Partner Philip Trower

Queer Places:
Cley next the Sea, Holt NR25 7RN, UK
Harvard University (Ivy League), 2 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Image result for Dunstan ThompsonTerry Dunstan Thompson was born in New London, Conn., Aug. 30, 1918, the only son of Terry B. Thompson, a Naval officer, and Virginia Leita Thompson. Raised in a devout Catholic family, Thompson was educated at a variety of Catholic schools before entering Harvard in 1936. During his three years at Harvard, Thompson began exploring his vocation as a writer, especially as a poet; during this time Thompson experienced a loss of faith and left the Catholic Church and, at the same time, embarked on a homosexual lifestyle.

After leaving Harvard, without graduating, Thompson lived mainly in New York until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. During his time in New York, he edited, along with Harry Brown, a short-lived literary magazine entitled, Vice versa. In October, 1943, Thompson was posted to England and quickly met the leading literary figures of war-time London, inlcuding T.S. Eliot, John Lehmann, Cyril Connolly, the Sitwells, and Stephen Spender. During this year, Thompson published his first volume of poetry, Poems, to overall positive American reviews.

Thompson's first book was followed by a second book of poetry, Lament for the sleepwalker (1947), a travel book, The phoenix in the desert (1951), and a novel, The dove with the bough of olive (1954), a posthumous collection of poetry, Poems, 1950-1974, was published in 1984. After World War II, Thompson settled in England, to live in a small Norfolk town, Cley-Next-the-Sea, with Philip Trower, a fellow writer and artist. In 1952, after several years of drawing closer to the faith of his childhood, Thompson returned to the Catholic Church, and thereafter lived a platonic life of friendship with Philip Trower, until Thompson's death on Jan. 19, 1975, from complications of liver cancer.

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  1. From the description of Papers of Dunstan Thompson, 1865-2009 (bulk 1918-2008). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens).