The Michaelian
the michaelian

issue one: june 2009

The Very Stage and Theatre of our Dramatic Happiness”: Scenes from Michael Field’s Rottingdean

Kirsty Bunting

A few miles east of Brighton lies a small seaside village named Rottingdean, which came to be the backdrop for many of the most significant moments in the lives of Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper.  It was to Rottingdean that the poets and playwrights fled when in need of inspiration, escape and solace, prompting Bradley to describe it as “the very stage and theatre of our dramatic happiness.”1  This study illuminates Bradley and Cooper’s visits to Rottingdean by describing three key events that took place there.  My intention is to highlight the significance of Rottingdean as a place of collaboration, celebration, mourning and reunion for Bradley and Cooper, as well as providing a new perspective on the later years and final works of “Michael Field.”

Rottingdean had a suitably artistic appeal for the poets: the homes of Burne Jones and Kipling stand in the village’s centre, whilst Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton and Maurice Baring were regular visitors.  The village also held the added attraction of one of the nineteenth-century’s most pioneering, though ill-fated, achievements of electrical engineering: the sea-going Volk’s Electric Railway. 2  The old smock windmill which still stands on Beacon Hill today would have been a familiar and welcoming sight to Bradley and Cooper as they made their many return visits.  The wind-beaten hills above Rottingdean which overlook the sea are punctuated with stone-age burial mounds, all of which appealed to Bradley and Cooper’s passion for the ancient, pagan, and natural.3     

These passions motivated the collaborators to seek alternative spaces in which to think and talk about the texts they would eventually write, spaces far from the home library, study, or garret (spaces which have notionally contained the activities of the solitary author-genius); instead they wrote, and found inspiration to write, upon hillsides and sea cliffs, in flower meadows, art galleries, woodlands, and even before their own garden altar to Dionysus.

Bradley’s statement that, “[w]e have many things to say that the world will not tolerate from a woman’s lips.  We must be free as dramatists to work out in the open air of nature [ . . . ] we cannot be stifled by drawing room conventionalities,” speaks not only of their desire for even-handedness in their critical reception, but of a craving to escape the home-space, and its traditions, duties and routines, in order to more fully access and express themselves imaginatively and poetically (“W&D” Add. Ms. 46866.[23 Nov. 1884, fol. 7]).  By being imaginative about the sites in which their creativity took place, the poets deny the contemporaneous critical tendency which sanctified the actual space in which writing took place and valorised the moment in which pen was put to paper, the tendency which also valorised solitary endeavour and the tradition of male literary authority.

When collaborative literary talk and writing did take place in their home-space they attempted to transform their rooms into something entirely different, investing them with new meaning, rituals, traditions and uses.  For instance, at the height of what Camille Cauti calls their “loose neoclassical paganism” (181) the journals are replete with instances of the bringing of wild flowers into their home, especially in spring when it is decked with Snowdrops, Hellebores and Daphne. A letter of 1886 from Cooper to Robert Browning, which described Bradley decorating their mantle-shelf and study with blackberry blossom, reads: “You may like to know that she made the bramble-bough the emblem of our united life. That is why it is drawn on the cover [of their most recent play Brutus Ultor]” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46866. [12 Apr.] fol. 7).  The collaborators employed flowers and boughs as signs of their connection with each other, a connection that is grounded in their love of the garden, field and woodland.4  

Just as the poets imaginatively transformed their home, they also re-imagined the hills above Rottingdean as an enabling space in which they could explore and discuss their connection to each other.  The conceptual, liberatory landscape of Rottingdean came to play a significant role in their creation of the idiosyncratic personal mythology of pagan-Catholicism which posited themselves as semi-divine ‘parents’ to another ‘wild’ symbol of their literary endeavour and their love: their beloved pet dog Whym Chow.  Scholars have already explored how the poets were able to experience and express their passion for one another whilst redirecting it as affection for their dog and how this emotional investment in Whym Chow became ever more ritualised as it came into conflict with (and was later incorporated into) their burgeoning and increasingly ascetic Catholicism.5   This resulted in their hailing Whym Chow, who they called their “Bacchic Cub,” as a son or Christ-figure in their configuration of themselves as a “holy trinity.”6   The poets had followed a mixture of faiths (both antique and modern, in solemn reverence as well as with maenad-like exuberance) and the arrival of Whym Chow further facilitated and inspired this tendency to pantheism, describing their dog as their, “link/ with God and Maenads in one rapture wide” (“O Dionysus, at thy Feet,” l. 12 Field, Whym Chow, 3).7   As Yopie Prins demonstrates, this interest in ancient religion and pagan poetics was compounded by the collaborators’ formal education in things classical (Bradley read Greek, whilst Cooper read Philosophy at University College, Bristol).  In her consideration of “the implications of Greek eros” as it circulated between women in Victorian England, Prins argues that the poets identified themselves with the Greek Maenads of antiquity, and in so doing, “found an imaginary alternative to the Victorian spinster,” an empowering and enabling motif with which they could explore and celebrate their links to each other and to the worlds of literature and nature (Prins, 46).   I suggest that their emotional and imaginative investment in the ancient, pagan and natural worlds, and their adoption of Whym Chow as a symbol and point of exchange of their love, reached its highest points during the poets’ many return visits to Rottingdean, as the ocean views, open skies and green hillsides inspired them to moments of heightened communion and creativity. 

Whym Chow and Rottingdean

Bradley and Cooper first took Whym Chow to Rottingdean when he was a puppy and returned there with him on at least eight occasions, once each year of his life.  Whym Chow’s death on 28 January 1906 prompted an outpouring of memories of ‘the Trinity’s’ maenadic revels on the hills.  After the poets had their aged pet euthanized and buried his body (decked in Hellebores, Daphne and Ivy, and anointed with wine) in their garden beneath a statue of Dionysus, they immediately fled to Rottingdean as neither poet could bear to remain in their Richmond home.  Cooper wrote, “One thing alone is certain—we must leave Paragon at once if Michael is to be revived.  It is a memorial to the eye and a grave-vault to the heart.  We must make all things new” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46795. [29 Jan. 1906] fol. 20).  They spent this visit to Rottingdean in “mental desperation and yearning” (same as previous); only as they walked on the Downs above Rottingdean did they find solace.  In the journal Cooper recorded that there the poets were able to experience a kind of reunion with their dead pet whose image they saw, “at every step about Downs and Village [ . . . ].  On the great Tristam Down [ . . . ] in the dancing light of the high downs we are all together, among the tussocks” ([11 Feb. 1906] fol. 20). Cooper wrote:

Everywhere at every step, his little lambent body; its most familiar, endearing movement. [ . . . ]  Fierce the grief—Cruel, almost brutal at times [ . . . ]. But at once the great wind of the hills gave me voice to perpetually sing of him, the slopes sustained me; deliverance was around me as my Chow poems welled.” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46795. n.d. fol. 20)

This poetic ‘welling’ refers to the inspiration to write the 30 poems which made the Whym Chow: Flame of Love memorial collection (unpublished until 1914), prompting Cooper to call Rottingdean the “great home of my conceptions” ([20 Mar 1906] fol. 20).8

This reunion, both in literature and in spirit upon the Downs, highlights the significance of Rottingdean in their Bacchic-Catholic poetics and the ‘Trinity’ with Whym Chow.  Such a reunion could not take place in their Richmond or Reigate haunts; it is instead inspired by the landscape of Rottingdean’s “elemental ground” where, Cooper wrote after a day in the hills, “I can always get him back to me in the rayshine of sun and air” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46795. [11 Feb. 1906] fol. 20).9   Amongst the blustery valleys and opens skies of Rottingdean they were reunited in a nostalgic return to the joyful early days of their ‘Trinity,’ when Chow was a puppy and the poets wrote pagan verses in celebration of their union.    

Conversion and Rottingdean

The death of Whym Chow prompted the poets’ conversion to Catholicism, bringing with it fractures in the unificatory nature of their personal spiritual mythology and unsettling Rottingdean as a symbol of this union.  Cooper’s conversion followed hard upon confessional talks with Father Goss, their first priest, who “lashed me with Catholic realities [ . . . ] made me shake with tears of shame and humiliation, and then from the secrecy of the intimate truth of my being, known to him” (W&D, 325).10   On hearing of Cooper’s secret conversion Bradley reportedly exclaimed, “But this is terrible! I too shall have to become a Catholic!” (W&D, 271).  Bradley seems to have experienced great misgivings about renouncing her previous spiritual life and her conversion did not come as easily as Cooper’s.  Cooper’s journal entries around this time expressed her own trauma of separation from Bradley and their old pagan poetry, praying “God make us one in a new tenderness of love, in a compact joy in each other as Catholics.  May we have confidence in each other as poets—word by word, poets that are one poet in God, the eternal word incarnate” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46797 [Dec. 1907] fol. 21). Bradley described the day of her own conversion in less hopeful terms: “It cost much for us—who are one poet – thus to break in twain” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46797 [Dec. 1907] fol. 21).  Bradley clung to her semi-Pagan Catholicism claiming, “I love all that is pagan in the church so dearly. I love the Paschal Candle with a great hugging love.  I want to sing to the bees who make the wax” (McCormack, 321).

Catholic observance represented a threat to their collaborative methodology of discussion and this was brought home to them when on a religious retreat in October 1910.  Cooper wrote in the journal that the two were driven almost to madness by the sanctuary’s enforced silence: 

We have just been out into the Garden.  The fearful roar of the trams has made us hysterical, & the restraint of the speechless breakfast is such that deep calls to deep in us to utter language—& we go out to cry to the flowers.  The abounding charity of the artichoke flower-head! The love with which I slide kisses into a mouthy rose [. . .] How we hail afar the rockets shot up by salsify!  In the garden we let out the roar that is within us, by degrees, so that the whole convent does not hear the earthquake. (“W&D” Add. Ms 46800 [11 Oct. 1910] fol. 25)

This journal entry exists as evidence of the tensions raised when the intimate communing of the collaborators was stifled in religious observance which meant their erotic bond, the sharing of love lyrics and their celebration of the natural and pagan world were renounced under the ascetic auspices of Catholic devotion.  This was one of many occasions on which the poets felt they must momentarily break from the restrictions of religion in order to “utter language” which God and priest would not tolerate.  It is also significant that in this moment of tension the poets rush out into the pagan space of the garden, finding release in the natural and the wild.  This can be read as a brief return to their earlier joint incarnation as maenadic poet-lovers taking pleasure and comfort from the natural world.  The changes wrought by their conversion were again thrown into sharp relief during their subsequent visits to Rottingdean, which were again recorded in their jointly-written journal.

By the time of their 1912 visit to Rottingdean (from 31 August to 28 September) their observance of Catholic strictures had weakened their emotional bond and stifled their poetic freedom and the journals for this period contain many statements of how distant they have grown.  Cooper was gravely ill and rested most of the day whilst Bradley walked alone to church.  Yet here at Rottingdean they were inspired to a romantic reunion when The Academy, unbeknown to the poets, reprinted two of their early love-lyrics from the collection Long Ago (1889).11   Bradley left the periodical on Cooper’s bed before leaving for Mass.  Cooper described her discovery of the poems thus:

My eye falls on the signature Michael Field under Two poems, reproduced from Twenty-five years ago!  And the first poem “No beauty born of pride my lady hath” Oh my beloved, my lover of all those years ago! And the poem has been put fore my eyes!  The joy of that fine and lovely praise—the jet of that worship through my heart—the sweetness of reading of my beauty when young [ . . . ] I am warm, beating with life in the wraps of that adorable poem—a love song that exalted me to the ages and Michael comes in from Mass [ . . .], it is so poignant. We weep together, the strength of twenty five years in our weeping. (“W&D” Add. Ms 40802 [9 Sept. 1912] fol. 27). 

Cooper was shocked to read the name “Michael Field” because since their conversion much of their published output had been printed anonymously in order to distance themselves from their earlier pagan and Sapphic associations.  This emotional reunion resulted in the resumption of their collaboration as they continued to edit Iphigenia in Arsacia whilst in Rottingdean. 12  In the journal, Cooper acknowledged Rottingdean’s part in this reunion, hailing it as, “Rottingdean of the great inspirations and dramatic achievements!” and “one of the great inspirations” of their lives (“W&D” Add. Ms 46802 [24 Sept. 1912] fol. 27).  Rottingdean, then, with its associations with what they had come to dismiss as their ‘old’ poetry, memories of Whym Chow and their creation of their own ‘Holy Trinity,’ allowed them a moment of ecstatic reunion, and a rekindling of their old romance and collaborative fervour.  However these raptures were to be short lived; Copper was already suffering from the cancer that would prove fatal in December 1913.
Rottingdean, Mourning and a Return to Pagan Poetics

Days after Cooper’s death, Bradley wrote the following journal entry:

I have been praying—praying the Verbum Dei that I may sing glorious sunset songs with her, and for her, and to her. —My great hope in God shall be that I may do this—Henry, 13 my Beloved, I am with thee again, and beside thee in our work . . . Sing with me, through me, O my Beloved. (“W&D” Add. Ms 40804A. [31 Dec. 1913] fol. 29)

Bradley hoped to continue to write under the influence of, and in honour of, her deceased literary partner.  Bradley, then also dying of cancer, wrote twelve known poems in the nine months between Cooper’s death and her own on 26 September 1914.  What follows is an examination of how this poetry illustrates Bradley’s crisis of faith after Cooper’s death: a crisis stemming in particular from her sense of having lost her link to the natural world, to God and to Whym Chow.  These broken links, I will argue, could only be re-established by one final visit to Rottingdean.

The first and rawest lyrical expression of Bradley’s grief came in the form of a sonnet entitled “To Love,” dated 13 December 1913, the day of Cooper’s death.  It figures the precise moment of the separation of the two poets.  Bradley ventriloquises Cooper from purgatorial limbo, thus reversing their tragic situation by imagining Cooper relating her experience of parting from Bradley.  It begins:

I had detached myself, I had grown free—
A creature must not hold me on the rack,
I broke from her, I left her on her track
Of doom and bore to God. (ll. 1–4; Wattlefold, 200)

Bradley figures Cooper’s death as an abandonment and an act of Cooper’s agency and not as a result of God’s will or the failure of Cooper’s suffering body.  Cooper is prevented in her ascent to paradise, summoned back to the surviving collaborator by the strength of Bradley’s love and desolation:

               Love smiled on me
Fecund from his infinity,
And caught my chains and bade me hurry back
To that lone figure, that she might not lack
One minute’s daily assiduity. (ll. 4–8)

The next lines fantasise Cooper able neither to keep the grave (l. 12) or to return to Bradley, prevented from ascending to heaven Cooper sends raindrops to remind Bradley of her proximity.  Therefore, this is no lyrical representation of the deceased in Paradise as one might expect from a Christian poet; this is consistent with Bradley finding little solace in the thought of a specifically Catholic afterlife.  Bradley’s frustration mounts until the journal records her outburst, “How we loved so much all men have marvelled, and yet the Church severed us” (“W&D” 46804A. P17 [20 Jan. 1914] fol. 29). 

Bradley was much troubled by thoughts of Cooper suffering in purgatory at the will of a God seeking penitence for her earthly sins.  Her journal entry for Easter Monday 1914 records a discussion about these misgivings with Father Gray:

I open up my grief at the Church’s action—first speaking of the loved as among the angels, then after a few weeks in purgatory.  I tell him how this has checked me—I use the simile of Henry landing in Australia + enjoying the Kangaroos, & Henry still tossing in an unknown sea. (“W&D” Add. Ms 46804A. fol. 29)

Bradley went on to write a series of poems which convey the ineffectuality of the Mass, prayer, or their home altar in offering any real sense of comfort or reconnection with Cooper.  

Another poem, written six weeks after Cooper’s death, begins:

          I am thy charge, thy care!
Thou art praying for me,
And about my bed,
About my ways [...] (“I am thy Charge, thy Care!”, ll. 1–4; Wattlefold, 202)

Here Bradley attempts to re-establish their connection by imagining both poets engaging in the same communicative behaviour—prayer.  She imagines Cooper praying specifically for her, but despite this talking aloud to, and about, each other in a conversational triangle with God, Bradley is acutely aware of the lack of communicative connection.  She continues:   

[...] but there are things one misses—
It is the little cup
That I drink up,
The cup full of thee, offered every day—
I come for it, as birds draw to a brook—
It is the reflex of thee, in thy nook,
Caught sideways in a mirror as I pray—
My precious Heap [...] (ll. 5–12)

This suggests it was their talk which Bradley missed most, describing it here as Eucharistic sustenance through the imagery of the “little [communion] cup.”  Combining reminiscences of their daily talk and spiritual union with imagery of the Holy Communion taken at their household altar emphasises how Bradley missed Cooper most when performing the religious rituals they had shared, since it was Cooper who had led Bradley in Catholic life.  Without Cooper’s influence and encouragement Bradley was struggling to find succour in lone worship.  The poem’s final image shows the inconsolable Bradley troubled by the persistent thought of Cooper in her coffin, her beauty decaying:

My jewel, in the casket of thy sleep.
Beloved, it is the little wreath of kisses,
I wove about thy head, thy withering hair. (ll. 13–15)

This final passage collapses the poem’s opening image of a spectral Cooper praying and watching over Bradley, and in doing so emphasises the failure of the act of writing this poem as an attempt to repair her broken connection to Cooper.     

Bradley’s fear of losing entirely her connection with her collaborator and her growing sense of the ineffectual nature of Catholic worship in maintaining a connection to her is picked up again in “Fading,” written in March 1914 and printed in The Wattlefold in seven stanzas.   Bradley’s original draft in the journal contains only the first four stanzas.  It begins:

Nay, I have lost thee, and I cannot find!
No image of thee wavers in my mind,
My memory is growing blind. (ll. 1–3; Wattlefold, 204)

This loss is again figured in terms of Bradley and Cooper being unable to communicate, and this frustrating separation is described in relation to the redundant religious paraphernalia (mirror, candle and incense) on their home-altar.  Stanza six reads:

Dead is thy mirror, dead as of desire,
The altar dumb, uncommuned with the fire,
Lacking of life the little curling spire.  (ll. 16–19)

There is no immediacy in Bradley’s prayer any more, the altar provides no answers and is “dumb” in Cooper’s absence. 

Having reached a spiritual impasse and unable to “sing glorious sunset songs with her, and for her, and to her” as Bradley had originally planned, the poet made one last journey to Rottingdean, and from there in March 1914 she wrote to a friend, “You will rejoice to know I have written a poem or two—one pagan.  I am reverting to the pagan, to the humanity of Virgil, to the moods that make life so human and sweet” (Sturgeon, 57). On 19 February an elated Bradley wrote in the last volume of the journal:

How sweet it is to be allowed this farewell visit to Rottingdean—the very stage and theatre of our dramatic happiness [ . . . ] How the holy trinity comes and sings to me and gathers me to its unity [ . . . ] How God is blessing me.  To come again to our Rottingdean—to be greeted— to bid farewell.  Our dear, dear Rottingdean—Chow’s Rottingdean!  How God does lead me!  From that first blind weeping when Hennie and I left Chow’s little body buried in Paragon Gardens, & we came in despair to Rottingdean & went sobbing all about Chow’s haunts—on to today—when I am alone [ . . ] my Hennie in the dark with God—I myself, perhaps, so near death.  (“W&D” Add.Ms 40804A fol. 29)

On Shrove Tuesday as Bradley roamed in the hills above Rottingdean she finally achieved the reconnection to Cooper she had longed for:

The Wonder!   It has been worthwhile coming here for this perfect Day.  I have been alone with Hennie on the downs [ . . . ] the trees blow, the cawing of the rooks —afar the High Barn —our Pagan Church—Our Rottingdean—the earth, the air—the old windmill and  one soft curling cloud. (“W&D” Add. Ms 40804A fol. 29)

The ‘pagan’ poem Bradley told her friend about was “Fellowship” (included as a last word amongst Cooper’s early poems in Dedicated: An Early Work of Michael Field [1914]).  This poem imagines the collaborators reunited in a romantic dreamscape which combines ancient myth and legend with the seashore and hills of Rottingdean:

In the old accents I will sing, my Glory, my
In the old accents, tipped with flame, before we
     knew the right,
True way of singing with reserve.  O Love, with
     pagan might,
          White in our steeds, and white too in our armour
     let us ride,
Immortal, white triumphing, flashing downward
    side by side
To where our friends, the Argonauts, are fighting
     with the tide. (ll. 1–12; Dedicated, 123)

The dying Bradley imagines the poets sailing together into the waves and towards a reunion in death:

Let us draw calm to them, Beloved, the souls on
    heavenly voyage bound,
Saluting as one presence.  Great disaster were it
 If one, with half-fed lambency should halt and
     flicker round.
           O friends so fondly loving, so beloved, look up
    to us,
In constellation breaking on your errand, pros-
O Argonauts!
     Now faded from their sight,
We cling and joy. It was thy intercession gave
    me right,
My Fellow, to this fellowship.  My glory, my
    delight. (ll. 12–28)

At last, having rejected the reserve and restrictions that the Catholic faith had placed upon her and which she had long struggled with, Bradley was able to write the poem of mourning she had been longing for, a poem which was a celebration of the great days of their romance, “before we knew the right,/True way of singing with reserve.”  The poets are reunited “as one presence” during Bradley’s spring-time walks in the wild landscape of the Downs above Rottingdean.  This final moment of reunion, achieved through reminiscence of their shared love for Chow and their hillside revelries in Rottingdean, inspired Bradley’s publication, just days before her death, of Whym Chow Flame of Love which had been written in Rottingdean eight years earlier.

I have presented three brief but significant moments in the lives of Bradley and Cooper: the death of Whym Chow and the poets’ imaginative reunion with him on Rottingdean’s Beacon Hill; their emotional and literary reconnection after a growing estrangement as Cooper lay dying; and Bradley’s reversion to the pagan mode of worship and writing which enabled a brief, ecstatic moment of reconnection with Cooper on the hills above Rottingdean just days before her own death.  These illustrative vignettes from their time in the coastal village all emphasise Rottingdean’s significance as an enabling, inspiring, and recurring motif in their shared lives, love and literature. 

Kirsty Bunting
The University of Birmingham

1 “W&D”40804A [19 Feb 1914] fol. 29.  This study draws upon the archival collection of “Michael Field” journals and correspondence held by The British Library, St. Pancras.  I make especial use of the 30 volumes of the “Michael Field” journals entitled “Works and Days” which contain entries written by both Bradley and Cooper.  Reference to these volumes will be cited: “W&D” (shelf-mark [from Add.Ms. 46776 to Add.Ms. 46804] followed by the folio number [1 to 30] and the journal entry date).  References to the eight volumes of correspondence and miscellaneous material in the same collection will be referenced as: (Add.Ms. Followed by the Ms. number which runs from 45851 to 46867, then the date and correspondents).   
2 The “daddy long legs” railway, which linked an inaccessible stretch of the Brighton-Rottingdean coast, opened in 1896 and closed in 1901 unable to withstand the damage caused by storms and the shifting shingle beneath it. For more information on the village see S. Moens and H. Blyth, Rottingdean: The Story of a Village (Brighton: John Beal & Son, 1953).
3 The poets visited nearby Brighton only once (this in 1906), spending their holidays exclusively in the much smaller Rottingdean village.
4The idea of the poets employing and transforming images drawn from nature in order to create a language with which to discuss their own erotic and collaborative relationship is in line with Chris White’s reading of Bradley and Cooper’s “metaphors of pleasure and desire”.  See Christ White. “Flesh and Roses: Michael Field’s Metaphors of Pleasure and Desire” Women’s Writing 3.1 [1996]: 47–62.
5 For instance Marion Thain. ‘Damnable Aestheticism’ and the Turn to Rome: John Gray, Michael Field and a Poetics of Conversion.” The Fin-de-Siècle Poem. Ed. Joseph Bristow (Ohio: Ohio UP, 2005: 311–36), or Frederick Roden’s Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Religious Culture (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).
6 “Bacchic Cub” comes from “O Dionysus, at Thy Feet”( Whym Chow, 14), whilst their notion of Whym Chow as the completing member of a loving Holy Trinity was expressed in their poem “Trinity,” which reads: “I did not love him for myself alone/ I loved him that he loved my dearest love./ O God, no blasphemy/ Is it to feel we loved in trinity,” (l. 1–3; Whym Chow, 15).
7 Bradley had written to Havelock Ellis in 1889, “[t]here is an atrocious superstition about me that I am orthodox [ . . . ] whereas I am Christian, pagan, pantheist, and other things the name of which I do not know” (Mary Sturgeon. Michael Field  [1921] 47), whilst Cooper had called herself a mixture of “Greek, Roman, Barbarian, Catholic” (“W&D” Add. Ms 46779 [9 Aug 1891] fol. 4). 
8 The journal of 4 March 1906 confirms that all 30 poems were written in Rottingdean and largely by Cooper.
9 The poets describe Rottingdean as “elemental ground” in the poem “Created” (l. 9; Whym Chow, 33).
10 For more on this see Ellis Hanson’s Decadence and Catholicism (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1997) which describes the conversion to Catholicism of many decadent poets around this time, whilst Ruth Vanita explores women writers’ turn to Marian worship (including Bradley and Cooper)  in  Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination (New York: Columbia UP, 1996). 
11 This early collection was inspired by the fragments of the Lesbian poet, Sappho.
12Iphigenia in Arsacia proved to be the last play they collaborated on. 
13 Bradley referred to Cooper as Hernry or Hennie.

Works Cited

Manuscript Sources
Bradley, Katharine and Edith Cooper. “Works and Days.” Add. Ms. 45851–46867.  British Library.

Published Sources
Cauti, Camille. Michael Field’s Pagan Catholicism” Michael Field and Their World. Eds.  
Margaret D. Stetz and Cheryl A. Wilson. High Wycombe: Rivendale Press, 2007.
Field, Michael.  Dedicated: An Early Work of Michael Field. London: G. Bell and sons, 1914.
—. Long Ago. London: G Bell, 1889.
—. The Wattlefold: Unpublished Poems by Michael Field. Oxford: Blackwell, 1930.
—. Whym Chow: Flame of Love. London: Eragny Press, 1914.
—. Works and Days: From the Journal of Michael Field. Eds. T. and D.C. Sturge- Moore. London: John Murray, 1933.
Hanson, Ellis.  Decadence and Catholicism. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1997.
McCormack, Jerusha Hull. John Gray: Poet, Dandy, Priest.London: New England UP, 1991.
Moens, S. and Blyth, H. Rottingdean: The Story of a Village. Brighton: John Beal & Son,  1953.
Prins, Yopie. “Greek Maenads, Victorian Spinsters.” Victorian Sexual Dissidence. Ed. 
Richard Dellamora. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1999.
Roden, Frederick. Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Religious Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Sturgeon, Mary.  Michael Field.  London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1921.
Thain, Marion. ‘Damnable Aestheticism’ and the Turn to Rome: John Gray, Michael Field and a Poetics of Conversion.” The Fin-de-Siècle Poem. Ed. Joseph Bristow. Ohio: Ohio UP, 2005: 311–36.
Vanita, Ruth. Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination. New York: Columbia UP, 1996. 
White, Christ. “Flesh and Roses: Michael Field’s Metaphors of Pleasure and Desire.” Women’s Writing 3.1 (1996): 47–62.