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Kenneth Allott Biography

(1912–73), New Verse, Poems, The Ventriloquist's Doll, Collected Poems, The Rhubarb Tree

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British poet, born in Glamorganshire; he grew up in Cumberland and was educated at the University of Durham and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He became a leading contributor of poetry to New Verse, of which he was assistant editor from 1936 to 1939. In 1946 he began lecturing at the University of Liverpool, where he was A. C. Bradley Professor of Modern English Literature (196473). His reputation as a poet rests on Poems (1938) and The Ventriloquist's Doll (1943), after which he published no further collections. His highly accomplished verse is often intensely atmospheric in its elegiac concern with impending historical catastrophe. Elsewhere the clarity and precision of his imagery, which sometimes suggests a muted surrealism, are used to bitterly satirical effect. Collected Poems (1975) contains his two collections together with a number of poems written between 1943 and 1957. His other works include The Rhubarb Tree (1938), an ingenious comic novel written with Stephen Tait, with whom he also wrote a dramatic adaptation of E. M. Forster's A Room with a View (1951), and the critical and biographical study Jules Verne (1940). He edited, amongst other works, The Poems of Matthew Arnold (1965), the standard edition of Arnold's verse, and The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse (1950).

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about 4 years ago

Please note that my uncle and his brother spent their childhood in Whitchurch Shropshire and then were adopted by their aunts in Newcastle aged 14 (and 11) and lived there until they went to University at Armstrong College, Durham University, in Newcastle. My father, his younger brother was born in Nenthead Cumbria but they were only there for a couple of years while their father was a locum doctor.