Wain, John

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John Barrington Wain was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1925, the son of a dentist, and educated at the High School, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Ineligible for military service because of poor eyesight, Wain went up to St John's College Oxford in 1943 to read English. His tutor, C.S. Lewis, introduced him to the conservative literary group, the Inklings, although Wain remained on its periphery. His contemporaries included Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Jennings and Kingsley Amis, with whom he was later associated in a significant strand of post-war poetry The Movement .

In 1947 Wain married and moved to Reading to work as a lecturer in English at the university. As well as teaching he developed his writing, publishing criticism, poetry and fiction. Wain's first book of poetry Mixed Feelings was published in a limited edition at Reading in 1951 and in 1953 his first novel Hurry On Down appeared and was greeted with great acclaim. Wain also did some work for the BBC on the literary magazine programme First Lines which brought him into contact with new writing and other writers.

By 1955 Wain's health was precarious and his marriage was breaking down. He made the decision to leave his job in Reading and become a freelance writer, a way of life which he continued, producing a great variety of literary journalism, critical works, poetry, plays, autobiography and 13 novels, for the rest of his life. In 1960 he married again and settled in Wolvercote near Oxford and from 1973-1978 he was Oxford Professor of Poetry. John Wain died in Oxford in 1994 at the age of 69.

From the guide to the Papers of John Wain, 1953-1981, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, post 1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Alfred Kazin collection of papers, 1933-1990, 1933-1978 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn John Hollander Papers, circa 1950-2007 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Curtis Brown Ltd. Curtis Brown Ltd. records, 1914-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Rice, Warner Grenelle, 1899-. Correspondence, with literary notables, 1955-1961. University of Michigan
creatorOf Arlott, John. Manuscripts (ca. 19) of poems, many related to World War II, 1937-1969. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1853-2005 (inclusive), 1939-2003 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn John Cushman Associates Records, 1965-1978 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Correspondence (arranged by correspondent), c1909 to 2004 St John's College, Oxford
referencedIn John Cushman Associates. John Cushman Associates records, 1965-1978. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, 1935-1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Robert Lowell papers, 1861-1976 (inclusive) 1935-1970 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Wain, John. Letter, 1959 Jan. 27, Brooklyn, N.Y., to Warner G. Rice, Ann Arbor. University of Michigan
referencedIn William Empson papers, 1811-1996 (inclusive), 1911-1984 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Meyerstein, Edward Harry William, 1889-1952. Edward Harry William Meyerstein typescript and related materials, 1931-1957. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Kizer, Carolyn. Papers, 1825-2004. Indiana University
creatorOf Wain, John. Typed letter signed : Oxford, England, to Mr. Taylor, 1973 Feb. 13. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Papers of John Wain, 1953-1981 Reading University : Special Collections Services
referencedIn Edmund Wilson collection of papers, 1922-1978 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn John Lucas Literary Collection, c1930-1993 Loughborough University Archives
creatorOf Levi, Peter. Peter Levi Papers, 1949-1989, (bulk 1960-1989). Boston College, Thomas P. O'Neill Library
referencedIn Curtis Brown, Ltd. Records, 1914-2006. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Jupiter Recordings Ltd. Jupiter Recordings Ltd. records, 1955-1970 (bulk 1958-1963). University of Maryland Libraries, UMD Libraries
creatorOf Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. Edmund Wilson collection of papers, 1922-1978. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Baker, Sherman, 1902-1976. F. Sherman Baker collection, 1954-1971 bulk 1954-1965. Boston University, School of Medical
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
correspondedWith Baker, Sherman, 1902-1976. person
associatedWith Curtis Brown Ltd. corporateBody
correspondedWith Eccles, Mary Hyde. person
correspondedWith Empson, William, 1906-1984 person
associatedWith Foley, Donald L. person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Graves, Robert Windham, 1858-1934 person
associatedWith Hollander, John. person
associatedWith John Cushman Associates. corporateBody
correspondedWith Jupiter Recordings Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Kazin, Alfred, 1915-1998 person
associatedWith Kizer, Carolyn. person
associatedWith Levi, Peter. person
correspondedWith Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977 person
associatedWith Lucas, John., 1937- person
associatedWith Meyerstein, Edward Harry William, 1889-1952. person
associatedWith Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915- person
associatedWith Rice, Warner Grenelle, 1899- person
associatedWith Steegmuller, Francis, 1906- person
associatedWith Taylor, Mr, person
associatedWith Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972 person
associatedWith Wain John Barrington 1925-1994 person
associatedWith Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
English fiction--20th century
English poetry--20th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1925-03-14

Death 1994-05-24

Britons

English

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