Roy (Broadbent) Fuller 1912–
English poet, novelist, essayist, and memoirist.
Although considered a novelist of distinction, Fuller has been best known as a poet since he first began to publish verse in the 1930s. In that decade, Fuller was active in left-wing literary and political movements and became influenced by the work of W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender. His work of this period is characteristic of much of the verse written in the 1930s in its political liberalism and concern for the effects of modern society on the individual. Although Fuller's later poetry grew increasingly personal, his work has always been shaped by a strong humanitarian conscience. Death, loss, aging, and the role of the artist in society are persistent themes.
Two of Fuller's early collections of verse, The Middle of the War (1942) and A Lost Season (1944), chronicle his perceptions of World War II and his time spent serving in the British Navy in East Africa. Described by critics as among the best collections of the "war" poetry of this era, these two books mark, in the words of George Woodcock, "the liberation of Fuller's poetic talent." In both books, Fuller writes powerfully and sensitively of his experiences. In such books as Counterparts (1954) and Brutus's Orchard (1957) he treats his subjects in a broader manner. Collected Poems (1962) and The Individual and His Times (1982) contain the bulk of Fuller's achievement as a poet. In these volumes, Fuller's shift from the emotionalism of the war years to a calmer, less formal poetry is strikingly contrasted. Critics regard Fuller's later examinations of disappointment, loss, and aging as compelling.
Fuller's concern with the relationship between the individual and society is evident in all of his novels. In such works as The Second Curtain (1953) and Image of a Society (1956), characters are portrayed as being in conflict with an organization or institution which challenges their integrity and freedom. These groups are symbolic of the society which surrounds them and the struggle of his characters against them represents the attempt of all persons to survive with dignity in a dehumanizing world. Fuller has also published two volumes of his Oxford poetry lectures and his recent work includes two volumes of memoirs, Souvenirs (1980) and Vamp Till Ready (1982).
(See also CLC, Vol. 4; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed.; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 15, 20.)