Janet Adam Smith and Michael Roberts at Pike's Farm in Surrey, April 1937.
© T. S. Eliot Estate; from the collection of the T. S. Eliot Estate.

Michael Roberts


Michael Roberts (1902–48), poet, critic, editor; educated at King’s College London (where he read chemistry), and at Trinity College, Cambridge (mathematics). In the 1930s he worked as a schoolteacher, in London and at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne. After WW2, during which he worked for the BBC European Service, he became Principal of the Church of England training college of St Mark and St John, Chelsea, London. He edited the watershed anthologies New Signatures (1932), New Country (1933), and The Faber Book of Modern Verse (1936). Other works include The Modern Mind (1937), T. E. Hulme (1938), The Recovery of the West (1941). In 1935 he married the critic, literary editor and biographer Janet Adam Smith (1905–99). See A Portrait of Michael Roberts, ed. T. W. Eason and R. Hamilton (1949); Jason Harding, ‘The Criterion’: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Inter-War Britain (2002). See further TSE, ‘Introduction’, A Portrait of Michael Roberts, x–xii; ‘Views and Reviews: Michael Roberts’, New English Weekly 34 [13 Jan. 1949], 164).

Janet Adam Smith wrote to Eliot in 1949, following Michael Roberts’s death: ‘I told Michael, after I had seen you in September, that you had said “I love Michael.” He came back to it more than once – “I had not known he had felt that.”’