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Lindop, Grevel (1948-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Lindop, Grevel (1948-)


Historical Note:

Grevel Lindop was born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford, where he read English. During his time as a student he started writing poetry seriously and worked with Michael Schmidt, a fellow-undergraduate, with whom for a time he co-edited Carcanet – which was then a magazine and not a publishing house.

When Carcanet began publishing pamphlets, Lindop’s first booklet of poems, Against the Sea, was among the earliest things they published. He has had a long and happy relationship with Carcanet Press and its magazine, PN Review, ever since.

After two years of postgraduate research at Wadham and Wolfson Colleges, Oxford, Lindop moved to Manchester (where he still lives) to lecture at the University, ending (30 years later) as Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies. He left the University finally in 2001 to work as a freelance writer.

In 1977 Grevel met and fell in love with his muse and future wife, Amanda, and the same year he published his first full-length collection of poems, Fools’ Paradise. That book has been followed by five other books of poems: Tourists (1987), A Prismatic Toy (1991), Selected Poems (2000); then – published by WAVE Books in Australia – the first four sections of his long poem-in-progress on the life of the Buddha, Touching the Earth, and another collection of poems, Playing With Fire, from Carcanet Press in 2006. His collection, Luna Park, was released from Carcanet in autumn 2015.

In the late 1970s Lindop became interested in Thomas De Quincey, ‘the English Opium-Eater’, essayist and friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge. He wrote a biography of De Quincey, published in 1981 as The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey. Later Lindop edited De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings for the Oxford World’s Classics series in 1985, and later still he piloted The Works of Thomas De Quincey, a 21-volume complete edition of his writings, produced by a team of eleven editors under Lindop’s direction and published in 2000-03.

Alongside this work Lindop published in 1993 A Literary Guide to the Lake District, a systematic and – he hopes – entertaining guide to the area’s literary connections from the earliest times to the present day. It won the ‘Lakeland Book of the Year’ award in 1994. It has been repeatedly updated, and a new edition was released in 2015 from Sigma Press.

Lindop is a keen salsa dancer, and his travel book, Travels on the Dance Floor, describes his journey in 2007 around Latin America and the Caribbean (Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Miami, to be precise) in pursuit of the best salsa music and dance – a journey on which he met the most amazing variety of people, and had a string of adventures, good and bad. It also gives a vivid snapshot of Latin America at a time when Castro was just giving up leadership in Cuba and Chavez was clinging to power in Venezuela. The book was chosen as Radio 4’s Book of the Week in August 2008 and shortlisted as Authors’ Club Best Travel Book in 2009.

Lindop has written frequently for the Times Literary Supplement over the past twenty years, and has reviewed poetry, biography, Romantic editions, fiction, exhibitions and – most often – theatre. He has, in fact, written for the TLS on everything from wallpaper to the Marx Brothers (though as Groucho might have pointed out, nowadays he generally uses a keyboard). Currently he also writes essays and reviews for a range of magazines including The Dark Horse, The London Magazine, Stand, PN Review, Poetry London and Temenos Academy Review.

In 1983 Lindop met the poet and scholar Kathleen Raine (1908-2003), who started publishing his poetry and other work in her review Temenos. When the journal was revived for its second series as Temenos Academy Review Lindop acted as deputy editor, and when Kathleen Raine relinquished the journal in 2000 he became editor, a post which he held until 2003. Since then Lindop has chaired the Academic Board of The Temenos Academy, an educational charity founded by Kathleen Raine to offer ‘teaching in philosophy and the arts in the light of the spiritual traditions of east and west’.

Lindop believes that for the practice of poetry or any other art, or even for living a reasonably sane life, it is vital to have contact with the ‘deep imagination’ – the place where our individual insight and creativity connect with universal archetypes and spiritual dimensions. Lindop’s work for Temenos hopes to foster this. In 1997 he edited The White Goddess by Robert Graves to make this important and inspiring book accessible in an accurate text to readers and poets. For more than twenty years he has practised (and sometimes taught) meditation under the auspices of the Samatha Trust. Lindop sees all these activities, together with his creative work, as tending in the same general direction.

2015 saw the publication of Lindop's biography, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (commissioned by Oxford University Press). Williams was, Lindop believes, a great poet, writing on Arthurian themes, but he has been largely forgotten. He was also an occultist, a Christian theologian, a dramatist, and the author of seven extraordinary novels – metaphysical thrillers which still have a ‘cult’ following. Lindop wanted to revive interest in him and his work. The biography was a very big undertaking – Williams was a complex and protean man who left a mountain of written material behind him – but it was successfully published by O.U.P. in autumn 2015 – just one month before Luna Park – and has been greeted enthusiastically by readers and critics. Rowan Williams wrote ‘Grevel Lindop’s biography of Charles Williams is, in almost every way, all that one would want in such a study: comprehensive, judicious, sympathetic, but also properly surprised by its subject’.

Stephen Prickett called it ‘a fascinating, and even astonishing biography’. It was honored with The Mythopoeic Society’s Award for Inklings Scholarship.

Grevel Lindop also prepared, with the Celtic scholar John Matthews, a new edition of Charles Williams’s Arthurian Poems, which was published as an e-book in 2018. Lindop is currently engaged on a study of Yeats, provisionally entitled Staring at Miracle: The Spiritual Life and Poetry of W.B. Yeats.

As well as having a busy writing and research programme Lindop gives frequent poetry readings, lectures, talks and so on in the UK and elsewhere. He is always happy to contribute to conferences or other events and has plenty of experience in appearing on radio, TV and video. He is especially happy to talk about poetry, Romanticism, landscape and environment, spirituality (East and West), the Inklings, or any combination of these.

Source: Adapted from Lindop’s personal website at https://grevel.co.uk/about/







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