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).
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
Join Us on Facebook
Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.