V. S. Pritchett (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
V. S. Pritchett, routinely referred to by his initials, VSP, was probably considered the foremost literary essayist of his generation, was certainly one of its most celebrated writers of short fiction, and was unquestionably one of the busiest authors of the twentieth century. His range was extensive. At one time or another he wrote novels, short stories, travel books and articles, book reviews, translations, both brief and lengthy literary essays on a wide range of subjects, several volumes of biography and autobiography, journalism, and even turned his hand at film, both wartime propaganda and features. He married twice, fathered two children, had many affairs, traveled extensively, won many awards, and generally received the praise of his colleagues.
Victor Sawton Pritchett was born in 1900 into a lower-middle-class English family. His parents’ families were both socially mixed. His paternal grandfather was a congregational minister, his maternal grandfather a stable boy and his wife a barmaid. The family moved frequently, often just ahead of the bailiffs, as VSP’s Micawber-like father, Walter, who was chronically broke and in and out of bankruptcy all of his life, searched for suitable employment. Author Jeremy Treglown remarks that Walter proved to be a model for several of his son’s best fictional characters. In spite of their rocky beginnings, all of VSP’s siblings turned out well. Cyril became a woman’s clothing buyer, Kathleen was a...
(The entire section is 2118 words.)
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