- Angus Wilson
Sir Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson (
11 August 1913– 31 May 1991) was an English novelistand short storywriter. He was awarded the 1958 James Tait Black Memorial Prizefor " The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot" and later received a knighthoodfor his services to literature.
Wilson was born in
Bexhill, Sussex, England, to an English father and South African mother. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford, and in 1937 became a librarianin the British Museum's Department of Printed Books, working on the new General Catalogue. During World War II, he worked in the Naval section Hut 8at the code-breaking establishment, Bletchley Park, translating Italian Naval codes. A wearer of large, brightly-coloured bow-ties, he was one of the "famous homosexuals" at Bletchley and already known as a novelist (Anne Lavell in "Station X" by Michael Smith). The work situation was stressful and led to a nervous breakdown, for which he was treated by Rolf-Werner Kosterlitz. He returned to the Museum after the end of the War, and it was there that he met Tony Garrett (born 1929), who was to be his companion for the rest of his life.
Wilson's first publication was a collection of short stories, "
The Wrong Set" (1949), followed quickly by the daring novel "Hemlock and After", which was a great success, prompting invitations to lecture in Europe. He worked as a reviewer, and in 1955 he resigned from the British Museum to write full-time (although his financial situation did not justify doing so) and moved to Suffolk. From 1957 he gave lectures further afield, in Japan, Switzerland, Australia, and the USA. He was awarded a CBEin 1968, and received many literary honours in succeeding years. A knighthood was granted in 1980, prompting many hostile comments in the press. Remaining years were spent battling ill health.
His writing, which has a strongly satirical vein, expresses his concern with preserving a liberal humanistic outlook in the face of fashionable doctrinaire temptations. Several of his plays were adapted for
television. He jointly helped to establish the now renowned creative writing course at the University of East Anglia.
Hemlock and After" (1952)
Anglo-Saxon Attitudes" (1956)
The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot" (1958)
The Old Men at the Zoo" (1961)
*"Late Call" (1964)
*"No Laughing Matter" (1967)
As If By Magic" (1973)
Setting the World on Fire" (1980)
hort story collections
The Wrong Set" (1949)
Such Darling Dodos" (1950)
A Bit Off the Map" (1957)
The Mulberry Bush" (1955)
*"The Wild Garden or Speaking of Writing" (1963)
*"The World of Charles Dickens" (1970)
*"The Naughty Nineties" (1976)
*"The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Works (1977)
*"Diversity and Depth in Fiction: Selected Critical Writings of Angus Wilson" (1983)
*"Reflections In A Writer's Eye: travel pieces by Angus Wilson" (1986)
*"Angus Wilson: A Biography" by Margaret Drabble (1995, Secker & Warburg, London) ISBN 0436 20038 4 or ISBN 0436 20271 9 (paperback)
*"Angus Wilson: A Bibliography 1947-1987" by J.H. Snape & Anne N. Thomas (1988, Mansell Publishing, London & New York)
* [http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/awilson.htm Authors' Calendar: Angus Wilson]
* [http://www.theparisreview.org/media/4848_WILSON4.pdf The Paris Review Interview]
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