C W E Bigsby

An interview with Angus Wilson

CWEB: You have called yourself a liberal humanist. Could you say something about the evolution of your political and moral convictions.

AW: Well, I suppose I should begin with my family life. We lived in a kind of genteel poverty but mother would never acknowledge it. And I suppose that as a young boy I thought of that as being what right wing politics were, an attempt to assert we are genteel people, we are really a better class than you think we are. And so I came into school time ready for getting rid of this endless genteel phoniness which had surrounded my whole background. To use one example: we live in hotels so we must go abroad once a year otherwise people will think we aren’t as well off as we would like to appear, though in fact we weren’t well off at all. We’d go to Bologne and on the boat back my mother would say to me, from the age of about twelve to about fifteen, she would say, ‘I don’t think there is any point in mentioning Bologne, it doesn’t interest people.

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