George Sutherland Fraser

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George Sutherland Fraser (8 November 1915 – 3 January 1980) was a Scottish poet, literary critic and academic.

Biography[edit]

Fraser was born in Glasgow, Scotland, later moving with his family to Aberdeen. He attended the University of St. Andrews.

During World War II he served in the British Army in Cairo and Eritrea. He was published as a poet in Salamander, a Cairo literary magazine. At the same time he was involved with the New Apocalyptics group, writing an introductory essay for the anthology The White Horseman, and formulating as well as anyone did the idea that they were successors to surrealism.

After the war he became a prominent figure in London's literary circles, working as a journalist and critic. Together with his wife Paddy he made friends with a gamut of literary figures, from the intellectual leader William Empson to the eccentric John Gawsworth. He worked with Ian Fletcher to have Gawsworth's Collected Poems (1949) published. His direction was that of the traditional man of letters (soon to become extinct).

In 1948, Fraser contributed an essay entitled "A Language by Itself" to a biblio-symposium honouring the sixtieth birthday of T. S. Eliot. Drawing comparisons with John Donne, he praised the poet's profound refreshment (particularly in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock) of the English poetic tongue, together with his subtle facility for transitional verse and his potent effect on the poetic youth; but, more importantly for present purposes, he also confessed, "I am not a very original writer myself; I am lost, on the whole, without a convention of some sort [...]."[1]

In 1949 he accepted the job of replacing Edmund Blunden as Cultural Adviser to the UK Liaison Mission in Tokyo. This ended badly when he suffered a breakdown in 1951 while in Japan. Subsequently he was much less the poet than the all-purpose writer.

He became a lecturer at the University of Leicester in 1959, where he was an inspiring teacher, remaining there until retirement in 1979.

Books[edit]

  • The Fatal Landscape and Other Poems (1941)
  • Home Town Elegy (1944)
  • The Traveller has Regrets and Other Poems (1948);
  • Vision of Scotland (1948)
  • The Dedicated Life In Poetry, by Patrice de la Tour du Pin (translation, 1948)
  • News from South America (1949)
  • Leaves without a Tree (1953)
  • The Modern Writer and his World (1953)
  • Springtime (poetry anthology, 1953) edited with Ian Fletcher
  • W. B. Yeats (1954)
  • Scotland (1955) with Edwin Smith
  • Poetry now: an anthology edited by G. S. Fraser (1956) Faber & Faber
  • Dylan Thomas (1957)
  • Vision and Rhetoric. Studies in Modern Poetry (1959)
  • Ezra Pound (1960)
  • Keith Douglas. Collected Poems (Second Edition, 1966) edited with John Waller and J. C. Hall.
  • Lawrence Durrell. A Study (1968) with a bibliography by Alan G. Thomas
  • Conditions (1969)
  • Metre, Rhyme and Free Verse (1970)
  • John Keats: Odes (1971) edited
  • P. H. Newby (1974)
  • Essays on Twentieth Century Poets (1977)
  • Alexander Pope (1978);
  • Return to Oasis: War Poems and Recollections from the Middle East, 1940-1946 (1980) edited with Victor Selwyn, Erik de Mauny, Ian Fletcher, and John Waller.
  • Poems of G.S. Fraser (1981) editors Ian Fletcher and John Lucas, Leicester University Press
  • A Short History of English Poetry 1981
  • A Stranger and Afraid: Autobiography of an Intellectual (1983) Carcanet Press

Poets in Poetry Now (1956)[edit]

A. Alvarez - Kingsley Amis - W. G. Archer - Patricia Avis - Bernard Bergonzi - Thomas Blackburn - Arthur Boyars - Alan Brownjohn - George Bruce - Charles Causley - Robert Conquest - Hilary Corke - Maurice James Craig - Donald Davie - Paul Dehn - Keith Douglas - Lawrence Durrell - D. J. Enright - Iain Fletcher - Roy Fuller - Robert Garioch - David Gascoyne - Sidney Goodsir Smith - W. S. Graham - Thom Gunn - J. C. Hall - Michael Hamburger - Jacquetta Hawkes - John Heath Stubbs - Geoffrey Hill - John Holloway - Elizabeth Jennings - Peter Johnson - Sidney Keyes - Thomas Kinsella - James Kirkup - Philip Larkin - Laurie Lee - Alun Lewis - Christopher Logue - Rob Lyle - George MacBeth - Norman MacCaig - Mairi MacInnes - Ewart Milne - Richard Murphy - Norman Nicholson - Kathleen Nott - Philip Oakes - Jonathan Price - F. T. Prince - Henry Reed - Anne Ridler - W. R. Rodgers - Alan Ross - E. J. Scovell - Tom Scott - John Short - Jon Silkin - Burns Singer - Robin Skelton - Martin Seymour Smith - Bernard Spencer - R. S. Thomas - Terence Tiller - Charles Tomlinson - Constantine Trypanis - John Wain - John Waller - Vernon Watkins - Gordon Wharton - Sheila Wingfield - Diana Witherby - David Wright

Bibliography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fraser 1948, p. 172.