Cournos, John

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Cournos, John Gender: M
Ivan Grigorievich Korshun
born on 6 March 1881 at 06:00 (= 06:00 AM )
Place Zhitomir, Ukraine, 50n16, 28e40
Timezone LST m28e45 (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 15°46' s_mo.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 27°11 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 25°32'


Russian-Jewish writer and translator who spent his later life in exile.

Cournos's first language was Yiddish; he studied Russian, German, and Hebrew with a tutor at home. His family emigrated to Philadelphia, USA, when he was ten years old, and his primary language became English. In June 1912, he moved to London, England, where he freelanced as an interviewer and critic for both UK and US publications and began his literary career as a poet and, later, novelist. He later emigrated to the USA, where he spent the rest of his life.

He was one of the Imagist poets, but is better known for his novels, short stories, essays and criticism, and as a translator of Russian literature. He used the pseudonym John Courtney. He also wrote for The Philadelphia Record under the pseudonym "Gorky."

Later in life he married Helen Kestner (1893–1960), who was also an author, under the pseudonym Sybil Norton. However, he is probably best known for his unhappy affair with Dorothy L. Sayers, fictionalized by Sayers in the detective book Strong Poison (1930) and by Cournos himself in The Devil Is an English Gentleman (1932).

Cournos died on 27 August 1966 in New York City.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes "Autobiography" by John Cournos (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935), p. 3: "I was born in Zhitomir, Russia, at six o'clock in the morning, on the sixth day of the third month, in the year 1881. . . . By the Russian calendar, however, I was born on February 22."


  • Vocation : Writers : Critic
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet (Imagist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Translator