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John Wain

(1925—1994) writer and poet


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(1925–94),

poet, critic, and novelist. His first novel, Hurry On Down (1953), is an episodic and picaresque account of the career of Charles Lumley, who, on leaving university, rejects his lower‐middle‐class origins by working as a window‐cleaner, crook, hospital orderly, chauffeur, and bouncer. It has been seen as a manifestation of the spirit of the ‘Angry Young Men’ of the 1950s. Other novels include The Contenders (1958), A Travelling Woman (1959), Strike The Father Dead (1962), The Young Visitors (1965), The Pardoner's Tale (1978), Young Shoulders (1982), and his Oxford trilogy: Where the Rivers Meet (1988), Comedies (1990), and Hungry Generations (1994). As a poet Wain was associated with the Movement and contributed to New Lines. He published several volumes of verse, collected in Poems 1949–79 (1981), a volume of autobiography, Sprightly Running (1962), and a biography of Dr Johnson (1974).

Subjects: Literature.


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