(1913—1991) novelist and biographer
British writer. He was knighted in 1980.
Angus Wilson was born in England but spent part of his childhood in South Africa, his mother's homeland, before completing his education at Westminster School and Merton College, Oxford. In 1936 he went to work in the department of printed books in the British Museum (now the British Library). During World War II he worked for the Foreign Office (1942–46) but then returned to the Museum to supervise the replacement of books lost in the war. His first volumes of short stories, The Wrong Set (1949) and Such Darling Dodos (1950), won immediate critical recognition. His emerging reputation as an accomplished satirist was confirmed by his first novel, Hemlock and After (1952). In 1955 he resigned from the museum to devote himself to writing.
Apart from his technically skilled and witty fiction – which includes Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (1956), The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot (1958), The Old Men at the Zoo (1961), As If By Magic (1973), and Setting the World on Fire (1980) – he also wrote several television dramas and the play The Mulberry Bush, which was produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1956. In the 1960s he taught and lectured in universities in Britain and the USA; The Wild Garden (1963), based on lectures given at Los Angeles in 1960, is an interesting examination of his own fiction. He also published a study of Émile Zola (1952), The World of Charles Dickens (1970), and Portable Dickens (1983); The Collected Stories of Angus Wilson was published in 1987.