Holroyd in London

Stuart Holroyd: Contraries

In his book The Angry Young Men (2002), Humphrey Carpenter wrote that he had been unable to trace Stuart Holroyd in the course of his research. To some it may have seemed as if Holroyd had disappeared from the face of the earth. I was amused by Carpenter's remark, when I read it in September 2002, because I had been in correspondence with Holroyd for about seven months. I managed to get in touch with him through a considerable amount of detective work based on what I knew about him and his writings. The main reason I had initially written to him was to ask his help in resolving some difficulties I had in working out a coherent chronology of his life. It all started with my admiration for Contraries (1975), which I regard to be his finest published book. It is an account of what it was like to be one of the Angry Young Men in the 1950s. Contraries demonstrates all his best qualities as a writer: concise presentation of people's characters, absorbing narrative, engaging dialogue, humour and penetrating self-analysis. Because I had read the book so often, I realised that the chronology just did not make sense. I wanted to find out why Holroyd had written the book in this way and I wanted to work out the correct order in which the various events he recounts happened. I have been tremendously helped by Holroyd himself in achieving my aims. My article "Holroyd in London" covers the same period as Contraries, but places the main incidents of his life in their correct chronological order. "Holroyd in London" is an account of a truly fascinating period in Holroyd's life where we can see his literary talent and philosophical thinking being informed and infused by the close associations he made with a number of thinkers and writers. It is also a period when other key events and interactions would shape, mould and then possibly curb the rising talent of this young and promising writer.


  • Antoni Diller, "Holroyd in London", in Paul Newman (ed.), Abraxas Unbound: Colin Wilson, Literature, Philosophy, Ideas, Poetry & Fiction, vol. 1, [St Austell, Abraxas, 2007, ISSN 1753-7657], pages 23–32; the first three paragraphs of this paper are available on this website.

© Antoni Diller (11 April 2014)