Rex Warner

Rex Warner was an English poet, novelist, translator, and scholar of classical literature. He was born in Birmingham and brought up mainly in Gloucestershire, where his father was a clergyman.

As a student at Wadham College, Oxford, he associated with W. H. Auden and Cecil Day Lewis, and published in Oxford Poetry. After graduating in 1928, he worked mainly as a schoolteacher, including a period spent in Egypt. His first collection of verse, Poems, was published in 1937, and expressed the revolutionary fervour shared by many writers and intellectuals at that time. As a novelist he was profoundly influenced by Kafka, and his early novels are expressionist allegories concerning problems of power; they include The Wild Goose Chase (1937) and The Aerodrome (1941), his best known work. Warner also wrote several historical novels, including The Young Caesar (1958) and Pericles the Athenian (1963). His essays, such as 'The Cult of Power' (1946) and 'Men of Athens' (1973), were also influential.

From 1945 to 1947 he was in Athens as Director of the British Institute. At that time he was involved in many translations of classical Greek authors, and met and made friends with a number of contemporary Greek writers, notably the poet George Seferis. This friendship led him to make the second English translation of Seferis's poetry, Poems, which was published in London and Boston in 1960, and later, together with Th. D. Frangopoulos, to translate a selection of Seferis's essays, On the Greek Style (1966).

In 1961 he became Tallman Professor of Classics at Bowdoin College in the United States, and then Professor at the University of Connecticut from 1962 to 1974. He died in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

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