About Alfred Austin
Appointed Poet Laureate in 1896, Austin was born in Headingley and was educated at Stonyhurst College, St Mary’s College and at the University of London. His upbringing was Roman Catholic but moved towards agnosticism over time. He trained as a lawyer before turning to literature. Austin developed an interest in politics. He wrote for the Tory Standard and was a founding editor of the Conservative Party’s National Review. As well as poetry, Austin published drama and novels.
His work was not universally well received, likewise his appointment as Poet Laureate with accusations of favouritism aligned to his support of Conservative politics. His poetry has been described as popularizing prose idylls celebrating nature. Austin was also known for his acerbic criticism and jingoistic verse.