Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sir Kingsley William Amis (April 16, 1922 – October 22, 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than twenty novels, three collections of poetry, short stories, radio and television scripts, and books of social and literary criticism.
Kingsley Amis was born in London, educated at the City of London School, and St. John's College, Oxford, where he met Philip Larkin, forming the most important friendship of his life. After serving in the army's Royal Corps of Signals, he completed university in 1947, and was a lecturer in English at the University of Wales Swansea (1948–61), and Cambridge (1961–63).
Amis achieved popular success with his first novel Lucky Jim, which is considered the exemplary novel of Fifties Britain. The novel won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction and Amis was associated with the writers labelled Angry Young Men. Lucky Jim is a seminal work, the first English novel featuring an ordinary man as anti-hero. As a poet, Amis was associated with The Movement.
As a young man, Kingsley Amis was vocally Stalinist, and a member of the Communist Party. He became disillusioned with Communism, finally breaking with it when the USSR invaded Hungary in 1956. Thereafter, Amis was stridently anti-communist, even reactionary. He discusses his political change of heart in the 1967 essay "Why Lucky Jim Turned Right"; it percolates into later works such as Russian Hide and Seek (1980).
Amis was twice married, first in 1948 to Hilary Bardwell, then to novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard , in 1965; they divorced in 1983. He had three children, including the novelist Martin Amis, who movingly wrote of his father's life and decline, largely due to alcohol, in his memoir Experience.
Amis's critical interest in science fiction led to New Maps of Hell (1960), his interpretation of the genre's literary qualities. He was particularly enthusiastic about the dystopian works of Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, and, in New Maps of Hell, he coined the term "comic inferno", describing a type of humorous dystopia, particularly common to the works of Robert Sheckley. With the Sovietologist Robert Conquest, he produced the science fiction anthology series Spectrum I–IV, which heavily drew upon the 1950s magazine Astounding Science Fiction for sources. He wrote two science fiction novels, The Alteration, an alternate history novel set in a twentieth-century Great Britain where the Reformation never occurred; and the supernatural-horror novel, The Green Man, which the BBC adapted for television.
Kingsley Amis became associated with Ian Fleming's creation, James Bond, in the 1960s, writing critical works connected with the fictional spy, either under a pseudonym or uncredited. He wrote the popular The James Bond Dossier under his own name. Later, he wrote, The Book of Bond, or, Every Man His Own 007 , a tongue-in-cheek, how-to manual about being a sophisticated spy, under the pseudonym "Lt. Col. William 'Bill' Tanner", Tanner being M's Chief of Staff in many of Fleming's Bond novels.
It is widely claimed that, after Fleming died in 1964 following completion of an early draft of The Man with the Golden Gun, the publisher commissioned Amis and possibly other writers to finalize the manuscript. Bond historians and Fleming biographers have, in recent years, debunked this long-time theory, indicating that no such ghostwriter was ever employed. (see here for more on the controversy and speculation)
In 1968, the owners of the James Bond property, Glidrose Publications, attempted to continue the literary series by hiring different novelists, all writing under the pseudonym "Robert Markham." Kingsley Amis was the first to write a Robert Markham novel, Colonel Sun, but no further Markham imprint books were published. It is widely believed that Amis had planned to write a second Bond novel after Colonel Sun, but was talked out of it.
- 1947 Amis's first collection of poems, Bright November
- 1953 A Frame of Mind
- 1954 Poems: Fantasy Portraits.
- 1954 Amis also published his first novel, Lucky Jim
- 1955 That Uncertain Feeling
- 1956 A Case of Samples: Poems 1946-1956.
- 1958 I Like it Here
- 1960 Take a Girl Like You
- 1960 New Maps of Hell
- 1960 Hemingway in Space (short story), Punch Dec 1960
- 1962 My Enemy's Enemy
- 1962 The Evans County
- 1963 One Fat Englishman
- 1965 The Egyptologist (with Robert Conquest.
- 1965 The James Bond Dossier
- 1965 The Book of Bond, or Every Man His Own 007, under the pseudonym "Lt.-Col William ('Bill') Tanner"
- 1966 The Anti-Death League
- 1968 Colonel Sun, a James Bond novel, under the pseudonym "Robert Markham."
- 1969 The Green Man
- 1970 What Became of Jane Austen and Other Questions
- 1971 Girl, 20
- 1972 On Drink
- 1973 The Riverside Villas Murders
- 1974 Ending Up
- 1974 Rudyard Kipling and his World
- 1976 The Alteration
- 1978 Jake's Thing
- 1979 Collected Poems 1944-78
- 1980 Collected Short Stories
- 1983 Every Day Drinking
- 1984 How's Your Glass?
- 1984 Stanley and the Women
- 1986 The Old Devils
- 1988 Difficulties With Girls
- 1990 The Folks That Live on the Hill
- 1990 The Amis Collection
- 1991 Memoirs
- 1991 Mr Barrett's Secret and Other Stories
- 1994 The Russian Girl
- 1994 The semi-autobiographical You Can't Do Both was published.
- 1998 The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage
Poets in The Amis Anthology: A Personal Choice of English Verse (1988)
Richard Aldington - Kenneth Allott - Matthew Arnold - Kenneth Ashley - W. H. Auden - William Barnes - Oliver Bayley - Hilaire Belloc - John Betjeman - Laurence Binyon - William Blake - Edmund Blunden - Rupert Brooke - Robert Browning - Robert Burns - Thomas Campbell - Thomas Campion - G. K. Chesterton - Hartley Coleridge - Robert Conquest - W. J. Cory - John Davidson - Donald Davie - C. Day Lewis - Walter De la Mare - Ernest Dowson - Michael Drayton - Lawrence Durrell - Jean Elliot - George Farewell - James Elroy Flecker - Thomas Ford - Roy Fuller - Robert Graves - Thomas Gray - Fulke Greville - Heath - Reginald Heber - Felicia Dorothea Hemans - W. E. Henley - George Herbert - Ralph Hodgson - Thomas Hood - Teresa Hooley - Gerard Manley Hopkins - A. E. Housman - Henry Howard - T. E. Hulme - Leigh Hunt - Elizabeth Jennings - Samuel Johnson - John Keats - Henry King - Charles Kingsley - Rudyard Kipling - Philip Larkin - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - John Lydgate - H. F. Lyte - Louis MacNeice - Andrew Marvell - John Masefield - Alice Meynell - Harold Monro - William Morris - Edwin Muir - Henry Newbolt - Alfred Noyes - Wilfred Owen - Thomas Love Peacock - George Peele - Alexander Pope - Frederic Prokosch - Walter Ralegh - John Crowe Ransom - Christina Rossetti - Siegfried Sassoon - John Skelton - Robert Southey - Edmund Spenser - Sir John Squire - Robert Louis Stevenson - Sir John Suckling - Algernon Charles Swinburne - George Szirtes - Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Dylan Thomas - Edward Thomas - R. S. Thomas - Francis Thompson - Anthony Thwaite - Chidiock Tichborne - Aurelian Townsend - W. J. Turner - Oscar Wilde - John Wilmot, Lord Rochester - Roger Woddis - Charles Wolfe - William Wordsworth - W. B. Yeats - Andrew Young
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