Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) was a poet of the natural world, the soul’s experience and the mystery of life; a literary critic, who in her major work Blake and Tradition added enormously to our knowledge of the sources that inspired William Blake’s unique writings. In her studies of Coleridge, Shelley, Yeats and her own contemporaries – David Gascoyne, Edwin Muir and Vernon Watkins – she wrote with the understanding of a fellow poet in a shared tradition. Kathleen Raine gave a moving and poetic account of her own fascinating life in the three volumes Farewell Happy Fields, The Land Unknown and The Lion’s Mouth.
She was also an educator of great vision who, at the age of 82 dedicated the rest of her life to establishing Temenos – an Academy for education in the light of the Spirit.
‘There are but two alternatives. The first alternative is that of secular materialism – appealing to the authority of a science whose only reality is the measurable – “nothing is sacred” – and no bounds set to destructive exploitation. The second alternative – embraced in every tradition of wisdom – holds that man and nature alike are a manifestation of immeasurable spirit. If that is so, we are custodians of a world in which, in William Blake’s words, “everything that lives is holy” and our sacred trust.’ [Kathleen Raine]
Kathleen Raine received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Leicester, Durham and Caen. She was a recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. In 2000 she was made Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was in the same year appointed CBE for distinguished services to literature.
For more information about Dr Raine the best online source is the entry by Christopher Fletcher in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which can be found here.
You can hear Kathleen Raine reading from her own poetry here and listen to audio recordings of her talks for the Temenos Academy in our Lecture Archive (see tab above).
A TRIBUTE TO DR KATHLEEN RAINE, CBE
An International Conference in Paris 25/26 March 2021 See PROGRAMME tab above
‘Our purpose is to study the learning of the Imagination, both in the arts but also in such metaphysical teachings as are likewise the expression of traditional spiritual knowledge.’
[Photo credit: Pamela Chandler; Copyright: Diana Willson]