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The Life & Times of Malcolm Bradbury


Malcolm Stanley Bradbury was a teacher and a writer. He was born on September 7th of 1932 and passed away on November 27th of 2000. He was born in Sheffield, the son of a railway worker named Arthur Bradbury and Doris, his wife. He spent his childhood in Nottingham and studied English at the University of Leicester. His postgraduate work was completed at the Queen Mary College in London, and in 1959 he accepted his first full-time appointment at Hull University in the department for adult education.

Malcolm Bradbury moved to Birmingham University’s English department in 1961, and joined East Anglia’s University in 1965. He became an American Studies professor in Norwich in 1970, and remained for his entire life. He can be described as a humorist, novelist and academic critic. His works included Dangerous Pilgrimages and The Modern American Novel. His television dramas included The Gravy Train Goes East and the Gravy Train.

Malcolm Bradbury wrote original scripts, and adapted numerous books for television including The Green Man and Porterhouse Blue. Fiction was always his true love, and he found value in the intelligence, irony, skepticism, and play. His first novel was Eating People Is Wrong and became an instant success. He wrote approximately one novel each decade including The History Man and Rates of Exchange. Most of his novels featured an academic, slightly naïve character portrayed hilariously abroad in unfamiliar surroundings.

Malcolm Bradbury’s most famous novel was The History Man. The book chartered the career of a promiscuous and manipulative sociologist. He substituted trends for commitments and morals to great success. Although all his novels portray comedy and wit on the surface, there are serious philosophical and moral subtexts. He devoted a lot of time to the British Council’s affairs, and became an invaluable supporter. He served the literary advisory committee, transformed the seminar for contemporary writing, and in 1976 he took over the chairmanship. He helped bring together academics, writers, journalists, translators and publishers from across the globe to meet British writers.

Malcolm Bradbury retired in 1995 and began serving Swan Hellenic cruises as a guest lecturer. He was considered a gregarious man and was happiest when attending meetings, seminars, and conferences. He treated his friends with generosity and was devoted to his family. He married Elizabeth Salt in 1959 and they had two sons. She was always his most significant source of support and happiness. In 1991, he was appointed to CBE for his literary services and in 2000 he was knighted.

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