25 Facts About Cecil Day-Lewis


Cecil Day-Lewis, often written as C Day-Lewis, was an Irish poet and Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972.


Cecil Day-Lewis wrote mystery stories under the pseudonym of Nicholas Blake.


Cecil Day-Lewis is the father of actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, and documentary filmmaker and television chef Tamasin Day-Lewis.


Cecil Day-Lewis was the son of Frank Day-Lewis, a Church of Ireland rector of that parish, and Kathleen Blake.


Cecil Day-Lewis's father took the surname "Day-Lewis" as a combination of his own birth father's and adoptive father's surnames.


Cecil Day-Lewis was educated at Sherborne School and at Wadham College, Oxford.


In Oxford, Day-Lewis became part of the circle gathered around W H Auden and helped him to edit Oxford Poetry 1927.


In 1928, Cecil Day-Lewis married Constance Mary King, the daughter of a Sherborne teacher.


Cecil Day-Lewis worked as a schoolmaster in three schools, including Larchfield School, Helensburgh, Scotland.


Cecil Day-Lewis met Jill at the recording of a radio programme in 1948 and began a relationship with her that year, despite being married to Mary.


Cecil Day-Lewis continued simultaneous relationships with his married wife Mary who lived with their two sons in Dorset, unmarried mistress Lehmann who lived in Oxfordshire, and Jill who was his latest love.


Cecil Day-Lewis eventually broke with both his wife and his mistress in order to be with Jill.


In 1946, Cecil Day-Lewis was a lecturer at Cambridge University, publishing his lectures in The Poetic Image.


Cecil Day-Lewis became a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 1950 Birthday Honours.


Cecil Day-Lewis later taught poetry at Oxford, where he was Professor of Poetry from 1951 to 1956.


Cecil Day-Lewis was appointed Poet Laureate in 1968, in succession to John Masefield.


Cecil Day-Lewis was chairman of the Arts Council Literature Panel, vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Member of the Irish Academy of Letters and a Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, London.


Cecil Day-Lewis died from pancreatic cancer on 22 May 1972, aged 68, at Lemmons, the Hertfordshire home of Kingsley Amis and Elizabeth Jane Howard, where he and his family were staying.


Cecil Day-Lewis's first two children, with Constance Mary King, were Sean Day-Lewis, a TV critic and writer, and Nicholas Day-Lewis, who became an engineer.


Cecil Day-Lewis's children with Balcon were Tamasin Day-Lewis, a television chef and food critic, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who became an award-winning actor.


Sean Day-Lewis wrote a biography of his father, C Day-Lewis: An English Literary Life.


Daniel Cecil Day-Lewis donated his father's archive of poetry to the Bodleian Library.


In 1935, Cecil Day-Lewis decided to increase his income from poetry by writing a detective novel, A Question of Proof under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake.


Cecil Day-Lewis created Nigel Strangeways, an amateur investigator and gentleman detective who, as the nephew of an Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, has access to official crime investigations.


Cecil Day-Lewis explains that the title refers to Prometheus bound by his chains, quotes Shelley's preface to Prometheus Unbound and says the contributors believe that "the Promethean fire of enlightenment, which should be given for the benefit of mankind at large, is being used at present to stoke up the furnaces of private profit".