Sir Angus Wilson shot to fame in the late 1940’s – his first stories were greeted by Sean O’Faolain and Evelyn Waugh alike with delight. He was championed at once as an odd realist providing new social maps of post-war England – V S Pritchett was to see him as revising the conventional picture of English Character, and recovering “broadness” without losing humanity. He has many faces as a writer. If he inherits the comic Dickensian novel of social depth and density, he also marries this to a recognisably modern anxiety and insecurity about the ‘self’. Wilson’s major books often concern ‘creative breakdown’: they depict people who undergo a crisis and/or collapse of self-belief, and then have to find the courage to invent themselves anew.