At the start of World War I, he enlisted in the army and served in the 10th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. In 1916, he was severely wounded, experiences of which he wrote in ‘Margin Released’, his autobiography; which released much later.
After military service, he completed his university education at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and wrote his first novel, ‘Adam in Moonshine’, in 1927. This was followed by another novel next year titled, ‘Benighted’.
He achieved a breakthrough with the novel, ‘The Good Companions’ which he published in 1929. He earned the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize award for the novel and it immediately catapulted him to national success. The same year, he collaborated with Hugh Walpole and wrote ‘Farthing Hall.
In 1930, he wrote the novel, ‘Angel Pavement’, which further cemented his place among the literary elite. Other fiction this year included ‘The Town Major of Miraucourt’.
In 1932, he published ‘Stamboul Train’ and ‘Faraway’. The same year, he collaborated with Gerald Bullett and published ‘I’ll Tell You Everything’. Apart from writing novels and fiction, he also wrote his first play, ‘Dangerous Corner’.
He wrote his second play, ‘Laburnum Grove’ in 1933 along with the novels, ‘Albert Goes Through’ and ‘Wonder Hero’. The next year proved to be an extremely fruitful one for him, and he published his first travelogue ‘English Journey’.
Between 1935 and 1938, he published the novels, ‘They Walk in the City’ and ‘The Doomsday Men’. He also wrote the plays, ‘Cornelius’, ‘Time and the Conways’, ‘I Have been Here Before’ and ‘When We Are Married’.
At the start of World War II, he became a regular broadcaster on the ‘Postscript’ which aired on BBC from 1940 to 1941. During this time, he chaired the 1941 Committee and the next year, he became a co-founder of the socialist ‘Common Wealth Party’.
His written works from 1942 to 1945 were limited to one publication a year. These include: ‘Blackout in Gretley’, ‘Daylight on Saturday’ and ‘Three Men in New Suits’. In 1946, he wrote one of his best-known plays, ‘An Inspector Calls’.
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Other works during the 1940s include, ‘Bright Day’ (1946), ‘Jenny Villiers’ (1947) and ‘The Linden Tree’ (1947).
From 1950 onwards, his literary output started to decline and he produced only three novels including, ‘Festival at Farbridge’, ‘Low Notes on a High Level’ and ‘The Magicians’. He also wrote a collection of short stories titled, ‘The Other Place’ and was the writer and producer of the film, ‘Last Holiday’.
In 1958, he became an establishing member of the ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’. Two years later, he published ‘Literature and Western Man’, a 500 page review of Western prose in all its categories.
He wrote his autobiography, ‘Margin Released’ in 1962, which provides its readers with valuable insights into his work. The same year, he released the novel, ‘The Shapes of Sleep’.
In 1964, he published a comprehensive essay titled, ‘Man and Time’ and the novel, ‘Sir Michael and Sir George’. Four years later, he published, ‘The Image Men Vol. 1: Out of Town’ and ‘The Image Men Vol. 2: London End’.
Between 1975 and 1976, he authored ‘The Carfitt Crisis’ and ‘Found Lost Found’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married three times. He got married to Emily Tempest in 1921 and had two daughters with her. Emily died from cancer in 1925.
In 1926, he married Jane Wyndham-Lewis, with whom he had two daughters and a son.
In 1953, he divorced Jane Wyndham-Lewis and married the archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes.
He loved classical music for most part of his life and even composed a libretto titled ‘The Olympians’, which premiered in 1949.
In his later years, he suffered from depression and passed away in Statford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England at the age of 89.
After his death, a distinct collector’s edition of ‘Bright Day’ was issued in 2006, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the novel.