Bernard Kops is a prolific writer. He has published numerous novels, including Awake for Mourning (1958), Motorbike (1962), Yes from No-Man’s Land (1965), The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro (1966), By the Waters of Whitechapel (1969), The Passionate Past of Gloria Gaye (1971), Settle Down Simon Katz (1973), Partners (1975), and On Margate Sands (1978). His books of poetry include Poems (1955), Poems and Songs (1958), An Anemone for Antigone (1959), For the Record (1971), and Grandchildren and Other Poems (2000). Kops’s powerful autobiography, The World Is a Wedding, was published in 1963. His dramatic writing includes work for television and radio as well as for the stage.
The relative critical neglect of Kops may result in part from his extensive work in nontheatrical dramatic forms such as radio and television; his prolific activity as a novelist may have further distracted attention from his dramatic achievements. Nevertheless, following the widespread publicity given to his brilliant evocation of Ezra Pound’s insanity in Ezra, Kops began to be recognized in England as a supreme master of dramatic dream poetry. Kops was the first person to be awarded the C. Day Lewis fellowship (1980), was the recipient of several Arts Council bursaries, and has been writer-in-residence in Bristol and the London Borough of Hounslow.
Cohn, Ruby. Modern Shakespeare Offshoots. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976. Kops wrote The Hamlet of Stepney Green in 1957, here discussed in the context of modern interpretations of the universal Hamlet character in “the life of Jewish immigrants in London’s East End—[Kops’s] own background.” Cohn sees Kops’s work as essentially a melodrama in which everyone but Hamlet “lives happily ever after.”
Glanville, Brian. “The Anglo-Jewish Writer.” Encounter 14 (January, 1960): 62-64. Glanville, in this overview of the Anglo-Jewish writer, refers to Kops as “a young playwright [who] has written plays in the romantic genre.” He discusses the scarcity of important Anglo-Jewish writers and their avoidance of Jewish life as a topic. Mentions Peter Shaffer, author of Five Finger Exercise (pr., pb. 1958), and several novelists as well.
Kops, Bernard. “The Modest Muse.” Interview by Sue Limb. Listener 107 (April 29, 1982): 32. An interview with Kops on the occasion of the radio broadcast of Simon at Midnight. Kops’s life “pours through” the play, in “the surges of emotion; the all-powerful mother still laying down the law long after her death.” Kops views radio as “a close-up medium intensely personal.” He mentions his large family, his writer-in-residence post at...
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