Thursday, 14 January 2010

Things Being Various

'We had a miraculous stroke of luck. There came on the market - cheaply, since the Great Slump was on the way - a pair of small late Georgian houses in Sir Harry's Road in the inner part of Edgbaston, in those days only a penny ride from the City Centre; and at the same time Bet unexpectedly inherited from a childless uncle enough money to enable us to buy them. One of the pair was inhabited by an aged maiden lady; the other was vacant and became our home.'
E.R. Dodds, 'Missing Persons

Today I had the honour of being allowed into the former home of Professor E.R. Dodds and his wife Annie, fondly known as Bet to E.R. For this I am deeply indebted to Mrs B. Pugh who currently lives there. Professor Dodds lived in Birmingham from 1924 to 1936, and around him buzzed much of the cultural life of the city. Perhaps he is best known for his  close association with the poets Louis MacNeice and W.H. Auden, both of whom regularly hung-out at home with the Doddses.

Like the rest of the country, Birmingham is covered in snow at the moment which made it all the more fortunate for me to see 6 Sir Harry's Road in weather pertinent to the address. Here, Louis MacNeice, while sitting in Dodds's study (above) and gazing out to the garden, was inspired to write 'Snow' (January 1935).

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