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William Plomer (William Charles Franklyn Plomer) Biography

(1903–73), (William Charles Franklyn Plomer), Voorslag, Turbott Wolfe, The Case Is Altered, The Invaders, Museum Pieces

South African poet and novelist, born in Northern Transvaal, educated at Rugby School. After returning to South Africa, he founded the magazine Voorslag (‘Whiplash’) with Roy Campbell in 1926. He eventually settled in England and became the principal reader for the publishers Jonathan Cape in 1937. Turbott Wolfe (1926), his first novel, was remarkable for its angry denunciations of racism. His other novels, which have been compared to the works of Joyce and Forster for their fluent lucidity of style, include The Case Is Altered (1932), The Invaders (1934), and Museum Pieces (1952). Among his collections of poetry are The Family Tree (1929), The Dorking Thigh and Other Satires (1945), Taste and Remember (1966), Celebrations (1972), and Collected Poems (1960, revised 1973). Although Plomer was a lyrical and meditative poet of distinction, he is best known for the incisive wit and technical virtuosity of his satirical verse. Among his other works are a number of librettos for compositions by Benjamin Britten, notably Gloriana (1953) and The Prodigal Son (1968), and his Autobiography (1975). The many publications he edited include Kilvert's Diary (3 volumes, 193840) and A Message in Code: The Diary of Richard Rumbold, 1932–1960 (1964). Peter F. Alexander's William Plomer: A Biography appeared in 1989.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellis’ [Edith Mary Pargeter] ‘Peters Biography to Portrait of Dora (Portrait de Dora)