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Stanley Middleton Biography

(1919– ), The Daysman, Holiday, Two Brothers, An After-Dinner's Sleep, After a Fashion

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: McTeague to Nancy [Freeman] Mitford Biography

British novelist, born in Bulwell, Nottingham, educated at University College of Nottingham. For many years he worked as a teacher, becoming Head of the English Department at High Pavement College, Nottingham. Teachers are among the characters who inhabit his acutely observed novels about provincial life in the Midlands. His novels focus on the emotional dilemmas that beset articulate, middle-class people, and the reverberations these have on the lives of those around them. Middleton's style is quiet, precise, and, for all its fidelity to ordinary life, not without a kind of poetry, which transfigures the mundane world of the often determinedly conventional people of his fictions. His ability to let complex characters unfold is evident in The Daysman (1984), where the protagonist is a headmaster addicted to altruistic-seeming interference in the affairs of others and incapable of appreciating the moral narcissism of which he is guilty. Middleton's method serves him well in the portrayal of marital difficulties and in describing the relations between men and women generally; Holiday (1974; Booker Prize) offers a good example of this. His agnostic humanism is apparent in his treatment of loneliness, old age, and death. Among his many other novels are Two Brothers (1978), An After-Dinner's Sleep (1986), After a Fashion (1987), Recovery (1988), Vacant Places (1989), Changes and Chances (1990), Beginning to End (1991), and Married Past Redemption (1993).

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