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George Sutherland Fraser

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George Sutherland Fraser (8 November 1915 – 3 January 1980) was a Scottish poet, literary critic and academic.

George Sutherland Fraser
Born(1915-11-08)November 8, 1915
Glasgow, Scotland
DiedJanuary 3, 1980(1980-01-03) (aged 64)
OccupationPoet, literary critic, academic


Fraser was born in Glasgow, Scotland, later moving with his family to Aberdeen. He attended the University of St. Andrews.

During World War II he served in the British Army in Cairo and Eritrea. He was published as a poet in Salamander, a Cairo literary magazine. At the same time he was involved with the New Apocalyptics group, writing an introductory essay for the anthology The White Horseman, and formulating as well as anyone did the idea that they were successors to surrealism.

After the war he became a prominent figure in London's literary circles, working as a journalist and critic. Together with his wife Paddy he made friends with a gamut of literary figures, from the intellectual leader William Empson to the eccentric John Gawsworth. He worked with Ian Fletcher to have Gawsworth's Collected Poems (1949) published. His direction was that of the traditional man of letters (soon to become extinct).

In 1948, Fraser contributed an essay entitled "A Language by Itself" to a biblio-symposium honouring the sixtieth birthday of T. S. Eliot. Drawing comparisons with John Donne, he praised the poet's profound refreshment (particularly in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock) of the English poetic tongue, together with his subtle facility for transitional verse and his potent effect on the poetic youth; but, more importantly for present purposes, he also confessed, "I am not a very original writer myself; I am lost, on the whole, without a convention of some sort [...]."[1]

In 1949 he accepted the job of replacing Edmund Blunden as Cultural Adviser to the UK Liaison Mission in Tokyo. This ended badly when he suffered a breakdown in 1951 while in Japan. Subsequently he was much less the poet than the all-purpose writer.

He became a lecturer at the University of Leicester in 1959, where he was an inspiring teacher, remaining there until retirement in 1979.

He married Eileen Lucy Andrew (but was known as Paddy from birth) in 1946. She wrote a brief memoir of her life with Fraser; G. S. Fraser: A Memoir. Together they had two daughters, including Helen Fraser, and a son.[2][3] Paddy died in 2013.[2]


  • The Fatal Landscape and Other Poems (1941)
  • Home Town Elegy (1944)
  • The Traveller has Regrets and Other Poems (1948);
  • Vision of Scotland (1948)
  • The Dedicated Life In Poetry, by Patrice de La Tour du Pin (translation, 1948)
  • News from South America (1949)
  • Leaves without a Tree (1953)
  • The Modern Writer and his World (1953)
  • Springtime (poetry anthology, 1953) edited with Ian Fletcher
  • W. B. Yeats (1954)
  • Scotland (1955) with Edwin Smith
  • Poetry now: an anthology edited by G. S. Fraser (1956) Faber & Faber
  • Dylan Thomas (1957)
  • Vision and Rhetoric. Studies in Modern Poetry (1959)
  • Ezra Pound (1960)
  • Keith Douglas. Collected Poems (Second Edition, 1966) edited with John Waller and J. C. Hall.
  • Lawrence Durrell. A Study (1968) with a bibliography by Alan G. Thomas
  • Conditions (1969)
  • Metre, Rhyme and Free Verse (1970)
  • John Keats: Odes (1971) edited
  • P. H. Newby (1974)
  • Essays on Twentieth Century Poets (1977)
  • Alexander Pope (1978);
  • Return to Oasis: War Poems and Recollections from the Middle East, 1940-1946 (1980) edited with Victor Selwyn, Erik de Mauny, Ian Fletcher, and John Waller.
  • Poems of G.S. Fraser (1981) editors Ian Fletcher and John Lucas, Leicester University Press
  • A Short History of English Poetry 1981
  • A Stranger and Afraid: Autobiography of an Intellectual (1983) Carcanet Press

Poets in Poetry Now (1956)Edit



  1. ^ Fraser 1948, p. 172.
  2. ^ a b Fraser, Helen. "Paddy Fraser obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  3. ^ Gallacher, Cathryn (14 July 2010). "Helen Fraser, CBE". University of Bristol. Retrieved 20 November 2017.