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John Fuller (John Leopold Fuller) Biography

(1937– ), (John Leopold Fuller), Fairground Music, Cannibals and Missionaries, Lies and Secrets, Selected Poems: 1954–1982

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Samuel Foote Biography to Furioso

British poet and novelist, born at Ashcroft in Kent, the son of Roy Fuller, educated at New College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry in 1960. In 1966 he became a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. His numerous volumes of poetry include Fairground Music (1961), Cannibals and Missionaries (1972), Lies and Secrets (1979), Selected Poems: 1954–1982 (1985), The Grey Among the Green (1988), and The Mechanical Body (1991). Thematically and stylistically his work is wide-ranging, encompassing formally traditional lyric verse, wittily rhymed satires of contemporary social behaviour, and philosophically investigative poems in conversationally cadenced stanzas. The interaction of serious and comic elements in much of his writing is most evident in The Illusionists (1980). Fuller's practice frequently suggests a conception of poetry as a matter of ingenious verbal artificing, which, with the intelligence that permeates his work, identifies him as a disciple of Auden. He has also produced several works of fiction, notably the novels Flying to Nowhere (1983) and Look Twice (1991); and short stories collected in The Adventures of Speedfall (1985) and The Worm and the Star (1993). In collaboration with James Fenton, he wrote Partingtime Hall (1987), a collection of verse combining spirited scurrility and erudite allusiveness. Among Fuller's scholarly works are A Reader's Guide to W. H. Auden (1970) and his edition of John Gay's Dramatic Works (two volumes, 1983).

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