Buchanan, Robert Williams

(1841-1901)
   Although born in Staffordshire, Buchanan was brought up mainly in Glasgow and attended university there. His atheist father instilled into him hostility to religion, something that colored his whole life. In London, Buchanan had advice from many leading writers. His early successes came in: The Rathboy, a play (co-authored with Charles Gibbon and performed at the Standard Theatre) in 1861; and Undertones, his first book of poems, 1863. Success followed success with more collections of poems published; his total output was impressive, and although he wrote some excellent material, he is more often remembered for his scurrilous attacks on Swinburne in the Spectator of 1866. By 1874 he was living in relative affluent seclusion in Oban and died bankrupt and with few friends. "A Poem to David" (from North Coast, and Other Poems, 1867-1868) (to David Gray, another poet) seems to echo his loneliness and his contempt for praise and opinion. Some of his other poems: "The Ballad of Judas Iscariot," "The Blind Linnet," "The Churchyard," "The Faëry Reaper," "The Little Herd-Boy's Song," "The Starling," "The Wanderers."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www. lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Fellow Mortals: An Anthology of Animal Verse. Roy Fuller, ed. Macdonald and Evans, 1981. Selected Poems by Robert Buchanan (www.victorianweb.org/authors/buchanan). The Book of a Thousand Poems: A Family Treasury. J. Murray Macbain, ed. Peter Bedrick Books, 1983. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Home Book of Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1953. The Literary Encyclopedia (www.LitEncyc.com).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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