Hulme, T.E.in full Thomas Ernest (b. Sept. 16, 1883, Endon, Staffordshire, Eng.--killed in action, Sept. 28, 1917, France)
English aesthetician, literary critic, and poet, one of the founders of the Imagist movement and a major 20th-century literary influence.
Hulme went to St. John's College, Cambridge, but was expelled for rowdyism in 1904. Thereafter he lived mainly in London, where, in addition to translating the works of the philosopher Henri Bergson and the historian Albert Sorel, he joined with Ezra Pound, F.S. Flint, and Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) in instigating the Imagist movement. Five of his poems were published in New Age (January 1912) and reprinted at the end of Pound's Ripostes. Before his death while fighting in World War I, Hulme defended militarism against the pacifism of philosopher Bertrand Russell.
Hulme suggested that post-Renaissance humanism was coming to an end and believed that its view of humanity as without inherent limitations and imperfections was based on false premises. His hatred of romantic optimism, his view of humanity as limited and absurd, and his advocacy of a "hard, dry" kind of art and poetry foreshadowed the disillusionment of many writers of the 1920s.
Hulme published little in his lifetime, but his work and ideas gained fame in 1924 when his friend Herbert Read assembled some of his notes and fragmentary essays under the title Speculations. Additional compilations were edited by Read (Notes on Language and Style, 1929) and by Sam Hynes (Further Speculations , 1955).