The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp (The life of William Henry Davies)

DAVIES, WILLIAM HENRY (1871 - 1940), poet and author
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W. A vagrant de Tocqueville gives an eloquent, dry-eyed report of his tramping adventures in the violent underworld of late 19th century America and Britain An untutored Welsh tramp who became a popular poet acclaimed by the conservative Georgians and the vanguard Ezra Pound alike, W. Davies surprised his contemporaries with the unlikeliest portrait of the artist as a young A vagrant de Tocqueville gives an eloquent, dry-eyed report of his tramping adventures in the violent underworld of late 19th century America and Britain An untutored Welsh tramp who became a popular poet acclaimed by the conservative Georgians and the vanguard Ezra Pound alike, W.

Davies surprised his contemporaries with the unlikeliest portrait of the artist as a young man ever written. After a delinquent childhood Davies renounced home and apprenticeship and at twenty-two sailed to America—the first of more than a dozen Atlantic crossings, often made by cattle boat. From to he was schooled by the hard men of the road, disdaining regular work and subsisting by begging.

His foot was crushed and his leg amputated. Get A Copy. Published January 7th by North Books first published More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp. Lists with This Book.

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A book which I have read several times over the last 30 years - recommended by a much respected English teacher in my high school. Maybe one of the best 'road' stories, literally. In music we hear about some of this background in Woody Guthrie's songs, but this is raw and real.

I'll put it back again on my 'to read' shelf. As I am Welsh, it really resonates.

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May 16, Feliks rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction-general , classic-brit. Unusual reading material, some might say As a sign that it is 'raw' and 'unvarnished' and may 'crimp our modern ears' there is not just one but three separate introductions built-in to-the-reading experience in order to 'prepare' we contemporary readers for WH Davies' 'rustic' and 'salty' ruminations.

There's an original introduction by none other than grand-old-man- Unusual reading material, some might say There's an original introduction by none other than grand-old-man-of-British-stage, playwright George Bernard Shaw, who was frank in his admiration of the "coarse" prose preserved intact but then--adding gross insult--two cringing current-day 'apologies' hastily enlisted by the today's fastidious publisher of the work.

To spare our tender sensibilities, I'm sure. To my way of thinking there's no need to 'apologize' for this extremely fun, muscular autobiography. The author has that wonderfully direct, economical style of a Hemingway long before Hemingway was even Hemingway. Its a laconic; unadulterated, simple text; free from ornament; open and honest; rich in real-life experience of men and the world; and thus it is wonderful to re-digest at this late date in this artificial and phony timeperiod of our own.

Granted, there are occasional bits of overly-emotional Welsh feeling but its directed only at birds, and sunsets and rain showers. When it comes to thieves, and cooking-fires, frayed overcoats, worn-out shoes, and violent deaths at sea Tramping through snow, sleeping out-of-doors, begging, spending nights in jail, working on farms; observing the attitudes of tradespeople and landlords and bums eating in hash-houses and chop-suey joints and chip shops.

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The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp is an autobiography published in by the Welsh poet and writer W. H. Davies (–). A large part of the book's subject matter describes the way of life of the tramp in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States in the final decade of the 19th century.‎Publication history · ‎Background and synopsis. Be the first to ask a question about The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp . The book is good if you want to learn about the life of a "tramp" or "hobo" during . What it's about: The autobiography of poet uwewefatymix.gq before he became famous.

This is just the background. Let him tell you how to herd cattle onto ships for Atlantic crossings and let him tell you how to handle a razor fight, let him tell you how to climb aboard a moving train and let him tell you about lynch mobs and corrupt sheriffs and con men. It's a great book and I'm proud to have read it.

Let things be as they are, not as you're worried they ought to be. This superb book ought never be whitewashed or censored or sanitized. Shut up! Apr 28, Robert Humphries rated it liked it. As a son of Newport myself, I am somewhat partial to Davies, and I was entertained and informed about social conditions in late 19th century America by his firsthand account of tramping around the country. Nevertheless, Davies's Edwardian prose and occasional humor make his experiences seem easier and more carefree than they clearly were. Worse, the book is marred by moments of appalling racism which seem out of character with the gentle tone of the rest of the work.

Davies was undoubtedly a man As a son of Newport myself, I am somewhat partial to Davies, and I was entertained and informed about social conditions in late 19th century America by his firsthand account of tramping around the country. Davies was undoubtedly a man who marched to a different drummer, and as such his life and work are intriguing, but "Super-tramp" indulges prejudice in a manner that makes for an uneven and uncomfortable read.

View all 3 comments. An early entry in the line of ne'er-d'ye-well starving artist autobiographies that continues with books like You Can't Win Jack Black and Junky William S. This book is less interesting than those. It tells of an interesting life and interesting events and people, but not particularly evocatively.

And it's salted with some wholly uninteresting anecdotes like the landlord squabble he finishes the book with and unintentional shaggy dog stories. Not a complete waste of time, but nothi An early entry in the line of ne'er-d'ye-well starving artist autobiographies that continues with books like You Can't Win Jack Black and Junky William S. Not a complete waste of time, but nothing to go out of your way for. The book is good if you want to learn about the life of a "tramp" or "hobo" during the late 19th century in Britain and North America.

The people in this book are the what most people picture when they hear "hobo. The story of this guy's life is moderately interesting. It's not action-packed, but it probably won't put you to sleep either. For me, there is no great wisdom or really even life lessons to The book is good if you want to learn about the life of a "tramp" or "hobo" during the late 19th century in Britain and North America. For me, there is no great wisdom or really even life lessons to be taken from this book. I would only recommend it to somebody who had a historical interest in what life was like for a hobo at that time.

Oct 31, Misfits farm rated it really liked it. Set at the turn of the 20th century, this is one of those classic novels to enjoy. The story of a man who travels and lives day to day riding trains, living in prisons for free and being astute enough to fund himself even overseas and back again with a little help from his friends. Knowledge gets passed on and so lives the wandering tramps. This book was recommended to me and I am so glad that i d Set at the turn of the 20th century, this is one of those classic novels to enjoy.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP: The life of William Henry Davies

This book was recommended to me and I am so glad that i discovered it as it is a glimpse of life from the past and from an unexpected point of view. At times I felt I was reading Dickens although this is set much later- the narrative comes to life so much and even then things had not moved on too much for the poor of the land. A fascinating, captivating , very enjoyable read. Great insight into conditions as a tramp in late 19th C.

Jul 26, Sarah rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book has a dated feel to it because of the style of writing. While the author did indeed seem to go through some very interesting experiences, it does leave a reader of the modern age feeling like there was a lot missing - such as emotions, thoughts, descriptions. There is some dialogue, but it's mostly a relating of what happened without a tapestry of imagination that brings it to life. I felt really left out of the writer's inner thoughts, beyond how much money he was spending, especially This book has a dated feel to it because of the style of writing.

I felt really left out of the writer's inner thoughts, beyond how much money he was spending, especially when it came to where he lost his leg and was fitted with an artificial one. This was dealt with in no more or less attention than being mistaken for a murderer in one town or how much money it was to spend a night in a certain hostel. I had to make up a lot of the story in my head to fill in the blanks, but it was a very interesting tale of one man's journey through parts of the US and England. What it's about: The autobiography of poet W.

Davies before he became famous. For much of the last years of the 19th Century he was a tramp, either by choice or latterly by circumstance. With a dispassionate voice given to seeing the good in almost everyone, he recounts ordinary and extraordinary events from this time. I found this work notable for its calm voice, which never seemed to get excited by any event or person.

It made me work harder as a reader to understand who he was as a person. I What it's about: The autobiography of poet W. I enjoyed this voice, and the unique insight into a world that by its very nature meant that few genuine voices from it would ever be heard. I found it a little rambling in parts and should probably have treated it as something to be dipped into rather than read straight through as I did.

However what really left a nasty taste in the mouth was the racism encountered in the chapter 'A Lynching' Firstly the incident in itself was execrable, but Davies makes some sickening comments of his own. After this I just could not 2. After this I just could not enjoy the rest of the book. This is a fantastic and rare read.

The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies

Not an outsider romanticizing it or trying to make it sound pitiable. This is the only one I know of. I love credible glimpses of other worlds and other times. Oct 25, Una rated it it was amazing. My brother bought this book for 70p then gave it to me on a whim.

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Read three years later and I'm so glad it did. Not my usual cup of tea, but nonetheless diverting. Comedic, sad, inspiring and yet awkward to read. Beautifully written in places, spasmodic and clumsy in others. I read with a strange fascination the life of this incredibly lazy person, who could only engage with the world through wandering, free from responsibilities, and always reliant on begging. His description of the peace he feels in nature are evocative. Peddling was a way to sell useless products like lace and pins, with the understanding that it was really a cover for charity.

He says that there is a lower level of begging which abandons all pretense of self respect, and that he never crossed that line. Whereas people raised to success would think big and contrive to immediately be a success, the author thinks small, presents himself as someone likely to fail, and indeed contrives to fail many times before succeeding. Some of it is due to his ancestry.

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There is a type of person, and I count both W. Davies and myself in this group, who simply neglect to master many critical traits of the successful business person.

William H. Davies

These days her mother would storm the school with justifiable complaint. George Bernard Shaw had become interested in Davies, a literary unknown at the time, and had agreed to write a preface for the book, largely through the concerted efforts of his wife Charlotte. Davies was also to be given a say on the style of all illustrations, advertisement layouts and cover designs.

The original publisher, Duckworth and Sons , refused to accept these demands and so the book was placed instead with Fifield. Shaw was also instrumental in keeping the unusual title of the book, of which Davies himself was unsure, and which later proved to be controversial with some reviewers.

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The edition of the book concludes with five poems selected by Davies from The Soul's Destroyer. The book was written in the space of six weeks, "a great achievement for a first book by a man with the minimum of education. In April Parthian Books published a new edition of the novel featuring Bernard Shaw's original introduction; it is part of the Library of Wales series, a collection of classic writing from Wales in the English language, a joint initiative of the Welsh Assembly Government and a Welsh Books Council.

Following a delinquent childhood and youth, Davies renounced his home and his apprenticeship with a frame-maker. This was the first of more than a dozen Atlantic crossings, often made by working his passage aboard a cattle boat. Between and Davies travelled the highways and railroads, tutored by hardened men of the road. He took advantage of the corrupt system of "boodle jails" in order to pass the winter in Michigan , staying in a series of different jails.

These were jails in which a tramp could make an illicit arrangement with a law enforcement officer to stay in the jail without being an actual prisoner. After crossing the Atlantic one last time, from Britain to Canada, at the time of the Klondike Gold Rush , Davies fell while hopping a train. His foot was crushed and his leg had to be amputated below the knee.

He later wrote of the effect the accident had on his life: "All the wildness had been taken out of me and my adventures after this were not of my own seeking. The book was praised by Osbert Sitwell for its "primitive splendour and directness", while Bernard Shaw himself commended the prose to "literary experts for its style alone", describing Davies as "the incorrigible Supertramp who wrote this amazing book. On the official website of the British progressive rock band Supertramp , reviewer P. Robichaud credits Davies' book for the origin of the band's name.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Supertramp album, see The Autobiography of Supertramp. Oxford University Press cover.