John Betjeman

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Statue de John Betjeman à la gare de Saint-Pancras, Londres

Sir John Betjeman, CBE (28 août 190619 mai 1984) est un poète et écrivain britannique qui s'est lui-même défini dans le Who's Who comme « poète et plumitif ». Après une carrière de journaliste, il devint Poète lauréat, c'est-à-dire poète officiel de la reine, de 1972 à sa mort. Ses nombreuses émissions à la BBC et ses campagnes pour la sauvegarde de plusieurs monuments historiques ont fait de lui une figure extrêmement populaire.

Biographie[modifier | modifier le code]

La famille Betjemann, originaire de Brême en Allemagne, anglicisa son nom en « Betjeman » au cours de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Né à Highgate en Londres, John Betjeman commença ses études à la Highgate School, où il eut le poète T. S. Eliot pour professeur, puis à la Dragon School d'Oxford et enfin au Marlborough College, dans le Wiltshire, où il se lia d'amitié avec Anthony Blunt. À l'Université d'Oxford, il fréquenta Magdalen College en tant qu'étudiant non inscrit après avoir échoué à l'examen de mathématiques.

Betjeman quitta Oxford sans obtenir de diplôme, mais il y avait fait la connaissance d'amis qui allaient influencer son œuvre ultérieure : Louis MacNeice, W. H. Auden, Maurice Bowra, Osbert Lancaster, George Alfred Kolkhorst, Tom Driberg, les Sitwell, et Jock Murray, qui publia la majorité de ses livres.

Secrétaire puis professeur, John Betjeman trouva un emploi comme critique de cinéma pour l' Evening Standard. Il fréquentait alors les Bright Young People, un groupe de jeunes aristocrates hédonistes qui défrayaient la chronique. Après quelques piges pour l'Architectural Review, il y devint rédacteur-adjoint de 1930 à 1935.

Le 29 juillet 1933, il épousa l'Honorable Penelope Chetwode, fille du Field Marshal Lord Chetwode. Tous deux vécurent dans le Berkshire et eurent deux enfants : un fils, Paul, né en 1937, et une fille, Paula (Candida Lycett Green), née en 1942. En 1948, l'épouse de Betjeman conversa au catholicisme ; c'était la cause de la détérioration de leur mariage, et leur séparation en 1972.

En 1958, avec plusieurs amateurs d'art parmi lesquels Nikolaus Pevsner, il fonda la Victorian Society afin de préserver les monuments de la fin du XIXe siècle et du début du XXe siècle qui étaient menacés de destruction. C'est ainsi qu'il contribua largement au sauvetage de la gare de Saint-Pancras, à Londres, où l'on a érigé une statue en son honneur au mois de mai 2007.

En 1969, Betjeman fut anobli par la reine Élisabeth II.

Betjeman mourut à Trebetherick en Cornouailles, de la maladie de Parkinson, et est enterré à l'église locale.

Distinctions[modifier | modifier le code]

Œuvres[modifier | modifier le code]

Poésie[modifier | modifier le code]

  • Betjeman, John (1931). Mount Zion, or in touch with the infinite. London: James Press. (With illustrations).
  • Betjeman, John (1937). Continual Dew, a little book of bourgeois verse. London: John Murray. (With illustrations).
  • Epsilon [Betjeman, John] (1938). Sir John Piers. Mullingar: Westmeath Examiner.
  • Betjeman, John (1940). Old Lights for New Chancels, verses topographical and amatory. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1945). New Bats in Old Belfries. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1947). Slick but not Streamlined. Garden City N.Y.:Doubleday & Co. (With an introduction by W. H. Auden).
  • Betjeman, John (1950). Selected Poems: chosen with a preface by John Hanbury Angus Sparrow. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1954). A Few Late Chrysanthemums. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1954). Poems in the Porch. London: SPCK. (Illustrated by John Piper).
  • Betjeman, John (1958). John Betjeman’s Collected Poems. London: John Murray. (Compiled and with an introduction by the Earl of Birkenhead)
  • Betjeman, John (1959). Altar and Pew, Church of England verses. London: Edward G. Hulton.
  • Betjeman, John (1960). Summoned by Bells. London: John Murray. (With drawings by Michael Tree).
  • Betjeman, John (1962). A Ring of Bells. London: John Murray. (Illustrated by Edward Ardizzone).
  • Betjeman, John (1966). High and low. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1971). A Wembley Lad and The Crem. London: Poem-of-the-month Club.
  • Maugham, Robin (1977). The barrier : a novel containing five sonnets by John Betjeman written in the style of the period. London: WH Allen.
  • Betjeman, John (1974). A nip in the air. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1976). Betjeman in Miniature: selected poems of Sir John Betjeman. Paisley: Gleniffer Press.
  • Betjeman, John (1978). The best of Betjeman: selected by John Guest. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1981). Church poems. London: John Murray. (Illustrated by John Piper).
  • Betjeman, John (1982). Uncollected poems: with a foreword by Bevis Hillier. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (2005). Faith and Doubt of John Betjeman: An Anthology of Betjeman's Religious Verse London: Continuum. (Edited by Kevin J. Gardner).
  • Betjeman, John (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes: An Anthology of Betjeman's prose and verse. Edited and introduced by Stephen Games. London: John Murray.

Prose[modifier | modifier le code]

  • Betjeman, John (1933). Ghastly good taste, or the depressing story of the rise and fall of British architecture. London: Chapman & Hall.
  • Betjeman, John (1934). Cornwall Illustrated, in a Series of Views. London: Architectural Press. (A Shell Guide).
  • Betjeman, John (1936). Devon - Compiled with many illustrations.. London: Architectural Press. (A Shell Guide).
  • Betjeman, John (1938). An Oxford University Chest, comprising a description of the present state of the town and University of Oxford. London: John Miles. (Illustrated in line and halftone by L. Moholy-Nagy, Osbert Lancaster, Edward Bradley and others).
  • Betjeman, John (1939). Antiquarian Prejudice. London: Hogarth Press (Hogarth Sixpenny Pamphlet #3).
  • Betjeman, John (1942). Vintage London. London: William Collins.
  • Betjeman, John (1943). English Cities and Small Towns. London: William Collins. (One of series: The British People in Pictures).
  • Betjeman, John (1944). English Scottish and Welsh landscape 1700-1860. London: Frederick Muller Ltd.
  • Betjeman, John (1944). John Piper. London: Penguin Books. (One of series: The Penguin Modern Painters).
  • Betjeman, John; Lewis, CS; et al (1946). Five sermons by laymen. Northampton: St Matthew's Church.
  • Betjeman, John (1947). ed Watergate Children’s Classics. London: Watergate Classics.
  • Betjeman, John; Piper, John (Eds.) (1948). Murray’s Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John; Piper, John (Eds.) (1949). Murray’s Berkshire Architectural Guide. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1950). Studies in the History of Swindon. Swindon. (with many others).
  • Betjeman, John; Piper, John (1951). Shropshire - with maps and illustrations. London: Faber & Faber. (Shell Guide).
  • Betjeman, John (1952). First and Last Loves, essays on towns and architecture. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1953); et al. Gala day London, photographs by Izis Bidermanas. Harvill Press.
  • Betjeman, John (1956). The English Town in the Last Hundred Years, The Rede Lecture. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Betjeman, John (1958). Collins Guide to English Parish Churches, including the Isle of Man. London: Collins.
  • Betjeman, John (1960). First and Last Loves. London: Arrow Books. (With drawings by John Piper).
  • Betjeman, John (ca 1962). Clifton College buildings. Bristol. (Reprinted from Centenary essays on Clifton College).
  • Betjeman, John (1964). Cornwall, A Shell Guide . Faber and Faber. (A Shell Guide).
  • Betjeman, John; Clarke, Basil (1964). English Churches. London: Vista Books.
  • Betjeman, John (1965). The City of London Churches. London: Pitkin Pictorials. (One of Pitkin Pride of Britain series).
  • Betjeman, John (1968). Collins pocket guide to English parish churches. London: Collins.
  • Betjeman, John (1969). Victorian and Edwardian London from old photographs. London: Batsford.
  • Perry George; et al (1970). The book of the Great Western, with introduction by J. Betjeman . London: Sunday Times Magazine.
  • Betjeman, John (1972). A pictorial history of English architecture. London: John Murray.
  • Betjeman, John (1972). London's historic railway stations. London: John Murray. (Photographs by John Gay).
  • Betjeman, John (1974). A plea for Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street. London: Church Literature Association. (With four drawings by Gavin Stamp).
  • Betjeman, John; Rowse, AL (1976). Victorian and Edwardian Cornwall from old photographs. London: Batsford.
  • Betjeman, John (1977). Archie and the Strict Baptists. London: John Murray. (Children's stories: illustrated by Phillida Gili).
  • Betjeman, John (1977). Metro-land. London: Warren Editions. (Limited edition: with lithographs by Glynn Boyd Harte).
  • Betjeman, John (1984). Betjeman's Cornwall. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4106-9*
  • Betjeman, John (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes: An Anthology of Betjeman's prose and verse. Edited and introduced by Stephen Games. London: John Murray.

Radio et télévision[modifier | modifier le code]

Radio[modifier | modifier le code]

  • Betjeman, John (2006). Trains and Buttered Toast: Selected BBC Radio Talks, 1932-55. London: John Murray. (Edited and introduced by Stephen Games.)
  • Betjeman, John (2007). Sweet Songs of Zion. London: Hodder & Stoughton. (Edited and introduced by Stephen Games.)

Télévision[modifier | modifier le code]

  • John Betjeman In The West Country, made for the defunct ITV company TWW in 1962. This series was long thought lost, but was rediscovered in the 1990s and shown on Channel 4 under the titles The Lost Betjemans and Betjeman Revisited
  • John Betjeman Goes By Train, a co-production between BBC East Anglia and British Transport Films, made in 1962
  • One Man's County, BBC programme from 1964, about Cornwall
  • Something About Diss, made for BBC East Anglia in 1964
  • Two episodes in the Bird's Eye View series, An Englishman's Home and Beside The Seaside, made for the BBC in 1969
  • Betjeman In Australia, a co-production between the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, made in 1971
  • Thank God It's Sunday, made for the BBC in 1972
  • Metro-land, a poetic and humorous journey on the Metropolitan Line from Baker Street to rural Buckinghamshire, made for the BBC in 1973
  • A Passion For Churches, made for the BBC in 1974
  • Summoned By Bells, a television version of his verse autobiography, made for the BBC in 1976
  • Vicar Of This Parish, a documentary about Francis Kilvert and his love of Herefordshire and the Welsh Marches, made for the BBC in 1976
  • Queen's Realm, a compilation programme made for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, most of it compiled from 1968/69 Bird's Eye View footage
  • Time With Betjeman, his final and retrospective series (1983), which included extracts from much of his television work, conversations with his producer Jonathan Stedall and many friends and colleagues, and included a memorable final interview filmed outside his home in Cornwall.
  • Betjeman and Me, series aired by BBC Two in August 2006, a retrospective of Betjeman's life, loves and poetry and how his work affected celebrities such as the TV chef Rick Stein, actor Griff Rhys Jones and architectural historian, conservationist and broadcaster Dan Cruickshank.

Sources[modifier | modifier le code]

Bibliographie[modifier | modifier le code]

  • Betjeman, John (1960). Summoned by Bells. London, John Murray
  • Matthew, H.C.G. and Harrison, B. (eds), (2004). Oxford dictionary of national biography (vol. 5). Oxford: OUP.
  • Brooke, Jocelyn (1962). Ronald Firbank and John Betjeman. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
  • Games, Stephen (2006). Trains and Buttered Toast, Introduction. London: John Murray.
  • Games, Stephen (2007). Tennis Whites and Teacakes, Introduction. London: John Murray.
  • Games, Stephen (2007). Sweet Songs of Zion, Introduction. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Gardner, Kevin J. (2005). "John Betjeman." The Oxford encyclopedia of British literature. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Green, Chris (2006). John Betjeman and the Railways. Transport for London
  • Hillier, Bevis (1984). John Betjeman: a life in pictures. London: John Murray.
  • Hillier, Bevis (1988). Young Betjeman. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4531-5.
  • Hillier, Bevis (2002). John Betjeman: new fame, new love. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5002-5.
  • Hillier, Bevis (2004). Betjeman: the bonus of laughter. London : John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6495-6.
  • Hillier, Bevis (2006). Betjeman: the biography. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6443-3
  • Lycett Green, Candida (Ed.) (Aug 2006). Letters: John Betjeman, Vol.1, 1926 to 1951. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-77595-X
  • Lycett Green, Candida (Ed.) (Aug 2006). Letters: John Betjeman, Vol.2, 1951 to 1984. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-77596-8
  • Lycett Green, Candida, Betjeman's stations in The Oldie, September 2006
  • Mirzoeff, Edward (2006). Viewing notes for Metro-land (DVD) (24pp)
  • Mowl, Timothy (2000). Stylistic Cold Wars, Betjeman versus Pevsner. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5909-X
  • Schroeder, Reinhard (1972). Die Lyrik John Betjemans. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. (Thesis).
  • Sieveking, Lancelot de Giberne (1963). John Betjeman and Dorset. Dorchester: Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.
  • Stanford, Derek (1961). John Betjeman, a study. London: Neville Spearman.
  • Taylor-Martin, Patrick (1983). John Betjeman, his life and work. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-1539-0
  • Wilson, A. N. (2006). Betjeman. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-179702-0

Voir aussi[modifier | modifier le code]

Articles connexes[modifier | modifier le code]

Liens externes[modifier | modifier le code]


Précédé par John Betjeman Suivi par
Cecil Day-Lewis
British Poet Laureate
1972-1984
Ted Hughes