were to have a lasting effect on the songs and poems he began to write in his teens. The contrast between that beauty and the desolate landscape of the Western Front he experienced as a private in the 1914-18 War made a profound impression upon him. When he died in 1937 he was just beginning to be acknowledged as one of England’s finest song composers. But it is only in recent years that his stature as a war poet has been fully appreciated.
Michael Hurd, himself a composer and native of Gloucester, describes the life of this exceptional man in a lively and compelling narrative, examining his music and poetry, and evincing a sympathy for his subject that covers Gurney’s childhood and family life (revealing eccentricities at an early age that took their place in the madness of later years); his student days in London under the tutelage of composers such as Vaughan Williams; his early career under the patronage of devoted friends; the grim war years; and the final disintegration that was to turn his life into the ‘ordeal’ of the title.
The book is illustrated with a wealth of previously unpublished material, including Gurney’s brilliant and amusing letters, and the extraordinary poems that chronicle so movingly his descent into madness.”