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KATHLEEN RAINE

KATHLEEN RAINE

Kathleen Raine was born in 1908 in London, to a Scottish mother and an English father. Childhood holidays with her mother's family in the beautiful Northumberland countryside made a deep and lasting impression upon her. She won an Exhibition to Girton College Cambridge where she read Natural Sciences, and where she was to return in later life as a Research Fellow in the English Department. At Cambridge she began writing poetry and making friends with young writers and artists like William Empson, Malcolm Lowry, Jacob Bronowski, Humphrey Jennings and Julian Trevelyan. During the ensuing course of her long life she came to know a remarkable number of creative men and women including Wendell Berry, Thetis Blacker, Peter Brook, Elias Canetti, Cecil Collins, Henry Corbin, T.S. Eliot, Ramchandra Gandhi, David Gascoyne, Barbara Hepworth, Ted Hughes, David Jones, Amjad Ali Khan, Rosamond Lehmann, Jean Mambrino, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Winifred Nicholson, Raja Rao, St. John Perse, Laurens van der Post, Herbert Read, I. A. Richards, Tom Scott, Helen Sutherland, Tambimuttu, John Tavener, Kapila Vatsyayan, Vernon Watkins and Antonia White.

As well as her work as a poet Kathleen Raine devoted her energies to the study of William Blake: in later life she often referred to Blake as her "master". Her great work, Blake and Tradition, first published in 1968 was re-issued in 2002. W. B. Yeats was another important subject and influence.

In her seventies she visited India for the first time: the experience was to have a profound effect on her and she came to view India as the one true living civilisation.

Kathleen Raine wrote very beautifully about her own life in four volumes of autobiography.

Her life of study and hard work bore fruit in her later years in a generosity of spirit and a deep wisdom that drew to her many admirers and new friends. With Keith Critchlow, Brian Keeble and Philip Sherrard she founded the journal Temenos , "a review devoted to the arts of the Imagination". Temenos reached 13 issues. It was eventually followed by the creation of the Temenos Academy, which exists today as one aspect of the legacy of a remarkable woman.

Kathleen Raine died on July 6th 2003.

Selected works of Kathleen Raine:

The Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine (Golgonooza Press, 2002)
Blake and Tradition (2 Volumes, Routledge, 2002)
Autobiographies (Skoob Books, 1991)

A Bibliography of her prose works in Temenos and Temenos Academy Review is available in Acrobat format here Bibliography or web page format here Bibliography2

The Temenos Academy has available on audio tape the BBC Radio 3 portrait of Kathleen Raine "A Note Struck by the Stars".

Issue 7 of the Temenos Academy Review is a special issue entirely devoted to a critical assessment of the many facets of her work.

A volume of tributes to Kathleen Raine, Lighting A Candle - Kathleen Raine and Temenos, was published in 2008. The Underlying Order and Other Essays by Kathleen Raine (edited by Brian Keeble) appeared in 2009. Both books may be ordered from the Temenos Academy.

There is an excellent article about Kathleen Raine written by Christopher Fletcher in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. It can be read on the ODNB website by anyone who is a registered user of a public library in the UK.

http://www.oxforddnd.com/