Andrew Sinclair (Andrew Annadale Sinclair) Biography
(1935– ), (Andrew Annadale Sinclair), The Breaking of Bumbo, My Friend Judas, The Hallelujah Bum
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Seven Against Thebes (Hepta epi Thēbas; Septem contra Thebas) to Sir Walter Scott and Scotland
British novelist, biographer, and cultural historian, born in Oxford, educated at Eton, at Harvard, and at Cambridge, where he became a don. His first novel, The Breaking of Bumbo (1959), based on his experiences in the army, was made into a film. My Friend Judas (1959), a comic novel set in Cambridge, describes the anarchic activities of its hero, Ben Birt; The Hallelujah Bum (1963; US title The Paradise Bum) is a sequel. Other fiction includes The Project (1960), a futuristic fantasy about nuclear weapons; The Raker (1964), a historical novel; A Patriot for Hire (1978), a political satire set in Britain in the near future; and The Facts in the Case of E. A. Poe (1979), a mixture of fiction and biographical fact. Perhaps his best-known work is his ‘The Albion Triptych’: Gog (1967), a panoramic account of English history from the building of Stonehenge to the Second World War, incorporating elements of Druidic myth, Arthurian legend, and surreal fantasy; Magog (1972), a satire about political corruption; and King Ludd (1988), which moves from Cambridge in the 1930s to London in the late 1980s. The protagonists are George Griffin (‘Gog’), a Cambridge undergraduate, and his corrupt and self-seeking half-brother Magnus Ponsonby (‘Magog’), whose nicknames recall the giants of Ancient British legend. The Far Corners of the Earth (1991) is the first novel in his ‘Empire Quartet’, a fictionalized account of the history of the Sinclairs from the Highland Clearances onwards; The Strength of the Hills (1992) follows his ancestors' lives in India and Canada prior to the First World War. Sinclair's numerous works of biography include volumes on Dylan Thomas (1975), Jack London (1977), and Francis Bacon (1993). Other works include War Like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties (1989), a study of Fitzrovia during the period; The Need to Give (1990), an account of arts patronage through the ages; The Naked Savage (1991), a portrait of the savage as myth and reality in history; The Sword and the Grail (1993), about the Knights Templars' role in the discovery of America; and a memoir of the 1960s, In Love and Anger (1994).
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