Although his writing career began after World War II and spanned the post-modern era, William Humphrey produced a body of work that had more in common with writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His favorite writer was Thomas Hardy, whose grimly ironic view of the world he shared. Like Hardy, Humphrey created characters who are often engaged in a doomed struggle against forces—social, familial, biological—that they cannot overcome. In the process of dramatizing this struggle, he shows the insufficiency of accepted wisdom in dealing with the world. As Humphrey once remarked, “I am a destroyer of myths”, and the way he proceeds to their undoing is to show the havoc they can wreck on ordinary lives. In the process, his work also connects with that of a writer…

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Citation: Cooper, Stephen. "William Humphrey". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2009 [, accessed 23 June 2024.]

2258 William Humphrey 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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