Rex Warner  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rex Warner (March 9 1905 - June 24 1986) was an English classicist, writer and translator. He is now probably best remembered for The Aerodrome (1941), an allegorical novel whose young hero is faced with the disintegration of his certainties about his loved ones and with a choice between the earthy, animalistic life of his home village and the pure, efficient, emotionally detached life of an airman.



He was born Reginald Ernest Warner in Birmingham, England and brought up mainly in Gloucestershire, where his father was a clergyman. He was educated at St. George’s School in Harpenden, and at Wadham College, Oxford, where he associated with W. H. Auden and Cecil Day Lewis, and published in Oxford Poetry. After graduating in 1928, he spent time teaching, some of it in Egypt. His first collection, Poems, appeared in 1937. He was a contributor to Left Review, and his first novel, The Wild Goose Chase, is in part a dystopian fantasy of a tyrannical government which is overthrown in a heroic revolution. His second novel, The Professor, published around the time of the Nazi Anschluss, is the story of a liberal academic whose compromises with a repressive government lead eventually to his arrest, imprisonment and execution "while attempting to escape"; contemporary reviewers saw parallels with the Austrian leaders Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg. After Why Was I Killed? (1943), Warner abandoned contemporary allegory in favour of historical novels about Ancient Greece and Rome including Imperial Caesar for which he was awarded the 1960 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.

From 1945 to 1947 he was in Athens as Director of the British Institute. At that time he was involved in numerous translations of classical Greek authors. He also translated George Seferis (Poems of George Seferis,1960).

Later he was Tallman Professor of Classics at Bowdoin College (1961) and then professor at the University of Connecticut from 1962 for eleven years. He died in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.


  • The Wild Goose Chase (1936) novel
  • Poems (1937)
  • The Professor (1938) novel
  • The Aerodrome (1941) novel
  • Why Was I Killed? (1943) novel
  • Poems and Contradictions (1945)
  • Men and Gods (1950)
  • Greeks and Trojans (1951)
  • Views of Attica (1951)
  • Escapade (1953) comic novel
  • Eternal Greece (1953) with Martin Hürlimann
  • Young Caesar (1958) historical novel
  • The Greek Philosophers (1958)
  • Imperial Caesar (1960) historical novel
  • Pericles the Athenian (1963) historical novel
  • The Converts (1967) historical novel


From Greek

  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (1954)
  • Xenophon, History of My Time and The Persian Expedition
  • Plutarch, Lives (as The Fall of the Roman Republic) and Moral Essays
  • Euripides, Medea(1944)

From Latin

  • War Commentaries of Caesar (1960) Gallic, Spanish and Civil Wars
  • The Confessions of St. Augustine (1963)

Film and TV adaptations

In 1983 the BBC screened an adaptation of The Aerodrome. It was written by Robin Chapman and directed by Giles Foster. The cast included Peter Firth as Roy, the protagonist; Richard Briers as the Rector; and Jill Bennett as Eustasia.


  • Politics in the Novels of Rex Warner (1974) James Flynn
  • The Novels of Rex Warner: An Introduction (1989) N. H. Reeve
  • Fiercer Than Tigers: The Life and Works of Rex Warner (2002) Stephen E. Tabachnick

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rex Warner" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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