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Ian Hamilton (critic)

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Ian Hamilton
Ian Hamilton - Collected Poems.jpg
The cover of Ian Hamilton's Collected Poems
Born
Robert Ian Hamilton

24 March 1938
King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
Died27 December 2001 (2001-12-28) (aged 63)
London, England
NationalityBritish
EducationDarlington Grammar School
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
Occupation
  • Writer
  • literary critic
  • editor
  • publisher
Spouses
PartnerPatricia Wheatley
Children5

Robert Ian Hamilton (24 March 1938 – 27 December 2001) was a British literary critic, reviewer, biographer, poet, magazine editor and publisher.

Early life and education

He was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk. His parents were Scottish and had moved to Norfolk in 1936. The family moved to Darlington in 1951. Hamilton's civil engineer father died a few months later.

A keen soccer player, at the age of 15 Hamilton was diagnosed with a heart complaint. Unable to play games, he developed his interest in poetry. At the age of 17, in sixth form at Darlington Grammar School, Hamilton produced two issues of his own magazine, which was called The Scorpion. For the second issue he sent a questionnaire to various literary figures in London asking if there was any advice they could give young authors. Around 50 or so replies were received from figures such as Louis Golding. After leaving school, Hamilton did his National Service in Mönchengladbach, Germany. He then attended Keble College, Oxford, and within a year started a magazine Tomorrow. The first issues were patchy, but the magazine grew in confidence, publishing an early play by Harold Pinter in its fourth and final issue.

Discover more about Early life and education related topics

King's Lynn

King's Lynn

King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn and colloquially as Lynn, is a port and market town in the borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in the county of Norfolk, England. It is located 98 miles (158 km) north of London, 36 miles (58 km) north-east of Peterborough, 44 miles (71 km) north-north-east of Cambridge and 44 miles (71 km) west of Norwich.

Norfolk

Norfolk

Norfolk is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the north-west, Cambridgeshire to the west and south-west, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea, with The Wash to the north-west. The county town is the city of Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).

Scottish people

Scottish people

The Scots are an ethnic group and nation native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged in the early Middle Ages from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. In the following two centuries, the Celtic-speaking Cumbrians of Strathclyde and the Germanic-speaking Angles of north Northumbria became part of Scotland. In the High Middle Ages, during the 12th-century Davidian Revolution, small numbers of Norman nobles migrated to the Lowlands. In the 13th century, the Norse-Gaels of the Western Isles became part of Scotland, followed by the Norse of the Northern Isles in the 15th century.

Darlington

Darlington

Darlington is a market town in the Borough of Darlington, County Durham, England. The River Skerne flows through the town; it is a tributary of the River Tees. The Tees itself flows south of the town.

Sixth form

Sixth form

In the education systems of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and some other Commonwealth countries, sixth form represents the final two years of secondary education, ages 16 to 18. Pupils typically prepare for A-level or equivalent examinations like the IB or Pre-U. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the term Key Stage 5 has the same meaning. It only refers to academic education and not to vocational education.

Louis Golding

Louis Golding

Louis Golding was an English writer, very famous in his time especially for his novels, though he is now largely neglected; he wrote also short stories, essays, fantasies, travel books and poetry.

Mönchengladbach

Mönchengladbach

Mönchengladbach is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located west of the Rhine, halfway between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border.

Keble College, Oxford

Keble College, Oxford

Keble College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its main buildings are on Parks Road, opposite the University Museum and the University Parks. The college is bordered to the north by Keble Road, to the south by Museum Road, and to the west by Blackhall Road.

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter was a British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. A Nobel Prize winner, Pinter was one of the most influential modern British dramatists with a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964) and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993) and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television and film productions of his own and others' works.

Career

In 1962, Hamilton started The Review magazine, with Michael Fried, John Fuller, and Colin Falck. The Review became the most influential postwar British poetry magazine, publishing a wide variety of writers and both short and long pieces. It ran until its 10th-anniversary issue in 1972.

In 1964 The Review published a pamphlet of Hamilton's poems entitled Pretending Not to Sleep. It was one of three pamphlets that made up issue no. 13 of The Review.

In 1965, to make ends meet, Hamilton took a three-day-a-week job at The Times Literary Supplement, which soon grew to be the position of poetry and fiction editor, a post he held until 1973.

In 1970, Faber and Faber published The Visit, a slender book of Hamilton's poems. This was a somewhat reworked and expanded version of the 1964 pamphlet. The 33 poems contained in The Visit all reflect Hamilton's concise writing style. Hamilton subsequently spoke about the relationship between the stressful circumstances of his personal life – in particular the mental illness of his wife – and the brevity of the poems. "You had to keep your control however bad things were; you had to be in charge. And I suppose the perfect poem became something that had to contain the maximum amount of control – and of suffering."

In 1974, Hamilton started The New Review, a large-format glossy magazine. Its first issue was 100 pages and featured many well-known writers. Again, it was influential in literary circles, and encouraged younger writers. But the magazine depended on Arts Council funding, and when that stopped, four and half years and 50 issues later, The New Review closed. Hamilton then wrote freelance, including regularly for the New Statesman.

In 1976, another pamphlet of poems by Hamilton appeared, entitled Returning, which contained 12 new poems.

After his friend poet Robert Lowell died in 1977, Hamilton wrote a biography of him, which was well received. Encouraged by that, Hamilton began writing a biography and critique of J. D. Salinger. Famously averse to publicity, Salinger took legal action in Salinger v. Random House to prevent the book being published and was successful in denying Hamilton the right to quote from his letters or paraphrase them. Hamilton, however, was able to incorporate these frustrations into the book, entitled In Search of J.D. Salinger.[1]

From 1984 to 1987 Hamilton presented the BBC Bookmark television programme, featuring many well-known writers.

In 1988, Faber published a new collection of his verse: Fifty Poems. This included the poems previously published in The Visit, together with 11 of the poems from Returning and six new poems. In the preface Hamilton wrote: "Fifty poems in twenty-five years: not much to show for half a lifetime, you might think. And in certain moods, I would agree." Ten years later, Faber published Sixty Poems, again matching his age, and these also incorporated earlier poems.

In 1989, he guest-edited the second number of the literary magazine Soho Square, published by Bloomsbury.

His experience with Salinger inspired Keepers of the Flame, Hamilton's 1992 book about the history of literary estates and unofficial biographers. His love of football led him to write Gazza Agonistes and Gazza Italia in 1993 and 1994, about Paul Gascoigne's seemingly wasted talent.

In 1999, Cargo Press published Another Round At The Pillars,[2] a collection of "essays, poems and reflections on Ian Hamilton" to celebrate his 60th birthday, with contributions from a range of prominent authors and poets, including Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Harold Pinter and Clive James.

Hamilton's final book was Against Oblivion: some lives of the Twentieth Century Poets (2002). Taking Samuel Johnson as his inspiration, he chose 45 dead 20th-century poets and assessed their achievement with his customary economy and wit. The book was published posthumously.

Hamilton died of cancer in 2001 in London. His first wife, Gisela Dietzel, and their son Matthew Hamilton survive him, as does his second wife Ahdaf Soueif and their two sons, and his long-term partner, Patricia Wheatley, by whom he had a son and daughter, Catherine and William Hamilton.

In 2002, Between the Lines published Ian Hamilton in Conversation with Dan Jacobson, in which the novelist and academic Dan Jacobson interviewed Hamilton about his life and career.

In 2009 Faber and Faber published his Collected Poems, with an introduction by Alan Jenkins.

A selection of Hamilton's books by other poets were donated to Keble College, Oxford, where they are accessible to students as the Ian Hamilton Poetry Library.

Discover more about Career related topics

John Fuller (poet)

John Fuller (poet)

John Fuller FRSL is an English poet and author, and Fellow Emeritus at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Colin Falck

Colin Falck

Colin Falck was a British literary critic and poet. He was associate professor in modern literature at York College of Pennsylvania.

Faber and Faber

Faber and Faber

Faber and Faber Limited, usually abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in London. Published authors and poets include T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Margaret Storey, William Golding, Samuel Beckett, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Arts Council of Great Britain

Arts Council of Great Britain

The Arts Council of Great Britain was a non-departmental public body dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts in Great Britain. It was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England, the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales. At the same time the National Lottery was established and these three arts councils, plus the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, became distribution bodies.

J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger

Jerome David Salinger was an American author best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger got his start in 1940, before serving in World War II, by publishing several short stories in Story magazine. In 1948, his critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appeared in The New Yorker, which published much of his later work.

BBC

BBC

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the national broadcaster of the United Kingdom, based at Broadcasting House in London, England. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, employing over 22,000 staff in total, of whom approximately 19,000 are in public-sector broadcasting.

Bookmark (TV series)

Bookmark (TV series)

Bookmark is a BBC documentary series about literature, and in particular the lives of authors, broadcast on BBC Two from 1983 to 1999. The first episode was described in the Radio Times as offering insight into "the stories behind the books you read" and was a magazine format presented by Simon Winchester (1983), later Ian Hamilton (1984–1987).

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing plc is a British worldwide publishing house of fiction and non-fiction. It is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index. Bloomsbury's head office is located in Bloomsbury, an area of the London Borough of Camden. It has a US publishing office located in New York City, an India publishing office in New Delhi, an Australia sales office in Sydney CBD and other publishing offices in the UK including in Oxford. The company's growth over the past two decades is primarily attributable to the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling and, from 2008, to the development of its academic and professional publishing division.

Association football

Association football

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players who primarily use their feet to propel the ball around a rectangular field called a pitch. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposition by moving the ball beyond the goal line into a rectangular framed goal defended by the opposing side. Traditionally, the game has been played over two 45 minute halves, for a total match time of 90 minutes. With an estimated 250 million players active in over 200 countries, it is considered the world's most popular sport.

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan

Ian Russell McEwan, is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in its list of the "100 most powerful people in British culture".

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter was a British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. A Nobel Prize winner, Pinter was one of the most influential modern British dramatists with a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964) and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993) and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television and film productions of his own and others' works.

Clive James

Clive James

Clive James was an Australian critic, journalist, broadcaster, writer and lyricist who lived and worked in the United Kingdom from 1962 until his death in 2019. He began his career specialising in literary criticism before becoming television critic for The Observer in 1972, where he made his name for his wry, deadpan humour.

Source: "Ian Hamilton (critic)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Hamilton_(critic).

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Bibliography
  • Pretending Not to Sleep (1964), poetry pamphlet
  • The Visit (1970), poetry book
  • A Poetry Chronicle (1973), essays and reviews
  • Returning (1976), poetry pamphlet
  • The Little Magazines: A Study of Six Editors (1976)
  • Robert Lowell: A Biography (1982)
  • In Search of J.D. Salinger (1988), biography and critique
  • Fifty Poems (1988), poetry collection
  • Writers in Hollywood 1915–1951 (1990)
  • Keepers of the Flame (1992), on literary estates
  • Gazza Agonistes (1993), on Paul Gascoigne
  • Gazza Italia (1994), on Paul Gascoigne
  • Walking Possession (1994), essays and reviews
  • Oxford Companion to 20th-Century Poetry (1994), as editor
  • Steps (1997), poetry
  • A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold (1998)
  • Sixty Poems (1998), poetry collection
  • The Trouble with Money (1998), essays
  • Against Oblivion: Some Lives of the Twentieth-Century Poets (2002)
References
  1. ^ Sableman, Mark (21 November 1997). More Speech, Not Less: Communications Law in the Information Age. SIU Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-8093-2135-3. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  2. ^ ISBN 9781899980062
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