INDEX OF AUTHORS*
Ackroyd, Peter (b. 1949). Award-winning novelist and biographer, poet and book reviewer (on the staff of the Spectator and The Times). The philological lore he acquired at Cambridge and Yale, also assisted by his Catholic upbringing, developed in him a sense of linguistic structure that places him on a par with other Catholic converts: Hopkins, Eliot and Joyce. As well as Eliot, he engaged in cultural criticism : Notes for a New Culture (1976), an essay on Modernism, completed by a characteristically postmodern concern: Dressing Up, a study in transvestism (1979). His Lives (of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, Sir T. More) display an unusual capacity of getting under an affined writer's skin. His stylistic chameleonism takes two more forms: imitative reinscriptions of past texts and biographies (The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde, 1983, Hawksmoor, a pastiche of the 18th-cent. style, 1985, and Chatterton, 1987) or fictional narratives about historical personages (Milton in America, 1996).
Adcock, Fleur (b. 1934). Poet and translator, born in New Zealand and educated at Victoria University, Wellington. In 1963 she settled in London. A complex personality, whose wide-ranging interests materialised in translations and original verse (The Eye of the Hurricane, 1964, High Tide in the Garden, 1971, The Inner Harbour, 1979, Selected Poems, 1983, reissued 1991, Poems 1960-2000, 2000), betraying, in the ironic or restrained treatment of agonies and frustrations the influence of her Classical studies. Translations of medieval Latin poems (including two Goliardic poets, Hugh Primas and the Arch Poet, 1994). A friend of Romania, who wrote about the fall of communism.
Amis, Kingsley (1922-1995). Novelist beginning as one of the “angry young men” and poet associated with the Movement. Novels: Lucky Jim (1954; filmed 1957), That Uncertain Feeling (1955), I Like It Here (1958), The Egyptologists (1965), I Want It Now (1968), The Old Devils (1986), Girl, 20 (1971), Difficulties with Girls (1988). Moving into popular and enjoyable genres with The Riverside Villas Murder (1973 – a detective story), The Anti-Death League (1966 – a spy story), The Green Man (1969 – a ghost story). Poetry: Bright November (1947), A Frame of Mind (1953), The Evans Country (1962).
Arnold Matthew (1822-1888). Poet, critic and educationalist. The son of Dr. Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby, whom A.P. Stanley praises in his Life for having established an ideal relationship between the discipline and the studies of a school and the claims of citizenship, of work, of the family and the social organism. Educated at Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford. Inspector of schools (1851-1883) and Oxford Professor of Poetry (1857-1867). Travels abroad in the late '4os, when he met the Swiss girl Marguerite, to whom he dedicated a number of reflective rather than erotic poems. The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems (1849); Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems (1852), New Poems (1867). His poems are a sort of phenomenological propositions, reflecting from some high standing on the meaning of personal experiences. Poetry is a form of criticism, not a record of immediate emotional responses to reality. Arnold's poetry is an example of Victorian public discourse on major issues of the day (the decay of faith, the conflicting demands of reason and the senses, of culture and nature, of action and meditative withdrawal), yet the elegiac and nostalgic manner contributes a lyrical strain to the major philosophical bent, materialised in narrative, dramatic and lyrical modes. Essays in Criticism (First Series, 1865, Second Series, 1888) support a Kantian view of a disinterested intellectual discourse, the necessity for maintaining European standards in culture and an informing central body of thought in art, while working up relevant cultural typologies (the Renaissance and the medieval spirit). The essays collected in the 1869 Culture and Anarchy display the upper classes anxiety about the nation living in a state of anarchy after the 1867 Reform Bill, which had enfranchised the working class, but also an apprehensive view of middle-class laissez faire. Hebraism and Hellenism, Barbarians, Philistines, Populace are concerned with the right balance between obedience and self-assertiveness in history as well as in the contemporary symptomatic behaviour of social classes. Whereas the distinction between the Hellenic and the Jewish spirit seems to have influenced the contemporary American Harold Bloom, Literature and Dogma (1873) is proleptically Heideggerian in its search of the philosophical vision incorporated in the original, etymological meanings of words and in its defence of the literary, flexible, metaphoric style in opposition to the rigid, fixed, scientific discourse.
Auden, Wystan Hugh (1907-1973). Poet and dramatist, born in York, of middle-class, intellectual background. While at Oxford, he became the lead of a group of left-wing intellectuals, among whom Stephen Spender, and edited two issues of Oxford Poetry. Married Erika Mann, Thomas Mann's daughter. Influenced by Freud and other psychoanalysts, by the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard and by the German-American theologian Niebuhr. Taught in English and American universities. Emigrated to the U.S. in 1939, and got converted to Anglo-Catholicism after 1940. Poems (1930), The Orators (1932), The Dance of Death (1933), Look, Stranger ! (1936), Another Time (1940). Plays, often jointly with Isherwood: The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935). The Ascent of F6, On the Frontier (1938).
Barnes, Julian (b 1946). Lexicographer and journalist. Playful and parodic fiction. Flaubert's Parrot (1984), Staring at the Sun (1986). Crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.
Beckett, Samuel (1906-1989). Dramatist and novelist. Born in Dublin, of Jewish parents. Went to Paris as a lecturer in English and French. A central figure in the minimalist theatre and absurdist literature. Novels: Murphy (1938), Molloy (1951), Malone Meurt (1952), L'Innomable (1953), Mercier et Camier (1974). Plays: En Attendant Godot (1952), Fin de partie (1957), Happy Days (1961), Play (1963), Not I (1973), Ohio Impromptu (1981).
Bennett, (Enoch) Arnold (1867-1931). Novelist, short-story writer, playwright and journalist. Born at Hanley in the Potteries. Began his career as a solicitor but he quit his father's firm when he was 21. Assistant editor of Woman magazine (1893-1900). Moved to Paris in 1903 where he lived until 1908. Married a French woman, Marguerite Soulie, whom he divorced 1921. Had a daughter by Dorothy Cheston, the companion of his later years. Influenced by Maupassant. Zola and Flaubert. Produced a three-volume Journal (1932-1933) in imitation of the Goncourt Brothers. Classified by Virginia Woolf as an Edwardian realist, Bennet was the voice of the literary establishment, being associated with influential persons of the day, whom he popularized in the “Books and Persons” series for The Evening Standard (1926-1931). His novels draw on his memories of the powerful characters and picturesque language of the people in the Potteries (Anna of the Five Towns, 1902), Bennett resembling Galsworthy in his studies of the overwhelming influence of money upon human relationships and of family sagas (Clayhanger, 1910, followed by Hilda Lessways, 1911, These Twain, 1916 and The Roll Call, 1918).
Bowen, Elizabeth (1899-1973). Novelist and short-story writer. Born in Dublin. Worked for the Ministry of Information in London during World War II. Novels of atmosphere and inwardness, symbolical landscape and stylistic flourish, often with focus on youthful consciousness traumatized by the adults' brutal invasion of their privacy: The Death of the Heart (1938). The emotionally sweeping effects of the second world cataclysm are recorded in the novel titled The Heat of the Day (1949).
Braine, John (1922-1986). Novelist. Displaying the mixture of sedition and compromising conservatism characteristic of the “angry young men”. Room at the Top (1957; filmed 1958), Life at the Top (1962; filmed 1965), Stay with Me till Morning (1970), The Two of Us (1984), These Golden Days (1985).
Bridges, Robert Seymour (1844-1930). Poet and dramatist, trained in medicine. Poet Laureate from 1913 to 1930. The chief correspondent and literary executor of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Best remembered for the philosophical Testament of Beauty (1927-29).
Brontë, Anne (1820-1849). The sister of Charlotte and Emily Brontë. Agnes Grey, first signed “Acton Bell”, tells the story of on an unhappy governess, probably modelled on Anne's own experience as a governess with the Robinson family at Thorp Green Hall (1840-1845). The Tenant of Widefell Hall (1848) a minor romance, with mystery and unexpected turns of situations, develops the theme of narcissistic attachment between brother and sister of romantic extract. The idealized relationship between Helen Graham and her brother Lawrence suggests a wish-fulfilling fantasy, considering that Anne's brother, Branwell, died of alcoholism, an affliction she attributes to Huntington, Helen's husband in the novel. The imagery of the novel, playing about purity and corruption, may suggest a subconscious release from biographical frustration.
Brontë, Charlotte (1816-1855). Novelist and poet. The daughter of the Reverend Patrick Brontë, born in Northern Ireland, and of Maria Branwell, a Cornishwoman. Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, wherefrom the family moved to Haworth, a moorish village a few miles off, in 1820. Worked as governess, and spent two years in Brussels at the pensionnat run by M. Constantin Heger, to whom she felt progressively attached, and his wife. Taught English and learned French and German. Southey's patronizing comment on her poems did not prevent her from publishing Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (the literary pseudonyms of Charlotte and of her sisters, Emily and Anne) in 1846. Her first novel, The Professor, drawing on her experiences in Brussels, was rejected as immoral. Jane Eyre, 1847, was received with public acclaim, and soon became a Victorian standard of womanhood, of the Victorian heroine, replacing beauty by work, endurance and spiritual fortitude. Elizabeth Gaskell's biography, presenting her as a Jane Eyre in flesh and blood, contributed much, alongside the shifting mid-century moods, to her moral rehabilitation, so that The Professor, a novel challenging patriarchal male views of women, was accepted for print in 1857. Other novels: Shirley (1849), Villette (1853). In 1854 she married her father's curate, the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls. Died one year later.
Brontë, Emily Jane (1818-1848). Novelist and poetess. The sister of Charlotte Brontë. Died of tuberculosis. Wuthering Heights, 1847, whose second edition was prefaced by Charlotte Brontë's revelation of the sisters' true identity and by an apology for her sister's lack of experience, which, however, is profusely compensated by her intensity of feeling. The change of fashions has made such excuses superfluous, the enigmatic novel having long been considered a unique book in English literature. Charlotte's comment only reveals the tyranny of the realistic moods at the time.
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861). Poet, born into a patriarchal Victorian family. Eloped with Browning, defying authority on various levels: family, class, political domination. Competed with Tennyson for the Poet-Laureateship. The title went to Tennyson, but the nominalization of a woman-writer for such dignity in the Victorian age was in itself a remarkable fact. Defended in writing the woman's rights to a professional career and upheld reforming social activities in the long poem Aurora Leigh. Supported Italian independence in Casa Guidi Windows (1851) and Poems Before Congress (1860). The Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) display the Victorian poets need of a persona to mediate between themselves and some public authority.
Browning, Robert (1812- 1889). Poet. Born at Camberwell in South London into the family of a clerk of the Bank of England, whose scholarly interests had secured an extensive library in the house. Mainly educated at home and, for a brief period, at London University. Eloped with Elizabeth Barrett in 1846, with whom he lived at Pisa, Florence and Rome (1846-1861). Returned to London after his wife's death with their son, watching over his career as a painter. Published his first book, Pauline (1833), with financial help from his aunt, Mrs. Silverthrone. Browning's originality and novelty of diction elicited contradictory comments from critics. William Mangin (Frazer's Magazine) labelling him as “the mad poet of the batch”, while W.J. Fox (Monthly Repository) ranked him with Tennyson, pointing to his power of laying hold of the reader as the unmistakeable mark of genius. Charged with obscurity, he was defended by the authoritative voices of J.S. Mill, George Eliot, W. M. Rossetti, John Ruskin, Oscar Wilde, who felt which way the wind of change was blowing: towards an impersonal, dramatized form of subjectivity, increased difficulty. Whereas Paracelsus (1835) still betrays the influence of Shelley, Browning's 1852 essay on the poet marks his programmatic break with romantic aesthetics. It had already been apparent in his 184o Sordello, Dante's contemporary serving as a mask for Browning's own ideas concerning the artist and his subversive attitudes to the artistic establishment and bourgeois complacency. From 1841 to 1846 he published under the general title of Bells and Pomegranates a series of poems of a dramatic kind, s: Pipa Passes (1841), Dramatic Lyrics (1842), Dramatic Romances and Lyrics (1845), Luria and A Soul's Tragedy (1846) and the plays King Victor and King Charles (1842), The Return of the Druses (1843), A Blot on the Scutcheon (1843) and Colombe's Birthday (1844).Echoes of the German criticism of the Bible steal into Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day (1850). Men and Women (1855). Dramatis Personae (1864). The Ring and the Book (1869). Elected an honorary fellow of Balliol college, Oxford (1867). The Browning Society was founded in 1881, proving that the poet had broken the circle of an initiated elite towards public recognition.
Burgess Anthony (1917-1994). Novelist and critic, born into a Roman Catholic Lancashire family. Placing himself at the other pole from positivism and behaviourism, which he attacked as brain-washing in A Clockwork Orange (1962; filmed in 1971). Polyglot playfulness, diversified by his contacts with Malay, Arabic, Chinese, and language games in the manner of Joyce, but also the use of jargon, underworld slang. The Piano Player (1986).
Byatt, A.S. (Antonia Susan) (b 1936). Novelist and critic. Influenced by Iris Murdoch, on whom she has published two books, in the mixture of realism, symbolism and mythosophy: The Shadow of a Sun (1964), The Game (1967). A postmodernist narrative tissue of intertextuality and self-reflexivity characterizes the first two novels out of a projected tetralogy set in the England of Elizabeth II: The Virgin in the Garden (1979) and Still Life (1985).
Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881). Historian, essayist and critic. Born at Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, as the son of a stonemason. Studied for the ministry and afterwards law at the University of Edinburgh, but abandoned both for literary work. His interest in German literature resulted in essays on Goethe, Jean Paul and other German writers, a Life of Schiller and the translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, which provided the bildungsstory model for his own Sartor Resartus (1833-1834). In 1834 he moved to Cheyne Row in Chelsea and began work on his History of the French Revolution, which got into print in 1837. The book shows the influence of the beginning of hermeneutics, Carlyle defining history as narrative, a Prophetic Manuscript, which can be fully interpreted by no man alone. The French Revolution is but so many Alphabetic Letters, which historians use to build into provisional discourses. The cultural pessimism engendered by the French Revolution bore upon his distaste of Victorian materialism and utilitarianism, his diagnosis being that of a “mechanical age” (Signs of the Times, 1829). Carlyle's conservative views in an age of extended franchise culminated in his proposition of an authoritative leadership by a strong man of genius: Past and Present (1843).
His emphasis on the cultural elite, inward, moral reformation and individualism ran counter populist propaganda, and the bourgeois dream of material progress and getting ahead in the world (On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, 1841). Lord Rector of Edinburgh University (1866). One of the letters in support of Germany in her war against France, published in The Times won him the Order of Merit of Prussia from Bismarck, yet Carlyle rejected the offer of an honorary position in England coming from Disraeli, Bismarck's political ally.
Carroll, Lewis (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) (1832-1898). Mathematician and writer of children's literature and nonsense verse. Born at Daresbury in Cheshire as a country parson's son. Lecturer in mathematics, Christ Church, Oxford. Ordained priest in 1861.Published books on mathematics and logic. Revolutionized the juveniles through his fanciful, nonsensical and highly entertaining books, free from moral or didactic purposes. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Phantasmagoria and Other Poems (1869), Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871), The Hunting of the Snark (1876), The Game of Logic (1886), Dreamland (1882), Sylvie and Bruno (1889)
Carter, Angela (1940-1992). Novelist and short-story writer. Fiction of surrealist and Gothic fantasy, psychoanalytic studies of sexuality and violence, an uneasy mixture of horror and comedy with lapses into caricature: The Magic Toyshop (1967), Several Perceptions (1968), The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972), The Passion of New Eve (1977).
Celtic Twilight, The. The title of a book of short stories by W.B. Yeats, published in 1893, which became the label of an entire movement that opposed the poetic vision of a mystical Irish past to the pragmatic contemporary Anglo-Saxons in England and in Southern Scotland, attempting a national revival.
Churchill, Caryl (b. 1938). Playwright. Graduated from Oxford University. Her own definition of her themes is “power, powerlessness and exploitation: people's longings, obsessions and dreams”. Her political theatre has been staged by small-scale theatre companies of students or other vanguard groups, delighting in experimentation. Churchill combines realistic, documented details with caricature and grotesque symbolization. She focuses the tensions between the individual and society, particularly at times of radical changes, developing drama collectively. Vinegar Tom (1976) is based on the trials of the Lancashire witches in 1612. Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976) deals with the Levellers at the time of the English Revolution (1647), while Mad Forest (1990) provides a very personal view of the events in Romania around 1989, with a wealth of facts but lacking in historical or political insight. Top Girls (1982) is concerned with issues of female equality of opportunities. Serious Money (1987) is set in the financial City of London.
Clough, Arthur Hugh (1819-1861). Poet. Born in Liverpool, the son of a cotton merchant who emigrated to South Carolina. In 1828 he came on a family visit to England. Studied at Rugby, under the headship of Thomas Arrnold and befriended his son, Matthew. Attended and after graduation became Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, and Principal of a student hostel at University Hall, London (1849-1851). Shortly after he departed for Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked as a tutor, becoming acquainted with Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1853 he returned to England, working as Examiner in the Education Office until his death in Florence from a cerebral attack. The Bothie of Taberna-Vaolich (1848), a verse-novel in hexameters. Amours de Voyage (1858) is one of the few long poems of the century. Dipsychus, left unfinished, came out in 1865. Recent studies in the Victorian repressed and split personalities have brought Clough to the fore, as an intelligent, cunning and resourceful recorder of this spirit, also reflected in the doubleness of language. Arnold's poem Thyrsis commemorates his death.
Conrad, Joseph (Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) (1857-1924). Novelist. Born in Podolia (now part of the Ukraine), into an aristocratic Polish family. His father's participation in an anti-Tsarist conspiracy resulted in exile to Volgoda, north-west of Moscow, where Joseph's mother died. His father died of tuberculosis shortly after his return to Poland. Joseph was sent by his uncle, Tadeusz Bobrowski, to Geneva to continue his systematic studies, but the youth prepared himself for a life of adventures. He went to sea at the age of twenty joining the French merchant navy. In 1884 he became a master in the British Merchant Service and a naturalised British subject. In 1894 he gave up on his career as a seaman, dedicating himself entirely to writing. Almayer's Folly. A Story of the Eastern River (1895), The Nigger of the “Narcissus”. A Tale of the Sea (1897), Lord Jim (1900), Nostromo. A Tale of the Seabord (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), Under Western Eyes (1911), Chance (1914), Victory (1915), The Rescue (1920), The Rover (1924). Short Stories: Tales of Unrest (1898), Youth (together with Heart of Darkness), 1902, Typhoon and Other Stories (1903).
Crace, Jim (b. 1946). Novelist, television producer and freelance journalist. His first book, Continent (1986), mapped the imaginary space of his fiction as one disputed between "trade and superstition". In subsequent novels (The Gift of Stones, 1988, Signals of Distress,1994, Quarantine, 1997) this amounts to material deprivations (historical backwardness, shipwreck, life in the desert or in the age of bronze) as the correlative of spiritual impoverishment in the consumer society of market values. A medallist of literary competitions, widely read and reviewed in a commendatory language: "Only William Golding has made a similar brilliantly intuitive leap of the imagination" (John Fowles).
Dabydeen, David (b. 1956). Poet and novelist born in Guyana, whose subsequent studies at Cambridge and at University College London were grafted on the primary scene of rural Creole culture. Cross-cultural relationships and post-colonial issues engage his early literary exploits. Slave Song (1984) rewrites the site of colonial antagonisms as the quarrel of Guyanese Creole and Standard English. His later poetry and fiction leave behind the crudities of indigenous speech, as the natural self makes room for the cultural second nature of the university don at Warwick. He plays with changing perspectives - colonial versus metropolitan -, in his rewriting of scenes from Hogarth (A Harlot's Progress, 1999, a novel) and Turner (1994, a poem). His rewriting of The Heart of Darkness in his first novel, The Intended (1991) is an act of homage rather than a polemical departure from Conrad.
Dickens, Charles (John Huffam) (1812-1870). Born at Portsmouth, the son of a thriftless clerk in the Navy Office. His father's imprisonment for debt in the Marshalsea forced Dickens to work in a blacking warehouse, a humiliating experience which he was unable to mention for years. After two years schooling in Wellington House, Dickens became a lawyer's clerk (1827), learned shorthand, and saw himself promoted to the position of reporter for the Sun in The House of Commons. That was the time when sociologists, politicians and journalists were beginning to take an interest in the otherness of the East End London, for which they often employed the language of colonialism. The conditions of the labouring populations, with starving children, suffering women, overworked men, horrifying sights of disease and filth were presented as if they had been another country. Dickens contributed reports on political meetings, and sketches on the incidents occurring in the squares, courts, markets and alleys of London to various magazines: The Mirror of Parliament, The Morning Chronicle, The True Sun, The Monthly Magazine (the last edited by his friend George Hogarth, whose eldest daughter he married in 1836. His lore of London life at the other pole from metropolitan middle-class culture was used in his first book, Sketches by Boz. Illustrative of Every-Day Life, and Every-Day People (1836). In 1846 he edited 17 numbers of the newly founded Daily News, and in 1850 he founded his own magazine, Household Words, which often reported on social and industrial conditions in the Northern manufacturing towns. Visits to America in 1842 and 1867. Lived for brief periods in Italy (1844-1845), in Switzerland and Paris (1846). His restless nature urged him to attempt theatrical management and acting. Lecturing tours in 1858.
The Pickwick Papers (whose serialization began in March 1836), Oliver Twist (1837-9), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1), Barnaby Rudge (1841), Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4), Dombey and Son (1846-8), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (18575-7), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1), Our Mutual Friend (1864-5), The Mystery of Edwin Wood (unfinished).
Disraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881). Novelist and politician. Born in London, the eldest son of Isaac d'Israeli, miscellaneous writer, descendent of an Italian Jewish family. From 17 to 2o years of age worked with a firm of solicitors. Silver-spoon novels with a key (introducing society figures under thin disguises): Vivian Grey (1826), The Young Duke (1831). Two more novels, Henrietta Temple (1837) and Venetia (1837), fictionalize the biographies of Shelley and Byron. It was only when Queen Victoria ascended the throne that he succeeded in winning a Conservative MP seat for Maidstone (1837). Twice Prime Minister, in 1868 and in 1874-80. Urged Queen Victoria to take title of “Empress of India”. Took the title Earl of Beaconsfield (1876) from a character in his first novel. Joined the reforming Tories, in an attempt to bridge the gap between what he called “the two nations”: the poor working class and the aristocracy of wealth and power – an intention he carried from politics into novel-writing (see his trilogy, Coningsby, 1844, Sybil, 1845, Tancred, 1847).
Drabble, Margaret (b 1939). Novelist and short-story writer. Began as a social novelist, under the influence of Arnold Bennett, on whom she published a book in 1974. Her novels open up to a wide range of issues, from feminism to the condition of Britain in the mid 1970s. The Needle's Eye (1972), The Ice Age (1977). A more complex structure, with shifts in the points of view and narrative voice, is brought to The Realms of Gold (1975).
Durrell, Lawrence (George) (1912-1990). Novelist and poet born in India, the son of a civil engineer. Taught English in Athens during the war. Appointed to the Foreign Office in Cairo, Athens and Belgrade. Settled in Cyprus in 1953. Piped Piper of Lovers (1937), The Alexandria Quartet (Justine, 1957, Balthazar, 1958, Mountolive, 1958, Clea, 1960), Tunc (1968), Nunquam (1970), Monsieur (1974). Collected Poems (1960).
Eliot, George (Mary Anne Evans) (1819-1880). Novelist, critic, poet, translator. Born at South Farrm, Arbury, Warwickshire, the daughter of a builder, carpenter and estate agent. Educated at various schools, among which Misses Franklins' school in Coventry, where she learned the piano and French, yet her private education surpassed the conventional Victorian education for young women. Forced by her mother's death to return home and run her father's household, she continued her studies in Italian, German, Greek and Latin, and read voraciously in theology, the Romantic poets and German literature. At the age of twenty-one she moved with her father to Foleshill, near Coventry. She made the acquaintance of two writers, Charles Bray and Charles Hennell, who drew her towards freethinking. Translated The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by Dr. David Strauss (1846) and Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity (1853). Continental travel with the Brays (1849). Assistant Editor of Westminster Review (1851). Lived with George Henry Lewes, whom she had met in 1853 until his death in 1878. Married the much younger J.W. Cross, a banker, in 1880. Scenes of Clerical Life (1858), Adam Bede, 1859, The Mill on the Floss, 1860, Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1863), Felix Holt (1866), Middlemarch (1871-72), Daniel Deronda (1876)
Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1888-1965). Poet, critic and dramatist. Born in St Louis, Missouri. Educated at Harvard, in Germany, at the Sorbonne and at Merton College, Oxford. Having settled in London in 1915, Eliot began by teaching at Highgate School, and from 1917 worked for Lloyds Bank. Assistant editor of The Egoist, editor of The Criterion from 1922 until it ceased publication, in 1939, and director of its publisher, Faber and Faber. Joined the Church of England in 1927. Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), Poems (1919), printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at their Hogarth Press, The Waste Land (first issue of The Criterion, 1922, Collected Poems (1909-35), including Ash Wednesday (1930), which records his religious conversion, Four Quartets (Burnt Norton, 1935, East Coker, 1940, The Dry Salvages, 1941 and Little Gidding, 1942), 1943. The Sacred Wood (1920), a collection of essays, in which he develops his concepts of “objective correlative”, impersonality in art, the relationship between tradition and innovation in art. Homage to John Dryden (1924), including his revaluation of the metaphysical poets, as examples of unified sensibility, capable to devour any sort of experience, in opposition to the latter's writers' dissociation of sensibility (the intellect or the senses). For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on Style and Order (1928), in which he defines himself as “classical in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion. His attempt at reviving the tradition of the poetic drama materialized in an essay and in his verse plays Sweeney Agonistes: An Aristophanic Fragment (1932), The Rock (1934) and Murder in the Cathedral (1935). Ancient plays provide models for his next dramatic exploits: Aeschylus' Oresteia for The Family Reunion (1939), Euripides' Alcestis and Ion for The Cocktail Party (1950) and The Confidential Clerk (1954) and Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonnus for The Elder Statesman (1959). Noble Prize winner. Awarded the Order of Merit.
Enright, D.J. (b 1920). Poet, novelist and literary critic, a central figure in the anti-romantic Movement of the fifties. Verse: The Laughing Hyena (1953), Bread Rather Than Blossoms (1956).
Forster, E(dward) M(organ) (1879-1970). Novelist and essayist. Born in London and educated at Cambridge. Associated with the Cambridge “Apostles” and the classy Bloomsbury Group. In 1912 he visited India and returned to it as secretary and companion to the Maharajah of the native state of Dewas Senior in 1921-2. Honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge (1945). The Order of Merit. Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), Howards End (1910), A Passage to India (1924). His Clark lectures were published as Aspects of the Novel (1927).
Fowles, John (b 1926). Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. B.A. – Honours – degree from Oxford in 1950. Lecteur for English at the University of Poitiers, France, English master at the Anargyrios School on the Greek island of Spetsai, north of Crete, English lecturer at Colleges in London. In 1968 he made Lyme Regis (Dorset) his permanent residence. Influenced by existentialism in his studies of freedom, manipulation and control of the individual. Fiction of narrative experimentation of the nouveau-roman school. Antiquarian interest in prehistoric sites. Co-authored The Enigma of Stonehenge with Bary Brukoff (1980). Novels: The Collector (1963), The Magus (1965), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969 – all of them filmed). Other novels: Daniel Martin (1977), Mantissa (1982), A Maggot (1985).
Frazer, Sir James George (1854-1941). Scottish anthropologist. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Professor of Social Anthropology at Liverpool (1907-22). Totemism (1887), The Golden Bough; A Study in Comparative Religion, 2 vols. 1900.
Galsworthy, John (1867-1933). Novelist, poet and dramatist. Born at Coombe, Surrey. Called to the Bar in 1890, he practiced but briefly. Publisher. Lectured in America. Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford. Awarded the Order of Merit (1929) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1932). Plays concerned with social problems: injustice, strikes, social privilege and snobbery. Plays: The Silver Box, Joy, Sytrife (1909), Vol. II: The Eldest Son, The Little Dream, Justice (1912), Vol. III: The Fugitive, The Pigeon, The Mob (1914). Whereas half of his plays are one-acters, his novels show a preference for connected narratives presenting extensive family sagas. The Balzacian realism of detail and portraiture exasperated the anti-Edwardians, but catered for the reading public's need to identify with characters and their plight as if they were people in flesh and blood. Television adaptations have increased his popularity. The Forsyte Saga (1922) includes The Man of Property, 1906, In Chancery, 1920, To Let, 1921, with two connecting interludes: “The Indian Summer of a Forsyte”, 1918 and “Awakening”, 1920. Its sequel, A Modern Comedy (1929) includes The White Monkey, 1924, The Silver Spoon, 1926, Swan Song, 1928, and two interludes: “A Silent Wooing” and “Passers By”. Another trilogy, End of the Chapter (Maid in Waiting, 1931, Flowering Wilderness, 1932, Over the River, 1933, published together in 1934), shifts focus to the Charwells, relatives of the Forsytes. The Collected Poems (1934).
Gaskell, Elizabeth (Cleghorn) (1810-65). Novelist and biographer. Born in Chelsea, London, the daughter of a civil servant, but brought up in Knutsford, Cheshire by an aunt. Married a Unitarian parson, William Gaskell, Professor of English History and Literature at Manchester New College, with whom she shared her humanitarian schemes. Organised sewing-rooms during the cotton fame of 1850, and popularized the living conditions of the Manchester poor (Mary Barton. A Tale of Manchester Life, 1848). Her contemporaries were sometimes shocked at her unwomanly audacity in revealing crude aspects of life, like social unrest (North and South, 1855), illegitimacy and the rehabilitation of a fallen woman (Ruth, 1853). A friend of Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, whose Life she published in 1857.
Gissing George (Robert) (1857-1903). Novelist. Trained as a classical scholar but sent down from Owen's College, Manchester on account of some love affair. After a year's wanderings in America, he settled in London, living poorly on private couching. Recently raised out of temporary obscurity by critics of social contexts. Naturalistic pictures of the working class urban hell in Workers in the Dawn (1880), following his masters, Dickens, on whom he wrote two books, and, especially, Zola. The Unclassed (1884). The Nether World (1889). The theme of the new woman informs The Emancipated (1890). The Odd Women (1893).
Golding, William (1911-1993). Novelist. A schoolmaster, like his father, blaming the war („Fable”) for his pessimistic view of human nature as essentially evil. Fiction of displacement and reinscription, based on symbolical structures. Reverses well-established meta-narratives, like Rousseauistic optimism about the in-born goodness of children and people living in the midst of nature (The Lord of the Flies, 1954, filmed), assumptions about man's superiority over beasts, producing an original myth of the fall, with rapacious Homo Sapiens replacing the innocent Neanderthal Man (The Inheritors, 1955), and transmutes Robinsonianism into fantasy (Pincher Martin, 1956). Other novels: Free Fall (1959), Darkness Visible (1979), Rites of Passage (1980), The Paper Men (1984).
Greene, (Henry) Graham (1904-1991). Novelist. Born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, in the intellectual branch of a family (his father was headmaster of Berkhamsted School), whose other wealthy branch inhabited Berkhamsted Hall. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Worked as a journalist (The Times, The Spectator, Night and Day), reporting on events and reviewing films, realism and the cinematic montage becoming the distinctive feature of his fiction, which programmatically drifted away from modernist aesthetic Narcissism. Worked for the Foreign Office, mainly in Sierra Leone during World War II, and travelled widely. Conversion to Roman Catholicism (1926). Companion of Honour (1966), Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur (1969) The Man Within (1929), Stamboul Train (1932), It's a Battlefield (1934), England Made Me (1935), A Gun for Sale (1936), The Confidential Agent (1939), Loser Takes All (1955), Our Man in Havana (1958), The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), The End of the Affair (1951), The Quiet American (1955), A Burnt-Out Case (1961), The Comedians (1966), The Honorary Consul (1973), The Human Factor (1978), Monsignor Quixote (1982)
Graves, Robert (1895-1985). Poet, critic, novelist, author of verse for children. Descendant of the German historian Von Ranke. Professor of English literature in Egypt (1926). Clark lecturer, Trinity College, Cambridge (1954). Professor of Poetry at Oxford (1961). Anthropological research, resulting in works on primitive religion: The White Goddess, 1948. Setting out as an advocate of modernism (A Survey of Modernist Poetry, 1927) but later adopting a more lyrical strain, of anti-convention and experimentation yet skilled, polished verse, probably felt to be a therapeutic humanistic form of escape from the horrors of World War I, in which he fought as an officer. Historical fiction: I, Claudius, Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina and Claudius the God (1934).
Gunn, Thom (b 1929). Poet drifting away from the Movement's precision of style towards the American beat, rock and motorbikes. Fighting Terms (1954), The Sense of Movement (1957), Moly (1971), Jack Straw's Castle (1976), The Passage of Joy (1982).
Hardy, Thomas (1840-1928). Novelist and poet. Born in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, a master mason's son. Familiarized since early years with the village life, in whose festivities he took part with his father as a violinist of the band. Hardy's youthful perceptions of a locale turned into a mythical space in his Wessex novels were coloured by his mother's gloomy Calvinistic belief in man's corruption and doom, by folk superstitions, as well as by the disenheartening show of the fall of civilizations presented to his inspection by the Roman and Celtic ruins scattered all around. His apprenticeship to John Hicks, a local architect, was followed by five-year work in London (1862-7) at the architectural offices of Arthur Blomfield, winning architectural prizes. His publication of “How I Built Myself a House” (1865) betrays a self-made man's pride in his progress from a builder's son to a professional writer's career. He lived mainly in Max Gate, on the edge of Dorcester, with yearly visits to London. After 1895 turned to poetry. Awarded the Order of Merit. Desperate Remedies (1871), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge: the Life and Death of a Man of Character (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles: a Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (1891), Jude the Obscure (1896). Wessex Poems (1898).
Harrison, Tony (b. 1937). Poet and translator. Born into a working-class family in Leeds. His upward mobility and earnest engagement with literary culture (occasionally demonizing the cultural establishment) started with his studies of the Classics at Leeds University. His thematization of class and politics goes hand in hand with an express desire to top his contemporaries' facility in rhyme and in "all forms of articulation". The School of Eloquence is a sonnet sequence (in 16-line Meredithian sonnets), "A Kumquat for John Keats" is in couplets, etc. Other volumes include V (1985, written during the miners strike of the previous year and broadcast on television two years later) , The Blasphemers' Banquet (1989). The Gaze of the Gorgon (1992) won the Whitbread Award for poetry.
Heaney, Seamus (b. 1939). Poet of Irish extract. Born at Mossbawn, Co. Derry, into a farmer and cattle-dealer's family. Studied at Queen's University, Belfast, where he got a lectureship. In 1972 he withdrew to rural Wicklow and then moved to Dublin. In 1984 got a professorship at Harvard. In 1989 became Professor of Poetry at Oxford (until 1994). In 1995 won the Nobel Prize. His poetry evolved from a preoccupation with the natural environment to a broadened frame of historical and political interrogations: Eleven Poems (1965), Death of a Naturalist (1966), Door into the Dark (1969) North (1975), Station Island (1984) Sweeney's Flight (1992). His reflections on poetry are haunted by the shadows of Irish medieval bards, Hopkins, Chatterton and Joyce. Collected Poems 1966-96 (1999). A translation of Beowulf published in 1999 was met with unanimous acclaim.
Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1844-1889). Poet. Born in Stratford, Essex. Early trained in drawing and music, and later encouraged in close aesthetic observation of nature by his friendship with the Rossettis. Taught by Jowett and Walter Pater at Oxford, where he read classics and got a First. He fell increasingly under the influence of the Oxford Movement, and in 1866 was converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Ordained for the Church in 1877, ministering to parishes in Chesterfield, London, Oxford, Liverpool and Glasgow. Taught Greek and Latin in Stonyhurst (1882-84), and spent his last years as Professor of Classics at University College, Dublin. A disciplined Jesuit, he destroyed much of his early poetry, considering it to be a frivolous occupation in comparison to his new religious vocation. In 1875, however, he wrote “The Wreck of the Deutschland” (in memory of the five Franciscan nuns who had recently drowned when the ship so baptized had sunk in the Thames), following the injunction of the rector at St Beunos’s, where Hopkins was a novice of the Society of Jesus. The ode appeared in The Month, a Jesuit periodical. The poem displays Hopkins's characteristic technique – an absolute novelty at the time – of establishing an open-ended dialogue between form and substance, matter and metaphysic, description and perception. The episodes of the wreck are taking shape under the active gaze of the beholder, the poet's making sense of them being inseparable from the crude facts. The phenomenology of perception and the fascination with the properties of the material force Hopkins to create a new terminology for his highly idiosyncratic art, emerging out of the tensions of surface and depth: “instress” (empathic energy, within whose force fields the act of perception becomes possible), “inscape” (characteristic pattern, distinctive form of the object of perception), “sprung rhythm” (pro-stress and anti-foot, that is scanning by stresses irrespective of the number of syllables). The poet moves simultaneously outwards and inwards, becoming un unstable ego in an impressionist relationship to the environment. The poet's confidence wanes towards the end of his life, his vision darkens, giving birth to the last “despairing sonnets” which problematize his relationship to God. His poems were circulated mainly in letters to his friend, Robert Bridges, who published them in 1918, long after the author's death. The time was ripe for a fully comprehensive response to Hopkins's innovating genius.
Hughes Ted (1930-1998). Poet, dramatist and critic. Married the American poet Sylvia Plath in 1956. Poet Laureate, 1984. Interest in anthropology, in Welsh romance and its influence on Shakespeare (Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, 1992), in ancient mythology reaching out of the Indo-European matrix. The Hawk in the Rain (1957), Lupercal (1960), Wodwo (1967), Crow (1970), Poems, Eat Crow (1971), Prometheus on His Crag (1973), Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter (1974), Cavebirds (1975), Gaudete (1977), Remains of Elmet, Moortown (1979), River (1983), Season Song (1985), Flowers and Insects (1986).
Huxley, Aldous (Leonard) (1894-1963). Novelist and short-story writer. Born in Godalming, Surrey, in a distinguished family which included T.H. Huxley, a scientist famous for his defence of Darwin against Bishop Wilberforce at Oxford in 1860, Mrs Humphrey Ward, another subverter of religious orthodoxy in her latitudinarian novel Robert Elsmere, and Leonard Huxley, his father, an editor of The Cornhill Magazine. Educated at Eton and read English at Balliol College, Oxford. Worked on The Athenaeum and contributed drama criticism to the Westminster Gazette (1920-1). Spent much time in France, Italy and ended his life in California. Prevented by an eye disease from reading biology, Huxley applied his critical gaze to contemporary people and events. He often murders to dissect, even if his diagnosis of inertia and emotional atrophy applies not to a cross-section of English society but mainly to the upper class and literary coterie. An essayistic sort of fiction, his characters being mainly engaged in conversation, writing and listening to music. Crome Yellow (1921), Antique Hay (1923), Point Counter Point (1928). His satirical wit subsides into bleak dystopic writing in Brave New World (1932), with a title borrowed from Shakespeare's Tempest, and sarcastically inverted, and Brave New World Revisited (1958), both of which comment ironically on people's manipulation through scientific cunning.
Ishiguro, Kazuo (b. 1954). Born in Nagasaki wherefrom he went to England in l960 to study at the universities of Kent and East Anglia. His novels are postmodernist (post-colonial narratives about spiritual migrants or hybrids) versions of the Proustian search for the past with belated understanding making up for the sense of loss, waste or frustration. A Pale View of Hills (1982), The Remains of the Day (1989, also filmed) and The Unconsoled (1995) are studies of spatial displacement or defeated aspirations. The Booker Prize for The Remains of the Day.
Joyce, James (Augustine Aloysius) (1882-1941). Irish novelist, short-story writer and poet. Born in Dublin and educated at Jesuit schools, where he acquired a fine sense of language structure (Clongowes, Wood college, Kildare, Belvedere College, Dublin). Read modern languages at University College, Dublin, wherefrom he graduated in 1902. Nourished dream of Irish revival with Yeats, Synge and George Russel, but felt the need to breathe more freely in an extended cultural space. Left Ireland in 1902, spending a year in Paris, where his contact with the writings of Edouard Dujardin, a precursor of the “stream of consciousness”, proved decisive in shaping his own narrative technique. In 1904, one year after his mother's death which had brought him back to Dublin, he left for Zurich, in the company of Nora Barnacle (whom he married in 1931), seeking work in Zurich. His failed attempt took him to Trieste where he got employed at Berlitz school (1905). Left Trieste during World War I and was able to move back to Zurich thanks to two grants received through the intercession of Yeats and Pound. Settled in Paris in 192o, but the outbreak of World War II forced him to return to Switzerland, where he died. Chamber Music (1907), a volume of poetry published in London, was followed by a collection of stories, The Dubliners, rejected by Irish publishers, and finally printed in London and reviewed enthusiastically by Ezra Pound – that consummate conductor of the experimental, cliquish British modernism. Recent revaluations (Reading “Dubliners” Again. A Lacanian Perspective by Garry M. Leonard, 1993) have revealed the modernity and complexity of a narrative structure which had been previously regarded as the early, more conventional, traditional and tamed Joyce. The early autobiographical Stephen Hero was reworked as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and published din 1916. Ulysses, a paradigmatic text of modernism, came out in Paris on February 2, 1922, while the baffling and wildly innovating Finnegans Wake was published as Work in Progress (a fine definition, as well !...) in 12 parts between 1928 and 1937. It was first published in its complete form in 1939.
Kipling, Rudyard (1865-1936). Poet, novelist and short-story writer. Born in Bombay, where his father taught at a school of art and later became Director of the Lahore Museum. A reporter for the Lahore Civil and Military Gazette, where he later published poems and stories drawing on his knowledge of the Anglo-Indian community. Left India for Japan and U.S. (1889), settling soon in London. Married Caroline Balestier, spending the years 1892-6 near her family in Vermont, USA, wherefrom he retuned to England. Visited South Africa during the Boer War. Refused Poet Laureateship (1895). Was the first English writer to receive the Nobel Prize (1907). The Light that Failed (1891), The Naulahka (1892, in collaboration with Wolcott Balestier, his future brother-in-law), The Jungle Book (1894), The Second Jungle Book (1895), Captain Courageous (1897), Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902). Recessional and Other Poems (1899).
Larkin, Philip (1922-1985). Poet, novelist, essayist. The most conspicuous among the “New Lines” (the title of Robert Conquest's 1956 anthology) or the Movement poets. Drifting away from the influence of W.B. Yeats towards a more sincere realism and engagement with the pathos of everyday characters and events. Drawing on tradition (Hardy and Lawrence) and admiring Jazz, writing poems in a doubleness of voice: praise and satirical comedy, tropism and colloquialism. Verse: The North Ship (1945), The Less Deceived (1955), The Whitsun Weddings (1964), High Windows (1974).
Lawrence, D(avid) H(erbert) (Richards) (1885-1930). Novelist, short-story writer, poet, playwright and essayist. Born at Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, the son of a coal miner and of a more genteel mother, who spoke Standard English, discussed religion and philosophy with the minister and read books from the local library. Lawrence confessed to his friend, Ford Madox-Ford, of The English Review, that he considered himself “the product of a martyred lady-saint and a savage lower class father”. Worked as a pupil-teacher at Eastwood and then at Ilkeston until he saved money for his training at University College, Nottingham. Taught at Davidson Road School in Croydon. Unlike the decadent and modernist “imaginary portraits” or Künstlerromans, showing the development of a youth's consciousness, Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913) is an autobiographical Bildungsroman, tracing his displacement from the working class milieu, and incorporating labour in the story of his becoming a professional writer. In 1812 he met Frieda Weckley (nee von Richthofen), daughter of a German baron and wife of a professor at Nottingham, whom he married after her divorce. It was Frieda who enlarged his knowledge of German philosophy, particularly, Nietzsche. During the War, the couple lived in England and then in Cornwall, wherefrom they were officially expelled on a charge of spying for the Germans in 1917. Censorship, libel suits and accusations of obscenity dogged Lawrence throughout his life. The Lost Girl (1920) won him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and Aaron's Road (1922) sufficient money to travel. Spent the rest of his life in Italy, Ceylon, Australia, Mexico, and the United States. Died at Venice in France, having long been afflicted with tuberculosis. Other novels: The White Peacock (1911), The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love (1920), The Plumed Serpent, 1926, Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928). Travel Books: Twilight in Italy (1916), Sea and Sardinia (1921). Essays showing his interest in the new developments in psychology (Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious, 1921 Fantasia of the Unconscious, 1922). The Letters of D. H. Lawrence (1932) .
Lessing, Doris (b 1919). Novelist and short-story writer. Born in Iran and brought up in Sudden Rhodesia. Settled in London in 1949. Her fiction exhibits a fortunate mixture of vivid response to the urgent social and political issues of the time, coming out of a sense of a writer's responsibility to his contemporaries, and postmodernist experimentation with multiple narrative structures, meant to explore the interrelationships between writing and reality. Her engagement with issues of colonialism, age, class, gender, social justice, terrorism, moral improvement give an impression of dealing with life completely. The Grass is Singing (1950), the Children of Violence series (1952-1969), The Diary of Jane Somers (1984), The Good Terrorist (1985), The Fifth Child (1988). The Golden Notebook (1962) is a carnivalesque mixture of literary genres. Started to write science fiction in the eighties, defending the genre as a promising field for furthering a melioration project of humanity (her series Canopus in Argus: Archives).
Lodge, David (b 1935). Novelist and critic, Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Birmingham since 1976. Evolving from a realistic portrayal of contemporary England (The Picturegoers, 1960) towards language-based fiction. In The British Museum is Falling Down (1965), a character's framing and discourse of personal experience come to him shaped by the language of the modern writers he is studying. Changing Places (1975) and Small World (1984) are a banquet of literary expertise, anecdotes and linguistic games. One of the most authoritative literary theorists and critics of the present time.
Meredith, George (1828-1909). Novelist and poet. Born in Portsmouth, the son of a naval outfitter. Educated in Germany at the Moravian School at Neuwied. His portrait of the “egoist” may have been inspired by Kant's Anthropology. Articled to a solicitor but in 1860 took up journalism (weekly contributions to the Ipswich Journal) and publisher's reading for Chapman and Hall. In 1864 he moved to Box Hill, Surrey, where he remained for the rest of his life. In his last twenty years, money from sales and literary honours enabled him to dedicate himself entirely to writing. The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), Evan Harrington, an autobiographical novel (1861), Rhoda Fleming (1865), Vittoria (1867), The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1879), Beauchamp's Career (1876), The Egoist (1879), The Tragic Comedians (1880), Diana of the Crossways (1885). Poems (1851), Modern Love, and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads, 1862.
Mill, John Stuart (1806-1873). Philosopher, political economist. Born in Pentonville, London, the eldest son of the Scottish Utilitarian philosopher James Mill, a friend of Jeremy Bentham and David Ricardo, who helped found the Benthamite organ, The Westminster Review. Trained as a philosophical radical in the main stream of Victorian Utilitarianism and Positivism, a pupil of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. In an age in which education was the subject of more study than at any former period of English History, as Mill remarks in his Autobiography (1873), he received a formidable education, starting Greek at three and at eight, Latin, history, geometry, logic, mathematics and political economy. Worked for the East India Company (1832-58). Contributed to The Westminster Review and joined the Utilitarian Society (1823-6) and the London Debating Society. By 1830 his philosophical and political thinking betrayed new influences coming from St. Simon and Auguste Comte, the radical and positivistic main drive becoming progressively tempered so as to allow of a more latitudinarian view. His essays on Bentham ((1838) and Colerdige (1840) define the spirit of the age as divided between the two, between positivism and idealism, and advocating the need for diversity at a time when the intelligentsia had given up on absolute truths and universal systems of thought. He also identifies a radical break with the past in Bentham, a body of ideas different from whatever had been before, while admitting to the provisional validity of any system of thought. After his wife's death at Avignon in 1858 he bought a house there and made it his permanent residence until his death. By 1865 he had become sufficiently popular in order to win a seat in Parliament without any campaign or financial expenses. He served as an independent MP for Westminster until 1868, supporting Irish land reform and women's suffrage. Rector of St. Andrew's University (1866). A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (1843), Principles of Political Economy (1848). On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861), Auguste Comte and Positivism (1865), On the Subjection of Women (1869)
Morris, William (1834-1896). Poet, artisan, printer and a Socialist.Born at Wlthamstow in Essex, where his father made a fortune trading shares. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, joining a circle which in 1854 fell under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite school. Dropped his plans for an ecclesiastical career, turning to art. Articled to the Oxford architect G.E. Street after taking his B.A. In august 1857 worked with Rossetti and Burne-Jones on frescoes at the Oxford Union Society, with subjects borrowed from Malory's Arthurian romance. Founded a firm (Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co.) which revolutionized English taste in the decorative arts. His pattern designing for wallpapers, damasks, embroideries, tapestries and carpets, the hand-manufactured stained glass and stencilled mural decorations helping revive the Gothic architecture, the painted tiles and furniture created a cultural alternative to the ugly Victorian landscape, lending existence an aesthetic charm unknown since the Renaissance. One of the founders of The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, he meant to carry forth the aesthetic pursuits of the Pre-Raphaelite Germ. Founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Visited Iceland and Norway, and translated the Sagas with the Icelandic scholar Eirikr Magnusson, nostalgically entertaining the fantasy of an England which, in the absence of the Roman conquest, might have developed as “a splendid branch of the Germanic people. The Bulgarian atrocities of 1876 stirred him to enter politics, on the Socialist side. Joined the Social Democratic Federation (1883), which he abandoned one year later in order to set up The Socialist League and the Hammersmith Socialist Society in 1890. Art for Art's sake no longer appealed to him by 1892. Morris is responsible for offering up one more alternative in the ideological climate of literature in the nineties: not an aesthete's absorption in the inner movements of his consciousness but “man's delight in his labour”. David Trotter, in The English Novel in History, 1895-1920 (1993), pays attention to this less studied aspect of the turn of the century literature, in which identity is formed not so much by the development of consciousness as by reciprocal alteration of man and world (p. 35), counting Hardy and Lawrence among the main representatives. The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Life and Death of Jason (1867), The Earthly Paradise (1868-70). News from Nowhere, or an Epoch of Rest, Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance (1891), The Well at the World's End (1896).
Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999). Novelist, playwright and philosopher. Born in Dublin and educated at Oxford and Cambridge. Lecturer in philosophy. Books on Sartre and Plato. Novels of ideas, displaying a tight symbolical structure, addressing philosophical, moral and religious issues in a highly seductive blend of detailed realism and intruding supernatural or grotesque elements. Under the Net (1954); Flight from the Enchanter (1955), The Bell (1958), Bruno's Dream (1960), A Severed Head (1961; dramatized 1963); The Unicorn (1963); The Italian Girl (1964; dramatized 1967), A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970), The Black Prince (1973), The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974), A Word Child (1975), Henry and Cato (19976), The Sea, the Sea (1978), Nuns and Soldiers (1980), The Philosopher's Pupil (1983), The Good Apprentice (1985), The Book and the Brotherhood (1987).
Naipaul, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad (b. 1932). Novelist. Born to a journalist in a Brahman family of Trinidad. Studied at Oxford and settled down to a literary journalist's career in England. Naipaul's early novel A House for Mr Biswas (1961) may be considered an emblem of his life-long quest of cultural identity, played off against a growing sense of the loosening of ethnic and religious bonds and identities (with progressive encroaching of political and sexual violence on four continents): The Mimic Men (1967), In a Free State (1971, Booker Prize), Guerrillas (1975), A Bend in the River (1979), An Area of Darkness (1964), The Return of Eva Peron (1980). Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981) and A Turn in the South (1989) explore civilizations in the mirror (Islamic and Christian). The semi- autobiographical Enigma of Arrival (1987) showcases him as another Strether, journeying from Trinidad to England only to run into a rural landscape that his previous aesthetic experiences had already shaped to his imagination. As Strether's full name is echoing that of one of Balzac's characters in a philosophical novel (Louis Lambert), Naipaul himself seems to place himself within this subspecies of fiction, while distancing himself from Henry James as the latter had distanced himself from Balzac. Knighted in 1990. Won the Nobel Prize in 2000.
Orwell, George. Pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950). Novelist, essayist and journalist. Born in Bengal and educated at St. Cyprian's and Eton, England. Spent five years (1922-27) in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, which bred in him anti-imperialistic convictions. Resigned and took up ill-paid jobs in Paris, then London. Worked as a book-seller, ran a farm, and kept a pub. A documentary account of unemployment in the north of England, commissioned by the Left Book Club resulted in a classic of journalism: The Road to Wigan Pier (1937). Democratic socialist attitudes took him to Spain during the Civil War, where he volunteered for the Republican army. Worked in the Indian Service of the B.B.C. during World War II. Literary editor of Tribune. Died of tuberculosis. Burmese Days (1934), A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935), Coming up for Air (1939), Animal Farm (1945), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Osborne, John (Jarres) (1929-1994). Playwright, prose-writer. Born in London and educated at a public school in Devon. Began writing while working as an actor. One of the “angry young men” of the fifties, who attacked the traditional values of the Establishment, trying to provide a new social and moral centre. Opposing “kitchen-sink realism” to the chandelier and rentier tradition in the theatre. Look Back in Anger (1956), The Entertainer 91957), Under Plain Cover (1962), A Patriot for Me (1965), West of Suez, A Sense of Detachment, A Place Calling Itself Detachment ( (1972), Watch It Come Down, The End of Me Old Cigar (1975), A Better Class of Person (1985 – for television).
Pater, Walter (Horatio) (1839-1894). Essayist and critic. Born in London. Taught by Jowett at Oxford. Fellow of Brasenose, Oxford (1864), where he lived in bachelor retirement surrounded by an aesthetic coterie. Associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly Swinburne (1869) he gave their aesthetic attitudes a more definite shape, which became known as the “aesthetic Movement” of the eighties. Having native roots in the anti-Utilitarian aestheticism originating in Ruskin and enriched with elements from the French Art-for-Arters, the eighties aesthetic decadence denied the relevance of morality to art, cultivated melancholic and pessimistic moods, sought exotic art forms, intensity of sensuous perceptions, displayed anti-bourgeois and escapist obsessions. The impressionist, latitudinarian critic par excellence. Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), Marius the Epicurean: His Sensations and Ideas (1885), Imaginary Portraits (1887), Appreciations. With an Essay on Style (1889), Plato and Platonism: a Series of Lectures (1893), An Imaginary Portrait (1894)
Pinero, Sir Arthur Wing (1855-1934). Dramatist. His father had intended him for a solicitor's career, but he abandoned his office in order to become an actor, and then dedicated himself to writing. Working within the Victorian norms and social codes of the time, Pinero made the first steps towards the modernization of English drama. His farces discredit the cliches of Victorian domestic drama, while his “problem plays” show an influence of Ibsen. Dramatizing such themes as the conflict between love and moral responsibility, personal inclinations and social norms etc. The Magistrate (1885), The Schoolmistress (1886), The Profligate (1889), The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893), The Benefit of the Doubt (1895), Trelawny of the “Wells” (1898).
Pinter, Harold (b 1930). Dramatist. Trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Plays addressing the disintegration of personality, in Pirandello fashion, the frustration of communication among individuals, social alienation, the end of stability and the unreliability of memory in fluid personalities, going through various roles and relationships. Compared to Beckett's minimalist theatre, yet staging a show of fear-provoking obscure threats and violence, which has much to do with the recent realities of death camps and psychiatric asylums. More recent advances towards political drama. The Room (1957), The Birthday Party (1958), The Dumb Waiter (1957), The Caretaker (1960), The Homecoming (1964), No Man's Land (1975), Mountain Language (1988).
Redgrove, Peter (b 1932). Poet, playwright and novelist. Associated with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes into what is known as “The Group” or the “post-Movement”. The Collector (1960), The Force (1966), The Man Named East (1985).
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (christened Gabriel Charles Dante) (1828-1882). Poet, painter and translator. Born in London, son of the Italian poet and scholar Gabriele Rossetti, a political exile, and brother of William Michael (art critic and man of letters) and Christina (Georgiana, poet and artist). Educated at King's College School, London, and Cary's Art Academy. With Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti and others formed The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848), whose organ, The Germ (1850), was edited by his brother, William. The butt of the new aesthetic movement was the artistic establishment with its academic attitudinising and conventionalism, artistic mannerism, whose origins were sought in Raphael. A revival of artistic purity and simplicity was attempted by going back in time to Pre-Raphaelite, medieval subjects and modes. Symbolic paintings, inroads into past and exotic worlds. Type-cast ladies, with golden hair, blue eyes, swan-like necks, remote gazes populate both his canvases with Dantesque, Testamental or Arthurian subjects of the forties and fifties and his poems reviving the medieval ballad form and archaic language. Decorated the Oxford Union with Arthurian murals, assisted by William Morris and Arthur Hughes. The Early Italian Poets from Ciullo d'Alcamo to Dante Alighieri, 1100-1200-1300 in the Original Metres Together with Dante's “Vita Nuova” (1861). Poems (1870), Ballads and Sonnets (1881), which included The House of Life, a Sonnet-Sequence and The King's Tragedy.
Rushdie, Salman (b. 1947). Novelist, short story writer, miscellaneously employed. His fiction displays a fortunate mixture of Oriental fantasy and the western theorised and argumentative line of thought, which channelled his imaginative resources towards magic realism. He got the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children (1981) inspired from India's contemporary history (the major event being the day she got her independence). The originality of his focus on post-colonial realities is his critique of the decolonized/derealized world, claustrophobically imprisoned within medieval habits of thought and practices (Shame, 1983). The Satanic Verses (1988) is a panoramic novel of the contemporary, a sort of New Age picaresque in a world of simulacra, which brought a death sentence on his head from Muslim fundamentalists. Imaginary Homelands (essays and interviews, 1991) and East West (a collection of short stories, 1994) are hinging on the issue of contrasting civilisations which are beginning to share and to trade in a globalized and rapidly mutating world of migrants.
Ruskin, John (1819-1900). Art critic and social reformer. Born in London, the son of a wealthy wine-merchant. Travelled widely in England and on the Continent, mostly in the company of his protective father and domineering mother. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. A member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His mother, Margaret, inspired him with an idealised image of the pure woman, with whom none of his female peers could ever compete. His marriage to Effie Gray, whom he compared in a letter to “a wrecker on a rocky coast, bringing vessels to their fate”, ended disastrously. One year after their 1854 divorce, Effie married the painter Millais. A conservative mind, like Carlyle, with whom he shared the anti-Utilitarian revolt and a sermonistic, hortatory style, with an Evangelical ring to it (probably under the influence of his mother, who made him sensitive to the spirit and sound of the Authorized Version of the Bible), Rossetti maintained patriarchal, patronizing attitudes in his views of social economy. Of a highly tropical quality, his essays often construct womanhood differently from the Radicals like Mill, as inferior to man and as a potential source of moral pollution (Medieval Venice as virgin, Renaissance Venice as whore). He wrote a companion piece to his essay, Of Kings' Treasuries, entitled Of Queen's Gardens (1865), in which women are only granted the possibility of being taught into understanding or even assisting their male partners' grand designs. Only then could a woman grasp the nothingness of the proportion which that little world in which she lives and loves bears to the world in which God lives and loves. As far as the class system was concerned, Rossetti showed much more democratic attitudes, defending the workers' right, in an industrialized England which had changed them into blind tools, to a kind of work which could cater for their spiritual and creative propensities. Ruskin put his social schemes to work, teaching at working men's colleges and founding Ruskin College, Oxford. The immense fortune he inherited on his father's death was spent in philanthropic projects. Sometimes loosely classified within the broader frame of Romantic aesthetics, or of subjective historiography, Ruskin was in reality an odd example in the post-Kantian age a blend of artistic temperament, imaginative troping and the objective scientific method of the natural historian or art historian. In his autobiographical Praeterita (1886-89), he takes pride in the” interwoven temper” of his mind: love of beauty and love of science. Modern Painters, 5 vols. (1843, 1846, 1856, 1860), The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849), The Stones of Venice, 3 vols. (1851, 1853), Pre-Raphaelitism (1851), Unto This Last. Four Essays on the First Principles of Political Economy (1862), Sesame and Lilies. l. Of Kings' Treasuries.2. Of Queens' Gardens (1865, lectures delivered at Manchester). The Crown of Wild Olive. Three Lectures on War, Traffic and War (1866), Fors Clavigera. Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, 8 vols. (1871-84).
Shaw, George Bernard (1856-1950). Playwright, novelist and critic. Born in Dublin. Came with his mother, a singer, to London in 1876. Tried in turn music criticism (The Star, 1888-90), drama criticism (The Saturday Review, 1895-8) and book reviewing. Became a socialist in 1882 and two years later joined the Fabian Society, serving on its Executive Committee for many years. Assisted William Archer, the Scottish journalist and dramatic critic, in his attempts to modernize English drama by exampling Ibsen. The Nobel Prize for Literature (1925). The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891) is a sort of pro domo apology for the Norwegian dramatist. Ibsen's views on drama are further expounded in Our Theatre in the Nineties (3 vols., 1932), a collection of articles, and the collected Prefaces to his published plays (1934). Although Shaw's drama of discussion rather than action is a proper reflex of the Ibsenian problem threatre, he is stylistically closer to Wilde, the dramatist delighting in shocking reversals of expectations, demystification, parody, and verbal wit. Widowers' Houses (1893), Plays, among which, Mrs. Warren's Profession, The Philanderer, Arms and the Man, Candida (1898), Three Plays for Puritans, with The Devil's Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra, Captain Brassbound's Conversation, (1901, Man and Superman (1903), John Bull's Other Island, with How she Lied to her Husband; Major Barbara (1907), Androcles and the Lion, with Overruled; Pygmalion (1916), Heartbreak House (1919), Back to Methuselah (1921).
Sillitoe, Alan (b 1928). Novelist and poet. Born like D. H. Lawrence and Hardy into a worker's family, in Nottingham, and made his way upward, from a worker to a professional writer. He shows a more earnest and consistently anarchic social dissent than the other “angry young men”, refusing to compromise with the welfare state which, while providing improved material conditions, had failed to cater for the young ordinary people's spiritual needs. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958; filmed), The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (a novella, 1959; filmed), The General (1960, based on his personal experience of the war in Malaya), Raw Material (1972), Life Goes On (1985).
Spark, Muriel (Sarah) (b 1918). Poet and novelist. Born in Edinburgh. Spent eight years in Africa (1936-44). Returned to England and worked in political intelligence at the Foreign Office. Edited Poetry Review from 1947 to 1949. Although she described her first novel, The Comforters (1957) as “a novel about writing a novel”, she is generally considered to belong to the most traditional fiction of her age. There is however a tendency in Spark towards parabolic fiction, a secondary order of symbolical meaning, which allies her to Golding and Murdoch. Robinson (1958), Memento mori (1959), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961, filmed), The Mandelbaum Gate (1965), The Takeover (1976), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988).
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1894). Romance writer, essayist and poet. Born in Edinburgh, an engineer's son. Read law at Edinburgh University, and was called to the Bar in 1875 but never practised. Despite ill health, he undertook a canoe tour of France and Belgium, and a travel to California by emigrant ship and trade. Contributed to The Cornhill Magazine (1876-82), and Longman's Magazine, where he published “A Humble Remonstrance” (1884), in reply to Henry James's The Art of Fiction. Left England in 1888, settling in Samoa, where he died from a cerebral haemorrhage. Polynesian culture impressed him as a natural paradise, spoilt by the relentless European colonization, which he condemned in The Ebb-Tide (1894). Long classified as a writer of entertainment and children's literature, Stevenson has been the object of radical revalution attempts in the last two or three decades, his non-realistic romances and literary self-consciousness being now considered hallmarks of incipient modernism. Treasure Island (1881-83), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Kidnapped (1886). The Black Arrow; a Tale of the Two Roses (1888), The Master of Ballantrae. A Winter's Tale (1889)
Stoppard, Tom (b 1937). Dramatist, writing for stage and television. A Czech emigrant. An expert in theatrical effects, being intimately acquainted with the stage, in the long tradition which opposes the line of actor-director-dramatists, descending from Shakespeare to Pinter, to the theatre of literary ideas, of Shaw and Eliot. He has also earned a reputation for intellectual wit and literary subversion. Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead (1966), Travesties (1974), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1977), Professional Fool (1977; for television), Night and Day (1978), The Real Thing (1982), Indian Ink (1995)
Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1837-1909). Poet, playwright, novelist and critic. Born in London, an admiral's son. Educated in France and at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, without getting a degree. Became conversant with both classical culture and the postromantic experiments in France; came under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, his poetry being consequently a mixture of metrical virtuosity, playing on and experimenting with old forms, channelling and controlling an impetuous flood of new ideas – rebellious, decadent, sadistic moods, shocking Victorian prudery. Ill health forced him to leave London, whose sedate atmosphere he had enlivened with his brilliant talks, intoxicating metres and drunken brawls, and retire to Theodore Watts-Dunton's house in Putney, where he died. Poems and Ballads (1866), Ave Atque Vale (1868), Songs Before Sunrise (1871). Plays: The Queen Mother and Rosamond (1860), Atalanta in Calydon (1865), Bothwell (1874), Mary Stuart (1881).
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, 1st Baron. (1809-1892). Poet. Born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, the son of Revd. George Clayton Tennyson. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, which he left without a degree on account of his father's death. While at Cambridge, Tennyson became a member of the Apostles, a group of brilliant young men, and won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for poetry with Timbuctoo. Met and befriended Arthur Henry Hallam, the most promising intellect of the batch, whose early death inspired Tennyson a long elegiac poem, In Memoriam, (1834-1850) which, according to the poetic fashion of the first half of the century, amounts to a public discourse on the most urgent philosophical and religious questions of the age. Succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate (1850), his official bardic posture being magnified by several audiences with Queen Victoria. Accepted a baronetcy and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1883. Poems by Two Brothers (Alfred and Charles Tennyson, to which also Frederick contributed four poems) (1827), Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830), Poems, 2 vols, 1842, The Princess (1847), Maud (1855), Idylls of the King (1859, 1869, 1889), Enoch Arden. Idylls of the Hearth (1864), The Holy Grail and Other Poems (1869), Locksley Hall Sixty Years After (1886), Demeter and Other Poems (containing Crossing the Bar, 1889), The Death of Oenone (1892).
Thackeray, William Makepeace (1811-1863). Novelist. Born in Calcutta of Anglo-Indian stock. Came to England in 1817, leaving Cambridge after two years, without a degree. Visit to Paris (1829) and to Germany (1830-1), where he met Goethe. The heavy financial loss in the Indian Bank failures of 1833 convinced him to turn to painting. Studied art in London and Paris (1834-7). Back to London in 1837, he made a living from writing. Contributed reviews, comic sketches, parodies and satires to Frazer's Magazine, Punch and other periodicals. In 1859 became the founding editor of The Cornhill Magazine. His satirical portrait of an unheroic, mercantile and snobbish age comes forward in a ludic interplay of voices and narrative conventions. The paradigmatic God-like author, the omniscient and self-willed puppeteer, whimsically manipulating the reader's responses and developing an overt relationship with them. Possessed of a keen awareness of the historicity of literary forms. The Book of Snobs (1846-7), Vanity Fair, a Novel Without a Hero (1848), The History of Pendennis. His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemies – a semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman (1849-50), The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Q. Anne. Written by Himself (1852), The Newcomes. Memoirs of a Most Respectable Family (1854-5)((1852), The Virginians. A Tale of the Last Century (1858-9)
Thomas, Dylan (Marlais) (1914-1953). Poet. Born in Swansea, Wales, an English teacher's son. Left Swansea Grammar School in 1931, working as a reporter for the South Wales Evening Post. Moved to London three years later. Unfit for military service, worked for the B.B.C. during the Second World War. Reading tours to the USA where he fascinated large audiences as much as he had impressed the English readers and critics. Bohemian excesses contributed alongside his fragile physical condition to an early death. 18 Poems (1934), Twenty-five Poems (1936), The Map of Love (verse and prose, 1939), New Poems (1943), Deaths and Entrances (1946), In Country Sleep (1952). Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (stories, 1940). Under Milk Wood, a “play for voices” (1952).
Trollope, Anthony (1815-1882). Novelist. Born in London, a Chancery barrister's son. His mother, Frances Trollope, started on a successful literary career in her fifties. Educated at Harrow and Winchester. A post-office official until 1867, successfully organizing postal services and even inventing the pillarbox. In 1841 went to Ireland as a surveyor's clerk, where he married. Returned to England for good in 1869. Ran for Parliament as a Liberal and lost (1868). His opponent, the Conservative Biberly, was accused of bribery, and the constituency was consequently disenfranchised. This episode reinforced Trollope's satirical view of Parliamentary life. Edited St. Paul's Magazine (1867-70). Realistic portraits of middle-class domestic life in his “Chronicles of Barsetshire” (Barchester Towers, 1857, Doctor Thorne, 1858), Framley Parsonage, 1860, The Small House at Allington, 1862-4, The Last Chronicle of Barset, 1866-7). Unscrupled high Victorian politics, conventional, dry and mediocre MPs with their ambitious wives fill the fictional space of the Palliser Novels, serialized for television (Can You Forgive Her ?, 1864-5, The Eustace Diamonds, 1871-3, Phineas Finn, 1867-9, Phineas Redux 1873-4, The Prime Minister, 1875-6, The Duke's Children, 1879-80). The Way We Live Now (1874-5) is mentioned in Graham Greene's The Human Factor as suggestive of a typical Victorian novel, with wide social vistas exposed to the broad daylight of an omniscient author's inspection, at the very opposite pole from the contemporary novelist's bafflement when confronted with man's paradoxical and unrationalizable nature, which remains a mystery even to himself. An Autobiography (1883).
Wain, John (1925-1994). Novelist, poet and critic. Associated with the Movement as a poet and with the “angry young men” who challenged the social order in post-war Britain. Hurry on Down (1953), Living in the Present (1955), The Contenders (1958), The Pardoner's Tale (1978), Young Shoulders (1982).
Waugh, Evelyn (Arthur St John) (1903-1966). Novelist. Born in Hampstead and educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford. Taught in private schools for a while. In 193o was received into the Roman-Catholic Church. Served in the Marines, and later in the Commandos during the Second World War. Travelled widely. Although he departed significantly from modernistic aestheticism, he showed an earnest interest in its Pre-Raphaelite roots, publishing An Essay on The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1847) and a monograph on Rossetti, His Life and Works (1928). In his novel, A Handful of Dust (1934), he himself employs medieval Arthurian symbolism as a counterpoint to the unimaginative, prosaic and corrupted present. Decline and Fall (1928), Vile Bodies, 1930, Black Mischief (1932), Scoop (1938). Travel books: Remote People (1931, about Africa), Ninety-Two Days (South America, 1934), Waugh in Abyssinia (1936), Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson (1939), A Tourist in Africa (1960).
Wells, H(erbert) G(eorge) (1866-1946). Novelist and SF writer. Born at Bromley in the family of a failed tradesman. A draper's apprentice, and then a student assistant at Midhurst Grammar School, A grant allowed him to study at the Normal School of Science, where he took a first-class honours degree in zoology (1890). Published textbooks of biology and geography. From 1893 Wells dedicated himself entirely to writing. A member of the Fabian Society. Famous controversies with Henry James and G.B. Shaw. Divided between realistic scenes of lower middle-class life and utopian fantasies exploiting the scientific and technological progress which had appealed to the public imagination since the Great Exposition. The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man, a Grotesque Romance (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), In the Days of the Comet (1906), Tono Bungay (1909), The History of Mr. Polly (1910), The New Machiavelli (1911), Men Like Gods (1923).
Wilde, Oscar (Fingal O'Flahertie Wills) (1854-1900). Playwright, novelist, essayist, poet. Born in Dublin, the son of Sir William Wilde, a surgeon and man of letters. Studied at Trinity College, London, and at Magdalen College, Oxford. Reputed at Oxford as the founder of the aesthetic cult. A disciple of Pater, courting socialist ideas more as a promise of release from the pressures of the contingent on the individual than as one of democracy and egalitarianism. Settled in London in 1879, wherefrom he went on lecturing tours of England and the States. In 1895 lost a libel suit against the Marquess of Queensberry, Lord Alfred's father, being subsequently imprisoned for homosexual offences. Wilde's reproachful letter to Lord Alfred was published in 1905 as De Profundis. In 1897 he went to France, where he hid under a pseudonym (Sebastian Melmoth, after Charles Maturin's character), and was received into the Catholic Church. The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888), written for his two sons, The Picture of Dorian Grey (1890), an “imaginary portrait” articulating his aesthetic ideas. Plays of verbal pyrotechnics, wit, charming paradoxes and moral subversion. All complacent assumptions about Victorian morality and decorum are ingeniously overturned. Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Salome, written in French, was translated into English by Lord Alfred Douglas (1894). The Ballad of Reading Goal (1898), a powerful indictment of the carcereal and punitive mentality. Intentions, a collection of essays (The Decay of Lying, Pen, Pencil Poison, The Critic as Artist, The Truth of Masks, 1891), asserting Art's independence from Ethics, opposition to reality and paradoxical validity in the transgression of the concrete individual contingency towards the universality of the mask, of the prototype. Develops a physiology of perceptions as moulded by precedented artistic discourse (The Critic as Artist). Wilde's love of paradox may impress one as ostentatious and extravagant, but this is nothing more than a proleptical idea about man being thrown (Heidegger: geworfen) into a network of discourses, matrices of intersubjectivity, into a semiological order which is constitutive and not constituted by him ab origine. The individual's outlook on the world is shaped by “what art has touched”.
Winterson, Jeanette (b. 1959). Novelist. As well as with Wilde, her queer identity is the prop of social and religious rebellion. The straitjacket of her upbringing by sectarian (Pentecostal evangelist) adoptive parents tipped her allegiances in the opposite direction. She is making light of religious and sexual taboos in Oranges Are not the Only Fruit (1985), which won the Whitbread Award for a first novel. Her fiction is transhistorical, violating the dividing line between reality and fiction, past and present, myth and reality, ritual and entertainment: Boating for Beginners (1985), Passion (1987), Sexing the Cherry (1989).
Woolf, (Adeline) Virginia (1882-1941). Novelist and essayist. Born in London, daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, reputed man of letters. In 1904 Virginia Stephen moved from Hyde Park Gate to 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, which the next year became the meeting place of an elite of Cambridge intellectuals, writers and artists known as the Bloomsbury Group (Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, a.o.). The couple founded the Hogarth Press, Richmond, where some important books of modernism were printed. Drowned herself in the River Ouse at Rodmell in Sussex. The Voyage Out (1915), Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928), The Waves (1931), Between the Acts (1941). Essays: Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (1924), The Common Reader (1925, 1932), A Room of One's Own (1929), The Death of the Moss (1942), The Moment and Other Essays (1947), A Writer's Diary (1953).
Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939). Irish poet and dramatist. Born in Dublin, the son of a lawyer turned painter. In 1867 the family moved to London, after spending the summer holidays in the Irish Sligo – the site of Yeats's first novel, John Sherman (1891). In !881 the family returned to Dublin, and Yeats matriculated at the Metropolitan School of Art. His interest in esoteric and occult doctrines led to the foundation of the Dublin Lodge of the Hermetic Society. At the university (the Contemporary Club) he met William Morris, through whom he absorbed much Pre-Raphaelite aestheticism. Back in London in 1887, Yeats formed with Ernest Rhys the Rhymers' Club, one of the coteries associated with the genesis of modernism. Frequent calls on Mrs. Blavatsky, a Russian medium. Joined her Theosophical Society, and Mac Gregor Mathers's Rosicrucian society, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Helped to found Irish literary societies in Dublin and London. Through Arthur Symons Yeats came to an appreciation of French Symbolism, while Ezra Pound, whom he meets in 1912, guided him in an imagist direction. It was also Pound who introduced him to Japanese Noh plays. In 1917 Yeats bought a Norman stone tower at Ballylee near Coole Park, full of historical associations, which he renovated and used as summer residence. The same year married Georgie Hyde-Lees, who practised automatic writing in answer to his questions. This new spiritual experiment materialized in A Vision (1925), containing the codes of Yeats's symbolism. Becomes an important public figure as Senator (1922). The Noble Prize for Literature (1923) mounts his literary prestige high enough to see himself entrusted with the publication of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936). The Wandering of Oisin and Other Poems (1889), The Wind Among the Reeds (1899), The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910), Responsibilities (1914), The Wild Swans at Coole (1917), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1922), The Tower (1928). The Winding Stair (1929), A Full Moon in March, 1935. Plays: The Countess Kathleen (1892), The King's Threshold and On Baile's Strand (1904), The Golden Helmet (1908), Four Plays for Dancers (1921), The Player Queen (1922), The Words Upon the Window Pane (1934). Miscellaneous Prose: John Sherman and Dhoya (1891), The Celtic Twilight (an anthology of Irish folkloree1893), The Secret Rose (stories, 1897), Per amica silentia lunae (1918), The Trembling of the Veil (autobiography, with a title borrowed from Mallarmé, 1922), Autobiographies (1955).
* Compiled mainly on the basis of: A Dictionary of Literature in the English Language from Chaucer to 1940. Compiled and edited by Robin Myers, Pergamon Press, 1970, William J. Entwistle & Eric Gillet, The Literature of England, Longmans, 1962, and The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Edited by Margaret Drabble, 2000.
din Bucuresti 2004.