Mary Ann Gillies
Paper 1: Roy Fuller
Roy Broadbent Fuller was born on February 11th 1912 in Failsworth, Lancashire. He was born into a lower-middle-class family and his father, Leopold Charles, worked as a manager of a rubber-proofing mill. Following his father’s death, Roy’s mother, Nellie Broadbent Fuller, moved him and his brother to Blackpool where he attended high school. He describes his upbringing as narrow-minded, and his family background as non-literary. He further denotes his schooling as “uninspiring” (Goldberg). While he did not attend college, Fuller taught himself the law and practiced his hand at writing, making him a man of synchronous talents, and in 1934, he became a solicitor at the age of 21 (Wormser). In 1936, Fuller married local girl Kathleen Smith, and a year later, they had their only son, John Fuller, who is a successful poet, novelist, children’s writer, critic, and editor (Poetry Foundation). At the age of 29, Fuller was drafted into the Royal Navy in April of 1941 as a Seaman, later moving up to Petty Officer. In the same year, Fuller was trained to become one of the first technicians to work with the newly developed radar systems. In 1942, he was posted to East Africa, mainly in Kenya, where his experiences with anxiety and isolation from his family gave him material to write on (Wormser). While his poetry encompassed a wide array of wartime experiences, he also wrote novels, including children’s fiction. In addition to publishing poetry and novels, he was also an essayist and reviewer.
Fuller’s accomplishments in publishing are extensive. His earlier poems, such as “New Year” echoed the successful English poets, W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender. His first volume of verse, titled Poems, was published in 1939. This work along with The Middle of the War (1942), published by the Hogarth Press, are influenced by his perceptions during his time spent serving in the British Navy in East Africa, earning him his first critical acknowledgement. Fuller was placed with The Movement (a group of British poets of the 1950s and 1960s who employed an anti-romantic, witty and sardonic tone) when Robert Conquest included Fuller’s work in his own collection New Poetry (Austin). Besides his war verse, Fuller published around 41 collections of poetry and four collections of verse. He also published two children stories, seven novels, four crime mysteries, memoirs, and a long list of magazine reviews and essays (Wormser). While he has been associated with literary movements like W.H. Auden and The Movement, Fuller established his own voice throughout his years as a writer by drawing on his own experiences from the war and as a corporate lawyer.
Fuller has been celebrated by critics as one of the best writers of the war poetry era. In reference to The Middle of the War (1942) and A Lost Season (1944), George Woodcock comments on "the liberation of Fuller's poetic talent" in both books, emphasiz...