Kingsley Amis

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and keeping safe. Times are very tough right now, but if we all pull together, we can kick this pandemic on its backside once and for all. Life will never be the same again as one way or another it as changed us all, but we learn and grow from it and show that it has not broken us instead, it should unite us as one, and eventually we will come out the other side smiling. I for one want this to be over and done with and to be able to start living again instead of this endless vicious cycle.

18 June 1956 Leading author, Sir Kingsley Amis with his first wife Hillary Bardwell and their three children Sally, Phillip (now and artist) and Martin (the novelist) on the right.

Bio

Born Kingsley William Amis on April 16th, 1922, in London England and died October 22nd, 1995, in London. Amis was a Poet, Novelist, teacher, and critic, he created his first novel called Lucky Jim, who was a comic figure had now become a household name around Great Britain in the 1950s.

Between the years of 1949 to 1961 he taught at universities in places such as Wales, England, and the United States. His first novel Lucky Jim (1954) was liked so much in the Uk, that it was picked up and went on to become a film (1957), and again it was an immediate success and to this day remains his popular work.

A young and testy antihero named Jim Dixon formed a new social group that had risen by strength of scholarship from the likes of lower grade and working-class background, but the more comfortable seats were still taken up by those who were privileged and upper-class. Lucky Jim had now prompted critics to group Kingsley with the Angry Young Men, who appeared to express similar social restlessness. He went on to create his second novel The Uncertain Feeling (1955), with a similar type of antihero, and Through his visit to Portugal he went on to write I Like It Here (1958), Amis’ experience rewarded him a teaching job in the United States which was disclosed in his novel One Fat Englishman (1963).

Kingsley Amis as written, 40 books, that includes 20 novels, several collections of essays and many volumes of poetry. Amis was a big fan of Ian Flemming and wrote a series of works based on his James Bond creation. His work on bond was written under a series of pseudonym names. After the death of Ian Flemming in 1964, Amis wrote the next James Bond Novel, Colonel Sun, under the name Robert Markham. Amis became less prolific after 1970 in his novel writing, but he still received greater critical praise. Ending Up, Jake’s Thing and the Old Devil were all nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

Sir Kingsley Amis with second wife Elizabeth Jane Howard

Interesting Facts

  • Amis’ father, William Robert Amis was a mustard manufacturer’s clerk.
  • Amis received his primary education from the City of London School.
  • In the year 1941 he enrolled into St. John’s College, Oxford but his education was interrupted during World War II by his service as a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. After the end of the war in 1945, he returned to Oxford and resumed his studies and got a distinction in English.
  • In 1946, Kingsley Amis joined the Communist Party of Great Britain.
  • Amis was appointed as lecturer at the University of Wales Swansea in 1948.
  • He penned his first novel Lucky Jim while working as lecturer at the University of Wales Swansea.
  • Amis is labelled by many as a member of the Angry Young Men movement due to his mood and temperament reflected in Lucky Jim.
  • Although Lucky Jim was a best seller in the UK, the book was said to off sold only two thousand copies in the US in its first two years.
  • He received the honorary title ‘Knight’ in 1990.
  • As a poet, Amis was a representative member of a group sometimes called “The Movement,”
  • Amis was a non-believer of God.
  • Amis had a close friendship with the poet Philip Larkin.
  • Kingsley had two marriages and they both ended up in divorce.
  • He married his first wife Hilary Bardwell in 1948 and had three children with her.
  • Amis’ marriage tended towards divorce soon after Hilary discovered his love affair with Elizabeth Jane Howard in 1963.
  • After formal separation from Hilary in 1965, Amis married Elizabeth that same year. Again, the marriage proved to be unsuccessful and they were divorced in 1983.
  • Amis had no children with Elizabeth.
  • His eldest son Philip Amis is a collagist.
  • His other son, Martin Amis is a novelist.
  • His only daughter Sally Amis died aged 46 years old in 2000
  • His Memoirs were published in 1991
  • Kingsley Amis suffered from a mild stroke in 1995 which worsened his already ill health.
  • In his last years Amis stayed in the same house where his first wife Hilary lived with her third husband so that he could be cared for until his death.
  • He won the Booker Prize in 1986 for The Old Devils.
  • After his death, his body was cremated, and the ashes were given to family or friend.
  • Kingsley Amis was the key figure in post-war British culture as well as the greatest British c comic novelist of his generation.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post. I will see you all next week!

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