W. N. P. Barbellion

Biography

(1889-1919)

Born Bruce Frederick Cummings, W.N.P. Barbellion was a British writer who filled diary after diary with personal accounts of his life in England. He began his diaries as a young teenager, and by age 25 had dedicated himself to their publication. The following year, in November 1915, Cummings was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The then unnamed disease played a significant role in his writing, and much of his published work contains reflections on his life with the debilitating illness. To protect his family, Cummings adopted the pen name W[ilhelm] N[ero] P[ilate], three men he believed to be among the most miserable in history (a fact that says much about Cummings own self image). Considered amoral and crass by some, Barbellion's writings have earned their place in English literary history for their frank depictions and honest assessments of British life. His first work, The Journal of a Disappointed Man, was published just a few months before his death in October 1919, and was followed by two subsequent publications, Enjoying Life and Other Literary Remains (1919), and, A Last Diary, (1920).

(Compiled by Joey Franklin)

See also

Essays by W. N. P. Barbellion

An average day

I don't believe we really love each other, but we cling to each other out of ennui.

The fire bogey

These precious Journals! Supposing I lost them! I cannot imagine the anguish it would cause me.

Living now in rooms alone

For a long time past my hope has simply been to last long enough to convince others of what I might have done--had I lived.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana by Patrick Madden

Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies. If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.

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2011 Symposium on the Essay
Welcome Table Press Symposium on the Essay

Friend of Quotidiana Kim Dana Kupperman's Welcome Table Press is hosting a one-day symposium at Fordham University on Saturday, October 15th, 2011. In Praise of the Essay: Practice & Form will feature talks and discussions by Phillip Lopate, Robin Hemley, Barbara Hurd, and more.

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