The New Apocalyptics were a poetry grouping in the UK in the 1940s, taking their name from the anthology The New Apocalypse (1939), which was edited by J. F. Hendry (1912–1986) and Henry Treece. There followed the further anthologies The White Horseman (1941) and Crown and Sickle (1944).
The Scottish connection
Others closely associated were the Scottish (as Hendry was) poets G. S. Fraser and Norman MacCaig - though the latter saw his work from Riding Lights (1955) onwards as part of "the long haul towards lucidity" after his Apocalyptic start.
There was quite an overlap, in fact with the Scottish Renaissance group of writers, though not necessarily by publication in London. Others sometimes mentioned in this connection include Ruthven Todd, Tom Scott, Hamish Henderson, Edwin Morgan, Burns Singer, and William Montgomerie. This grouping was fairly represented in Modern Scottish Poetry (1946). Welsh and Irish poets were also prominent.
The other poets in the three anthologies were Ian Bancroft, Alex Comfort, Dorian Cooke, John Gallen, Wrey Gardiner, Robert Greacen, Robert Herring, Seán Jennett, Maurice Lindsay, Nicholas Moore, Philip O'Connor, Leslie Phillips, Tom Scott, Gervase Stewart, Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins, and Peter Wells.
A broader movement of New Romantics has been postulated, to cover many of the British poets between the 'Auden group' of the 1930s and The Movement. This is much more debatable; it may be something of a flag of convenience for those such as the followers of Dylan Thomas and George Barker whose style clearly marked them off, or on the other hand a tag for those addressed polemically and retrospectively by the Robert Conquest introduction to the New Lines anthology. The phrase New Romantics was used at the time, though, for example by Henry Treece; it is usually attributed to Cyril Connolly.
The effects of the times
Wartime conditions had posed great editorial difficulties, and the London operations of the publishers such as Tambimuttu, Grey Walls Press and Fortune Press had been stopgaps (and mostly disconnected from the Cairo poets).
Retrospect from the 1950s
By 1953 John Heath-Stubbs could write of the New Romantics as a movement of the past, though acutely singling out W. S. Graham under the heading of in it, though not of it. This was in the introduction to an anthology Images of Tomorrow, which also points out that the debate over the 'romanticism' was also a fissure within the Christian poets over style — indeed harking back to the religious and psychological depths of 'apocalypse'.
- D. Davies ed., The Penguin Companion to Literature I (1971) p. 22
- I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 674
- I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 582
- Poets of the Apocalypse (1983) by Arthur Edward Salmon; Boston Twayne Publishers,1983.