David Storey Biography
(1933– ), This Sporting Life, Flight into Camden, Radcliffe, The Restoration of Arnold Middleton, In Celebration
English novelist and dramatist, born in Wakefield, the son of a miner, educated at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. His early novels reflect the working-class background of his Yorkshire upbringing, and his displacement to the intellectual milieu of the South. His experience as a professional rugby player for Leeds formed the background to his first novel, This Sporting Life (1960), in which the protagonist struggles against the confining effects of his working-class roots; in Flight into Camden (1960) a miner's daughter, involved with a married man, is torn between the values inherited from her parents and her uneasily assimilated urban attitudes. Radcliffe (1963) examines class conflicts in a dramatic and partly allegorical portrayal of an obsessive homosexual relationship between an aristocrat and a working-class protagonist which ends in murder; it was followed by the play The Restoration of Arnold Middleton (1966), about the mental collapse of a school-master. Storey's subsequent work for the stage has been stylistically unpredictable, varying from the Ibsenesque realism of In Celebration (1969), about an uneasy family reunion, and the Chekhovian The Contractor (1970) in which a tent is raised and lowered by a gang of social misfits, to the grotesque farce of Mother's Day (1976); but it has been thematically more consistent, concentrating on the loss of roots, emotional mutilation, disintegration, and the elusiveness of human wholeness. Other plays include Home (1970), about two old men in an asylum; The Changing Room (1972), a behind-the-scenes picture of the players during a rugby match; Life Class (1974), set in an art school; Sisters (1978); Early Days (1980), about a famous politician in his unruly old age; The March on Russia (1989); and Stages (1992), about a writer looking unhappily back on the many confusions and contradictions of his life. Storey's novels of the 1970s and 1980s include Pasmore (1972), about a lecturer's desertion of his wife and children, and his psychic disintegration; A Temporary Life (1973), narrated by a painter and teacher of art; Saville (1976; Booker Prize), an epic of Yorkshire miners' lives; A Prodigal Child (1982); and Present Times (1984), which chronicles the life of a rugby professional.