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This article is taken from PN Review 82, Volume 18 Number 2, November - December 1991.

Auditory Imagination: The Poetry of Francis Berry Philip Hobsbaum

FRANCIS BERRY was born in Ipoh, now Malaysia, in 1915, of British parents, and was brought up in England. He attended Dean Close School, Cheltenham, where his English master was G. Wilson Knight. He left school early, to join a solicitors' office, but the conversation of Wilson Knight and his brother, the classical scholar Jackson Knight, continued his education. The brothers, on their side, recognized the boy's poetry and literary perceptions, and directed him to University College, Exeter. Early poems had appeared in the Sunday Referee, which had been among the first periodicals to acknowledge Dylan Thomas, and Francis Berry's first books, Gospel of Fire and Snake in the Moon, appeared in 1933 and 1936 respectively, when their author was in his late teens and very early twenties.

The education of Francis Berry, like that of so many of his contemporaries, was interrupted by the War. He served in the British Army between 1939 and 1946, completing his degree in 1947. Thereafter his career was that of an academic. He served as lecturer, reader and, latterly, professor at the University of Sheffield from 1947 to 1970, and was Professor of English at Royal Holloway College, University of London, between 1970 and 1980. He now lives in Winchester.

Francis Berry says of his own work that he has been deeply enchanted by geography, and certainly travel has been his chief recreation. The sense of place plays a decisive role in his poems. Francis Berry remarks 'the ...


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