LEE, Laurie

(1914 - 1997)
“It was a world that I wanted to record because it was such a miracle visitation to me”

Laurence Edward Alan Lee, forever known as Laurie Lee, was a musician, playwright, poet and novelist.  Born at the outbreak of WWI into a family of twelve children and an absentee father, Lee’s mother moved the family to Slad, a remote village deep in the Cotswolds.  His world was an insular one of poverty, overcrowded cottages, no electricity or easy transport, all of which were offset by family and community warmth.  It is this world which he captures in Cider with Rose [1959] where his sensual descriptions of a childhood set amid the lush Gloucestershire countryside are written in the same precise and lyrical style which characterise his poetry.

As a young man Lee moved to London, and then on to Spain in the mid 1930s, earning his way with labouring and playing the violin. Upon his return he worked for the Ministry of Information and concentrated on writing poetry, 4 volumes of which he succeeded in having published. Although his poetry wasn’t immediately popular, it was critically appreciated.  Betjeman wrote in a gift to Lee “Inscribed for Laurie Lee, a true poet”

After all his wanderings he returned to the tiny Cotswold village of his childhood and is buried in the churchyard there.

His first love was always poetry but it is for the life he wrote about so engagingly in three volumes of autobiography that he is probably best remembered.

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 Laurie LEE

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