Thomas, Edward

Thomas, Edward (1878 - 1917)


Born March 3, 1878, in London, Edward Thomas had his education at St. Paul's School and Lincoln College, Oxford University, from which he graduated in 1900 with a history degree. Having married Helen Noble in 1899 and with a baby son, Merfyn, to support, Thomas became a professional writer. In his brief 15-year career he produced over two dozen books and many dozens of reviews. He focused on local history and literary figures. His books dealt with such authors as George Borrow, William Cobbett, John Dyer, George Herbert, Richard Jefferies, John Keats, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Pater, and Algernon Charles Swinburne. As his family grew with the birth of daughters Bronwen (1902) and Myfanwy (1910), so did his financial problems. He intermittently fell ill from 1903 onward. Thomas only began writing poems in late 1914 after a visit from Robert Frost. A pseudonym Edward Eastaway, used in Six Poems (1916), enabled him to isolate poetry from his professional writing. In 1915 his two years of war service began when he joined the Artists' Rifles. After spending some months as a map-reading instructor at Hare Hall Camp in Romford, he became an officer cadet and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant, 244 Siege Battery, R. G. A., and volunteered for overseas duty in late 1916. Just before he left England he looked over the proofs of his contributions to An Annual of New Poetry. Thomas died from a shell explosion on April 9, 1917, at Ronville, just as the Arras offensive started. The diary he carried held a picture of Helen.

  • Eckert, Robert Paul. Edward Thomas, A Biography and a Bibliography (London: Dent, 1937). PR 6039 H55Z7 Robarts Library
  • Kirkham, Michael. The Imagination of Edward Thomas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). PR 6039 H55Z745 Robarts Library
  • Longley, E. "Thomas, (Philip) Edward (1878–1917)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Oct. 2009.
  • Thomas, Edward. Six poems by Edward Eastaway ([Flansham, England]: J. Guthrie at the Pear Tree Press, [between 1916 and 1921]. end ovs T464 A155 1916b Fisher Rare Book Library
  • --. Poems (London: Selwyn & Blount, 1917). PR 6039 H55P6 Robarts Library
  • --. Last poems (London: Selwyn & Blount, 1918). PR 6039 H55L3 Robarts Library
  • --. Poems and Last Poems, ed. Edna Longley (London and Glasgow: Collins, 1973). PR 6039 H55 A17 York University Library
  • --. Collected Poems, ed. R. George Thomas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978). PR 6039 H55A17 1978 Robarts Library
  • --. Poems by Edward Thomas ("Edward Eastaway") with an introduction by Myfanwy Thomas and reproduction of a letter written by Edward Thomas (London: Department of Printed Books, Imperial War Museum, 1997). PR 6039 .H55A17 1997 Robarts Library
  • Thomas, R. George. Edward Thomas: A Portrait (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985). PR 6039 .H55 Z89 Robarts Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
March 3, 1878
Death Date
April 9, 1917
Family Relations
father : Philip Henry Thomas
mother : Mary Elizabeth Thomas
wife : Helen Thomas (from 1899)
  • Soldier

Literary Period
Literary Movement
Cause of Death
First RPO Edition