Alexander Baron

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Alexander Baron (4 December 1917(1917-12-04) – 6 December 1999) was a British author and screenwriter. He is best known for his highly acclaimed novel about D-Day entitled From the City from the Plough (1948) and his London novel The Lowlife (1963). His father was Barnet Bernstein, a Polish-Jewish immigrant to Britain who settled in the East End of London in 1908 and later worked as a furrier. Alexander Baron was born in Maidenhead and raised in the Hackney district of London. He attended Hackney Downs School. During the 1930s, with his schoolfriend Ted Willis, Baron was a leading activist and organiser of the Labour League of Youth (at that time aligned with the Communist Party), campaigning against the fascists in the streets of the East End. Baron became increasingly disillusioned with far left politics as he spoke to International Brigade fighters returning from the Spanish Civil War, and finally broke with the communists after the Hitler–Stalin Pact of August 1939.

Baron served in the Pioneer Corps of the British Army during World War II, experiencing fierce fighting in the Italian campaign, Normandy and in Northern France and Belgium. As a sapper, he was among the first Allied troops to be landed in Sicily, Italy and on D-Day. He used his wartime experiences as the basis for his three best-selling war novels. After the war he became assistant editor of Tribune before publishing his first novel From the City from the Plough (1948). At this time, at the behest of his publisher Jonathan Cape, he also changed his name from Bernstein to Baron.

As well as continuing to write novels (for a list of his works, see below), in the 1950s Baron wrote screenplays for Hollywood, and by the 1960s he had become a regular writer on BBC's Play for Today. Later he became well known for drama serials like Poldark and A Horseman Riding By, and in the 1980s for BBC classic literary adaptions including Sense And Sensibility (1981), Jane Eyre (1983), Oliver Twist (1985) and Vanity Fair (1987). He contributed several episodes to Granada Television's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984-1985).

Baron's personal papers are held in the archives of the University of Reading. His wartime letters and unpublished memoirs were used by the historian Sean Longden for his book To the Victor the Spoils, a social history of the British Army between D Day and VE Day. Baron has also been the subject of essays by Iain Sinclair and Ken Worpole.

Since Baron's death in December 1999 his novels have been republished several times, including his first war book From the City, From the Plough (Black Spring Press, 2010), his cult novel about the London underworld of the early 1960s The Lowlife (Harvill, 2001; Black Spring Press, 2010), which was cited in Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming as a literary antecedent of punk, and King Dido (Five Leaves, 2009), a story of the violent rise and fall of an East End London gangster in Edwardian England. Further books are under contract, testifying to a strong resurgence of interest among in Baron's work among the reading public as well as among critics and academics. In autumn 2010, Five Leaves will republish Rosie Hogarth, and in spring 2011 Sort Of Books will bring back into print Baron's second war novel There's No Home. Baron's third work based on his wartime experiences, The Human Kind, is optioned for publication in 2011. Several of his novels are attracting the attention of film producers.



    * From the City from the Plough (1948) a novel about the fictional 5th Battalion of the Wessex Regiment British Army. The novel takes place in the weeks leading up to D Day and during the Normandy campaign. It was widely believed that the battalion was based on units of the 43rd Wessex Division and its attacks on Hill 112 and Mont Pincon in Normandy. This novel was re-issued by London publisher Black Spring Press in June 2010.
    * There's No Home (1950) - On the interaction of wartime British soldiers with the people of Catania, Sicily, focusing on a doomed love affair; two stanzas of Hamish Henderson's The 51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily serve as the motto
    * Rosie Hogarth (1951), set in London. This will be republished by Five Leaves Press in autumn 2010.
    * With Hope, Farewell (1952), set in London.
    * The Human Kind (1953). The third in Baron's 'War Trilogy'. This was a collection of short stories that were based upon the author's own wartime experiences. The book was later filmed as The Victors (1963), with the British characters changed into Americans in order to attract American audiences.
    * The Golden Princess (1954), about La Malinche.
    * Queen of the East (1956), an historical novel about Zenobia, Queen of the short lived Palmyrene Empire, and her antagonist Aurelian, Emperor of Rome.
    * Seeing Life (1958),
    * The Lowlife (1963), set in Hackney, is "a riotous, off-beat novel about gamblers, prostitutes and lay-abouts of London's East End". This novel was re-issued by London publisher Black Spring Press in June 2010.
    * Strip Jack Naked (1966), sequel to The Lowlife
    * King Dido (1969), set in the East End in 1911. In autumn 2009 this was re-issued in New London Editions, an imprint of Five Leaves Press. Discussions concerning a film adaptation of this novel are currently in progress.
    * The In-Between Time (1971)
    * Gentle Folk (1976); adapted as television drama (1980)
    * Franco Is Dying (1977)

Film screenplays

    * The Siege Of Sidney Street
    * Robbery Under Arms

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