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B. S. Johnson

(1933—1973) writer


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(1933–73),

British novelist, poet, and film‐maker, born in London, educated at King's College, London. He published seven novels, each highly adventurous in form. Travelling People (1963) is a lightweight novel of comic misadventures, each chapter written in a different style; Albert Angelo (1964) vividly evokes the London of its era, and has holes cut through the pages to provide a ‘flashforward’ to future events. Trawl (1967) and The Unfortunates (1969) are autobiographical pieces, the latter consisting of unbound sections presented in a box. House Mother Normal (1971), Christie Malry's Own Double Entry (1973), and See the Old Lady Decently (1975) continue his passionate crusade against realism. Johnson's work has an emotional candour and directness unusual in a so‐called ‘experimental’ writer. He committed suicide at the age of 40. See Like a Fiery Elephant (2004) by J. Coe.

Subjects: literary studies (20th century onwards).


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