W. E. Henley

(898 words)
  • Joseph M. Flora (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Among other distinctions, William Ernest Henley was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Long John Silver. Through his pirate, Stevenson paid tribute to his friend’s courage, vigor, and strong will. Indeed, many found Henley an intimidating figure. Like Dr. Samuel Johnson, with whom he has been compared, he was an arbiter of taste to be reckoned with. Henley helped define the literary climate of Great Britain in the last years of the nineteenth century. Henley’s image of manly bravado was the polar opposite of the green carnations of Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetes, and critic Jerome Hamilton Buckley identified him as the leading figure of the “counter-decadence” of the 1890s.

Early in his career, Henley was …

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Flora, Joseph M.. "W. E. Henley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 March 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2081, accessed 25 September 2016.]