~bn Promo: A Fervent Mind: the life of Ruthven Todd
by Peter Main
“I always think of Mr Ruthven Todd as a Nineteenth Century Country Clergyman who has mysteriously managed to get born and survive in this hectic age.” —W.H. Auden
“There was something wholly admirable about his certainty that a life spent in pursuit of art, literature and romantic love was superior to all others.”
Published: July 2018 by Lomax Press Limited,
13 Park Place, Stirling, FK7 9JR, UK
ISBN: 978-0-9929160-6-0. 494 pp, sewn binding with limp card covers
Price: £23 + £2 postage and packing within UK
A Fervent Mind: the life of Ruthven Todd
This is the first biography of the poet and author Ruthven Todd, one of the last of the Twentieth Century renaissance figures. Although not university-educated, he became addicted to scholarship and was known both as a poet and expert on the art of William Blake and his contemporaries. To American children he became the adored creator of a feline astronaut, Space Cat. To others he was a knowledgeable and gifted illustrator of wild flowers and fungi. He embraced a bohemian lifestyle and was a friend of Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice, W.H. Auden and Robert Graves.
Peter Main tracks Todd’s fascinating peripatetic life from his birth in 1914 in Edinburgh and schooling at Fettes College, to the Isle of Mull, war-time London, New York, Martha’s Vineyard and finally to Mallorca where he died in 1978. Todd struggled with pulmonary disease and alcoholism for much of his life and it is against this background that Main has written a sensitive and perceptive account which is sad at times, but ultimately life-affirming. He includes many photographs, 23 colour plates, extracts from Todd’s autobiographical writing, and over 40 of his poems.