Hemlock and After

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First UK edition (publ. Secker & Warburg)
Cover art by Ronald Searle

Hemlock and After is a 1952 novel by British writer Angus Wilson; it was his first published novel after a series of short stories. The novel offers a candid portrayal of gay life in post-World War II England.

Plot introduction[edit]

Bernard Sands, a prominent writer who has been given financial aid to start a writer's colony at Vardon Hall, faces a failing marriage, attempts to come to grips with his homosexuality and lives next door to a procuress for pedophiles.

Characters in Hemlock and After[edit]

  • Bernard Sands, the protagonist; a homosexual.
  • Ella, Bernard's wife.
  • Elizabeth, the Sands's daughter.
  • James, the Sands's son.
  • Charles, a friend of Bernard's; a senior civil servant.
  • Mrs Curry, the Sands's neighbour; a procuress for pedophiles.
  • Hubert Rose, an architect and a pedophile.

References to other works[edit]

  • Angus Wilson said in an interview that the ending of the novel was Dickensian.[1]


The novel was written in only four weeks.[1]


  1. ^ a b Michael Millgate, "Angus Wilson, The Art of Fiction No. 20", The Paris Review, Autumn-Winter 1957, No. 17.

External links[edit]