April 9, 2018

10 Fresh Perspectives On Laurence Hope's Life - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO "THE SPHINX OF THE RAJ"!

courtesy of cakesdecor.com
"Some feast the Tom-toms celebrate,
Where, close together, side by side,
Gay in their gauze and tinsel state
With sparkling speech and smiling eyes,
Sit Laurence Hope and Baudelaire,
While round them songs and laughter rise..."

                                       - (Rephrased from Protest: Zahir-u-Din)

Yes, Tom-tom drummers - begin that throbbing beat! Put out the carpets and the wicker, fetch the cake and fan the jasmine scented air beneath a riotously colored setting sun.

I've put together a grilled and spiced feast of all the newest tidbits to share with you out on the veranda, complimented by rose-water spiked champagne for everyone, or a fizzy lemon if you prefer. Lovers of verse, of literature, of India and especially devotees of Laurence Hope are all invited to light a candle and celebrate the birthday of our uniquely tempestuous and passionate Aries poet!

April 9 is Poet's Day

Violet Nicolson (1865), shares her birthday with Charles Baudelaire (1821) - a literary superstar and genius of exquisitely worked verse who fathered the Decadent movement and  moved Western literature towards Modernism. (Refer to The Shock of the New by art critic Robert Hughes)  Like Hope, Baudelaire was known for unbridled honesty, a rebellious temperament, a palpable disdain for societal norms and a brash independent streak.
Les Fleurs du Mal
 Is it a Cosmic accident that these two fascinating poets - both of whom I greatly admire and both of whom have influenced my own growth as a poet - happen to share this birth date?   I prefer to believe that the Cosmos is conscious, and has its own way of revealing divine and hidden patterns through such coincidences.  This in itself is a kind of poetic language in which deeper meanings can be found for those who care to distinguish them.  Thus, I mark April 9 on my own calendar as "Poet's Day" and celebrate Hope and Baudelaire together, as well as all poets on this day.  Not every poem has to exhibit courage, radical zeal, a devotion to Beauty and a sumptuous feel for the sensual, but I believe every poet should have at least a flavor of all these qualities in their character, as both Hope and Baudelaire do in abundance.

The Sphinx of the Raj 

I have begun to formulate a theory on how Hope's persona in particular becomes a kind of reflection of the observer.  Because she left behind almost no correspondence and a body of work that is chimeric in terms of identity, I find that many who comment on her or really set out to grapple with the enigma of her life and work end up mirroring their own persona, and project it onto hers.

 ~~If a commentator wishes to see her as an over-sexed temptress, they find a definite argument for an extramarital affair, or many
~~If the observer studied the classics and is enamoured with Sappho, then she is Sapphic;  
~~If the observer is religious, then her works are mostly spiritual;  
~~If the commenter wants to charm a 1950s radio audience, he dresses Hope up as a dancing girl and asserts that she had an adulterous romance with a Prince;
~~A critic who disdains Swinburne as "feminine" will see nothing but Swinburne in Hope's work;
~~If someone wishes to view Hope as a mostly proper lady poetess, they discard the data that she was a free thinker who embraced the Decadence.  Instead she becomes a lovely young Victorian-esque woman with impossible eyes who blanches at the very color of The Yellow Book and wouldn't touch bad boy Baudelaire with a pig-sticking pole. 

~~A hedonist finds Mrs. Colonel Nicolson to be a libertine; 

~~Those who fancy the bohemian life see in her as early hippie marking the trail for others;
~~Some of Hope's great popularity must have been due to a perception that she passionately voiced the gay experience for closeted individuals on both sides of the Atlantic, male and female alike;
In short, housewives find their passion, men find their vixen, Valentino finds his voice, and old and young alike find their adventure in lands of foreign flavors, which the poet actually called Home.
I do not escape the trap of my own theory of course.  For example, In her work I hear a poet influenced partially by Baudelaire and with a touch of Poe and the poetes maudits, like myself.  I will say I was not consciously seeking these connections and they surprised me - nevertheless I am as vulnerable as anyone to the Sphinx's spell, so I proceed cautiously and try to carefully label my own roaming speculations as such verses what is presented as fact.  In the end, it may start to matter less what LH actually did, and matter more what we keep trying to get her to do - which is behave and conform to our own ideas as we dreamily follow her path of poesy poppies and roseate glances.  We are determined to grasp her, but never quite clasp hold.  

This is exactly the same way a Muse operates - enticing and circling the artist while remaining just outside of his or her control, igniting restlessness and desire which becomes sublimated into artistic output.  Just as Hope traversed boundaries during her life - lines of color and race, of station and class, of the sacred and the profane, the Hindu and the Muslim, the male and the female - so does she now cross the terrain between Artist - which she most assuredly is - and inspirational Muse, which she most assuredly has become. This mercurial quality of Hope's has allowed her to represent far more than just the usual literary puzzle or biographical mystery.   Hope has become in fact an enigmatic and shimmering mirror which, Sphinx-like, asks the viewer one question - "While You Seek Me - Do You Find Yourself?" 

It is because of this unique quality which transcends time, space and observer, in addition to the many lesser mysteries veiling Hope's life and literary output, that I have come to refer to our once very human Adela Florence Cory, The Colonel's Lady, Mrs. Nicolson, Laurence Hope, our own dear Violet, as "The Sphinx of the Raj"

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Recording

Laurence Hope Notes started about six months ago in September 2017, and I suppose I have at least another six months ahead as I work through India's Love Lyrics poem by poem, while also recording them with Librivox for the public domain.  When I began LH Notes, I actually thought the emphasis would be on notating the recordings - remarking on memories each poem stirred, and remarking on a line or two indicating influences, biographical moments or something of the poet's character. 
Almost immediately my curiosity became fully engaged.  I started reading voraciously and writing myself right off the page, running quite low on inkpot pixels and grinding virtual peacock quills into stardust. Hope's shade as well as those of her close family and associates began to rise before me, allowing some intimacies to emerge.  The sepia-toned background scenery of Raj era India became illuminated, taking on watercolor tones as I gained small understandings of how Hope and everyone else around her lived daily life in that unique corner of time. 

Since Hope's birthday has arrived at about the halfway point of this project, it seems a good time to present a review of the best fresh information found here so far - a sum of things uncovered, discovered, surmised, speculated on, some of it for the first time and all of it for the first time gathered in just one place.  As we all know, "That Bloody Female Poet" is as elusive as "A Shadow In The Sunlight", and every scrap we happen upon tends to become important in an almost outsize way. 

Listen! The Tom-toms are really Tom-tomming as our two bright stars are rising in the lavender sky.  We have birthday champagne bubbling and rose petals fluttering, and I can now reveal that there will be a special appearance at the end of the evening ~  a passage from our front-line reporter at Mhow, Violet Jacob that has rarely, if ever, been shared before in which Laurence Hope smokes and unleashes her wicked wit and unsparing humor.   So sip some bubbly and let's get on with the main event -- more than ten savory and sweet dishes of Laurence Hope tidbits to feast upon!   

  Malcolm Nicolson's Biography Expanded

    Status:  New Info, see Kashmiri Song by Juma, and Zira In Captivity
    Source: Records of the General Register Office, Govt Social Survey Dept., Office of Census and Surveys, National Archives, Kew, England, with much help and thanks to Bernadette, research volunteer at Findagrave online. 
    Details:    Malcolm Hassels Nicolson  baptized July 9, 1843 Boulogne, France
Malcolm's surviving younger siblings are:
Simon Edmund     Baptized  Oct 1844 Boulogne
Mary Caroline       "              Mar1846 Boulogne
Caroline Isabella   "              Apr  1848 Boulogne
Norman Fraser      "              May1849 Boulogne
Malcolm's 1858 Acceptance
To Cadet School
Malcolm was baptized in France, probably was born there, and spent at least the better part of a decade at the family home in Boulogne.  It is quite likely Malcolm was bi-lingual in French and English at an early age, which primed his later mastery of languages.  Malcolm may have been resident with his family in France until joining the British army as a youth of 15 in 1858.   I have obtained the records of Malcolm's application to cadet school, and it appears that he was in the very first class of the newly reorganized British army under the Queen, after The Mutiny of '57.  I have yet to fully examine these documents, but to the left is a taste.
Malcolm's biography deserves greater attention in part due to his enormous impact on his wife and her writing.   His probable familiarity with French and likely fluency is supportive of my argument that Hope was directly interested in and influenced by the French Decadent movement, which had a predominant impact on English literature of the 1890s.  Just as Malcolm is long credited with encouraging Hope's interest in Indian poetry and song forms, he could have supported her interest in the explosive waves emanating from literary France at the time. Hope was probably schooled in French as a girl by her French-Belgian Professor, and with Malcolm's help there is no reason why she could not enjoy French poetry in the original.  Three of Hope's poems I have looked at so far display an interest in Baudelaire's aesthetics and themes, Kashmiri Song byJuma (not the famous Kashmiri Song), Story of Udaipor, and Garden by the Bridge (the subject of an upcoming post.)   The Teak Forest and its image of a "broken boat" may have a rough antecedent in Rimbaud's highly influential work "The Drunken Boat", published in 1883 in French journal. 
Note also that Violet Jacob's diaries mention her own early study of French as a school girl, and discuss a female friend in Mhow who Jacob spoke to only in French to in order to practice.  The French language was apparently no stranger to the army garrison at Mhow.
   IMPACT:  Malcolm's biography more fully fleshed out, and if bi-lingual in French and English this adds a French emphasis to Hope's own poetic interests and influences.

2 Hope Was Fluent In Hindi and Urdu but not Hill Tribe Languages
   Status: A mistake that could turn into a myth
   Sources:  LH's fluency in Urdu is confirmed, but an impression may arise that she was a master linguist like her husband and spoke "Pashtu and tribal languages" as in this article shared at the LH Yahoo Group recently.
~~On the most positive side, Leslie Blanch stated that Hope "studied various dialects" of hill tribe languages (Pg. 195 Athenum 1964 edition).  She does not offer a source, so one presumes the assumption was from Malcolm Jr, Hope's son who would have only known this from family lore.
~~Maddy'sRamblings correctly states that LH spoke Urdu and Malcolm spoke the languages of the northwest frontier.
~~Prof. Ed Marx's biographical sketch on Hope repeats Blanch's details of the languages that Malcolm, not Hope, spoke fluently - Baluchi, the language of his troops, as well as Persian, Pashto, and Brahui. 
UPDATE: I thought it was also a mistake in this otherwise accurate article to say that Hope also spoke Hindi, but it turns out she would have been fluent in Hindi if she was fluent in Urdu.  I have been told this on good authority by Andrew Whitehead, a scholar and roving journalist with a special interest in India  and Kashmir and this delightful blogHe stated, "Knowing Urdu would be pretty standard for Brits in India at that time - and anyone with good Urdu would have been able to converse in Hindi (the two languages have entirely different scripts but share much of their vocabulary and even more of their grammer.)"  4.19.18
    Details:   It was not particularly unusual among the British in the northern provinces to speak Urdu which was "the language of the army" since the time of the Moguls, who forged a military unit out of polyglot peoples through a unifying language. Urdu was convenient when communicating with native soldiers, servants and staff, in the marketplace and among natives of all types.  Hope's fluency in Urdu was remarked upon by Violet Jacob, who herself knew some Urdu, but not enough to hold an interesting conversation with a native princess they visited together.  Hope's Urdu would have allowed her to communicate with local peoples throughout the frontier all the way from Mhow to Kashmir and beyond. She may have tried to understand dialects of Urdu, but that is quite different than fluency in distinct tribal languages - this was Malcolm's talent and he would have been on hand throughout their travels to translate outside of Urdu.  Violet's prolific poetic output suggests she spent a great deal of her time writing, and she must have devoted some time to reading.  She probably spent time translating Urdu song forms that caught her ear, conducted at least some household business, traveled with Malcolm, and she also apparently painted.  To give the impression she devoted time to learning three or four additional native Indian languages seems an exaggeration of her already considerable talents. 
    IMPACT:   It is important to not conflate Malcolm's talents and biographical details with Hope's, and to understand that to be fluent in Urdu during the Raj may indicate accomplishment, but not an unusual genius with languages. 
3 Expansions On Hope's Biography - Journey to India and Unmarried Years
    Status:  Newly Gathered Info, Historical Background, New Speculation - see the Timeline section of When Love Is Over and The First Lover
The Cory Society, "The Fishing Fleet" by Anne de Courcy, and Kipling bios from the LH reading list (for travel details of his journey to India)
The Captivating
Miss Violet Cory
    Details:  The British Census has Isabel and Adela in school in 1881 in April, just as Hope turns 16.  After a summer studying arts and literature on the Continent (and writing her early poetry) the girls would have most likely taken a P&O steamship from Venice to Bombay and arrived by August, according to the pattern of travel at the time.  Next was a great train journey from Bombay to Lahore, for about a week.  Their mother or a servant may or may not have met them along the way - Fishing Fleet girls routinely made their own way inland, and Kipling made the journey by himself.  The youngest Cory daughter Annie Sophie (later Victoria Cross) was 13 and stayed behind in England to continue her education. 

The main target of most Fishing Fleet women was the Simla winter high season of balls and entertainments, although there were other less dazzling martial hunting grounds.  Isabel and Adela would have heard no end of talk about Simla from the excited girls they traveled with for over a month.  As new Lahore arrivals, the sisters may have gone on to Simla with their mother for at least a few weeks. 

At first I was put off by the idea that Adela and Isabel were "fishing fleet" girls - after all they had formal educations, were joining their families and were not in a particular hurry to marry, as evidenced by the fact that both waited several years.   However, de Courcy's work makes clear that girls traveling to join their families already in India were considered part of the fishing fleet, as it was presumed they would all marry.  So it is no slight to include Adela and Isabel as default fishing fleet girls, no matter what their particular intentions were.  As such they were treated to many shipboard entertainments and with a certain indulgence - in this period young marriageable women were highly valued as newcomers to British India.   

If the sisters went to the Simla gala season that year, they need not have been husband hunting.  There were so many sporty, festive and pleasurable events to soak in and some events put on especially for the younger set.  Simla itself was noted for its special beauty.  Hope's mother Fanny may have frequented Simla herself, and enjoyed showing off the cream of colonial life to her new arrivals.  It was also the premier spot for networking, as the entire British government of the Raj relocated there every summer.  Kipling's mother Alice positively flourished in Simla.   

1882 - 1888  May, June and July was the time of high heat when businesses shuttered, cholera lurked, some servants refused to work, and all women and children departed for a hill station to escape the intolerable and unhealthy atmosphere.  Most of the British in Lahore went quite eagerly to Simla.  Even if not interested in marrying, young women enjoy flirtations, lavish parties, sporting events and dancing with young officers in uniform in a free and lively atmosphere.  This was the pulse of seasonal life in the Raj, surer than Christmas, and Hope's years from 17 to her engagement at 22  can partially come into focus in from this perspective.  Hope may well have gone from being infatuated with the excitement of Simla as a teen to growing weary of its forced social gaiety as the years wore on.  Could Violet and Malcolm have met in Simla? It is as likely as some of the other legends put forward about their first encounter. 
IMPACT: Establishes some norms and a seasonal rhythm of life for the British in Lahore including the Cory family. Provides a historical backdrop for LH's journey to India and some elements of her lifestyle prior to marriage.  

4 Expansion On Hope's Parent's Activities, Kipling Family Associations, and Possible Estrangement of Hope's Parents
Confirmed by Mitchell, Spotlighted at LH Notes, see - When Love Is Over
Victoria Cross, 1868-1952 by Charlotte Mitchell, The Cory Society, The Civil and Military Gazette (CMG)
Hope's father did not just work at the CMG, he was part owner of the paper.
The Corys and Kiplings knew one another and rubbed elbows - Lockwood K. published in Cory's paper, Arthur Cory participated in a tableaux vivant supper party with Kipling's mother in  the summer before his arrival.  In 1882, Arthur Cory left India alone, not with the Cory women as is usually presumed by all Hope's biographers. Hope's parents seem to have been permanently separated by 1891 as Fanny Cory did not appear to live in Karachi, and was later known to live in Europe with her brother and youngest daughter.  Charlotte Mitchell further examines the question of whether it is possible that Victoria Cross may have been the product of an affair of Fanny Cory's.   As part owner Arthur was likely involved in the decision to bring young Kipling out, especially considering his friendship with Kipling's mother.  This further suggests young Adela would have known about Kipling, who already had a book of poetry circulated by his mother in Lahore and a poem published in London to acclaim.  As a young poetess, she would naturally have been intrigued by the arrival of a young man her own age who already excelled in a field that interested her and worked for her father's paper. 
   IMPACT:   Expands our understanding of Hope's family dynamics and movements after her arrival in India.  Establishes Cory and Kipling family socializing in Lahore, and touches on some early Kipling biographical elements regarding coming to India.

5   It Is Improbable That Kipling and Hope Never Met, Given Their Proximity And Raj Social Life
   Status:  Info on dates of Kipling and Hope's proximity parsed for the first time here - see Timeline in When Love Is Over. 
Hope's bios and Kipling bios in the reading list
  Details:  Being of the same social set and united by association with Adela's father's newspaper, Adela and Rudyard almost certainly had to run into one another in the small and tight knit social whorls of Lahore and Simla.  However, neither Kipling family letters, Kipling scholarship or Hope scholarship for that matter ever touch on the idea, with one exception - in 2000 a Jennifer M.T. Carter of Australia gave a speech to the Kipling Society discussing the two poets, their proximity, and speculated that LH could have been a partial muse for the female character Bill in Kipling's tale "William the Conqueror". 
The Youthful Romantic
Rudyard Kipling
Hope is a possible candidate for "My Lady," Kipling's early crush.  Did Kipling refer to his friend Adela as "The Colonel's Lady" in the poem The Ladies which he wrote soon after leaving India and just after Hope's marriage?  Hope was later famously referred to as "The Colonel's Lady" in the Somerset Maugham's short story named after her.
   IMPACT:  If Kipling and Hope were acquainted, and/or shared verses with one another, shared a kiss or a crush, or if Hope was eventually the target of a proposal by Kipling, this would obviously impact Hope's youthful biography and some elements of Kipling's including a better understanding of his departure from India shortly after Hope's marriage.  

6 There Is No Reliable Evidence Amy Woodeford-Finden and Hope Met or Had An Affair
  Status: Evidence of such a meeting or affair debunked
Resonances of the Raj: India in the English Musical imagination 1897-1947 by Nalini Ghuman
, also see Valgovind's Song in the Spring
  Details: Ghuman writes, "The most detailed 'account' of 'Kashmiri Song' as 'a lesbian love song' of 'searing passion' appeared in the programme of a London revue of 'songs from the closet' covering 'all the major centres of gay life of the period 1870 to 1930'.  In a preview article, the music director explained that it was the writer Howard Bradshaw who had 'amassed the evidence for these gay interpretations' and that his 'research has produced some gripping stories, such as the sad tale of Amy Woodforde-Finden'.  'Read on, because it's quite a story!' Bradshaw claimed, without provenance, that Woodforde-Finden wrote the following letter to poet Laurence Hope in the autumn of 1901:
"I was most moved by your verses The Garden of Kama, a selection of which I saw reproduced in The Times of India.   I have taken the liberty of setting four of the poems to music under the title Four Indian Love Lyrics.  I enclose them for your approval with some trepidation, as I fear my talents are not worthy of your great and generous sentiments.  We have, I must confess, been performing them for some weeks at concert parties here in Simla, where they have been in constant demand....Should you think my music unworthy, as I fear you may, I will of course consign the score to the flames.  I await your reply with some trepidation.  Sincerely Amy Woodforde-Finden."
Bradshaw's account goes on to assert that the women soon met in Delhi, fell passionately in love and 'caused one of the great scandals of the Raj' by briefly eloping.  Eventually the pair supposedly bowed to social pressure and returned to their husbands, and all that remains of their affair is now enshrined in music and verse.  

This account seems to have been wholly made up, as none of the timing or placement of the people involved supports it, nor does any other account from known Hope or Finden associates or any other commenters.  Nor does almost any other correspondence from Hope exist, marking the survival of this one suspect. In short it was the usual fiction created as wish fulfillment and drama for a theatrical piece and presented as a fact that supporting Hope's artistic content.
   IMPACT:  A cautionary tale about accepting longstanding fictionalized legends or wish fulfillment presented as literature as actual biographical information.

Hope's Sister Isabel, Also A Widow, Committed Suicide At Age 48
   Status:  Confirmed, but obscure
"Victoria Cross, 1868-1952" by Charlotte Mitchell, Sind Gazette Aug 3, 1912
   Details:  The details on Hope's older sister's life are scant, but Mitchell offers this sketch - "The eldest sister, Isabel Edith Cory (1864-1912), who for many years worked for her father as unpaid assistant editor of the Sind Gazette, married in Karachi in 1892 a bank employee named John Tate; she was to be her father’s successor as editor of the Sind Gazette, and, as I note below, his principal legatee. She retired from the editorship owing to ill-health in 1910 and committed suicide in Karachi in 1912."

Isabel is also known to have been widowed by 1903, according to the same source.  Like her sisters, Isabel was a working writer and a pioneer in her field, as far as women running business operations in her era, especially in hyper male-dominated Anglo-India.   One has to wonder whether 2 incidents of suicide in the Cory sisters demonstrates a tendency towards depression in the family, or something different - an Anglo-Indian attitude which considered suicide an acceptable alternative to illness, aging or a prolonged widowhood. 
  IMPACT:  Adds to the Cory family history, may shed light on the psychology of family members, British female suicide in India, women's history studies, etc.

The Inspiring
Flora Annie Steel
Feminist and Activist Aspects of Hope's Work
   Status:  Never discussed prior to LH Notes 
   Sources:  Afridi Love, Yasmini, "Lost Delight", Story of Lilavanti (upcoming)
   Details:  Through her art, LH participated in the socially conscious female empowerment movement of the era.  Afridi Love was so strikingly different in perspective from her other work, so horrific yet unflinching, I began to view this aspect of her work as "documentary style" poetry, as though Hope was a reporter from the front lines of a sort of ongoing war on native women, which I believe she felt she was.  Nascent Hope scholarship has yet to discuss this facet of her work and character.  Malcolm's friend Flora Annie Steel, a writer and almost infamous Raj social activist, may have encouraged these aspects, and the two met at least once in Bombay.  I will note here that although it is sometimes assumed that Thomas Hardy interested publisher William Heinemann in Hope's work, Mrs. Steel was also published by Heinemann and could have provided the introductory link.  I believe that these two courageous women shared an intellectual affinity, and a fictional depiction of them as little more than two cats scrapping over Malcolm's attention does disservice to both women.
   IMPACT:  Hope's work is usually discussed in terms of passionate exoticism, or occasionally for its Sufic and spiritual overtones, but her socially conscious reporting in verse on behalf of women's issues is a facet of her character and work that can now be added to the discussion.  

9 Hope and Youthful Male 19th Century Writers - James Elroy Flecker and F. Scott Fitzgerald
   Status:   New Fitzgerald Info, A review of Flecker's essay on Hope forthcoming
A unique poet's biography
that includes a chapter on LH

This Side of Paradise (1920) by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flecker's essay "Laurence Hope" first discussed by Heather Walker in her Flecker biography "Roses and Rain" (an upcoming post).  Heather is also a member of the LH Yahoo Group.

   Details:  F.Scott Fitzgerald, "the voice of a generation" and brilliant literary star, quoted a passage directly from The Teak Forest in his first novel set in the aughts and teens. The passage is dropped right into the mouth of his Zelda-esque heroine in the pivotal chapter where she breaks up with the narrator.   I do not believe Fitzgerald's nod to Laurence Hope has been previously noted or discussed. 
Flecker, born 20 years after Hope, devoted an entire essay to her poetics which displays both the era's ambivalence to female writers and a fascination with her work.  Flecker's early
death at the age of thirty was described by critic Alec McDonlald as "unquestionably the greatest premature loss that English literature has suffered since the death of Keats" and contemporary writers such as Borges
and Neil Gaimon keep his work alive and relevant.  Watch this blog for the upcoming essay on Flecker, Fitzgerald and Hope!
IMPACT:  LH may well have had more influence on youthful male canon writers of the aughts and teens than she is generally given credit for.  Expansion on this topic is called for.

And that brings us to #10
10  Elevating Hope's Place in Literary History
Long term popularity with the public is no guarantee of academic acknowledgment. Excluded from "the canon" and dismissed by the overly important David Perkins as "a not quite/right Kipling" (see Anindyo Roy's article linked below), at least critic Harold Williams placed her in the "tradition of Swinburne and the younger English poets influenced by the French Romantics and Symbolists."  I argue that Hope was an important voice in the transition to Modernism as well as a direct representative of the Decadent movement through Baudelaire and the poetes maudits.  She was a rare female Aesthete and the only one produced by the Raj, with the possible exception of Kipling's very early short story work in themes of opium addiction and strange visions.
   Sources:  Early Hope criticism, Anindyo Roy's excellent study "Gold and Bracelet, Water and Wave: Signature and Translation in the Indian Poetry of Adela Nicolson" found here.  Also see Kashmiri Song by Juma for more details and Mohamed Akram's Laments - A Modernist Triptych, Story by Lalla-Ji - Monstrous Folk Primitivism
   Details:  Story of Udaipor by Hope appears to be modeled after one of Baudelaire's banned poems called Metamorphosis of the Vampire.  Hope as a freethinker and a radical in many respects would have had an affinity for the radical movements emanating from the Continent.  Aside from the Swinburnian glosses of British critics (such statements linger on - I have witnessed even modern readers dismiss Hope as "copycat Swinburnian") Hope's work demonstrates the influence of Baudelaire and even Edgar Allan Poe in some phrasing, as well as overtones of Rimbaud and Pre-Raphaelite Christina Rossetti.  I believe that in time, Hope will be classified as a rare female Decadent with modernist overtones, directly inspired by French as much as British movements.  As noted, she is singular as an Aesthete writer produced by the Raj.  
    IMPACT:  Hope's formally metered work alongside her experimental, translational and stream-of-conscious work as well as her cross-cultural content grant her a unique place in the development and popularization of modernism in English poetics.  Her searingly  sensual, socially conscious, soul searching and boundary pushing subject matter is the essence of potent Modernism itself.  If the Western poetic canon is ever expanded, Hope has a place there.  

Enough lovely speeches!  It's time for the Bonus Surprise of our celebration.  Our front lines reporter Violet Jacob let her dear mother know that on birthdays and anniversaries champagne could certainly be had, even in 1890's Mhow, and I'd like to think she too is joining us in spirit for a glass. I am excited to share this sketch of Hope relaxing and at leisure, as I am sure I've never seen it in any article - Have you?  Enjoy!
12th January, 1898

The Brilliant
Violet Jacob
Rode out to a field day and got up on the hill of Richabada from which I saw everything well.  Mrs. Nicolson came out and sat with me while I was painting and came back to dinner as both our husbands were dining in the Mess.   I laughed the whole way through the meal.  Her wits were at their best.  Afterwards she walked up and down the room, a tiny figure with a cigarette in its mouth, giving magnificent descriptions of all sorts of ridiculous happenings, and I lay in the long chair and shouted with laughter.  From "Violet Jacob Diaries and Letters from India" by Carol Anderson, 1990
There is more to this delightful passage involving a mouse a dog and a snake, but for now let's leave Mrs. Nicolson and Mrs. Jacob belly laughing together.  
A Toast To The Ghosts

It has truly been a gala fete, no?  The bunting is loose, the lampshade is now being worn as a turban, and we've feasted and enjoyed some gifts and surprises.  Surely sparkling conversation and debate lies ahead as our friendships deepen.  If you have not yet lit a candle or stick of incense, maybe this is a good moment to do so.   It is a good evening to speak a poem out loud! or remember a time with a certain Beloved of your own.   Raise a glass in last Toasts to the Ghosts, ladies first -
our romantic girl just 152 years young today,   And 

To  her birthday mate the impeccable Baudelaire - you are both ever-green in our hearts. Here's to you Violet, and you too Charles, this is for both of you -

"Though other planets and
stars may rise,

I dream of your soft and
sorrowful eyes, 

And I cannot forget."
  -LH, Unforgotten

Librivox Recordings completed so far may be accessed here - each section has about 7 poems.  These won't be available on Librivox until the entire book is recorded.

Section 6 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_06_hope.mp3
Section 5 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_05_hope.mp3
Section 4 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_04_hope.mp3
Section 3 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_03_hope.mp3
Section 2 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_02_hope.mp3
Section 1 https://librivox.org/uploads/annise/indiaslovelyrics_01_hope.mp3

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