Last weekend I gave a paper on F.W. Harvey at the English Association’s British Poetry of the First World War Conference, held in the beautiful surroundings of Oxford University’s Wadham College. I was approached by several people during the course of the conference; most told me that they were interested in Harvey, but regretted that there is little information to be had on him – at least in comparison to other established poets of the First World War.
One goal of this blog is to make information on Harvey that is gained through my research into Harvey’s papers publicly available. I am writing my PhD dissertation focusing on his papers, which aims to combine biography and literary criticism for a holistic view of Harvey’s life and works as they relate to the war, which I hope (as all doctoral researchers do) to someday publish. Still, I thought it would be helpful here to create a post that can direct readers to other resources regarding the study of Harvey’s life (his poetry is not listed here).
First, there are three published biographies available on Harvey:
Boden, Anthony, F.W. Harvey: Soldier, Poet, Revised edition, (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998) – This is the best starting place for anyone interested in Harvey’s life.
Davies, Ross, F.W. Harvey: Poet of Remembrance, The War Poets Series, (London: Cecil Woolf, 2009) – A short introduction to Harvey of 36 pages and somewhat hard to find – I finally found a copy at the abovementioned conference.
Townsend, Frances, The Laureate of Gloucestershire – The Life and Works of F.W. Harvey, 1888-1957, (Bristol: Redcliffe Press, 1988) – Also difficult to find. Townsend knew Harvey, and thus this offers a personal insight into the man, though it has some factual errors.
*** It must be noted that none of Harvey’s previous biographers had access to his papers, which were only discovered in 2010 and made available through this project. Had they had them, I know each author would have used them to enhance their research.
Harvey wrote two prose books that give insight into his life:
Harvey, F.W., Comrades in Captivity – A Record of Life in Seven German Prison Camps, New Edition, (Coleford: Douglas McLean [first published by Sigwick & Jackson, 1920]: 2010) – Harvey’s non-fiction account of his time as a prisoner of war, coloured by some of his poems.
Harvey, F.W., The Lost Novel of F.W. Harvey: A War Romance, (Stroud: The History Press, 2014) – A novel found in typescript form in Harvey’s papers, it is a semi-autobiographical, but mostly fictional, account of his early life and wartime service. Rejected by publishers in his lifetime, it has finally found an audience.
On the internet, you can find more information about him here:
The F.W. Harvey Society page: http://www.fwharveysociety.co.uk
Harvey’s Wikipedia page is monitored by me and the F.W. Harvey Society: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._W._Harvey
Harvey’s personal papers are held att the Gloucestershire Archives, more information here: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives/article/115544/Frederick-William-Harvey
Harvey is also represented on Twitter and Facebook, accounts that I administer which aim to provide bite-sized bits of information on Harvey, along with Harvey-related news and research:
Twitter, @FWHarvey: https://twitter.com/FWHarvey
I also run a Twitter version of the 5th Gloucester Gazette trench newspaper, which Harvey was the key-contributor to in its early days, @5thGlosGazette: https://twitter.com/5thGlosGazette