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Thread: What is "Slopham's works" in the C.J. Dennis poem "The Philistine"?

  1. #1

    What is "Slopham's works" in the C.J. Dennis poem "The Philistine"?

    Does anyone know what the phrase "Slopham's works" would refer to?

    In the poem "The Philistine" by C.J. Dennis (Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, 1918), he mentions "Slopham’s works" in such a way as it would seem that Slopham was a widely-known author or artist, someone who would have been known by readers of the poem.

    Good books he seldom seems to read;
    In Art all taste he lacks.
    To Slopham’s works he pays no heed;
    He scorns my almanacks —
    Framed almanacks! It’s simply rot
    To hear the fellow prate
    About Velasquez, Villon, Scott,
    And such folk out of date.

    In the same stanza he mentions Velasquez, Villon, Scott as being out of date, so - conversely - it appears that Slopham was a "modern", circa 1918.

    The other names mentioned are real people, so it would seem likely that Slopham is real too (rather than a creation just for the poem):
    Velasquez = Diego Rodr*guez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), Spanish painter
    Villon = François Villon (ca.1431-1463), French poet
    Scott = presumably referring to Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), Scottish poet and novelist

    Searching the net reveals that Slopham is a town in the UK, as well as being a character in a short story (entitled "Poor Ogla-Moga"), but neither of those seems to fit the bill.
    There was nothing in Trove's newspapers (apart from one misspelt street name).

    If anyone could shed some light on Slopham in the context of the poem, it would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    More searching for Slopham as an author or artist has not revealed anything particularly new.
    Although there are several entries on the net that misdirect to items with the name Stopham, so another possibility is that SLopham could be a typing error of STopham.

    Stopham is a town in England
    and there is the subsequent surname of Stopham
    e.g. Sir Ralph Stopham

    However, nothing appears to be relevant to the context of C.J. Dennis' poem.
    It is only a very minor issue, but it would be good to know what he was referring to.

    As before - if anyone could shed some light on Slopham (Stopham?) in the context of the poem, it would be appreciated.

  3. #3
    Another possibility could be that Slopham is a first name, rather than a surname.

    In the Norfolk Transcription Archive Slopham is given as the first name of Mr. Slopham Danish, although it has been entered with a question mark (as presumably the original historical entry is unclear in its spelling).

    However, in the context of "The Philistine" by C.J. Dennis, it doesn't answer the question.
    I certainly haven't been able to locate a reasonable explanation; whether it be a reference to a real person, or as to why Dennis would choose it as a fictional reference.

    This one appears to fall into the "unlikely to be discovered" basket.

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