Songs from The Garden of Kama
- Hope, Laurence

Poets Featured with External Resources

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Commentary

Songs from the Garden of Kama derives from the considerable success of Laurence Hope’s debut collection The Garden of Kama (1901), which went through eleven reprints before Heinemann decided to publish, posthumously, a photographically illustrated edition. Hope (1865-1904), pseudonym of Adela Violet Nicholson, was married to a commander in the Bombay Army and would accompany him to military camps along the north-west frontiers. Hope scholar Edward Marx characterises her poetry as, on one hand, dealing with ‘decadent fascinations such as opium smoking, erotic cruelty, cult of youth, slaves and despotic rulers, dancing girls, passion,’ yet on the other, in its insistence on female sexuality and the capacity of women to ‘experience emotional and physical intensities,’ it represented a radical expansion ‘of the emotional range of women’s poetry in this period.’ (Edward Marx, ‘Decadent Exoticism and the Woman Poet,’ Women and British Aestheticism, ed. Tali Schaffer and Kathy Alexis Psomiades (Charlottesville; London: University Press of Virginia, 1999), 139-57, p.148.)

The photographic illustrations, however, were not so decadent. Taken by Mabel Eardley-Wilmot, wife of Sainthill Eardley-Wilmot, Inspector-General of Forests to the Government of India from 1903-1908, the photographs depict the serenity of the Indian countryside and, with two other photopoetry books, constitute a significant collection of Indian topographical images. In general, the images reflect a vision of the British picturesque common in commercial photography in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and their manner of illustrating verse can be compared with photographically illustrated editions of Scott and Wordsworth from this period.

Photographs in this volume are the Estate of Mabel Eardley-Wilmot and may not be reproduced without permission.

Book Details

Author: Hope, Laurence
Title: Songs from The Garden of Kama
Publication Year: 1909
Poets Featured: Hope, Laurence
Photographers Featured: Eardley-Wilmot, Mabel
Subjects: Love poetry, English, Love poetry, Indic, English poetry
Photographic process: Relief halftones

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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