Austin was born in Headingley, near Leeds. His father, Joseph Austin, was a merchant in Leeds; his mother, a sister of Joseph Locke, M.P. for Honiton. Austin was educated at Stonyhurst College (Clitheroe, Lancashire), and then at the University of London, from which he graduated in 1853.
He became a barrister in 1857 before leaving law to concentrate on literature.
Politically conservative, Austin edited National Review for several years, and wrote leading articles for The Standard.
On Tennyson's death in 1892 it was felt that none of the then living poets, except Algernon Charles Swinburne or William Morris (who were outside consideration on other grounds), was of sufficient distinction to succeed to the laurel crown, and for several years no new poet laureate was nominated. In the interval the claims of one writer and another were assessed, and eventually Austin was appointed to the post, after Morris had declined it.
Broadus writes that the choice of Austin for poet laureate had much to do with Austin's friendship with Lord Salisbury, his position as an editor and leader writer, and his willingness to use his poetry to support the government. For example, shortly before his appointment was announced, Austin published a sonnet entitled A Vindication of England, written in response to a series of sonnets by William Watson, published in the Westminster Gazette, that had accused Salisbury's government of betraying Armenia and abandoning its people to Turkish massacres.
Austin died of unknown causes in Ashford, Kent.
In 1861, after 2 false starts in poetry and fiction, Austen made his earliest noteworthy appearance as a writer with The Season: A satire, which contained incisive lines, and was marked by some promise both in wit and observation. In 1870 he published a volume of criticism, The Poetry of the Period, which was conceived in the spirit of satire, and attacked Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold and Swinburne in an unrestrained fashion. The book aroused some discussion at the time, but its judgments were extremely uncritical.
As poet laureate, his topical verses did not escape negative criticism, a hasty poem written in praise of the Jameson Raid in 1896 being a notable instance. The most effective characteristic of Austin's poetry, as of the best of his prose, was a genuine and intimate love of nature. His prose idylls, The Garden that I love and In Veronica's Garden, are full of a pleasant, open-air flavour. His lyrical poems are wanting in spontaneity and individuality, but many of them possess a simple, orderly charm, as of an English country lane. He had, indeed, a true love of England, sometimes not without a suspicion of insularity, but always fresh and ingenuous. A drama by him, Flodden Field, was acted at His Majesty's theatre in 1903.
Austin was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1896, and served in that position until his death in 1913.
In popular cultureEdit
Austin was caricatured as "Sir Austed Alfrin" by L. Frank Baum in his 1906 novel John Dough and the Cherub.
- Randolph: A poem, in two cantos. London: Saunders & Otley, 1855
- Shots at Shadows: A satire, but – a poem. London: R. Hardwicke, 1859.
- The Season: A satire. London: R. Hardwicke, 1861;
- revised, London: Manwaring, 1861.
- newly revised, London: John Camden Hotten, 1869.
- My Satire and its Censors. London: George Manwaring, 1861.
- Rome or Death!. Edinburgh & London: W. Blackwood, 1873.
- The Human Tragedy: A poem. London: Hardwicke, 1862
- revised, Edinburgh & LOndon: W. Blackwood, 1876
- newly revised, London & New York: Macmillan, 1891.
- The Golden Age: A satire in verse. London: Chapman & Hall, 1871.
- Interludes. Edinburgh & London: W. Blackwood, 1872.
- Soliloquies in Song. London: Macmillan, 1882.
- At the Gate of the Convent, and other poems. London: Macmillan, 1885.
- Look Seaward Sentinel! (chapbook). London: W.H. Allen, 1890.
- Love's Widowhood and other poems. London: Macmillan, 1889.
- Lyrical Poems. London & New York: Macmillan, 1891.
- Narrative Poems. London & New York: Macmillan, 1891.
- A Betrothal, May 3rd, 1893 (chapbook). London: Chiswick Press, 1893.
- Madonna's Child. London & New York: Macmillan, 1895.
- English Lyrics. London & New York: Macmillan, 1896.
- Victoria, June 20, 1837 - June 20, 1897 (chapbook). London: Macmillian, 1897.
- The Conversion of Winckelmann and other poems. London & New York: Macmillan, 1897.
- Songs of England. London & New York: Macmillan, 1898.
- A Tale of True Love, and other poems. London: Macmillan, 1902; New York: Harper, 1902.
- Victoria the Wise. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1903.
- The Door of Humility. London & New York: Macmillan, 1906.
- Sacred and Profane Love, and other poems. London: Macmillan, 1908.
- Love Poems of Alfred Austin. London & New York: John Lane, 1911.
- The Tower of Babel: A poetical drama. Edinburgh & London: W. Blackwood, 1874
- reprinted as The Tower of Babel: A celestial love-drama. London & New York: Macmillan, 1890.
- Prince Lucifer. London & New York: Macmillan, 1887.
- Savonarola: A Tragedy. London & New York: Macmillan, 1891.
- Fortunatus the Pessimist. London & New York: Macmillan, 1892.
- England's Darling. London & New York: Macmillan, 1896
- Republished as Alfred the Great: England's Darling, London: Macmillan, 1901.
- Flodden Field: A Tragedy. New York & London: Harper, 1903.
- A Lesson in Harmony. London & New York: Samuel French, 1904.
- Five Years of It. London: J.F. Hope, 1858.
- An Artist's Proof. (3 volumes), London: Tinsley Bros., 1864. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III.
- Won by a Head: A novel. (3 volumes), London: Chapman & Hall, 1866. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III.
- Jessie's Expiation: A novel. (3 volumes), London: Tinsley Bros., 1867. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III
- The Lord of All: A novel. London: Chapman & Hall, 1867.
- A Vindication of Lord Byron. London: Chapman & Hall, 1869.
- The Poetry of the Period. London: Bentley, 1870.
- Russia Before Europe. London: Chatto & Windus, 1876.
- In Veronica's Garden. London & New York, Macmllan, 1895.
- Lamia's Winter-Quarters. London & New York: Macmillan, 1898.
- Spring and Autumn in Ireland. Edinburgh & London: W. Blackwood, 1900. w\
- Haunts of Ancient Peace. London & New York: Macmillan, 1902.
- The Poet's Diary (edited by Lamia). London: Macmillan, 1904.
- The Garden that I Love. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1905.
- The Garden That I Love (Second series). London: Macmillan, 1907.
- The Bridling of Pegasus: Prose papers on poetry. London: Macmillan, 1910.
- The Autobiography of Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, 1835-1910 (2 volumes). London: Macmillan, 1911.
- An Eighteenth Century Anthology (edited and introduction by Austin). London: Blackie, 1904.
- Days of the Year: a poetic calendar from Alfred Austin. London: Walter Scott, 1886.
Audio / videoEdit
- The Poetry of Alfred Austin narrated by Richard Mitchley, Ghizela Rowe (audiobook). Deadtree Publishing, 2019.
See also Edit
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
|Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom|
| Succeeded by|
Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Austin, Alfred". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 938. . Wikisource,Web, July 20, 2011.
- Alfred Austin Papers, 1869-1902 (5 linear ft.) housed in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Stanford University Libraries
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Austin, Alfred, Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, 2, 938.
- ↑ Edmund Kemper Broadus, "The Laureateship, A Study Of The Office Of Poet Laureate In England With Some Account Of The Poets" 1921, p203.
- ↑ William Watson, "The Purple East, A Series Of Sonnets On England's Desertion of Armenia", London, 1896, p7-8.
- ↑ The Season: A Satire (1861), Internet Archive. Web, June 29, 2013.
- ↑ The Poetry of the Period (1870), Internet Archive. Web, June 29, 2013.
- ↑ The Bridling of Pegasus: Prose papers on poetry (1910), Internet Archive. Web, June 29, 2013.
- ↑ Search results = au:Alfred Austin, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, June 29, 2013.
- ↑ The Poetry of Alfred Austin, Amazon.com. Web, Feb. 14, 2020.
- Austin in A Victorian Anthology: "At His Grave," "Grave-Digger's Song," "Mother's Song," "Agatha," "The Haymaker's Song"
- Alfred Austin at Sonnet Central (6 sonnets)
- Alfred Austin at PoemHunter (235 poems)
- Alfred Austin at AllPoetry (245 poems).
- Works by Alfred Austin at Project Gutenberg
- Alfred Austin at the Online Books Page
- Alfred Austin at Amazon.com