Wilson, Angusin full Sir Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson (b. Aug. 11, 1913, Bexhill, East Sussex, Eng.--d. May 31, 1991, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk)
British writer whose fiction--sometimes serious, sometimes richly satirical--portrays conflicts in contemporary English social and intellectual life.
Wilson was born to an upper-middle-class family who lived a shabby-genteel existence in small hotels and boarding houses, chiefly in London. This unsettled world on the fringe of society is featured in many of his short stories, and he describes it in his autobiographical Wild Garden (1963). He was educated at Westminster School, London, and Merton College, Oxford, and then worked as a cataloger at the British Museum Reading Room. He was professor of English literature at the University of East Anglia (1966-78), becoming emeritus thereafter.
Death Dance: 25 Stories (1969) is a collection of early stories. His first novel, Hemlock and After (1952), is regarded by some critics as his best. Before that he had already been noticed by the reading public through the stories collected as The Wrong Set (1949) and Such Darling Dodos (1950). Anglo-Saxon Attitudes(1956) and The Old Men at the Zoo (1961) offer acute pictures of a wide array of characters, chiefly learned or propertied, in British life. The Middle Age of Mrs. Eliot (1958) is a psychological portrait. Later novels include Late Call (1964), As If By Magic (1973), and Setting the World on Fire (1980). The World of Charles Dickens (1970) and The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling (1977) are notable biographies. The Collected Stories of Angus Wilson was published in 1987. Wilson was knighted in 1980.