Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Michael Field (pseudonym)
Michael Field was a pseudonym used for the poetry and verse drama of Katherine Harris Bradley (1848 - 1914) and her niece and ward Emma Edith Cooper (1862 - 1913). As Field they wrote around 40 works together, and a long journal Works and Days. Their intention was to keep the pen-name secret, but it became public knowledge, not long after they had confided in their friend Robert Browning. The journal reveals that they were lesbian lovers, over a long period.
Katherine Bradley was educated at the Collège de France and Newnham College, Cambridge, and became Edith Cooper's guardian since her mother was disabled. Bradley was for a time involved with Ruskin's utopian project. She published first under the pseudonym Arran Leigh, a nod to Elizabeth Barrett. Edith adopted the name Isla Leigh.
From the late 1870s, when Edith was at University College, Bristol, they agreed to live together; they were to be suffragists and oppose vivisection. The first joint publication as Michael Field was in 1884. They had financial independence: Bradley's father Charles Bradley had been in the tobacco industry in Birmingham.
They developed a large circle of literary friends and contacts; in particular Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, near whom they settled in Richmond, London. While they were always well connected, the early critical success was not sustained (something that is often attributed to the joint identity of Field becoming known). They knew many of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, including Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, J. A. Symonds and also Bernard Berenson. William Rothenstein was a friend.
Their joint journal starts with an account of Bradley's passion for Alfred Gérente , an artist in stained glass and brother of Henri Gérente , who was of an English background but worked mostly in France. It goes on to document Michael Field as a figure, amongst 'his' literary counterparts, and a pet dog. When the latter died in 1906, the emotional pattern of the relationship was disturbed; both women became Roman Catholic converts in 1907. Their religious inclinations are reflected in their later works, where their earlier writing is influenced by classical and Renaissance culture, in its pagan aspects particularly, Sappho as understood by the late Victorians, and perhaps Walter Savage Landor.
Edith died of cancer in 1913, as did Katherine less than a year later. A much-edited selection from the journals, which were two dozen annual volumes in ledgers with aspects of scrapbooks combined with a self-conscious literary style of composition, was prepared by T. Sturge Moore, a friend though his mother Marie.
- The New Minnesinger (1875) poems by Arran Leigh
- Bellerophon (1881) by Arran and Isla Leigh
- Callirrhoe & Fair Rosamund (1884) verse dramas
- The Father's Tragedy (1885) verse drama
- William Rufus (1885) verse drama
- Loyalty Or Love? (1885) verse drama
- Brutus Ultor (1886) verse drama
- Canute the Great (1887) verse drama
- The Cup of Water (1887) verse drama
- Long Ago (1889) poems
- The Tragic Mary (1890) verse drama
- Stephania, a Trialogue (1892) verse drama
- A Question of Memory (1893) drama
- Underneath the Bow (1893) poems
- Attila, My Attila (1896) verse drama
- World at Auction (1898) Vale Press verse drama
- Noontide Branches (1899) verse drama
- Anna Ruina (1899) verse drama
- Race of Leaves (1901) Vale Press, verse drama
- Julia Domna (1903) Vale Press, verse drama
- Borgia (1905) verse drama
- Wild Honey from Various Thyme (1908) poems
- Queen Mariamne (1908) verse drama
- Tragedy of Pardon (1911) verse drama
- Tristan de Léonois (1911) verse drama
- Dian (1911) verse drama
- The Accuser (1911) verse drama
- A Messiah (1911) verse drama
- Poems of Adoration (1912)
- Mystic Trees (1913) poems
- Ras Byzance (1918) verse drama
- Deirdre (1918) verse drama
- In The Name Of Time (1919) verse drama
- Selection (1923)
- The Wattlefold: Unpublished Poems (1930)
- Works and Days: From the Journal of Michael Field, (1933) edited by T. Sturge Moore (unpublished journals are now available on microfilm) kept from 1888, annual to 1914.
- A Shorter Shırazad: 101 Poems of Michael Field (1999) selection by Ivor C. Treby
- Michael Field (1922) Mary Sturgeon
- We Are Michael Field (1998) Emma Donoghue
- The Michael Field Catalogue: A Book of Lists (1998) edited by Ivor C. Treby
- Music and Silence: The Gamut of Michael Field (2000) Ivor C. Treby
- Victorian Sappho (1999) Yopie Prins
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