Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Wain, John (Barrington)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English poet and novelist. His first novel, Hurry on Down (1953), expresses the radical political views of the Angry Young Men of the 1950s. He published several volumes of witty and ironic verse, collected in Poems 1949–79 (1981), and was professor of poetry at Oxford University from 1973–80.

Wain was born in Stoke-on-Trent, north Staffordshire, and studied at Oxford. He lectured in English literature at Reading University from 1947–55, then worked as a freelance writer and lecturer or visiting academic. He achieved fame with his first novel; others include Living in the Present (1955), The Contenders (1958), The Young Visitors (1965), and the mid-20th-century Oxford saga comprising Where the Rivers Meet (1988), Comedies (1990), and Hungry Generations (1994). His short stories are collected in Nuncle (1960), Death of the Hind Legs (1966), The Life Guard (1971), and King Caliban (1978). Volumes of his verse include A Word Carved on a Sill (1956) and Feng (1975).

He also wrote several important critical studies, including Essays on Literature and Ideas (1963) and Samuel Johnson (1974).

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article Wain, John (1925 - 1994)
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, he was educated in Newcastle and at St John's College, Oxford, where he was subsequently a fellow in...

Full text Article Wain, John (1925 - 1994)
The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature

Prose fiction: Hurry on Down (1953); Living in the Present (1955); The Contenders (1958); A Travelling Woman (1959); ...

Full text Article Wain, John (1925)
Bloomsbury Biographical Dictionary of Quotations

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking. Talk, BBC radio, 13 Jan 1976, 1976 ...

See more from Credo