Reader's Encyclopedia

Abse, Dannie (1923 - )

Welsh poet, playwright, and novelist. A practicing physician, Abse first received literary recognition with a volume of poetry, After Every Green Thing (1949), and a play, Fire in Heaven (1948). Selected volumes of poetry, with a striking use of anatomical detail, were published in 1963 and 1970, and Collected Poems in 1977. His plays include The Joker (1962), The Dogs of Pavlov (1969), and Pythagoras (1976). His first novel, Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve (1954), was an autobiographical account of a Welsh Jew growing up in the 1930s. Some Corner of an English Field (1956) uses the military as a metaphor for the illnesses of modern society, and O. Jones, O. Jones (1970) is a comic treatment of a medical student as reformer. Abse's focus on social reform is explicit in his noteworthy book of nonfiction, Medicine on Trial (1967).

Recent works include a volume of verse, Way Out in the Centre (1981), and an autobiography, published in two volumes, A Poet in the Family (1974) and A Strong Dose of Myself (1983).

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