Fuller, Roy, 1912-1991

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1912-02-11
Death 1991-09-27
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Roy (Broadbent) Fuller (1912-1991), the poet, was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, educated at Blackpool High School, and later qualified as a solicitor. He joined the Woolwich Equitable Building Society in 1938 and became one of its directors in 1969. He was legal adviser to and vice-president of the Building Societies Association, and at one time a governor of the BBC. His lectures as Oxford Professor of Poetry (1968-1973) were published under the titles Owls and artificers (London, 1971) and Professors and gods (London, 1974). He received the CBE and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1970, and was chairman of both the Literature Panel of the Arts Council and the Poetry Book Society. Besides numerous volumes of poetry, Fuller also published eight novels, eight children's books, and three volumes of memoirs.

From the guide to the Literary papers and correspondence of Roy Fuller, with some of his publications, 1941-1990, (Leeds University Library)

Poet, director of the Poetry Book Society in London.

From the description of Roy Fuller manuscripts, 1965-1969. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 495526612

British poet and novelist, Roy Broadbent Fuller (1912-1991), was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, but moved with him family to Blackpool after his father died. Admitted as a solicitor in 1934, he married Kathleen Smith in 1936. With their only child, John Fuller, the couple moved to London just before the outbreak of World War II. There, Roy Fuller joined the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, with whom he remained until his retirement in 1987. He only left the Woolwich during World War II, when he served as a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy, first as a radar mechanic in Kenya, then as a radio and radar officer at the Admiralty. One of the most significant British war poets, Fuller was later identified with The Movement, a postwar group of British poets which included Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, D.J. Enright, Elizabeth Jennings, and Thom Gunn. Roy Fuller died in Blackheath, London 27 September 1991.

From the description of Correspondence with Julian Symons and Jack Clark, 1937-1992. (Texas A&M University). WorldCat record id: 50257048

Roy Broadbent Fuller, a British poet, died in 1991.

From the description of Roy Fuller letters and poems, 1941-1942, n.d. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 34968953

British poet and novelist, Roy Broadbent Fuller was born in Failsworth, Lancashire 11 February 1912. After the death of their father, Roy Fuller and his brother, along with their mother, Nellie Broadbent Fuller, moved to Blackpool . Admitted as a solicitor in 1934, he then married Kathleen Smith in 1936. With their young son and only child, John Fuller, the couple moved to London just before the outbreak of World War II . There, Roy Fuller joined the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, a home-mortgage company, with whom he remained until his retirement in 1987. Fuller left the Woolwich for military duty during World War II, from 1941-1946, when he served as a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy, first as a radar mechanic in Kenya, then as a radio and radar officer at the Admiralty . As soon as the war ended and he was demoblized, Fuller returned to the Woolwich, rising from Assistant Solicitor, to Solicitor to the Society (1958-1969), and finally to Director (1969-1987).

The influence of William Wordsworth, Hugh Wystan Auden, and to some extent Alexander Pope, were apparent in Fuller's earliest published poetry, Poems ( London : Fortune, 1939). Though Poems spoke to the fear and tension engendered by the Spanish Civil War, Fuller's next two books of poetry, The Middle of a War ( London : Hogarth Press, 1944), and A Lost Season ( London : Hogarth Press,1944) are refreshed and informed more by his own war experiences, particularly the less glamorous aspects of tedium, and shortages suffered by most of the civilian population in England at the time. Fuller credited the discipline of military life with the precision and complex structure of this more mature poetic style . The time Fuller spent in East Africa was particularly valuable in providing time to write and new experiences to explore, especially those of a generally urbane and family-oriented Englishman faced with the possibilities of violence and early death, the persistance of loneliness for loved ones and well-known scenes, and the ever-present vicissitudes of difficult and often boring war-time travel . Africa's influence on Fuller was profound, as evidenced in several poems from A Lost Season . Fuller's sense of war's darkness was highlighted by the exotic and primal aspects of the African landscape . As one of the most significant of the World War II English poets, Fuller spoke in a more studied manner, and with the voice of the home-front denizen, rather than that of the fighting man.

After the end of World War II and his demobilization, Fuller continued writing and publishing important poetry, but he also turned to writing fiction, including Savage Gold (1946), a collection of boy's adventure tales, which also draws on the author's fascination with Kenya, and With My Little Eye (1948), a work on crime detection . Subsequent to the immediate postwar lull in literary activity, English poets by the 1950s seemed to coalesce into a group eventually called The Movement . This group was generally dedicated to robust and ironic poems, forthright in tone and often intricate in versification. Before the war, Fuller's work had already become famous for these very characteristics; thus, he emerged as both The Movemen t's father figure and a link between English poetry of the 1930s and 1950s. Other poets in The Movement included Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, D.J. Enright, Elizabeth Jennings, and Thom Gunn . Two important anthologies of these poets' work including poems by Fuller, New Lines: an Anthology, and New Lines II, were edited by Robert Conquest and published by Macmillian in 1956 and 1963 respectively. During this interesting period of English literary development Fuller published two more verse collections and four novels.

Noteworthy among Fuller's postwar works are three books of poetry. Epitaphs and Occasions (1949) owed much to 18th century poetry's assertion of civilization's need for balance in viewpoint and poetic style, as well as complexity and integrity of poetic execution. Counterparts (1954); and Brutus's Orchard (1957) presented Fuller's wry honesty and increasingly more assertively dramatic poetic voice, recalling the classical literary influences propounded by the 18th century poets themselves. Again Wordsworth 's influence was also noticeable. By 1962, when Fuller's Collected Poems: 1936-1961 appeared, he was acknowledged as one of the leading poets of the post-Auden generation. Buff (1965) contained the third sonnet sequence published by Fuller, and New Poems (1968) won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize . Not as romantic as Dylan Thomas or George Barker, Fuller persistently grew as a poet and by the end of his career possesed a dryly witty, ironic and dramatic style, always humane and honest in its evaluation of the writer himself, as well as the society in which he lived and to which he owed his best efforts as a citizen of the world..

Not only a poet and novelist, but a formidable civic servant, Fuller served as the Vice-President of the Buildings Societies Association (1969-1987); a Governor of the BBC (1972-1979); member of the Arts Council (1976-1977); Member of the Library Advisory Council for England (1977-1979). Other awards and honors included the Queen's Medal for Poetry (1970); the Cholmondeley Award, Society of Authors (1980); and an honorary D.Litt., University of Kent (1986). Fuller's autobiography was published over the course of several years in several volumes; Souvenirs (1980); Vamp Till Ready (1982); Home and Dry (1984); The Strange and the Good: Complete Memoirs (1989). Roy Fuller died in Blackheath, London 27 September 1991.

Bibliography Austin, Allan E.Roy (Broadbent) Fuller, in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 20: British Poets, 1914-1945. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Donald E. Stanford, Louisiana State University. The Gale Group, 1983, pp. 132-140.

From the guide to the Inventory of the Roy Fuller Correspondence with Julian Symons and Jack Clark LIT/Fuller MSS 00068., 1937-1992, (Cushing Memorial Library)

Of 37 Langton Way, London SE3

Epithet: poet

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001124.0x0002e8

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Subjects:

  • English fiction--20th century
  • War poetry, English--History--20th century
  • Letters 20th century
  • English poetry--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, British
  • English poetry--History--20th century
  • English literature--Societies, etc
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal reminiscences
  • English literature 20th century History and criticism Sources
  • Autobiographies
  • Music--History and criticism
  • Music appreciation
  • Poets, English--Correspondence.

Occupations:

  • Poets, English

Places:

  • Blackpool (England) (as recorded)
  • Nairobi (Kenya) (as recorded)
  • Blackpool (England). (as recorded)
  • Nairobi (Kenya). (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)